The Iron Sheik on Triple H vs Roman Reigns, Shane McMahon doing something crazy, and one day fighting Justin Bieber
The Iron Sheik is no stranger to WrestleMania. During his time as one of wrestling’s most villainous characters, Sheiky Baby won the WWF Tag Team Championship alongside Nikolai Volkoff at WrestleMania I in Madison Square Garden. He went on to wrestle in four WrestleMania events in total, winning three times – most recently in a 2001 Battle Royal – so there was no better legend to ask about Sunday’s Mania in Texas.
Paddy Power Blog: Iron Sheik, you wrestled at the very first Mania event in front of 19,000 people in 1985. On Sunday there could be close to 100,000 people in Dallas for WrestleMania 32, what was it like wrestling on the biggest stage of them all more than three decades ago?
Iron Sheik: MADISON SQUARE GARDEN IN NEW YORK CITY – GREATEST ARENA IN THE WORLD. NOTHING BIGGER THAN THE WRESTLEMANIA 1 AND KENNEDY MCMAHON. HE SHOWED THE WORLD WWE IS THE BEST. EVERYBODY KNOWS I BECAME CHAMPION THAT DAY.
PPB: Cheers for the caps lock Sheiky, loving the way you roll. This year’s WWE World Heavyweight match pits current champ and leader of The Authority Triple H, against challenger Roman Reigns. The Game is now a 14-time World Heavyweight champion – what do make of his reign?
IS: TRIPLE H IS INTELLIGENT FOR THE BUSINESS AND HE KNOWS HOW IT FEELS TO BE THE MAIN EVENT. IN THIS WAY I LOVE HIM. ROMAN REIGNS IS STILL YOUNG BUT HE LOOK’S LIKE A BELIEVABLE CHAMP. THE FANS ARE NOT SIDING WITH HIM YET, BUT VINCE MCMAHON KNOWS HOW TO MAKE A STAR LOOK GOOD. I’LL BE SURPRISED IF REIGNS DOES NOT WIN ON SUNDAY.
PPB: Triple H is about to go into his 20th WrestleMania bout – how important is that experience going into the main event on the biggest stage of them all?
IS: 10,000%. YOU HAVE TO BE READY, IN SHAPE AND HAVE THE EXPERIENCE. HE KNOWS WHEN TO TURN IT ON AND OFF, UP AND DOWN.
PPB: 10,000%! That’s serious conditioning. Challenger Roman Reigns is the red-hot favourite for the title, but does he have what it takes to become a top champion?
IS: HE COMES FROM THE INTELLIGENT SAMOAN FAMILY. MY BEST FRIENDS. HE LIVES THE BUSINESS, HE LOOK BELIEVABLE, AND HE LOVES THE WRESTLING. THIS WAY HE’LL MAKE IT NO MATTER WHAT. THE ROCK AND SIKA ARE HIS FAMILY – THEY’LL TEACH HIM HOW TO BE A COMPLETE CHAMP.
PPB: How can you see the match playing out?
IS: TO BE HONEST I DON’T KNOW, BUT I HAVE A FEELING THEY’LL MAKE ROMAN LOOK STRONG IN FRONT OF THE 100K PEOPLE. BEST WAY TO GET FANS ON BOARD.
PPB: The odds suggest he will Sheik. You won the World Heavyweight Title in 1983, beating Bob Backlund. How does it feel when you’re the best in the business and have the belt to prove it?
IS: I WORK HARD ALL MY LIFE AND I PAY MY DUES. MR MCMAHON KNEW HE COULD TRUST ME TO BE CHAMPION. NOBODY CAN TAKE AWAY THAT. THIS WAY I WAS HAPPY.
PPB: The other huge match-up is a Hell in a Cell bout between The Undertaker and Vince McMahon’s son Shane McMahon, who wants to take control of WWE Raw off his father. Who will be victorious in the cell?
IS: VINCE’S SON AND THE UNDERTAKER. I LOVE THEM BOTH. THIS IS A HELL OF A GIMMICK. I THINK THAT SHANE WILL DO SOMETHING BIG-TIME, MAYBE HE GET HELP FROM SOMEBODY LIKE JOHN CENA WHO COULD TURN HEEL. WHO KNOWS WHO WINS, BUT I BELIEVE THIS WILL BE INTERESTING.
PPB: We’re all expecting Shane to take a huge bump anyway! The Undertaker’s legacy at WrestleMania is one of the greatest in professional wrestling though. He has 22 wins and just the one loss – to Brock Lesnar in 2014. Could you have beaten Taker at Mania?
IS: SHOOTING WISE (UNSCRIPTED) – I BREAK HIS NECK. PERFORMING WISE – HE IS ONE OF THE BEST EVER. I RESPECT HIM. HE’S IN IRON SHEIK’S CLASS.
PPB: Wow – Rather you taking on The Undertaker than us! If you could return to WrestleMania and battle a superstar in a Hell in a Call match, who would you like to face?
IS: GIVE ME JOHN CENA, DANIEL BRYAN OR KURT ANGLE, BUBBA!
PPB: ‘The Beast’ Brock Lesnar is back at WrestleMania taking on Dean Ambrose in a No Holds Barred Street Fight, which is set to be brutally aggressive. Will either man survive this carnage, and who are you tipping to win?
IS: BROCK LESNAR IS BELIEVABLE. HE’S A REAL CHAMPION. HE’S THE BEST ON THIS EARTH. IT’S HARD TO FANCY DEAN AMBROSE ON SUNDAY.
PPB: If you were in a street fight what would be your weapon of choice?
IS: NO WEAPON FOR THE SHEIK. THAT IS THE CHEAP SHOT. I LOVE BEING A STRAIGHT SHOOTER.
PPB: You’re an honest wrestler Sheiky. If you could take on any celebrity in a street fight, who would you fight?
IS: JUSTIN BIEBER – I BREAK THAT JABRONI’S BACK.
PPB: Good. We’re not his biggest fans either. Finally Sheiky, you won a Battle Royal in 2001, eliminating Sgt Slaughter at the end, so you’re one of the best men to get a tip for this Sunday’s Battle Royal at WrestleMania.
IS: MY GOOD FRIEND MARK HENRY (), BUBBA. HE’S AN OLYMPIC MAN LIKE THE LEGEND, THE IRON SHEIK.