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HomeColumns, Opinions & Misc.Outside County lines: Memories of THE Sheik from a Detroit boy

Outside County lines: Memories of THE Sheik from a Detroit boy

I saw The Iron Sheik died today. You had to be a Detroit kid to remember this guy. Great showman and very entertaining.

Although the Iron Sheik ruled the 1980s, it was THE SHEIK who set the stage in the 1950s and 60s for his success.

I  saw “THE Sheik” in my first wrestling match on a winter evening at Cobo Hall around 1970. My Uncle Wayne took me.

it was a last second thing  He came by the house and told my dad he just got tickets and asked him if I could go. I knew a little about wrestling because my dad was a fan back then. But I had never heard of a place called Cobo Hall.

I remember walking down the steps in the arena, the floors sticky with spilled beer. I looked down at the stage in the center of the bowl, and thought to myself, ” Wow, look at all the people.”

The lighting was poor and the arena was filled by a cloud of cigarette smoke. We stopped at concessions on the way in and he bought me a cold Coke in a glass bottle that was covered with frost, but not for long. The building was hot and muggy.   

We had great seats on the main floor near the stage. And sat in wooden folding chairs, packed in tight with the rest of the fans.

We sat through a few warmup matches before that main event: The Sheik against Bobo Brazil

It was so exciting for a young kid. As the rough and tumble battle progressed, I remember The Sheik digging into his trunks, pulling something out. I remember screaming “He’s got something!  That “something” was his trademark fireball that landed on the chest of Bobo.

I was close enough to feel the heat.  The gasoline-type smell and smoke from the fire made my eyes water (or was the cigarette smoke?). I couldn’t tell you who won. 

But what a great memory I found today. 🙂

RIP to both sheiks.

The Iron Sheik
The Iron Sheik
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