6.75 x 9.75 in, 300pp, paperback
Published by ECW Press
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Every fan of professional wrestling remembers the moment that captured their heart forever and hooked them for life. Whether it was Ric Flair regaining the NWA Championship from Harley Race at Starcade, the Freebirds turning heel on Kerry Von Erich, Mick Foley flying off the cage at King of the Ring, , Samoa Joe's epic trilogy with CM Punk in Ring of Honor, or the premiere of WCW's Nitro: these are the matches and moments that thrilled, terrified, or outraged overwhelming you with real emotion.
Mike Rickard's Wrestling's Greatest Moments brings you all the most memorable and controversial moments from modern wrestling history. It's an insightful and essential compendium of thirty years' worth of groundbreaking matches, angles and interviews. From Hulkamania to the Montreal "screwjob," from the NWA to the nWo, you'll rediscover what really occurred in arenas and on the air worldwide, and learn all the backstage and behind-the-scenes secrets that made these highlight-reel moments possible from the men and women who were there.
Whether you watched Stone Cold Steve Austin point a gun at WWE honcho Vince McMahon's head, or stood outside the building as D-Generation X "invaded" WCW; whether you look back with nostalgia to "The King" slapping Andy Kaufman silly on Letterman or believe wrestling was better when Bruno sold out Shea; whether you were one of the Philadelphia "bingo hall" faithful who made ECW "extreme" or a casual observer of the Monday Night Wars; whether you're reliving these moments or discovering them for the first time, Wrestling's Greatest Moments will enthrall you with the exploits and extravagance, the tragedies and triumphs of the sport of kings.
About the Author: Mike Rickard has been writing about the sport of kings since 2005. His work has been seen on Pro Wrestling Illustrated's website, Pro Wrestling Torch, Gumgod, World Wrestling Insanity, and Canadian Bulldog's World.
In the world of professional wrestling, sometimes booking just writes itself. Case in point, the 1984 feud in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) between Sgt. Slaughter and the Iron Sheik. The ideological battle between the United States and Iran was personified in the in-ring battle between Marine tough-guy Sgt. Slaughter and Iranian bad-boy the Iron Sheik.
Born Khosrow Ali Vaziri, the man who would become best known in the ring as the Iron Sheik grew up in Iran. Khosrow's hard work as an amateur wrestler led to him being on his country's Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling team at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. His skills also saw him become one of the bodyguards to Iran's leader, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Hossein emigrated to the United States and served as assistant coach to the U.S. wrestling team at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. After an invitation from American Wrestling Association (AWA) owner Verne Gagne, Khosrow trained under wrestler Billy Robinson and made his professional wrestling debut in 1972, initially working as a face.
To fully appreciate the feud, one must understand what was going on in the country at this time. The 1980's was a time of incredible patriotism in the United States, thanks to the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Reagan had been elected over incumbent Jimmy Carter. Carter presided over the U.S. during economic and foreign crises, not least of which was the storming of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran in 1979 and the taking of American hostages. A failed rescue attempt didn't help Carter's image or the morale of Americans. That changed when Reagan came into office, taking a tough stand against America's enemies, salvaging the economy, and restoring Americans' hopes for a brighter tomorrow.
Khosrow's career began to take off when he adopted the villainous persona of an evil Arab character known as the Great Hossein Arab. Khosrow shaved his head, grew out a stylish mustache, and began wearing wrestling boots with the toes curled up (loading them up whenever the occasion called for it). Khosrow also used Persian clubs to exercise with and challenged opponents to try using them, often using this feat of strength as a chance to ambush his opponents. When Iran's government was taken over by Islamic fundamentalists in 1979 (which in turn led to the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Iran), promoters took advantage of Khosrow's heritage to further promote him as a heel. With kayfabe so strong, some promoters had to tone down Khosrow's anti-American gimmick to protect him from violent fans. Regardless, he got over wherever he went working in various territories of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). Eventually he began going by the name of the Iron Sheik.
In 1983, the Iron Sheik returned to World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and challenged Bob Backlund for his WWF championship. The Iron Sheik challenged Backlund to use the Persian Clubs. At first Backlund was unable to lift the clubs up (not only are they heavy but they are difficult to balance) but he finally succeeded, only for the Iron Sheik to attack him from behind, injuring Backlund's neck. On December 26, 1983 at Madison Square Garden, the Iron Sheik entered the club of a select few when he became WWF World Heavyweight Champion, defeating Bob Backlund and ending his five plus year title reign. The match was not without controversy however. The Iron Sheik applied his finisher the Camel Clutch to Backlund and Backlund refused to give up. However Backlund's manager Arnold Skaaland feared for Backlund's health and threw in the towel, effectively conceding the match. The Iron Sheik held onto the belt for about a month until his historic loss to Hulk Hogan at Madison Square Garden.
Although the Iron Sheik's title reign was brief, his career in the WWF was far from over. With manager "Ayatollah" Fred Blassie guiding him, the Iron Sheik ran roughshod over opponents and seemed to be as much of a threat as when he first entered the WWF. The Iron Sheik continued to beat opponents mercilessly with his dreaded finisher the Camel Clutch, insulting American fans and taunting his downed American opponents by spitting on them. Then an unlikely American opponent emerged, the rulebreaker known as Sgt. Slaughter. The Iron Sheik's taunts and tactics would inspire Slaughter to turn from heel to hero.
Copyright 2005-2015 by Mike Rickard