Big Time Wrestling's Founding Fathers
David White is (Chicago news paper ) wrote: I always loved The Sheik as a kid, for the same reason I loved horror movies — he was scary enough to be thrilling, yet just enough to not cross the line into nightmare-inducing.
In more recent years, I’ve discovered a new reason to respect him. The following anecdote comes from a tribute to The Sheik that was posted on the website devoted to him: after his death ,it was wrote :
“In a Texas arena, during those pre-civil rights era days, black fans were seated in a balcony behind chicken wire. the sheik got to the ring, and saw this seating setup. A very real-life Edward Farhat aka the sheik got very upset, and in full Sheik gimmick, he climbed up 15 feet and ripped down the wire.
“He got back in the ring and locked up with a shocked Bobo Brazil, who asked the sheik , ‘What the hell did you do?’ Sheik told Brazil that the local promoters were racist @$#$@$#s, and to hell with them. So the ‘hated enemies’ were in a clinch in the corner laughing at what a real-life Edward Farhat had done, and could get away with in the segregated South…simply because he did it as ‘The Sheik.’
Out of the fiery sands of the Syrian desert came a man who would over the next three decades prove to be one of the most inhuman monsters ever to invade the rings of professional wrestling. In the early days of his career, he was known as The Sheik of Araby. Always accompanied to the ring by The Princess, he employed a style of wrestling that was new and unique to American fans. His ring antics, always cruel and heinous, would insure his hand would be raised in victory while a bloody mess that once resembled an opponent laid at his feet. The pre-match abuse he administered to The Princess was a showing of things to come for whomever was unfortunate enough to be his opponent that night. He would kick, hit, yell and spit at his Princess as she kneeled before her master while holding the ceremonial incense. Often times she would be physically kicked out of the ring, all this in full view of the audience, be they in person or televised.
As the years progressed, The Princess would eventually disappear as would his original name. He then became THE SHEIK. In the mid 1960's, he accepted the services of a manager, Abdullah Farouk -evil incarnate-a nefarious man whose ultimate goals paralleled those of The Sheik. A partnership cemented by the blood of many opponents across America and throughout the world would result in The Sheik being crowned the U.S.Champion, a title he would hold for the next six years. This win catapulted The Sheik into the top position as the most sought after wrestler in the world.
At the beginning of those years as champion, The Sheik began to use any means necessary to maintain his position as U.S.Champion. He would use foreign objects on his opponents as well as apply his trademark hold, "The Camel Clutch". However there was one thing The Sheik could do that no other wrestler could--throw FIRE!! Many notable wrestlers felt this fire which was always thrown anytime The Sheik felt he was in danger of losing his championship--a move always encouraged by the sinister Farouk. Witnesses throughout the world say that when The Sheik would throw fire, he would appear as though he was in a trance.
Over the past twenty years, The Sheik has maintained his position as wrestling's quintessential mat madman. Has he mellowed at all? NO! If anything he has become worse. Recently he found a new following in Japan, a country that appreciates seasoned wrestlers and not just the youthful ones. Unfortunately America's big promotions seem to be preoccupied with youthful wrestlers while ignoring the true legends of wrestling. And no one in this sport is more of a legend than The Sheik. Rest in peace