Just when I was starting to get into pro wrestling as a kid in mid-1980s as a nine and ten year old, I first discovered the World Wrestling Federation and what was called at the time that later became known as World Championship Wrestling, the National Wrestling Alliance, I started seeing Ric Flair who at the time was NWA World Heavyweight Champion. How you can be World Heavyweight Champion of a national wrestling organization, is still a mystery to me, but that is the title that Nature Boy Ric Flair had at the time.
The Nature Boy had several great rivals in NWA/WCW in the 1980s and 1990s pre-NWO takeover of the late 1990s, which is another subject and downfall of WCW, which is the subject of another blog. But one of those great rivals was Nikita Koloff a Lithuanian-Russian citizen who emigrated from Russia to the America and I believe is now an American citizen. And The Russian Nightmare was perfect for the Nature Boy. Even if you can past the part the Ric Flair is supposed to be Mr. All-American and Nikita was a Soviet bear at the end of the Cold War in WCW.
But that is just a part of what made this a great rivalry for a few years in the mid and late 1980s. Ric Flair 6'1 240-245 pounds, a pure classical wrestler who could also fight when he needed to. And pound for pound perhaps the best pure wrestler in the history of pro wrestling. Nikita Koloff, 6'5 280-285 pounds, maybe five-percent body fat, built very similar to Lex Lugar, but who was a much better wrestler, at least when it came to actually wrestling. One of the great pure wrestlers and power wrestlers in the history of pro wrestling.
So NWA/WCW has a perfect rivalry and matchup here. Because it wasn't just two huge giants trying to beat the hell out of each other. Flair is certainly not a giant physically, but certainly big and strong enough to defend himself and Koloff was big powerful man, but not a giant either like The Undertaker or Kane or someone that huge. These were two great wrestlers from completely different backgrounds. One American, the other Russian competing in America at the end of the Cold War. And it was great classic wrestling.