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Nikolai Volkoff

Athlete

Josip Nikolai Peruzović, better known by his ring name of Nikolai Volkoff, is a Croatian semi-retired professional wrestler who is best known for his performances for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Although the Volkoff on-screen character was often portrayed as a villainous Russian, Peruzović actually originates from Croatia and has a mixed background. He is known for teaming with The Iron Sheik, with whom he won the WWF Tag Team Championship at the inaugural WrestleMania event, and also with Boris Zhukov as The Bolsheviks.

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Josip Nikolai Peruzović, better known by his ring name of Nikolai Volkoff, is a Croatian semi-retired professional wrestler who is best known for his performances for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Although the Volkoff on-screen character was often portrayed as a villainous Russian, Peruzović actually originates from Croatia and has a mixed background. He is known for teaming with The Iron Sheik, with whom he won the WWF Tag Team Championship at the inaugural WrestleMania event, and also with Boris Zhukov as The Bolsheviks.

Late in 1974, Volkoff moved to the AWA where he wrestled under the name of Boris Breznikoff; managed by Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, he used the same gimmick with a different ring name.

In the early 1980s, Volkoff wrestled for Cowboy Bill Watts in the Mid-South region.

In late 1987, Volkoff was teamed with Boris Zukhov, another alleged Russian (actually an American wrestler whose real name was James Harrell), to form The Bolsheviks. The Russians feuded with WWF newcomers The Powers of Pain, losing to them at the inaugural SummerSlam PPV in 1988, however The Bolsheviks did not gain the success as did his partnership with The Iron Sheik. As they lost the public eye due to many losses, they eventually lost their manager Slick and were eventually used as a comic relief team losing many matches to The Bushwhackers. The Bolsheviks never held any titles together, and are perhaps best remembered for being defeated in 19 seconds by The Hart Foundation at WrestleMania VI. Eventually, by 1990, The Bolsheviks split up. Volkoff publicly ended the partnership prior to a match where he confronted Zukhov and then started singing "The Star-Spangled Banner", drawing loud cheers from the audience and turning babyface in the process.

On Feb 1, 1994 Volkoff would begin a full-time return to the WWF, making a ringside appearance at a Superstars taping in White Plains, New York during a match between Diesel and Mike Moraldo. For the next two months Volkoff would be shown in the crowd, until eventually he became a sympathetic heel by playing the whipping-boy of Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation. Volkoff had kayfabe fallen on hard times and was forced to take a job working for DiBiase and his new Corporation. As low man in the group he was forced to wrestle matches no one else wanted to or sent out to "soften up" opponents for other members of the stable as the sacrificial lamb of the group. The disrespect even extended to renaming him "Nickel & Dime" Volkoff and DiBiase forcing him to place a ¢ on his trunks where the Russian sickle once was along with a sign on his ring attire that read "Property Of The Million Dollar Man". Volkoff's final appearance was at the WWF's final show at The Boston Garden on May 13, 1995. During a match between WWF Champion Diesel and Sid, Volkoff made an appearance to chase Sid's manager Ted Dibiase away. Following this last run in the WWF, Volkoff entered a semi-retirement.

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