The Man, The Myth, The Legend Vol. 4: Nikolai Volkoff
Another legend has passed. Here are ten poignant moments from Nikolai Volkoff's career.
To understand the man Josip Nikolai Peruzović--better known to the world as Nikolai Volkoff--you first have to understand where he came from.
Born in Soviet-era Croatia, Volkoff was raised under the specter of the U.S.S.R, then engaged in a cold war with the United States and their allies. Having been devastated by frequent wars, his home country offered few opportunities.
The six foot five, three hundred pound man would become a weightlifting champion, representing Yugoslavia in competition. During a tour of Austria, he legally became a citizen of Canada and left the Soviet Union behind for greener pastures.
Once in Canada, he received training from the legendary Stu Hart in his infamous Hart Dungeon. Then he would embark upon a career that spanned nearly fifty years.
#1. Before he was the Russian villain, he was a Mongol.
After graduating the Hart Dungeon, Volkoff struggled to get noticed in the wrestling business. By chance, he met journeyman grappler Newton Tattrie. The two began a friendship, which led to a tag team.
Tattrie and Volkoff became Geeto and Bepo Mongol, respectively. Their 'barbaric' appearance and massive size were precursors to the days of the Road Warriors and Powers of Pain. The two garnered massive heel heat wherever they went due to their cheating and nationalistic ways. The Mongols made their way to the WWWF and captured the International Tag team titles, which they held for over a year.