Wrestling history is littered with rogue Russian or Soviet heels, including former WWE Champions Ivan Koloff, Nikolai Volkoff, Vladimir Kozlov, and Rusev. Among the various Russian bad guys in the game, one that fans should definitely know about is Nikita Koloff, who made his debut in the game. WCW In the mid-1980s and a few years later became an incredibly popular babyface.

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However, Koloff’s in-ring career lasted less than a decade and he spent zero time in WWE, so many modern fans probably don’t know much about him β€” if they know about him at all. Let’s take a look at the life and career of Nikita Koloff.

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10/10 Went to high school with other future wrestlers

Nikita Koloff

Born Nelson Simpson in Minneapolis, Nikita Koloff – he legally changed his real name to his ring name in the late ’80s – spent his teenage years in a nearby suburb called Robbinsdale. After attending Robbinsdale High School in the 1970s, Koloff played on the football team, making him one of many former football players to enter the pro wrestling business. On top of that, he had several classmates at Robbinsdale High who would also become pro wrestlers who weren’t necessarily on the football team, including Curt Hennig, Rick Rude, and Barry Darso aka Smash of Demolition.

9/10 Road Warrior became a wrestler thanks to Animal

The Road Warrior animal in WWE.

After graduating high school, Koloff continued his football career in college, playing for Golden Valley Lutheran College in St. Paul, Minnesota. One of his teammates at Golden Valley Lutheran was Joe Laurinaitis, who would later become known as the creature of the legendary tag team The Road Warriors. While injuries would stop his college football career, he still pursued football until the mid-1980s, when his old Laurinaitis, now established as Animal, invited him to become a wrestler himself.

Ivan Koloff and Nikita Koloff

That invitation from the Road Warrior Animal brought the former Nelson Simpson to the Jim Crockett promotion, the largest territory in the National Wrestling Alliance. There, he shaved his head and was chosen to be part of a group known as The Russians, along with Nikita Koloff, the nephew of veteran Soviet heel Ivan Koloff, and his kayfabe uncle and American traitor Don Kernodal.

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A complete newcomer to pro wrestling with no training, Nikita Koloff’s first wrestling match lasted little more than 10 seconds, with all subsequent bouts being quick squashes.

7/10 Learned the ropes on the road


Despite being green in pro wrestling, Nikita Koloff certainly had the people around him to succeed. Koloff would travel the road with his stablemates Ivan Koloff and Don Kernodle, learning psychology and other essentials from his more experienced partners and arriving at shows hours early so he could also learn and practice physical in-ring techniques. Further education would come from other greats he shared the ring with, including Ricky Steamboat, Baron Von Raschke, and even Ric Flair.

6/10 NWA Tag Team Champions as part of the Russians

Russian and Gary Hart

Nikita Kolof’s tenure with the Russians not only earned him his first career title, but also his only tag team title of his career. His first title would come in the summer of 1984 when he, Ivan Koloff and Don Kernodle won the NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship. The following year, Nikita and Ivan Koloff won the NWA World Tag Team Titles, a belt the Russians would defend via the Freebird Rule and a 113-day run followed by another 46-day run.

5/10 Brawl with Magnum TA

Magnum TA baseball bat

Nikita Koloff’s big singles clash came in 1986 when he challenged rising babyface Magnum T.A. for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship. A major brawl at the signing of the contract resulted in the belt being vacated, and the two rivals met in a “best of seven” series to determine the new US champion. After finishing with three wins and no contests each, Koloff and Magnum had their eighth and final match for the belt, which Koloff would win.

4/10 Magnum TA’s crash turned face

Flexing Nikita Koloff

About a month after their feud, Magnum TA was involved in a devastating car accident that he thankfully survived, but would never wrestle again. As a result, Magnum’s long-term plans to capture the world title were dashed, as were Nikita Koloff’s plans to rekindle his rival with even bigger stakes.

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With a major babyface role to be filled and Soviet heel done, it was decided that Koloff would partner with Dusty Rhodes to replace the face. Nikita Koloff said the motivation was more than a newfound respect for Magnum TA.

3/10 Participated in the first War Games

First Wargames match

Now a babyface and comrade of Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff found himself feuding with a group of top heels and Dusty’s greatest enemies, the Four Horsemen. Not only did he defend his United States Championship against the Horseman members on various occasions, he also challenged Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. This would all lead to the first War Games matches in 1987, with a return effort in 1988 and a place in the Stings squadron for War Games matches here. wrestling war ’92.

2/10 Retired in 1992

Nikita Koloff vs. Sting

After bouncing around various promotions such as the American Wrestling Association and Herb Abrams’ Universal Wrestling Federation, Nikita Koloff returned to Jim Crockett Promotions in 1991 – which had become WCW – during which time he competed against Lex Luger, Sting and Rick Rude. , often for his old United States Heavyweight Championship. But the following year, during a feud with Big Van Vader, a stiff clothesline injured Nikita Koloff’s neck, ending his in-ring career.

1/10 Wrote three books

Books by Nikita Koloff

Nikita Koloff followed in the footsteps of his contemporaries by writing a book in the 21st century, but he has set himself apart from others by writing three books to date. First, in 2002 break the shacklesFully concerned with the advice of living as a good Christian, since he was born again in 1993. Wrestling with Success: Developing a Championship Mindset In 2004, a self-help book that used Koloff’s wrestling career as a springboard for more generalized advice about success. Finally, 2011 came Nikita: A Tale of the Ring and Redemptionwhich includes the story of his life from his wrestling days to his ministry work.