The MWC Hall of Fame welcomes "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff into the Class of 2017!
Real Name: Orreal Perras
Weight: 298 lbs
Birthday: August 25,1942
Death: February 18,2017
Trained by: Jack Wentworth
Notable Titles Held:
WWE World Championship
NWA World Tag-Team Championships (5x)
NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship (4x)
NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Championship (2x)
NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag-Team Championship
NWA Florida Tag-Team Championship (5x)
NWA Television Championship (3x)
NWA US Tag-Team Championship (2x)
NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship
WWA World Heavyweight Championship
WWC Puerto Rican Championship
EWA Heavyweight Championship
Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame (2011)
SCW Hall of Fame (1999)
WON Hall of Fame (2015)
The late great Ivan Koloff was one of the most well known Russians in pro wrestling history and the truth is, he wasn't even Russian but Canadian!
Before his legendary career as The Russian Bear, Ivan was first known as "Red McNulty" an Irish gimmick during his early years in wrestling.
He wouldn't transition into the Ivan Koloff name until 6 years later and when he got into that character, he quickly one of the top heels in all of wrestling! A huge chunk of it was because the heated rivalries between the US and Russia were still hot at that point.
Koloff had legitimate heat from fans often getting attacked and thrown stuff at him during his matches or entrances, that's how effective of a heel he was!
The biggest highlight of his career though happened in January 18,1971 where he ended Bruno Sammartino's 8 year reign was the WWWF World Heavyweight Champion, leaving the whole sold out crowd in MSG to silence! The silence was described to be as far as defeaning!
Koloff only acted as a transitional champion though as days later he would lose the belt to Pedro Morales. Babyface vs babyface matches weren't Vince Sr's cup of tea you see. But nevertheless, Ivan Koloff left an impacting moment that will forever be remembered by a lot of fans! The closest we got to that now was The Undertaker's Mania streak being conquered by Brock Lesnar.
Besides the WWF, Koloff also had a successful career in the NWA especially during the 70's and 80's where he formed "The Russians" stable with his kayfabe nephew: Nikita Koloff and later on Kruser Krushev as well.
The Russians dominated the NWA during the mid 80's often feuding with the likes of Dusty Rhodes,Rock N'Roll Express,Road Warriors,and Magnum T.A.
During the latter years of his career Koloff acted more of a manager/mentor to his fellow wrestlers while still wrestling occassionally. He had his final matches on 2013 in his 70's for George South's EWA where he won the promotion's Heavyweight title and held it for 495 days, the 3rd longest reign for said belt.
Ivan Koloff had a great career in pro wrestling and certainly was not only a legend but a trailblazer for so many more wrestlers to come. He was the perfect blue print for what foreigner heels should be, he lived the gimmick going as far to legally change his name to "Ivan Koloff."
Unfortunately Uncle Ivan as he was affectionately known passed away last month in February. Despite his health issues, he never failed to entertain the fans by appearing in wrestling events and continuning his ministry work. A great villain in the ring, a kind man anywhere else. We loss a wonderful human being for sure.