nwa world championship

NWA World Heavyweight Champion and UFC 5 Tournament Champion Dan Severn
[1996]

Although the worlds of professional wrestling and ultimate fighting are rivals today, such wasn’t always the case. In fact, one wrestler who worked to bridge the gap between the two was Dan “The Beast” Severn, who worked in both UFC and in the NWA. On February 24th, 1995, Severn defeated Chris Candido for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Severn would reign as champion for four years before losing the title to Japanese wrestler Naoya Ogawa. In 1996, Severn fought in the UFC 5: The Return Of The Beast tournament, defeating Joe Charles, Oleg Taktarov, and finally Dave Beneteau to win the UFC V tournament championship.

Rest in peace, Ivan Koloff
[1942 - 2017]

Earlier this week, it was announced that the former WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Ivan Koloff was dealing with some heavy medical issues. Unfortunately, Ivan has lost that fight, as he passed away early this morning. He was 74.

The man known as “The Russian Bear” actually got his start in his homeland of Canada, where he began his career in the early 1960s as Red McNulty, an Irish hooligan character. After gaining some experience, Koloff traveled to Japan where he honed his craft before returning to Canada as Ivan Koloff, a Russian villain from the Ukraine. In 1969, Koloff debuted in the World Wide Wrestling Federation, managed by Captain Lou Albano and becoming one of the biggest stars in the company. Koloff’s target was the WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino, who was the biggest hero the company heralded. After feuding with Sammartino for some time, on January 18th, 1971, Koloff defeated Sammartino in Madison Square Garden for the WWWF Championship with a knee drop from the top rope, ending Sammartino’s 2,803 reign as champion!

Koloff holds the distinction of being one of the company’s most promiment main event villains, having wrestled championship matches against Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Superstar Billy Graham, and Bob Backlund and being one of only two men to have challenged all four fan favorite champions. Koloff was also the first opponent to ever challenge for the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship in a steel cage match. Outside of the WWWF, Koloff also found success as a tag team specialist, teaming with Nikita Koloff and/or Krusher Krushev in a team often referred to as The Russians.

Koloff traveled through the 70s and 80s as a journeyman superstar, wrestling in Georgia, Florida, and the Mid-Atlantic territories for the NWA, capturing the NWA World Tag Team Championships in 1981 with partner Ray Stevens. This was only one of several reigns Koloff would have as a tag team champion, having also captured the titles with such wrestlers as Nikita, Pat Patterson, and Ole Anderson. In 1992, Koloff wrestled in the very first ECW card, as well as the first Smoky Mountain Wrestling television taping.

To say that Ivan Koloff had a successful wrestling career would be an understatement. He was a career heel, working dilligently through every notable company and with a “who’s who” of talent in his 30+ year career. Ivan was a wrestler’s wrestler, a good hand, and a talent who could make even the most bland superstar look like a million bucks. Rest in peace, Ivan Koloff.

JUST SAYIN’ - I LOVED GOLDUST TURNING ON R-TRUTH. THE TRUTH IS NO MORE.

My only highlight of this past Monday’s episode of RAW was Goldust turning on R-Truth. I can’t lie, The Golden Truth were a HORRIBLE tag team. Now, on paper, the team of looked great - two championship calibre wrestlers joining forces could make waves in the tag team division, but for some reason, they were presented as silly caricatures who sang, “What’s Up?!”, starred in meaningless skits, and lost … lost to everybody.

Goldust turning heel could be special if he’s allowed to progress beyond the cliche partners-turned-rival feud which goes nowhere (see: Primetime Players or Blake & Murphy). I would like to see him challenge Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship.

R-Truth, on the other hand, will hopefully regain focus and transform into a serious competitor. Remember, he once feuded with John Cena and was an NWA: TNA World Champion. That particular version of Truth needs to arrive on the scene.

The demise of the Golden Truth could be the best thing that has happened to both men in a long time. The recent string of injuries opens up positions for the roster which weren’t there before. Maybe, just maybe these two will take advantage of the opportunity … like Jinder Mahal.

Road Warriors Zubaz Signing at a JC Penneys - Wrestling Ringside [January 1993]

Good guys, Hawk and Animal, signing posters for fans who made it out to see them. The Road Warriors had a hand in popularizing the colorful weightlifting pants and marketing them to a larger mainstream audience. Both Hawk and Animal held portion of the Zubaz company and, as part of a partnership with JC Penneys, would hold special in-store signings for fans.