Nikita Koloff says he was a finalist for the role of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, recalls whether WWE courted him and who invited him to make the jump, his favorite matches, working the first WarGames match

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast with Nikita Koloff
Host: JP John Poz
Twitter: @TwoManPowerTrip
Interview available at

His favorite match or opponent during career: “My first ever match against Ric (Flair) at the Great American Bash, 13 months into the business and I’m still green, still wet behind the ears, and yet I was given the opportunity to step into a main event match against a legend like Ric Flair and have that kind of exposure. Also my eight-man matches against the Horseman in War Games.”

Any hesitations on competing in the original WarGames match: The dangers of what we did because it is not an exact science and you do put a lot of trust into the hands of who you are working with and your opponent, that serious things can and will and do happen in and outside of the squared circle. For me personally, it wasn’t so much a match like WarGames as much as it was an individual. There were certain individuals who had a reputation for being more reckless then others or more careless you might say when it came to some of their moves or when it came to their ring skills and abilities and so if I was cautious at all it was, what I allowed an opponent to do to me, as opposed to a match itself like the WarGames.

Interest from Vince McMahon and the WWF to jump in the mid ’80s: “When Krusher [Barry Darsow] jumped, he had originally asked me to go with him and certainly I was humbled by his invitation. But literally without hesitation, it was not something I was really considering for a couple of reasons. One, I had worked really hard on developing the character of Nikita Koloff and wasn’t really interested in going up there and taking on a new character and a new role, and that is the biggest reason I never entertained an offer. Secondly, what he described to me, I felt it was kind of a spin-off of the Road Warriors and out of respect for Mike [Hegstrand] and Joe [Laurinaitis] that was another factor why I didn’t go do that. As far as Vince and the WWF pursuing me, they really didn’t. But I also didn’t pursue them. I felt really loyal to the NWA and to Jim Crockett because they did give me my big break. Putting a guy in the ring and on television without any professional training or experience, Jim Crockett rolled the dice and it worked out well for me and for him. For that reason I felt a real loyalty to Jim and the NWA, so could I have played that card like so many guys did and leverage that for more money? I could have, but I didn’t.”

Being up for the role of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV: They flew me out to LA. It was myself, Dolph Lundgren, and some other guy. It came down to the three of us as to who would get the final cast of Ivan Drago. So we were on the set with Stallone and I read through my lines a couple of times and Stallone said, ‘Let’s do one together.’ He says, ‘Lets go side by side and finish your lines, stare at me in the face and we will have a stare down and we’ll cut.’ So we do it and halfway through we are eye to eye and nose to nose, he yells cut and asks the director how was it? Sly, in real life is in great shape, but he is about 160lbs and 5’6 dripping wet with rocks in his pocket legitimately. He is a small guy, a lot of actors are. Keep in mind, I fly out there and I’m 285 lbs. with a 34-inch waist and eight percent body fat, so when we do that scene and we turn towards each other the way the lighting was in the studio when he yells cut, the director says, ‘Well, it was pretty good until you turn towards each other and he casts a shadow on you and we lost you.’ I’m not the brightest guy in the world, but I knew this almost immediately that wasn’t good for his ego or my opportunity. A few weeks later, they called and said you were unbelievable, however even for Hollywood, your size differential would be too unbelievable that even for Rocky that he would be able to come back and beat you as big as you are. I was humbled by the opportunity to even be considered as one of the three finalists.”

Other topics include his legendary feud with Magnum TA, teaming with Dusty Rhodes, memories of joining The Russians alongside Ivan Koloff, his relationship with Lex Luger, his legacy in the wrestling business, and more.

You can listen to other shows apart of the TMPT Empire including Shane Douglas’ Triple Threat Podcast, Taking You to School with Dr. Tom Prichard, Talking Tough with Rick Bassman, Taskmaster Talks with Kevin Sullivan, Pro Wrestling 101 with Justin Credible and the University of Dutch with Dutch Mantell.

Readers Comments (1)

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