by Adnan Al-Kaissy
with Ross Bernstein
Fame, fortune, murder and mayhem are all part of The Sheik of Baghdad, the amazing journey of Adnan Al-Kaissy and his unbelievable life story as told through the sport of wrestling.
Born in Iraq, Adnan Al-Kaissy was raised in privilege and knew Saddam Hussein as a young man. Because he excelled in athletics, he came to the United States to wrestle collegiately at Oklahoma State University, and later earned his masters degree at the University of Oregon. Taking up professional wrestling to earn some extra money, he decided to return home to his native Iraq in the late 1960s to visit his family, and inadvertantly sealed his own fate in the process when Saddam, now the country's dictator, instructed him to wrestle for Iraq.
Al-Kaissy became a sort of modern day rock star. Thousands of fans followed him wherever he went and his wrestling matches in Baghdad's Al Shaab Stadium drew more than 200,000 fans. As a result of his success, Adnan was given riches, a new mansion, and even a prominent position within the Baath Party as the Director of the Ministry of Youth. But his celebrity became a double-edged sword when he became too popular in the mind of the murderous dictator. Leaving more than $2 million in the bank and fleeing the country in the middle of the night via Kuwait, dodging snipers and assassins, he bribed his way out and never looked back.
With no money and no one to turn to, Adnan made his way to America, where he started over as a professional wrestler. First as "Chief Billy White Wolf" and later as "The Sheik," Adnan spent the next several decades as a notorious villain in the exciting and unpredictable world of sports entertainment. A pay-per-vew spectacle grossing nearly $150 million, death threats, hate mail, a call from the U.S. State Department and an internal identity struggle were all part of the spectacle.
As an Iraqi-American, Adnan has tremendous insight into the political and ideological differences which seem to divide the United States and the Middle East. Adnan is a peace loving man and is anxious to tell his incredible story to the world.