Adnan Al-Kaissie
Al-Kaissie in the early 1970s
Birth nameAdnan Bin Abdul Kareem Ahmed Alkaissy El Farthie
Born(1939-03-01)March 1, 1939[1]
Baghdad, Kingdom of Iraq[1]
DiedSeptember 6, 2023(2023-09-06) (aged 84)
Minnesota, U.S.[2]
Alma materOklahoma State University
Spouse(s)
Kathy Davis
(m. 1964)
Children4
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Adnan El Kaissie[1]
Billy White Wolf[1]
General Adnan
Shiek Adnan Al-Kaissey[1]
Billed height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)[3]
Billed weight245 lb (111 kg)[3]
Billed fromBaghdad, Iraq
Trained byYvon Robert
Debut1959
Retired1998

Adnan bin Abdul Kareem Ahmed Alkaissy El Farthie (Arabic: عدنان بن عبدالكريم أحمد القيسي ألفرث; March 1, 1939 – September 6, 2023), better known professionally as Adnan Al-Kaissie, was an Iraqi-American professional wrestler and manager best known as Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissey, Billy White Wolf, or General Adnan. In 1971 he defeated André the Giant in Al-Shaab Stadium in Baghdad, under the auspices of his high school classmate, Ba'ath Party leader Saddam Hussein.[4] He competed in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). On December 7, 1976, he won the WWWF World Tag Team Championship with Chief Jay Strongbow.[5]

In 1981, Adnan Al-Kaissie joined the American Wrestling Association (AWA). In 1990 he joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF formerly WWWF, now known as the WWE), where he managed Sgt. Slaughter under the name "General Adnan". He competed at SummerSlam 1991 with his partners Sgt. Slaughter and Col. Mustafa in a Handicap match with Sid Justice as special guest referee against Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior.[1] Al-Kaissie became the first Iraqi and the first Arab to compete in a WWF/WWE ring.

Early life

Adnan Al-Kaissy was born Adnan Bin Abdulkareem Ahmed Al-Kaissy El Farthie in Baghdad, Iraq. According to his autobiography, he came from a fairly distinguished family, with his father being an imam. One of his high school classmates was Saddam Hussein. Al-Kaissy played association football and was an amateur wrestler in Iraq. He received a scholarship to play American football at the University of Houston, transferring to Oklahoma State University, emerging as a wrestler. He almost qualified for the U.S. Olympic team but was not an American citizen.[6][7]

Professional wrestling career

Early career (1959–1971)

Al-Kaissie, then billed as Billy White Wolf (top), during a wrestling match against Bill Savage on 20 February 1963 in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Al-Kaissy began wrestling in the state of Oklahoma in 1959 under the ring name Billy White Wolf, a Native American character.

Kassey wrestled for Pacific Northwest Wrestling in the 1960s. In 1964, Adnan, who had married an American woman, became a United States citizen.[8] He also wrestled for Joint Promotions in the United Kingdom, appearing on ITV in December 1969 as White Wolf, facing Jim Hussey,[9] (father of Mark Rocco).

Iraqi wrestling (1971–1974)

During the 1970s, he took professional wrestling to Iraq under the direction of Saddam Hussein. In one such match, he defeated André the Giant in Baghdad in 1971 and he defeated the Scottish Ian Campbell, Frenchman Jean Ferre and the Canadian champion George Gordienko in Baghdad. He also wrestled Bob Roop there in 1972. Al-Kaissy became enormously popular in his home country, being gifted palaces, a fleet of Mercedes-Benz cars, and money from the government. He began to fear for his safety after overhearing conversations from his nephews in the Republican Guard and later felt he was being used by Saddam. He left Iraq for the last time in 1980.[10]

New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Florida (1974–1975)

In 1974, Adnan debuted in New Japan Pro-Wrestling as the Sheik of Sheiks of Baghdad, he teamed with Nikolai Volkoff and they tried to win the NWA North American Tag Team but they failed after losing the Best Two Out Of Three Falls match against Antonio Inoki and Seiji Sakaguchi at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Aichi, Japan. Later he feuded with the likes of Antonio Inoki, Seiji Sakaguchi, Kantaro Hoshino, Osamu Kido, Haruka Eigen. After he left NJPW, Adnan returned to the United States, where he wrestled in Eddie Graham's promotion Championship Wrestling from Florida under his real name.

World Wide Wrestling Federation (1976–1977)

In the World Wide Wrestling Federation, in 1976, under the Native American gimmick Billy White Wolf, he won the World Tag Team Championship with Chief Jay Strongbow. Needing neck surgery, Kassey agreed to work an injury angle where he had his neck broken by Ken Patera via the Swinging Neckbreaker on television. After he left the territory for his neck surgery in 1977, the "Indians" were stripped of the title.

Various promotions (1977–1981)

In 1978, he wrestled in Hawaii and was the master of the "Indian Death Match" until his arch-rival, Tor Kamata, defeated him. He also returned to the United Kingdom in late 1979, billed as "The Sheik", making another appearance on ITV, this time on the World of Sport TV show, battling Lenny Hurst to an "open verdict" for using a possibly illegal sleeperhold.[11] Not long after, he returned briefly to Iraq with the intent of introducing pro wrestling. By this time, his old classmate Saddam was ruler of the country. By his own account, it was a difficult time, for although Kaissey was very popular and had some success introducing professional wrestling to Iraq, Saddam was already becoming paranoid about potential rivals, and he saw Kaissey in this light. Kaissey fled back to the US and never returned, though he kept contact with his family in Baghdad.

American Wrestling Association (1981–1989)

In 1981, with tensions between the US and Middle East running high, he debuted in the American Wrestling Association as "Sheik Adnan El Kaissey," where his stated goal was to win the AWA title from champion Nick Bockwinkel. He failed at that task, so he then enlisted Jerry Blackwell, now wearing a sheik's outfit and renamed Sheik Ayatollah Jerry Blackwell, to team with him to try to win the AWA Tag Team Championship. That failed, too, so Adnan bought Ken Patera from manager Bobby Heenan to team with Blackwell, and Adnan would act as Blackwell and Patera's manager. The team of Blackwell and Patera captured the AWA World tag team title from Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzell. Adnan had to quit wrestling when he was injured, which is the real reason Patera was brought in to team with Blackwell. On April 23, 1983, at the AWA Super Sunday, he teamed with Blackwell in a tag team match against Verne Gagne and Mad Dog Vachon which they lost. In 1986 at AWA WrestleRock he lost to Verne Gagne in a steel cage; he then teamed with Boris Zhukov in a tag team match against The Midnight Rockers (Marty Jannetty & Shawn Michaels). Kassie later left the AWA, but returned on a November 26, 1988, card in Bloomington, Minnesota, when he managed The Iron Sheik (who he would also later manage in the WWF) in a match against Sgt. Slaughter.[12]

Al-Kassie with Saddam Hussein in the early 1970s

World Wrestling Federation (1990–1992)

In the World Wrestling Federation, during the summer of 1990, he allied with Sgt. Slaughter as "General Adnan," and managed him during his pro-Iraqi gimmick in a feud with Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior. During this feud, Slaughter won the WWF title from the Warrior at the 1991 Royal Rumble, and lost it a couple of months later to Hogan at WrestleMania VII.

The pair were then joined by Slaughter's former nemesis, The Iron Sheik, who was repackaged as Colonel Mustafa, to form the Triangle of Terror. Adnan also headlined SummerSlam 1991 with Slaughter and Mustafa against Hogan and Warrior. During the build-up to Survivor Series 1990, the WWE showed what they claimed were "classified top secret photos released by the Pentagon/CIA" that featured General Adnan with Saddam Hussein. After Slaughter turned face, Adnan continued to manage Col. Mustafa until leaving the WWF shortly after Royal Rumble 1992.

Al-Kaissie is also featured as a playable character in the WWE 2K15 video game; in where he appears as a downloadable character as part of the "Path of the Warrior" Showcase. He was once again featured as a playable character in WWE 2K16.

Later career (1992–1998)

After WWF he then joined American Wrestling Federation (AWF) where he managed "The Rat Pack" of Bob Orton Jr, Mr. Hughes & Manny Fernandez. He also managed Hercules Hernandez.

Al-Kaissie retired from wrestling in 1998.

Personal life and death

Al-Kaissie formerly managed his own company, the World All-Star Wrestling Alliance, which he co-owned with Ken Patera.

On November 22, 2006, he appeared on Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes describing his encounters with Saddam Hussein.

Adnan Al-Kaissie died in Minnesota on September 6, 2023, at the age of 84.[2][13][14]

Autobiography

In 2005, Triumph Books published his memoirs as The Sheik of Baghdad: Tales of Celebrity and Terror from Pro Wrestling's General Adnan.[15]

Championships and accomplishments

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Wrestler Profile: Adnan El Kaisee". Online World of Wrestling. Archived from the original on February 17, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Reusse, Patrick (September 29, 2023). "Adnan Al-Kaissie dies: Death of 'The Sheik' brings back wrestling memories from Edina to Iraq". Star Tribune. Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
  4. ^ The Sheik of Baghdad: Tales of Celebrity and Terror from Pro Wrestling's General Adnan Triumph Books 2005
  5. ^ a b Solomon, Brian (2006). "Jay Strongbow". WWE Legends. Pocket Books. pp. 62–67. ISBN 0-7434-9033-9.
  6. ^ "Wrestling in a ring of terror". SWNewsMedia.com. July 30, 2008. Retrieved June 13, 2023.
  7. ^ Rhoads, Christopher (October 7, 2006). "'Sheik of Baghdad,' The Pro Wrestler, Actually Was One". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved June 13, 2023.
  8. ^ "The Sheikh of Baghdad | the Wrestling Gospel According to Mike Mooneyham". September 25, 2005.
  9. ^ ITV Wrestling 1969
  10. ^ Rhoads, Christopher (October 7, 2006). "'Sheik of Baghdad,' The Pro Wrestler, Actually Was One". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved June 13, 2023.
  11. ^ ITV Wrestling 1979
  12. ^ Inside Wrestling, March 1989 issue, p.15.
  13. ^ ""The Sheik" Adnan Al-Kaissie dead at age 84". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. September 6, 2023. Retrieved September 8, 2023.
  14. ^ "Adnan Al-Kaissie "General Adnan" passes away". WWE. September 6, 2023. Retrieved September 8, 2023.
  15. ^ Alkaissy, Adnan (2005). The Sheikh of Baghdad: Tales of Celebrity and Terror from Pro Wrestling's General Adnan. with Ross Bernstein. Triumph Books. ISBN 1572437308.
  16. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "NWA Hawaii United States Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. pp. 312–313. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  17. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "NWA Hawaii Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. pp. 311–312. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  18. ^ "Alkaissy Will Be Inducted Into Tragos/Thesz Pro Hall of Fame | National Wrestling Hall of Fame". nwhof.org. Archived from the original on March 4, 2020.
  19. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. pp. 315–317. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  20. ^ a b Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. pp. 317–320. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  21. ^ *Will, Gary; Duncan, Royal (2000). "Texas: NWA Texas Heavyweight Title [Von Erich]". Wrestling Title Histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Pennsylvania: Archeus Communications. pp. 268–269. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  22. ^ "NWA Texas Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  23. ^ Duncan, Royal; Will, Gary (2000). "Texas: NWA World Tag Team Title [Siegel, Boesch and McLemore]". Wrestling title histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Pennsylvania: Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  24. ^ "National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Title [E. Texas]". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  25. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "IWA World Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. pp. 424–425. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  26. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "IWA World Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 425. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.