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On this date in WWF history: Iron Sheik bridges the gap between Bob Backlund and Hulk Hogan

Was the Iron Sheik a legitimate champion? Or just a commercial for the Hulk Hogan show?
Was the Iron Sheik a legitimate champion? Or just a commercial for the Hulk Hogan show?

On December 26, 1983, World Wrestling Federation (WWF) Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund lost his strap to the Iron Sheik after falling victim to the dreaded Camel Clutch submission hold.

What he really fell victim to, was the rise of Hulkamania.

WWF Chairman Vince McMahon was ready to push Hulk Hogan into the promotion's top spot, but Backlund refused to turn heel (despite his fading star) and surrender the belt to the green giant, so Ol' Sheik was brought in as a transitional champion.

Backlund also refused to go over clean for the Iron man, losing the title as part of an injury angle when his corner threw in the towel. That injury, which would carry over into the new year, helped bring the Hulkster in to stymie a Bobby beatdown and solidify his face status.

Less than a month later, he was wearing gold and Backlund was merely an afterthought.

Video after the jump.

Any Cagesiders out there (besides myself) old enough to remember when this all went down?