Ivan Koloff, a legendary wrestler known as “The Russian Bear”, has passed away at the age of 74 after a battle with liver disease. Koloff was actually French Canadian, not Russian, but he has major star both as a singles competitor and a tag team as half of The Russians with Nikita Koloff and later Krusher Khruschev. Ivan Koloff was a one time WWWF (now WWE) Champion, defeating the legendary Bruno Sammartino at Madison Square Garden to win the title. Ivan Koloff was a transitional heel champion, common at the time, he dropped the title to Pedro Morales 21 days after winning it so the two faces (Sammartino and Morales) would not have to face each other. Ivan Koloff was a true legend, a great heel competitor, who was extremely over with the fans. Rest In Peace to the Russian Bear, a pioneer of the villainous Russian character, which is still a popular gimmick today.
I’m Sad To Wake Up And Hear of the passing of my very close friend the Russian Bear Ivan Koloff. You will be missed My Friend. Rest In Peace pic.twitter.com/nziKZ2Zqy4
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) February 18, 2017
Here is an excellent video on how Ivan Koloff became the most hated man in America:
Here is Ivan Koloff defeating Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF Title: