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Wrestling / Ed Farhat

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Edward George Farhat (June 9, 1924—January 18, 2003) was an American Army wrestler and soldier who turned Professional Wrestler, promoter and trainer after returning to civilian life. He resided in and first started achieving fame in Detroit, MI as The Sheik Of Araby. He started in the late 1940s and was a huge star from the 1950s through the 1970s. While best known for his work in Detroit, he was also a major name in Toronto, Japan and seemingly everywhere else he wrestled for decades, drawing money all over the place. Among his in-ring achievements, he was a 16-time NWA (Detroit) United States Heavyweight Champion, a 1x NWA United National Champion and a 2x NWA Americas (Los Angeles) Heavyweight Champion. In 1972, Pro Wrestling Illustrated named him "The Most Hated Wrestler," and he was also one of the most attacked wrestlers of all time, often suffering stabbings. Along with various National Wrestling Alliance territories, he competed for the WWWF, All Japan Pro Wrestling, FMW, the WWC in Puerto Rico and many independents. He was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996 and into the WWE Hall of Fame posthumously in 2007.

Not to be confused with The Sheik, The Iron Sheik or with Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie.

"Arabian Tropes":

  • Arab Oil Sheikh: His gimmick was that of an eccentric heir to a fortune, royalty in all but name, whose affluence and pampering allowed his antisocial tendencies to go unchecked.
  • Arch-Enemy: Bobo Brazil, Mark Lewin, Pampero Firpo (who turned face after Sheik burned him with a fireball), Abdullah the Butcher, Terry Funk, George "The Animal" Steele, Bruno Sammartino... He tended not to make too many friends.
    • Only semi-Kayfabe: The Sheik's Detroit promotion had a serious feud with Dick the Bruiser's World Wrestling Association in Indianapolis. Bruiser was a close friend of NWA boss Sam Muchnick and had some ownership points in Muchnick's St. Louis Wrestling Club, and never really cared for Sheik. Muchnick actually stopped using DTB in St. Louis after 9/22/72 until 2/15/74. WWA invaded Detroit, which was an NWA member, while the WWA wasn't. Bruiser didn't like the Sheik's wrestling style. Muchnick brought Sheik into St. Louis twice and never used him again. A lot of guys felt that the Sheik shorted them on their payouts and didn't like how Sheik kept himself as the star attraction and would basically squash guys who were getting over.
  • Author Avatar: When he was the boss and top star of the NWA promotion in Detroit.
  • Ax-Crazy: Always. He once threatened to kill an amateur wrestler who claimed to know "Ed" after snatching him by the throat. There are reports of him chasing fans through hotels while swinging a sword.
  • Badass Teacher: To his nephew Sabu, Rob Van Dam, Rick and Scott Steiner among others. He was even Muhammad Ali's pro wrestling trainer.
  • Bash Brothers: With Abdullah the Butcher and Sabu
  • Beard of Evil: Notably lacked any facial hair during his initial run as a baby face.
  • Boring Invincible Villain: Became this in the eyes of the fans in the late 1970s, since he was so dominant that people started losing interest in going to the shows. This is likely one of the reasons why the Detroit territory closed in 1981.
  • The Cameo:
    • At ECW The Night the Line was Crossed, February 5, 1994, he teamed with Pat Tanaka in a victory over Kevin Sullivan and the Tazmaniac.
    • He seconded Sabu for his successful match against Mr. JL (Jerry Lynn) at WCW Halloween Havoc 95, October 29, 1995, which was held in Detroit. After the match, the Sheik fireballed JL.
  • Covered with Scars: His garbage tactics often backfired, leading to him having a scarred up forehead.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Anyone who ever beat The Sheik had beaten the unbeatable, since The Sheik rarely lost. The Sheik's longest string of matches one was one hundred and twenty seven! One of his most memorable losses was when Bobo Brazil beat him for the United States title belt.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: He started out in professional wrestling the same way he did in the army, keeping his opponent close to the mat with legal holds, keeping his face shaven and his hair short. But he didn't make a lot of money that way, so he went the way of The Gimmick.
  • Enemy Mine: He had such a grudge against Antonio Inoki that he offered to help Muhammad Ali fight Inoki.
  • Feather Boa Constrictor: He would sometimes carry a python boa constrictor or some other large, powerful snake on his shoulders on his way to the ring. Since The Sheik was a cheater he wasn't above sicking the snake on his opponents either. He would sometimes have to cut his opponent himself when the reptile refused to bite.
  • Finishing Move: Sleeper hold, Camel Clutch(after Gori Guerrero introduced as la de a caballo).
  • Garbage Wrestler: One of the Ur Examples, along with Abdullah the Butcher.
  • HEEL: Perhaps one of the greatest examples ever. He made a lot more money this way than as the patriotic baby face soldier, to the point hardly anyone even knows, much less remembers that Ed Farhat the star football player army wrestler ever existed.
  • Kayfabe: He was one of the most rigid adherents to it.
    • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Wouldn't respond to being called "Ed" even on the phone.
    • The Voiceless: He would not speak while keeping kayfabe, and he by all accounts essentially lived his life keeping kayfabe.
  • Legion of Doom: He was part of the wrestling's original alongside the Iron Sheik, though the group would eventually be whittled down to just The Road Warriors, Hawk and Animal.
  • Man Bites Man: In the event The Sheik could not get his hand on a weapon and was prevented from throwing fire, he would resort to using his teeth.
  • The Mentor: To his nephew Sabu and Rob Van Dam.
  • Motor Mouth: In the rare event Sheik did speak, it wouldn't be in English and would often sound like gibberish, because of how fast he spoke. Even those who have heard him speak English claim he was nigh impossible to understand because of how fast he spoke.
  • Mud Wrestling: He and Tiger Jeet Singh had one so bad it turned off fans and promoters alike from the very idea of "substance matches" forever and probably helped cement Singh's poor reputation in the states.
  • One-Steve Limit: Sometimes referred to as "The Original Sheik" to distinguish him from The Iron Sheik.
  • Perky Female Minion: Princess Salima
  • Power Stable: (In FMW): The Sheik Army, featuring Sabu, the Gladiator (Mike Awesome), Mexican wrestler Damian 666, and the notoriously horrible Tiger Jeet Singh and his son Tiger Jeet Singh Jr.note 
  • Red Baron: "The Arabian Madman."
  • Ring Oldies: Out of necessity. See Money, Dear Boy on the Trivia page.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: He was the promoter of Detroit, or one of them when Dick the Bruiser attempted to expand into the city. He broke several "rules" of wrestling promoting and made lots of money, but eventually burned out Detroit for both himself and Bruiser, proving why promoters followed rules regarding Garbage Wrestling.
  • Squash Match: Frequently. He was known for short brawls.
  • Underwear of Power: He would sometimes wear a suit, trench coat or otherwise something more elaborate and less exposing, but when the bell rang he'd always strip out of it, if he hadn't started in his tights already.
  • Ur-Example: In 1972, he was the first wrestler to be named "Most Hated Wrestler" by Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Abdullah the Butcher, since they'd alternate between teaming together and feuding with each other.
  • Wrestling Family: His nephew is ECW legend Sabu. His son Ed Farhat Jr. was a 3x NWA (Detroit) World Tag Team Champion as Captain Ed George.
  • Yanks with Tanks: Fought in World War II via concealing the fact that he was only 17 at the time.

Alternative Title(s): The Sheik