It is like ‘Bang-Bang’ and two former professional wrestlers are gone in the past two days….We lost George “The Animal” Steele to cancer on Friday and now we learn today, the “The Russian Bear”, Ivan Koloff, has left us, due also to cancer….Steele was quite the character and he was known more for his body of work in the WWF, but Ivan Koloff, known to some of us as, “Uncle Ivan”, he was like family, a card-carrying member of the NWA and good ‘ole JCP/Jim Crockett Promotions brother/uncle…..Uncle Ivan with his nephew Nikita Koloff and Barry Darsow/Krusher Kruschev and with Russian sympathizer Don Kernodle and all of the wrestlers back in the 70’s and 80’s, Ivan Koloff, was really in many ways a ‘father-figure’ to us all…
He did it all and he was a rule-breaker and dirty crooked cheat, but he didn’t try and hide it…You knew what you were getting at all times with Ivan Koloff and I always appreciated that, and you have to break it down and say, “we all loved that man” and the way the man/Russian talked….Koloff was great, but he did have his issues with drugs and alcohol and he had a heck of a time giving up tobacco, late in life, as he cleaned up his act and went “Straight Edge” and got upright and sober….
Ivan Koloff stood for the right things in his later days and I respect the man for that, and any time I would come across Ivan Koloff info on YouTube or elsewhere, I would for sure check it and him out….Koloff was one of those barrel-chested fellows, who with that crazy accent, you could just not forget him…
Nothing fancy about Ivan Koloff, but he was genuine and he was real and he made it with what he had to work with, and he did great things inside and outside of the ring/squared-circle…..
Ivan Koloff was a good man and he was one of us…..Just a good ‘ole down home Russian-based character, livin’ in the USA….
Going to miss you ‘Uncle Ivan”, but I think we will see you again some day and I hope we have some good stories to tell you, when we meet again….
from Mike Johnson with PWI Insider:CLICK HERE
Former WWWF champion “The Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff (real name Oreal Perras), the man who famously ended the first championship reign of Bruno Sammartino, has passed away following a battle with liver cancer. He was 74 years old.
Koloff’s defeat of Sammartino in Madison Square Garden is legendary. Bruno was the Italian superhero who was passionately loved by fans. On 1/18/71, Koloff came off the top rope with a flying knee-drop and pinned Bruno, leaving MSG stunned.
Although he played a Russian brute for the majority of his career, Koloff was actually from Canada and trained to become a pro wrestler immediately out of High School. He debuted, initially, as the eyepatch wearing Red McNulty from Dublin, Ireland but morphed into “The Russian Bear” while headlining for Montreal’s IWA, where he was champion and headlined for the first time in his career.