WWE Hall of Famer Nikolai Volkoff, real name Josip Nikolai Peruzović, has passed away at the age of 70. He had recently been released from a Maryland hospital following treatment for dehyrdration and other issues.
Though he spent most of his career as a heel Soviet Russian, Peruzović was actually from Croatia, which was part of Yugoslavia at the time.
Volkoff captured the WWE Tag Team Championship alongside partner The Iron Shiek at the first WrestleMania when the duo knocked off the U.S. Express (Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo).
He later formed a team with Boris Zhukov known as The Bolsheviks, but that team didn’t find much success.
After splitting with Zhukov in 1990, Volkoff turned face for the first time in his career and embraced America.
In 1994, Volkoff returned to WWE portraying a character who had fallen on hard times financially and took a job working for Ted DiBiase and his new Million Dollar Corporation. In the group, Volkoff was a whipping boy who DiBiase gave the name “Nickle & Dime.”
Throughout his career, Volkoff held tag team gold with Ivan Koloff in Championsihp Wrestling From Florida, Geeto Mongol in National Wrestling Federation, Chris Markoff in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, and Boris Volkoff in NWA Detroit.
As a singles star, Volkoff was a one-time NWA Georgia Heavyweight Champion in Georgia Championship Wrestling. He was also a Mid-South North American Champion in Mid-South Wrestling, and both a Universal Wrestling Association and World Wide Wrestling Alliance Heavyweight Champion.
On behalf of everyone at Vortainment, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Josip Nikolai Peruzović, the legendary Nikolai Volkoff.