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Wrestling / Nikolai Volkoff

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"Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Volkoff requests that you all please rise and respect his singing of the Soviet national anthem."
Howard Finkel standard announcement before every Volkoff match prior to his Heel–Face Turn. This was usually followed by Volkoff singing, with the fans booing and throwing garbage.

Josip Nikolai Peruzović (October 14, 1947 - July 29, 2018) was a Croatian professional wrestler best known for his work in WWE in the 1980s as Nikolai Volkoff. He started his career in Canada in 1967 after having escaped from Yugoslavia. He was trained by Newton Tattrie and debuted as Bepo of the Tag Team the Mongols with Tattrie, who was known as Geeto. He also competed in the AWA as Boris Breznikov. He started the Volkoff role in the WWWF in the 1970s and took it to Mid-South, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, Georgia and other territories. His biggest career moment was most likely when he and The Iron Sheik defeated Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda for the WWE World Tag Team Titles at the first WrestleMania in 1985. He turned face in 1990 after his team the Bolsheviks with Boris Zhukov was scrapped and sided with wrestling's resident All-American Face "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. He was eventually pushed to the background until he left in January 1992. He would work for a variety of independents, including ECW, before returning to WWE in 1994 as an unwilling heel. (See Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job below.) Since leaving WWE, he has wrestled on and off for various independents for years. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Volkoff requests that you all please rise and respect the reading of his tropes":

  • Alliterative Name: As Boris Bresnikov
  • Arch-Enemy: Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter, the British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith), Boris Zhukov (post-face turn)
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
  • Bald of Evil
  • Bash Brothers: With the Iron Sheik, Geeto, Boris Zhukov, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Chris Markoff, Ivan Koloff
  • The Bus Came Back: For the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania X-7.
  • Dirty Communists: Had escaped from Yugoslavia where he had suffered under Communist rule and hated the Communists. Freddie Blassie told him to get back at them by showing people how bad they were.
  • Dreadful Musician: Gorilla Monsoon once said, "If you were to hang him for being a good singer, you'd be hanging an innocent man."
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: It was explained that he was low on money due to the collapse of the Soviet Union and thus he had to become DiBiase's "property."
  • Finishing Move: Bear Hug, Gorilla Press Backbreaker, Sickle Clothesline
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Until he turned face.
  • Gratuitous Russian: When he sang the anthem.
  • Husky Russkie: In Kayfabe, since he is actually from Croatia.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After the fall of the USSR, Volkoff happily turned face, glad to rid himself of the communist moniker he despised so. It helped that not only were fans more than willing to embrace Volkoff as a face, but the fact that longtime "Super Patriot" wrestler "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan was the first to openly welcome him to the face side of the locker room. Nikolai embraced the United States and its fans, and his genuine love of the nation was all it took for the fans to embrace him right back. Even when he was forced to work for Ted DiBiase, fans refused to boo him, knowing that he was, at least in-storyline, stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The fans kept a place for him in their hearts right up till he passed away even in his worst on-screen moments.
  • I Have Many Names
  • Odd Friendship: With The Patriot in the International Wrestling Cartel.
  • Once per Episode: See the page quote.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Both as a heel and as a face.
  • Power Stable:
  • Redemption Demotion: Since Volkoff's main draw had always been his foreign heel schtick to pit against all-american heroes, once the Cold War was over and the Soviet Union was gone, leading to a face turn, there was little left for Volkoff to do, and he mainly drew off his Legend status until his death in 2018.
  • Ring Oldies: Started in 1967, still working independent shows as of 2011.
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most: See below, as well as his time with DiBiase.
  • Squash Match: Often on the receiving end of this.
    • At WWE's The Wrestling Classic PPV, which was a meaningless tournament with a Hogan-Piper match thrown in, he faced the Dynamite Kid in the first round. Volkoff sang the anthem, and Dynamite came off the top with a missile dropkick and pinned Volkoff in 8 seconds.
    • At WrestleMania VI, the Bolsheviks faced the Hart Foundation. Volkoff started to sing the anthem and the Harts interrupted him and hit him with the Hart Attack for the pin in 19 seconds.
  • Tag Team:
    • The Mongols
    • The Bolsheviks, with Boris Zhukov
    • The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff
  • Those Two Guys/Vitriolic Best Buds: With The Iron Sheik.
  • Underwear of Power