The Russians are coming: Soviets in sports-entertainment

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June 21, 2012

From Russia with love

Russian competitors who ruled the ring.

Through the years, the wrestling industry has spawned its share of foreign competitors. One such grouping played on the emotions of many a fan by simply hailing from a country that at one point or another did not fall into favor with the American populous. In this article, I chronicle a number of individuals who were — or simply portrayed — Russian competitors. (PHOTOS | WATCH)

Of course, the main catalyst for the influx of Russian competitors throughout the ’70s and ’80s was the era of the Cold War. The tensions of that time transcended into the world of wrestling and it was a natural fit. I hearken back to the days of the first “brother” combination of Russians. First appearing in Texas around 1953, the quartet of Kalmikoffs — Ivan, Karol, Nikita, and Igor — wreaked havoc inside the squared circle, winning many a title in many a territory. But The Kalmikoffs were only the beginning.

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