RASSLING OBIT: Charles Oliver has an accurate obituary on The Sheik, who passed away recently:
He was a limited worker in the ring. A typical Sheik match lasted just three or four minutes and ended with him getting disqualified for pulling out one of the dreaded foreign objects and leaving the hero in a pool of blood.
Farhat was legitimately of Arab descent, though a devout Catholic, not Muslim. But he apparently didn't speak Arabic, at least not very well. I later found out that what sounded like gibberish to me was just that.
He bought the Detroit promotion in the mid-1960s and sold out arenas there and in Toronto numerous times. But like most wrestler-promoters, he kept himself on top too long, burned out the audience with the same matches and the promotion was out of business by the late 1970s. Farhat continued to wrestle the occasional match up until the early 1990s, especially in Japan where'd accompany his (legit) nephew Sabu.
I've seen maybe one Sheik match, one of those Cactus Jack ones where Jack did all the work making the Sheik look good--his rep as a worker was way too terrible for me to ever actively track down a Sheik match. But I think The Sheik really stuck in your memory if you saw him at the right time in your life, like I'm guessing Charles did.
2 hours ago