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The “Russian Nightmare,” or as he is better known in the Pro Wrestling world, Nikita Koloff joins The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast. Nikita rose to fame amidst the cold war and the 1980s United States vs. Russia popular culture phenomenon. We learn the dedication Nikita administered to keeping his persona intact as he became a target for the top baby faces of Jim Crocket Promotions before he switched over to join former nemesis Dusty Rhodes to form the Super Powers tag team. Although short lived and very accomplished Nikita ended his full time active career in the early 1990s and found his greater calling in life.
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Nikita Koloff shoots on WWE’s portrayal and success of Rusev:
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Pinpointing your favorite match or opponent during your career?
My first ever match against Ric (Flair) at the Great American Bash, 13 months into the business and I’m still green, still wet behind the ears and yet I was given the opportunity to step into a main event match against a legend like Ric Flair and have that kind of exposure. Also my 8 man matches against the Horseman in War Games.
Any hesitations on competing in the original War Games:
The dangers of what we did because it is not an exact science and you do put a lot of trust into the hands of who you are working with and your opponent, that serious things can and will and do happen in and outside of the squared circle. For me personally, it wasn’t so much a match like War Games as much as it was an individual. There were certain individuals who had a reputation for being more reckless then others or more careless you might say when it came to some of their moves or when it came to their ring skills and abilities and so if I was cautious at all it was what I allowed an opponent to do to me as opposed to a match itself like the War Games.
Any interest from Vince McMahon and the WWF to jump in the mid 80s?
When Krusher jumped, he had originally asked me to go with him and certainly I was humbled by his invitation. But literally without hesitation it was not something I was really considering for a couple of reasons. One, I had worked really hard on developing the character of Nikita Koloff and wasn’t really interested in going up there and taking on a new character and a new role and that is the biggest reason I never entertained an offer. Secondly, what he described to me, I felt it was kind of a spin-off of the Road Warriors and out of respect for Mike and Joe that was another factor why I didn’t go do that. As far as Vince and the WWF pursuing me, they really didn’t. But I also didn’t pursue them. I felt really loyal to the NWA and to Jim Crockett because they did give me my big break. Putting a guy in the ring and on television without any professional training or experience, Jim Crockett rolled the dice and it worked out well for me and for him. For that reason I felt a real loyalty to Jim and the NWA, so could I have played that card like so many guys did and leverage that for more money? I could have, but I didn’t.
Being up for the role of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV:
They flew me out to LA. It was myself, Dolph Lundgren and some other guy. It came down to the three of us as to who would get the final cast of Ivan Drago. So we were on the set with Stallone and I read through my lines a couple of times and Stallone said “lets do one together”. He says; “Let’s go side by side and finish your lines, stare at me in the face and we will have a stare down and we’ll cut”. So we do it and halfway through we are eye to eye and nose to nose he yells cut and asks the director how was it? Sly, in real life is in great shape but he is about 160lbs and 5’6 dripping wet with rocks in his pocket legitimately. He is a small guy, a lot of actors are. Keep in mind, I fly out there and I’m 285lbs with a 34 inch waist and 8% body fat, so when we do that scene and we turn towards each other the way the lighting was in the studio when he yells cut, the director says “well it was pretty good until you turn towards each other and he casts a shadow on you and we lost you”. I’m not the brightest guy in the world but I knew this almost immediately that wasn’t good for his ego or my opportunity. A few weeks later they called and said you were unbelievable, however even for Hollywood your size differential would be too unbelievable that even for Rocky that he would be able to come back and beat you as big as you are. I was humbled by the opportunity to even be considered as one of the three finalists.
Nikita Koloff also discusses his legendary feud with Magnum TA, teaming with Dusty Rhodes, memories of joining The Russians alongside Ivan Koloff, his relationship with Lex Luger and his legacy in the wrestling business.