As 'The Sheik', Ed Farhat literally carved a reputation for himself as one of the most fearsome names in the business. When wrestlers talk about him now, they do so with an air of trepidation, almost like they're discussing some otherworldly horror like Stephen King's It.
Not only was Farhat the uncle of fellow hardcore maniac Sabu, he actually pioneered many of the bloodletting techniques his nephew would use in the original ECW. The Sheik was no stranger to juicy matches, and Jim Cornette has spoken on his podcast about how some jobbers would be visibly shaken when they learned who they were working with that night.
Most others knew that the gimmick was exactly that, but there remained a fear buried deep in people's heads that maybe Farhat was insane and would go into business for himself. He was one of wrestling's first realism-skewing madmen.