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Ivan Koloff's Message to the Fans
"The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff (born James Parris on August 25, 1942), is a former Canadian professional wrestler who is a former WWF World Heavyweight Champion.
Ring name(s) Ivan Koloff
The Russian Bear
Billed height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Billed weight 248 - 295 lb (112 kg) (Ivan lost weight in his later career)
Born August 25, 1942 (1942-08-25) (age 65)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Resides Winterville, North Carolina
Billed from Russia
He was raised on a dairy farm in Canada. He came from a family of seven boys and three girls, with him being a middle child.
After watching professional wrestling on TV since he was eight years old, Parris so wanted to become a pro wrestler that he wrestled with his chores on the dairy farms as well as with his brothers. At age 18 he left school and joined Jack Wentworth's wrestling school in Hamilton, Ontario, with his training including weightlifting and wrestling holds.
Professional wrestling career
He then debuted as an Irish rogue heel character named Red McNulty, claiming to be from Dublin, Ireland, with a patch over one eye. For the next three years, Parris wrestled around the Toronto area, eventually quitting his regular job to wrestle in the Northwest area. It was there Parris acquired his wrestling experience and afterwards made his first trip to Japan.
The Russian Bear is born
In 1967, "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff was born and debuted with the International Wrestling Association in Montreal, Québec, becoming the International Heavyweight Champion. The next 31 years consisted of traveling to Europe, Japan, Australia, West Indies, and Puerto Rico, as well as the United States. He soon got his debut match against Bruno Sammartino on TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1971 Parris, wrestling as "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff, defeated Sammartino for the WWWF Heavyweight Championship with a kneedrop from the top rope, ending Sammartino's seven year reign. He would lose the title a short time later to Pedro Morales, essentially being used as a "transitional" champion, much like Stan Stasiak and the Iron Sheik would be in later years.
In the 1980s, Ivan had great success in the NWA and Jim Crockett Promotions. He won the NWA World Tag Team Championship and the NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship while there. He was also instrumental in the success of his "nephew" Nikita Koloff, helping to train him and make him a star. His regular partners during his NWA stay were Ray Stevens, Don Kernodle, Nikita Koloff and Krusher Khruschev. When Nikita turned on him to join his enemy Dusty Rhodes in 1986, he teamed with Vladimir Petrov and Dick Murdoch to get revenge. His biggest feuds were against Rhodes, the Road Warriors, the Rock 'n' Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) and Magnum T.A..
Parris spent time in Paul Jones' Army in 1988 and he was a "coach" of sorts for the Powers of Pain, The Barbarian and The Warlord. He later split with Jones, reuniting with nephew Nikita, and feuded with Jones' team of the Russian Assassins before leaving Jim Crockett Promotions in January 1989. He also spent time in Eastern Championship Wrestling, appearing on the very first ECW card in 1992.
On the independent circuit, in which he is still very active to this day, he had notable feuds with Chief Wahoo McDaniel and Jimmy Valiant.
"The Russian Bear" was immortalized in the Ramones song "The Crusher" from their last album, "Adios Amigos."
Currently, Parris lives in Winterville, North Carolina with his wife, Renae and has four adult children. He remains active in various charities (he was known away from the ring as a nice easygoing person despite his vicious bad guy image). His book, titled Is That Wrestling Fake? The Bare Facts, has been recently released.
Parris became a born again Christian in 1996. He travels to churches to share his testimony.
Finishing and signature moves
Russian Sickle (Jumping lariat)
Diving knee drop
The Russian Bear
Wrestlers mangaged by Koloff
Championships and accomplishments
Championship Wrestling from Florida
NWA Florida Southern Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
NWA Florida Tag Team Championship (5 times) - with Pat Patterson (1), Masa Saito (3), and Nikolai Volkoff (1)
Georgia Championship Wrestling
NWA Georgia Tag Team Championship (7 times) - with Ole Anderson (5) and Alexis Smirnoff (2)
Maple Leaf Wrestling
NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship (Toronto version) (1 time)
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling | Jim Crockett Promotions
NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship (4 times)
NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Don Kernodle
NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Championship (2 times)
NWA Television Championship (3 times)
NWA United States Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Krusher Khruschev (1) and Dick Murdoch (1)
NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Nikita Koloff & Krusher Khruschev (& Baron Von Raschke with Krusher injured) (1) and The Barbarian & The Warlord (1)
NWA World Tag Team Championship (Mid-Atlantic version) (4 times) - with Nikita Koloff (1), Nikita Koloff and Krusher Khruschev (1), Ray Stevens (1), and Don Kernodle (1)
World Wide Wrestling Federation
WWWF World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
World Wrestling Association
WWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
World Wrestling Council
WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
ACW Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Vladimir Koloff
CREW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
Great Lakes Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
IWA Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with "Mad Dog" Maurice Vachon
IWA (Montreal) International Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
VWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
Koloff has featured in:
Legends of Wrestling
Legends of Wrestling II
Showdown: Legends of Wrestling
Source; Wikipedia.org at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Koloff
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