The Russians are coming: Soviets in sports-entertainment

Page 4 of 6
June 21, 2012

Nikolai Volkoff

Nikolai Volkoff was one of sports-entertainment's great Russians.

Another powerful Russian who enjoyed success in the ring was Nikolai Volkoff. Big and burly, Volkoff first made a mark during a rivalry with Bruno Sammartino in the ’70s. Their battles up and down the east coast drew turn away crowds. Volkoff impressed many with one particular feat of strength: the ability to crush an apple with his bare hands!

Volkoff’s greatest successes came during the “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection” in the mid-80s. Demanding that the fans respect his singing of his country’s national anthem before his matches, the proud Soviet became one of the most hated Superstars in WWE. Through manager Freddie Blassie, Volkoff formed an association with The Iron Sheik. He and his Iranian cohort won the WWE Tag Team Championship at the inaugural WrestleMania in 1985. (WATCH) Volkoff also had an issue with Corporal Kirchner that culminated with a Flag Match at WrestleMania 2 in 1986. (WATCH)

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