Wrestler of the Day – March 9: Nikita Koloff

Today we go with the American playing a Russian who became a Lithuanian in Nikita Koloff.

Koloff was from Minnesota but was given a Russian gimmick and introduced as the nephew of Ivan Koloff, a common practice back then. Meaning being introduced as a more famous wrestler’s relative, not being related to Ivan Koloff. The two of them joined up with Krusher Khruschev as The Russians (not the most creative name but just go with it) who traded the NWA World Tag Team Titles with the Rock N Roll Express, culminating with a cage match at Starrcade 1985.

World Tag Titles: Rock N Roll Express vs. Ivan Koloff/Nikita Koloff

 

The Rock N Roll Express are two pretty boys named Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson who could fly around a ring as well as any pair of guys you’re ever going to be lucky enough to see. They’re also challenging here and this is in a cage. I believe you win by pin or submission only. Ricky and Nikita start things off and the fans are already chanting USA. Ricky, a far smaller man, is shoved down by the more powerful Nikita. Morton fires off a quick dropkick and we’re at a standoff.

 

Nikita pounds Morton down and kicks him in the ribs before bring in Ivan. Ricky starts speeding things up by flying around and hitting a quick cross body. Ivan crotches him on the top rope and it’s time for Morton to play Ricky Morton. For those of you unfamiliar, Morton was so good at being beaten down and making a comeback that the beatdown leading to the hot tag is called Playing Ricky Morton.

 

Actually scratch that as Robert comes in for a quick rollup and a double chop to the head gets two on Ivan. Robert sends him head first into the cage and Morton does the same. The Express starts doing their double teaming jazz as is their custom. It’s off to Nikita though and there’s the bearhug on Robert. Nikita rams him into the cage back first and does the same with Robert’s head for good measure.

 

Back to Ivan who is busted open as well. Robert is sent into the cage yet again and an elbow drop gets two for Ivan. Off to Nikita for some biting to the head before Ivan comes in for some slow power offense. Robert rolls away from a legdrop but Nikita comes in for a chinlock. Gibson is busted open as well, which seems to be a requirement tonight.

 

A kick to the back keeps Gibson down and Ivan gets two. Back to Nikita for some more choking but Ricky makes the save. Don Kernoodle, the Express’ second, starts a USA chant as the referee is knocked down. He can’t make the count on Robert but as he gets back up, Ricky makes a blind tag and rolls up Ivan for the pin and the titles out of nowhere.

 

Rating: B. Good old fashioned tag match here with the Express getting destroyed until the very end where they won on a pure fluke. The fans were WAY into the Express at this point and Morton would even get a program with Ric Flair. The Russians were a great old school tag team idea with both guys looking like monsters and acting like it as well. Also this was nice to see a change in the usual Express formula with Gibson getting beaten down instead of Morton.

Koloff started to feud with Magnum TA, leading to Magnum being stripped of the US Title for attacking a promoter for being told to apologize for the fights with Nikita. This led to a best of seven series for the title. Here’s match #4 from the Great American Bash 1986.

Magnum TA vs. Nikita Koloff

Koloff is up 3-0 coming into this. They stare each other down to start and fight over some lockups. Magnum runs the ropes and collides with Nikita, sending him out to the floor. Back in and Magnum sends him into the corner before fighting over a top wristlock. Koloff wins the power battle but gets countered into a hammerlock. Nikita powers out again and sends Magnum down with a back elbow to the jaw. A backbreaker and slam get two each for the Russian and he throws Magnum outside. Ivan gets in a few cheap shots before Nikita throws Magnum back in. TA comes right back in with a sunset flip for the pin out of nowhere.

Rating: D+. The match isn’t all that great from modern standards as it was obvious they weren’t going to go four straight for Koloff but the fans back then weren’t as jaded as we are today. The story here was that Magnum was in over his head against the much stronger Nikita but hung in there until he found a way to win, giving him confidence for later in the series.

Here’s the final match from WCW Worldwide on August 23, 1986.

US Title: Nikita Koloff vs. Magnum TA

Magnum is just ungodly over at this point. They fight over a lockup to start until Magnum grabs a headlock. A cross body gets two on Koloff and he gets sent out to the floor via a dropkick. Back in and Magnum cranks on the arm, taking Nikita down to the mat to drive knees into the arm. TA fights to get the arms pinned to the mat but Nikita rolls on top. They fight over control and roll out to the floor for a bit until they head inside again for a top rope ax handle from Magnum. An armdrag into an armbar keeps Nikita in trouble as we go to a break.

Back with Magnum missing a cross body and falling out to the floor. Ivan offers a distraction so Nikita can ram Magnum’s back into the apron. TA’s neck gets snapped across the top rope and the Russian is in full control. A one arm slam puts Magnum down for two We hit the bearhug for a bit until Magnum smacks Nikita’s ears. Magnum’s sunset flip is countered and it’s back to the bearhug.

This time he fights out with a slam and fires off right hands with all he’s got. A dropkick gets two but Ivan pulls Magnum to the floor. That’s fine with Magnum as he piledrives Ivan on the concrete. Back in and Magnum hits his belly to belly but Krusher Khrushchev comes out for another distraction. Magnum goes after him but walks into a chain shot from Nikita for the pin and the title.

Rating: C+. This was much more about the backstory and the fans’ reaction than the match itself. Koloff taking the title was unthinkable because there was no way Magnum could possibly lose something like this in the end. They had to do it this way though to set up Magnum for the World Title at the end of the year.

Unfortunately a car accident would end Magnum’s career before he could win the World Title later that year. With nothing else to do, Nikita was turned face and put into the title match, saying he was fighting for Magnum’s honor.

NWA World Title: Ric Flair vs. Nikita Koloff

 

Koloff is US Champion coming in. The problem here again is that there’s no real reason for these two to be fighting but it’s all the NWA could do given the circumstances. The referee explains the rules to both guys and with a WOO from Flair we’re ready to go. Koloff easily shoves Flair down to start which doesn’t seem to surprise him. Nikita flexes at him and the champion heads to the floor to think this over. Back in and Nikita twists Flair’s hand around, sending Flair into chop move. Nikita just stares at Ric so the champ bails again.

 

Back in and Ric can’t hiptoss him, but Nikita can throw Flair around with ease. Flair is LAUNCHED across the ring in a few slams and it’s all Nikita so far. Off to a bearhug and Koloff leans forward with it for a few near falls. Flair pokes him in the eye to escape and hits a quick vertical suplex with no effect at all. Ric bails to the floor to think again before walking into a headlock. Flair goes to the eyes again and ducks the Russian Sickle, sending Nikita out to the floor, injuring his knee in the process.

 

They go back inside and Flair chop blocks the knee out as Ric is in his element. There’s the Figure Four and Flair grabs the rope for good measure. Nikita turns the hold over into the ropes for the break so Flair starts chopping away in the corner. Since Koloff’s upper body looks like he’s carved out of granite, those have almost no effect whatsoever. Flair instead sends him to the floor as the match slows down a bit.

 

The champion throws him back inside for a belly to back suplex before just pounding away at Nikita’s bald head. All the punches seem to do though is just wake Nikita up and he whips Flair into the corner and out to the floor. Flair is sent into the post and comes up bloody as is his custom. They head back in and Nikita hits a flying shoulder tackle and, say it with me, the referee gets knocked down.

 

The Russian Sickle hits but there’s no referee. Flair knees Nikita in the back and a second referee comes in for a two count, only to get nailed by the Russian Sickle. Two referee bumps in one match? I think we get the point already people. The first referee comes back in but gets shoved down and that’s finally the DQ.

 

Rating: B-. Eh that wasn’t bad. Seriously that’s about all there is to say here. Flair did this same match hundreds of times and here it happened to be against Nikita Koloff and end in a disqualification. At the end of the day, there was no feud here and they were doing the best they could. It’s certainly a good match and not at all something you’ll be bored out of your mind watching, but it pretty much comes and goes, like a lot of stuff tonight.

 

Post match a bunch of guys come out but no one can keep Nikita off Flair. They brawl for a good three minutes until Flair is dragged to the back to end the show.

Soon after this Nikita would form an on again/off again tag team with Dusty Rhodes called the Super Powers. They would make it to the finals of the 1987 Crockett Cup against Lex Luger/Tully Blanchard.

Crockett Cup Finals: Super Powers vs. Lex Luger/Tully Blanchard

 

Dusty brings out Magnum to be in his corner. Gee, I wonder who will win this now. Luger isn’t a full Horseman yet but it was coming very soon. Clipped to Koloff taking Tully’s head off with a clothesline. Another clothesline puts them both on the floor where JJ steals the neck brace. Nikita is in trouble at the 10 minute mark. Lex works on the neck and it’s off to Tully.

 

I don’t know why they’re wasting our time like this. Everyone knows Dusty is coming in soon and will elbow everything in sight for the big “emotional” win. Nikita takes a LONG beating which eats up the majority of the match that we’re seeing here. Tully throws on a chinlock which at least works on the neck. After a front faceblock by Lex, Tully throws him over the top to draw in the fat Texan for a protest.

 

Nikita catches Tully coming off the top with a lariat and it’s hot tag Dusty. He fires off about 10 elbows to the head to take over and we’re rapidly running out of time. He misses a charge and Tully misses a shot to the head with JJ’s shoe. Blanchard sets to piledrive Nikita but Dusty comes off the top and OH THE HUMANITY!!! He crushes Tully with a cross body for the pin and the tournament win.

 

Rating: D+. We saw about 8 minutes out of 17 and this was nothing to see. The problem was that Nikita had to play hurt and while Dusty was great at a comeback and firing up a crowd, there was no reason for his team to win this. This wasn’t aired anywhere but they could easily just give it to someone else to build them up, but Dusty needed this win right?

 

Later in the year Nikita would win the TV Title from Tully Blanchard. This led him into a unification match with the UWF TV Champion Terry Taylor at Starrcade 1987.

NWA TV Title/UWF TV Title: Nikita Koloff vs. Terry Taylor

 

This is a unification match between the two Television Titles. Taylor has Eddie Gilbert with him as backup. Taylor grabs a headlock to start but is easily run over by a shoulder block. They head to the corner and amazingly enough we get a clean break. We go to another corner and Taylor tries a cheap shot, only to get punched in the face by Nikita. Taylor cranks on the arm so Nikita sticks his tongue out at him and puts on an armbar of his own.

 

Terry headbutts out of the hold but Nikita rams him shoulder first into the buckle. More right hands have no effect at all and Nikita cranks away on the wristlock into a hammerlock. Koloff muscles him down into a cover but Taylor makes the ropes and heads outside. Back in and Taylor talks some trash, earning himself a slap in the face. A backdrop gets two on Terry and its time for more stalling on the floor.

 

Nikita gets tired of waiting and pulls Taylor back in so he can put the hammerlock right back on. After a rope breaks saves Taylor, he pounds on Nikita in the corner but misses an elbow drop. Back to the armbar which has dominated this match so far. They get back up again and Taylor pounds away, only to be choked to the mat. The Russian Sickle misses though and Nikita charges into the buckle. They head outside with Taylor ramming Nikita’s shoulder into the post to take over.

 

The match slows down a lot as Taylor’s offense isn’t exactly suited to beat on someone like Koloff. He stays on the arm but can’t bring Nikita down into a sunset flip. Koloff blocks a suplex and takes the smaller guy down with a suplex of his own. Nikita has enough of the pounding and fights back with a bunch of right hands in the corner. Taylor comes out with an atomic drop to get two of his own and Koloff’s momentum is stopped cold.

 

A rollup gets two for Nikita as the fans are finally starting to get into the match. Terry loads up a piledriver but gets backdropped down and punched in the face. They head to the floor again but Gilbert hits Koloff in the knee to give Nikita control again. Off to a figure four on the Russian which gets a few near falls (the figure four can be used as a pin if the guy in the hold doesn’t raise his arms). Koloff finally gets the ropes and beats up Gilbert before hitting the Sickle on Taylor for the pin and the titles.

 

Rating: D+. This didn’t work for me. It was nearly twenty minutes long and way too much of that was spent in a hammerlock. I’ve never been a fan of Taylor but at least Koloff was there with the hard hitting stuff to make things somewhat interesting. This wasn’t terrible but it was too long and dull for what it was worth.

He would drop the title to Mike Rotunda in early 1988. Nikita would leave wrestling for a bit and get off some of the steroids, leaving him far smaller for his feud against newcomer Al Perez.

Al Perez vs. Nikita Koloff

 

Perez is still relatively new to the promotion and Koloff is an old veteran who is back and FAR smaller than he was when he was in his original run, clearly off any performance enhancers he might have been on before. This is a rivalry that has been going on for a few months but hasn’t really been anything special. They shove each other around for a few moments but neither guy is able to gain control.

 

Both guys get shoved into the corner until Perez grabs the arm to take over. Nikita counters into a wristlock of his own and puts Al down on the mat with an armbar. Perez shoves him away again but misses a running elbow drop. Nikita’s running charge in the corner only hits buckle and Perez throws him out to the floor for some cheap shots from manager Gary Hart. Perez rams Nikita back first into the apron and drops an elbow off the apron to keep control.

 

A slam down onto the concrete has Nikita in even more trouble but he takes a breather and counters a suplex back inside for two. Al takes him right back down and hooks a reverse chinlock for a few minutes. Nikita finally powers up and drops Perez with an electric chair but still can’t follow up. A knee to the back sends Koloff right back to the floor but he comes back with a suplex to put both guys on the mat. Nikita fires back with right hands in the corner and an elbow to the face sends Perez to the floor. Gary Hart offers a distraction and Larry Zbyszko comes in with a chain to attack Nikita for the disqualification.

 

Rating: D. This felt longer than it really was and wasn’t interesting at all. Koloff as a much smaller and less muscular guy isn’t quite the attraction he was back in the mid-80s and Al Perez while talented, it’s an intriguing guy either. The ending didn’t do the match any favors as again it felt like they were just building to something else rather than doing anything here.

Nikita would take a few years off from wrestling due to his wife getting cancer. He would appear in the AWA for a bit before coming back as a heel in 1991, costing him the Tag Team Titles at SuperBrawl I. This led to a Russian Chain match at Great American Bash 1991. The show was perhaps the worst PPV of all time but this was probably the best match on the card.

Sting vs. Nikita Koloff

This is a Russian Chain match and it’s the four corners version. If this, the hottest feud in the company at the time, doesn’t get the fans going, nothing is going to. Sting, the guy that should be in the main event, gets a huge pop of course. Koloff gets in his face to start and they fire some rather low kicks at each other. Out to the floor and Koloff gets dropped on the railing. The idea here is that Koloff is the master of the Russian chain match so Sting is out of his element.

Back in and Sting rams Koloff’s head into the buckle as I’m amazed that the crowd is actually responding to this stuff. After a quick bit of Sting dominance on the floor they head back in and Sting gets two corners but Nikita breaks his momentum and therefore the streak. The idea is you have to get all four corners in a row but you can’t have your momentum broken.

Out to the floor again and Nikita hits a clothesline with the chain to take over. Sting uses the chain to pull Koloff into the post. Momentum is shifting back and forth fast in this. Back inside and Koloff pounds him down again as it shifts again. These advantages aren’t meaning anything but it’s WAY better than anything else we’ve seen tonight. Koloff drops some elbows with the chain and chokes away but won’t go for any corners.

Koloff fires off more chain shots but there’s only so much he can do because he can’t get far away from Sting. He snapmares Sting down and gets two corners. Make that three with the third one being with his head. Sting breaks up the fourth one and the streak is broken. They fight into the corner and both touch. They do it again with the second corner and Koloff hits him low. Well that’s one way to stop things. Sting hits him low right back and both guys are down.

The streaks aren’t broken off that somehow. They charge at the third and it’s tied at 3. Sting pounds on him but Koloff hooks the rope. Koloff comes back with the Sickle (clothesline) and somehow none of this breaks their momentum according to the referee. Koloff goes for the corner but Sting splashes him into it. Unfortunately that knocks Koloff into the buckle first for the win.

Rating: D+. Why? WHY IN THE FREAKING WORLD WOULD YOU HAVE STING LOSE HERE? Was NO ONE watching the show? Did no one get that the fans NEEDED something to care about here? The match itself was pretty bad too, as it was all short range stuff. These matches just don’t work other than Piper vs. Valentine at Starrcade in 83. The difference there is it was pinfall to win, which might be the catch to these things. This is the exact same finish as JBL vs. Eddie in 04 by the way.

He would return a few months later and join Sting in his war against the Dangerous Alliance. Yes I said Sting, war and the Dangerous Alliance, meaning WARGAMES. From WrestleWar 1992.

War Games: Sting’s Squadron vs. Dangerous Alliance

Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Dustin Rhodes, Barry Windham, Nikita Koloff
Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Eaton, Arn Anderson

Sweet goodness there is some talent in this match.

Ok so there isn’t much of a backstory here. Back in 1992 the storyline pretty much went like this: Sting fights everybody. He feuded with about 5 people at once, most of which are in this match. At Halloween Havoc and the Clash of the Champions that came just after it, Rude showed up and stole the US Title from Sting, forming this team. Sting won the world title at SuperBrawl and the Alliance wanted it off of him, no matter who did it (it would be Vader eventually but we’ll get to that later).

Larry and Arn were a tag team and feuded with Barry and Dustin over the tag titles. Barry had also just gotten the TV Title off Austin. Ricky wanted to be US Champion, which was Rude at the moment. Anderson and Eaton had taken them from Rhodes and Windham before losing them to the Steiners two weeks before this. In short, everyone hates everyone and they don’t care who they’re fighting. Koloff is there….just because Sting needed a fifth guy more or less. He would go after Rude after this PPV.

For those of you new to War Games, the rules are pretty basic. You start with a man each and they fight for five minutes. After that five minutes we flip a coin and the winning team gets to send in their second man for a 2-1 advantage that lasts two minutes. After two minutes, the team that lost gets to even it up at 2-2 for two minutes. After that two minutes the team that won the toss sends in it’s third man for two minutes. You alternate like that until it’s 5-5, then first submission wins. No pinfalls at all. It’s a double cage over both rings and there is nothing separating the two rings, so both cages only have three walls in essence, but it’s really just one big cage.

This is the first time I’ve seen this match since I got into the IWC and since I started reviewing, so this is going to be a fresh look at it. Let’s get to it.

Everyone is at ringside for this, so I’d expect a fight out there too. There are tops on the cages too. Crowd is just insane for Sting. Good grief that face team is STACKED. In a Dangerous Alliance huddle, we hear that Austin is starting for his team. He starts against Windham and it is ON immediately. Heyman keeps running strategy and it’s cool because what he’s saying is actual strategy and makes sense.

Both guys are really stiff in there and are just pounding on each other. Austin DIVES over both ropes and hits a clothesline. For those of you that haven’t seen him before he hurt his neck and his knees became made of jelly, go find some of his stuff. He’s a totally different but still very good worker. Windham rubs Austin’s face into the cage to bust him open. There’s a minute left before the next guy comes in. Windham bites the cut to open it up more. If you can’t tell, this is a very violent match.

The Alliance wins the coin toss (check the coin) and they send their big man, Rick Rude, in to make it 2-1. Also, that’s three world champions (Rude won the Big Gold Belt which is kind of a world title) in there I believe? The heels take over and Windham is in trouble. Rude’s tights look like the Comi-Con logo. Steamboat ties it up and goes straight for Austin. Pissed off Steamboat is AWESOME. Dang  it’s nice to hear this without Tony Schiavone making bad war puns.

Windham is busted open. Steamboat and Windham are dominating here but Anderson, the best wrestler to never win a world title (arguably) comes in and cleans house. Rude and Anderson both hook a crab on Steamboat. This has been non-stop the whole time which is a major perk of it. For some reason they’re all staying in the same ring. Well with five guys it’s ok. And there goes Steamboat and Rude so scratch that theory.

Dustin Rhodes comes in to balance it out. If my math is right, he’s the least successful guy in here? That’s saying a lot. Steamboat gets Rude in a figure four, more or less making it 2-2. Zbyszko, another former world champion, is in to make it 4-3. He’s been in trouble lately for being a screw-up and Rhodes beats the tar out of him as soon as he comes in. Madusa goes up the cage and slips Arn the phone but she and Sting have a standoff on the roof.

There is blood EVERYWHERE. The mat looks like an abstract painting. Sting, who has bad ribs thanks to Vader, evens things up and press slams Rude up into the air so that his back slams into the cage five times. Sting is just whipping it here and we have two more guys left to come in. Arn gets the cage rake again and is bleeding too. Everyone is in one ring which is kind of cluttering but there they go. At least it didn’t last long.

Eaton comes in as the last man for the Dangerous Alliance. Rhodes is bleeding a ton. Windham looks quite dead. Larry is messing with the turnbuckle. Keep that in mind as it’ll come into play later. The ropes are clearly loose thanks to Larry and Rude doing whatever they were doing. Koloff comes in to FINALLY start the match beyond. No submissions could have counted until now.

Koloff is a wild card because a year or so earlier he had nailed Sting but claimed it had been meant for Luger so no one is sure if you can trust him. He pushes Sting out of the way to let Austin and Anderson hit him in a GREAT bit of continuity since Sting pushed Luger out of the way to start their whole issue. This is just pure insanity and never stopping at all.

Sting gets the Scorpion on Anderson but Eaton makes the save. They completely get the turnbuckle unhooked so there is no top rope and the buckle is just laying in the ring. Austin is bleeding like crazy. Rhodes’ tights are polka dot now from blood on them. Larry tells Bobby to hold up Sting so he can hit him with the steel bar that came off the buckle. Sting ducks and Eaton takes it to the arm. Steamboat takes Larry out and Sting throws on an armbar for the submission and to blow the roof off the place. Heyman LOSES IT and everyone gets mad at Larry as the show ends. This broke up the Dangerous Alliance because they lost this and it kind of wound up turning Larry face but more or less he just retired.

Rating: A+. This right here is the best gimmick match blowoff to a feud ever. This match was about VIOLENCE and it worked incredibly well. The ending was great, the violence was great, most people bled, there is not a single dead spot in the nearly 25 minutes that this match ran, the crowd was white hot, and the feud ended here. This was it and everyone knew it so they left everything they had in the ring. Perfection for what it was supposed to be.

Soon after this Nikita would team up with Ricky Steamboat for the NWA World Tag Team Title Tournament at the 1992 Great American Bash. Here’s their quarterfinal match.

NWA Tag Title Tournament Quarter-Finals: Ricky Steamboat/Nikita Koloff vs. Brian Pillman/Jushin Liger

This should be good. Thankfully a match with three high fliers has the top rope made legal. Pillman and Koloff get us going and Brian bounces off of him a lot. He tries a front facelock and is easily placed on the top rope. A dropkick works a bit better and Koloff misses a charge, giving Brian a rollup for two. Off to Liger who works on the arm, as does Pillman who is tagged in quickly.

Back to Jushin who realizes power isn’t going to work so he fires off some dropkicks instead. Koloff runs him over and brings in Ricky to a BIG pop. Dang Steamboat vs. either of these guys would have been excellent. Liger gets thrown out of the ring and onto Pillman but it’s Pillman still legal. Steamboat works on the arm and then clotheslines Brian down. Pillman finally gets a tag and a double dropkick puts Steamboat down.

Liger vs. Steamboat now and they’re moving as fast as you would expect them to. Never mind as Koloff comes back in for his hit one move and stare offensive series. Back to Pillman vs. Steamboat which is certainly a more interesting match. Pillman takes him down and drops an elbow for two. Things speed up on a dropkick but then it’s back to a headlock by Brian. Liger comes in with some rapid fire kicks and the moonsault for two.

Tombstone kills Steamboat but he somehow kicks out at two. A flip dive gets two but Steamboat suplexes him down and tags in Koloff. Now Koloff hooks a chinlock, which is a popular move so far. Back to Steamboat who hits a series of backbreakers followed by a powerslam for two. Pillman made the save which I think makes them the heels in the match. Koloff hooks a chinlock on Liger before tagging Steamboat back in for a fist off the top.

Liger escapes and makes the hot tag to Pillman so things can speed up a bit. It’s not often that someone speeds things up over Liger but Pillman can do just that. And never mind as it’s back to the freaking headlock! Back to Liger who hits a cartwheel into a cross body for one. Back to Koloff who loads up the Sickle (running clothesline finisher) but Pillman breaks it up.

Brian comes in legally and hits a dropkick for two. Koloff throws him over the top but Pillman lands on the apron so it’s not a DQ. Brian hits a springboard clothesline and a top rope missile dropkick for two. He hooks a sleeper but Koloff jawbreaks his way out of it. Off to Liger vs. Steamboat again which has been the best combination of the match so far.

Ricky gets two off a missed Steamboat dropkick as does Liger off a backslide. Brian gets a blind tag and a slingshot crossbody for two. Steamboat hits a suplex to put both guys down. Pillman goes up but gets crotched, but he manages to come off with a crossbody, but Steamboat rolls through for the pin.

Rating: B-. Expect to hear the following a lot in this review: this would have been better if they cut out five minutes. There are seven matches on this card and only two matches don’t crack fifteen minutes, with one of them clocking in at 14:54. This was one of those twenty minute shindigs and it didn’t need to be at all. Koloff didn’t do much here and I’m not quite sure why he and Steamboat were partners. They were in WarGames together but that’s about it. The match was good but like I said, it didn’t need this much time.

Jake Roberts would become a top heel in late 1992 and Nikita would have a match with him on the September 12, 1992 episode of Worldwide.

Jake Roberts vs. Nikita Koloff

Nikita runs him into the corner to start as Tony thinks Nikita might have the power advantage. Koloff works on a wristlock and Jake slithers to the floor to hide. Back in and Jake gets a knee to Nikita’s shoulder before hooking a chinlock. Roberts pulls Nikita back down by his singlet before driving a knee into the ribs. An atomic drop sets up another chinlock but Nikita breaks out much faster this time. He runs Jake over with some hard shoulders and another from the middle rope. Cactus Jack tries to interfere but Sting cuts him off, only to have Jake throw Koloff over the top rope for the DQ.

Rating: D+. Not much to see here with Nikita just being there as a fill in until Sting could destroy Roberts at Halloween Havoc. He wasn’t long for wrestling at this point either due to a lack of interest and wanting to just run his gym. Roberts wasn’t exactly motivated here either as he was doing little more than chinlocks.

We’ll wrap it up with a power match against Vader from Halloween Havoc 1992. This was supposed to be Rick Rude vs. Nikita for Rude’s US Title but Rick is in an NWA World Title match so Vader is substituting.

US Title: Nikita Koloff vs. Vader

Rude is the actual champion but Vader is subbing for him. This is No DQ. Rude comes out too but doesn’t stick around. Race gets thrown out too. Vader hits him in the face and Koloff doesn’t really move. They slug it out a lot and Vader splashes him to take over. A HARD clothesline takes Koloff down as does a headbutt. Koloff is sent to the floor but comes back with some power offense of his own. He hits a crossbody to the back for two which is a move I’ve never seen before.

Off to a chinlock which goes on for a good while. JR talks about a thirty minute time limit and I can’t help but chuckle. Can you imagine these two going half an hour against each other? Vader finally breaks it but gets cradled for two. Koloff hits another cross body of all things for two. He’s not the kind of guy I would expect to use that but he’s the speed guy in this when you think about it.

Vader rolls to the floor to stall and then does it a few more times. Koloff finally has enough and goes out after him, but the Sickle hits the post and Nikita is in trouble. Back in and Vader goes into mauling mode, running over Koloff and sending him to the floor. There’s a HARD chair shot (remember that it’s no DQ) and we go back in where the powerbomb retains the title for Rude.

Rating: D. You know considering this was No DQ, there was a total of one thing that would fit that gimmick. They flew through this and I can see why they clipped it on the VHS. The full version was about three times as long and it wasn’t anything better. Koloff more or less disappeared after this.

Koloff was the kind of guy that had a good look but didn’t have a ton of motivation to be a top level guy. Vince tries to get him for years and was willing to put him in the main event of Wrestlemania II against Hogan. If you gave Vince a guy that loked like Nikita with his power, the sky would have been the limit. He was a solid midcard hand and the occasional main event spot guy but never more than that.

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