The Six Pack: On The Open Road In Search Of WrestleMania Book Review

In 2005, Brad Balukjian PhD left his position as a magazine fact-checker to pursue a dream job: partner with his childhood hero, The Iron Sheik (whose real name was Khosrow Vaziri), to write his biography. Let’s just say right now things didn’t go as planned. Years later he decided to revisit the project, but from a different perspective.

Many people of my generation (who grew up on 1980’s World Wrestling Federation programming) know Sheik was the opponent to Hulk Hogan on January 23, 1984 when “Hulkamania” was launched. Sheik had previously won the WWF World championship on December 26, 1983 from perennial champion Bob Backlund. So Mister Balukjian decided if Sheik wasn’t going to talk, he could get information from people that were involved in the 12/26/83 or 1/23/84 wrestling events held at Madison Square Garden.

The end result is a wild journey entitled The Six Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Wrestlemania (April 2, Hachette, $30, 304pp)

Mister Balukjian’s childhood love of Sheik and the initial attempt to write the book I outlined. The mere fact he even decided to try again is amazing, especially when you read how it happened and how he nearly DIED. The next attempt at the project is to speak to WWF (now called WWE) Hall of Fame members Hulk Hogan, Tony Atlas, Sergeant Slaughter & Tito Santana plus Jose Luis Rivera, Demolition Ax (then working as the Masked Superstar) and then owner of the WWF; Vince K McMahon. The goal is their perspectives on Sheik and the night the wrestling business changed forever. Also the hope at the end of the traveling is to possibly see Sheik again and have a different experience.

The end product (which went over 33 states and Puerto Rico) is a wonderful look at the professional wrestling world as Vince J McMahon sold the family promotion to his son. I am not sure if it intentional but Mister Balukjian’s work feels like the transcript of a documentary film. His attention to detail is impeccable.

I will not spoil which of the “Six Pack” Mister Balukjian spoke to, but each person’s view of the time frame will enrich the journey.

The book can be purchased on all shopping platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

For more work from Alan Wojcik check out or MyNameisWojcik on Twitter/X.