Ivan Koloff Talks Almost Being In Iron Sheik's Spot To Lose To Hogan, Piper Lawsuit, Bruno, More

Legendary former WWWF Champion, "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff recently sat down on WGD Weekly with Steve and the Scum for a ninety plus minute interview. You can watch the full interview in the video above, here are some highlights:

Possibly being chosen to defeat Bob Backlund for the WWF Title to be the transitional champion before Hulk Hogan instead of the Iron Sheik: "Right around that time with Backlund and that, it seemed like Junior was taking over and I didn't really pick up on it right at the time. I ended up wrestling Backlund, then I left, I think that was the time I went to Kuwait, and came back from there and had another match at the Garden and Junior had asked me to stay and I believe that is when they ended up switching the belt and I probably was considered for that. But, I had a blown up knee that kept locking up on me and they never really came out and said it that they wanted me for the switch. But they ended up using the Iron Sheik. When they asked me, I just told him, I've been on the road two years and I have to go get this knee fixed and that was the end of that."

An original "screwjob" that took place while he was the WWWF Champion: "To me, I thought the wrong thing was being done, but you can't change their mind, they got the control... they got the T.V. and they got the referees that can do what they want. As a matter of fact they did, in Philadelphia, where I was booked a night or two after that against Mario Milano and he put the abdominal stretch on me and I was reacting to the abdominal stretch and he rang the bell and raised Mario's hand, and they had that on video just as protection for themselves. I didn't know what was going on. I said, "What's going on? I didn't give up." Then he said, ok, continue the match, he rang the bell and we continued the match. I was hot, I went back and I said, "What the heck is going on?" But they wanted that and they wanted the film, I guess, just to be able to be used, you know, in case I gave them a hard time or something. Then at any time they could say, well you lost a match at such and such a place to Mario Milano.. It's part of the business, I guess."

His losing the WWWF Title to Pedro Morales and it being a "discretion call" by the referee: "You can see by the match, to me, if anybody had a complaint, not that I'm complaining now, at this point, but if you look at the film and how it was done, I had him in a full nelson, he reached up and kicked the ropes. I lost balance and fell back, my hands went from a full nelson, to a wrist lock, to where I bridged and had his shoulders down and my shoulders down. So, both shoulders are down, who is on the offense, and who is on the defense, you know? But, he counted my shoulders down and not his. You can't complain about it, what can you do? It is one of those technical finishes that is the referee's choice, but Pedro made a good champion I think, and Bruno ended up getting it back, so that was good."

Getting his ear drum busted and having to seriously fight Verne Gagne: "Verne Gagne was I believe a very technical and a very competitive type wrestler.. He was from the old school too.. The old timers took a lot of pride in the fact that they liked it solid. For generations after them guys tried to really mix it up. Verne was definitely one of those guys. I hadn't wrestled him before and then here I am after '71, I go there in '72 and '73 and I wrestled some good matches. First time I wrestled Verne, it was like, I locked up with him and he hauled off and slapped me in the ear and busted my ear drum. When you get ringing like that in your ear, you lose your balance and everything. I was hot, to say the least. I was like, man, this guy is a veteran, here he is hauling off and hitting me in the ear and busting my ear drum and so, I started swinging. I noticed when he would put a hold on me it was really snug and when he hit me, so I just did the same thing back, we call it potatoes, when somebody hits you in the nose or something like that. Well, I think I gave him a whole truckload of potatoes that night, because I was swinging as hard as I could to get even. That's the way they liked it, because, Verne, whenever we came back to the dressing room and the referee came over to me and said, "man, Verne is happy, that's the way he likes it, kid, that's the way to fight. I thought, "man, I gotta put up with this every night?"

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