Real name: Oreal Perras
The "Russian Bear" who was really from Quebec. WWWF champion who ended Bruno Sammartino's 7+-year reign in 1971 with a kneedrop off the turnbuckle. Lost the belt three weeks later to Pedro Morales. Began wrestling in the early 1960s as Jim Parris and Red McNulty. Originally trained in Hamilton by Jack Wentworth.
Became Ivan Koloff in 1967 and the next year defeated Johnny Rougeau for the International title in Montreal. Initially billed as the nephew of Dan Koloff, a wrestler from the 1920s and 30s, just as Ivan would later be billed as the uncle of Nikita Koloff. Made his Maple Leaf Gardens debut in June 1968 and was wrestling main events three months later. Challenged Dory Funk Jr. for the NWA title in a Toronto main event in 1969. Went to the WWWF in 1970 and wrestled Sammartino for the title at Madison Square Garden. Won the belt the following year. Repeatedly challenged Verne Gagne for the AWA title in 1972. Had additional MSG main event matches against Sammartino in 1975.
Held the Indianapolis-based WWA world title in 1977 and won the Florida tag title four times that year, including one reign with Pat Patterson. Came back to main event at Madison Square Garden against Bob Backlund in 1978.
Improved his conditioning and physique considerably as a middle-aged wrestler.
After a successful stay in Georgia, wrestled for Jim Crockett's Mid-Atlantic promotion, winning the NWA World tag belts with Ray Stevens (1981), Don Kernodle (1984), and Nikita Koloff (1985). He was also announced as Rick Rude's replacement as Manny Fernandez's partner when Rude & Fernandez held the NWA tag title in 1987, but that was abandoned when Fernandez left the promotion.
Won the Toronto-based Canadian title in a 1984 tournament and dropped the belt a few weeks later in his final match at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Continued to wrestle for Crockett and WCW through the 1980s. Wrestled on independent shows into the 2000s. Lives in North Carolina.
"Koloff, a 6-1, 298 pounder, pinned the 265 pound Sammartino in mid-ring, to leave no doubt regarding his achievement. Referee Dick Kroll, a former NYU matman, counted out the victimized champion. The time was 14 minutes, 55 seconds. The end came with startling suddenness as Koloff hurdled off the top rope and hit Sammartino full force in the neck area. The defeat came amid Sammartino's 111th title defence in a Madison Square Garden ring.
(From Scranton, PA newspaper, Jan. 19, 1971)
"Morales, although 47 pounds lighter at 241, pinned Ivan Koloff, 288, Russia, in midring in 23 minutes and 18 seconds, Monday night to end the shortest reign of any titleholder in history, 21 days since Koloff surprised by conquering seven-year champion Bruno Sammartino in the same Madison Square Garden ring. The all-time record gathering of 21,812 paid $86,885."
(From Scranton, PA newspaper, Feb. 9, 1971)
- 2-time International champion (Montreal), 1968-69
- WWWF champion, 1971
- IWA World tag champion (Japan), with Mad Dog Vachon, 1973
- WWA World champion (Indiana), 1977
- 4-time NWA Florida tag champion, 1977
- 5-time NWA Georgia tag champion, with Ole Anderson, 1978-79
- 2-time NWA Georgia tag champion, with Alexi Smirnoff, 1980
- 4-time NWA World tag champion, 1981-86
- 3-time NWA Mid-Atlantic champion, 1981-84
- 2-time NWA Mid-Atlantic TV champion, 1981-82
- NWA Canadian champion (Toronto), 1984
- 2-time NWA 6-Man tag champion, 1984-88
- 2-time NWA U.S. tag champion, 1986-87
- WWC Puerto Rican champion, 1989