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Q&A with Koloff - #18

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff
The Truth Network Radio
May 25, 2021 5:00 am

Q&A with Koloff - #18

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff

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May 25, 2021 5:00 am

Nikita is joined by financial planner, Nick Pangakis, a fan from Youngsville, NC, to answer the following questions: Did you have a friendship with Magnum TA outside of the ring? Were you apprehensive about teaming up with Dusty Rhodes at the time of Magnum TA's accident? And why did we never see you in the WWE?

 

 

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But most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Enough key to Koloff here. Questions and answers.

Q&A with Koloff, the devil's nightmare. Nick, Nick, I'm not sure how to... I don't want to butcher your last name, man. How do you pronounce your last name, Nick?

Pangakis. Believe me, it's been butchered my whole life. Well, you know, I somewhat relate to that. Like, people have spelt Nikita all kinds of different ways, so I'm somewhat familiar with that. But, well, I'm glad you said it and I didn't have to, Nick, just for the record.

But great to have you on Q&A. Now, Youngsville, North Carolina. Is that right? Is that where you reside? That is correct.

That is correct. I moved down here a couple years ago after spending all my life in New England to be close to my older son, Chip, and our grandchildren. Oh, very nice.

There's a lot that make that kind of move. Now, I've been to a lot of places in North Carolina, but you might have to enlighten me as to where Youngsville is. It's just north of Raleigh.

Just north of Raleigh. Okay, so kind of outside of the... What do they call it? The Triangle, right? The Triangle, yeah. The Triangle. Are you part of the Triangle, Nick? I think technically we're not part of it, but sometimes I work in the Triangle.

I gotcha. And what type of work do you do? I'm in financial services. Okay. I'm a financial planner. Financial planner.

Help people grow their futures. Exactly. Exactly. How many years have you been doing that? Quite a while? Twenty-three years.

Wow. Well, I would say with that type of career, you've had some success. You've been with it for twenty-three years. Well, you know, it's been a nice career, and I enjoy what I do, and the firm that I'm with currently is just absolutely fantastic.

So, couldn't be happier about the way that move worked out. And what firm are you with? Go ahead and tell us who you're working for. Oh, okay. I'm with a firm called Capital Financial Solutions. Okay.

We have offices in Raleigh, Richmond, and Charlotte. Oh, very nice. And so you see, came down from, where in New England did you come down from? I was in Massachusetts on Cape Cod for the last twenty-five years. Nice. And then I grew up in the Hartford, Connecticut area, which is actually where I saw my first match.

Okay. We're going to jump in on that in just a moment here, but Cape Cod, now that had to be a transition from Cape Cod to Raleigh, North Carolina, or outside of Raleigh. That's a change, Nick. Well, yeah, it was a big change, and a little tough because, you know, we still have some family. My folks are in Connecticut, and my wife's brothers and sisters are still in Massachusetts, but to have a chance to be near two of our grandchildren and watch them grow up was just, you know, a wonderful opportunity, so we grabbed it. Absolutely.

And, you know, the sacrifices we will make, right, as parents and grandparents, and you just have the two grandchildren? Actually, would you believe it if I told you that the other two live about ten miles from Robbinsdale, Minnesota? Come on!

No way! Are you for real? I am.

I am. My younger son, Mark, and his family live just, they live in Waconia, which is very close to Robbinsdale. In fact, we passed Robbinsdale on the trip from the airport there, and I will always, I have pointed out to Mark several times as we go by Robbinsdale, all the famous pro wrestlers who came from that area, including yourself. Yeah, the legendary Robbinsdale. People ask me all the time, they're like, dude, like, what's up with that? Robbinsdale High School. I go, well, you know, it's the land of ten thousand lakes.

It must have been all the minerals in the water tower. That's for sure. That's for sure. So, I have a five-year-old grandson out there and a nine-year-old granddaughter.

She is the only granddaughter and truly the apple of my eye. Yeah, I'm sure. I just, we just had our, I just had my ninth grandchild. Nine. Wow. Yeah. Wow.

So, a full quiver. So, are you liking living, okay, Nix, are you liking living in the north or the south better? Be honest. I'm loving where we are right now. I'm loving where we are right now.

Like I said, looking forward to being able to go see my parents sometime soon and my sisters when we could travel again, but I'm loving living here and what do we call it? In flare country, right? That's it.

That's it. You know, and like I said, to be near my son Chip and his family and our two grandchildren that are here. They're eleven and nine and the first thing that we did about a month after we moved here is we all, as a family, all went to wrestling together at the PNC Arena in Raleigh.

So, wonderful, wonderful times. The PNC Arena now is the, and I should know this, but is the Dorton Arena still there in Raleigh? Do you know it's part of the state fairgrounds? I imagine it would be.

Yes, yes, and I believe, I believe pre-COVID they did some, they did some small events there still, but you know, when WWE tours these days, they go to the PNC, which is where the Carolina Hurricanes play. I got you. Okay. Well, that's, that's pretty cool. Well, I appreciate you. I mean, I say it all the time and it just, I never get tired of saying it, you know, we just love, love, love all the fans, you guys, and just so, so faithful, so loyal and all these years. I was looking at, I knew you'd submitted some questions to me and I know you had said that you first started watching NWA shows on television in late 1985.

So, you know, so you missed a little bit of the first couple of years of, of my career, but you submitted some great questions there and we're going to jump into those in just a second. But so you've been to, where'd you say your very first match ever was? Where did you say Connecticut? Where was that? Hartford, Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center.

My, my, my, my father who was not necessarily a fan, but with a good sport and took me and my buddy Mitch to watch Bob Batlin defend against uncle Ivan, believe it or not. No way. Yeah. Yeah. When I was putting that together, when I realized we were talking today and I thought about that and, and it's, and he and Batlin and Ivan were the main event at the Hartford Civic Center.

And I want to say that would probably be 79. Yeah. And then, uh, we, in 85, as I mentioned, uh, got the, uh, you know, NWA for the first time and there was a time there where, uh, I had, I had a buddy and, uh, their names were Scott and Rich. They weren't exactly the Steiners, but, um, uh, in, we probably watched every pay-per-view together, uh, for about five years, we would get together, you know, with both companies at that point. Um, and so that, you know, those were great times and that's when you were really, you know, really lighting it up, uh, first as a, you know, as a, as a heel and, uh, and then eventually, uh, you know, through the whole, uh, series with Magnum and everything. And that was just fantastic.

That was just great, great stuff. You know, the years went on and, uh, when I moved to Massachusetts and, and then, uh, my son, Mark and his buddies through the Attitude Era era, uh, were big wrestling fans with Stone Cold and the Rock and all then. And there may have been some backyard wrestling, including some other shape old guy who may have jumped in there. Oh yeah. I love it.

Yeah. And then you, you go a few years later and my little nephew Zach had a big John Cena poster on his wall when I went to see him one day and I said, when did that happen? I said, uncle Nick looks wrestling too. And, uh, then you go forward and the guy at my, uh, the, the manager at the gym that I went to, you know, in 2015, 16, 17 is, is a professional wrestler named Johnny Thunder.

And then the, uh, you know, it was in the, in the independence has had a over 20 year career. Um, and then I come here and of course, as I mentioned, my two grandsons and my son, um, and to be able to watch wrestling together with my grandsons is just fabulous. And then I have a bunch of guys now, my friends tag and Alex, and we all text each other whenever something funny, whenever something good happens or crazy happens or whatever. And it's just, you know, uh, through whatever period of my life, there's always been some sort of tie in one way or another, whether it was the kids, the grandkids or, or some buddies who I've met up with. So, uh, it's just, uh, you know, it's, it's always been there. Pretty cool. We're passing it on through the generations and, uh, that's pretty cool.

Uncle Ivan gets Bob Backlin. You know, I had one day, little side story had one Bob Backlin match one, and I don't even know I did. I don't even remember how it came about. I was in Altoona, Pennsylvania at a building called the Jaffa mosque. Right.

And a legendary building and, and for NWA matches anyway. Um, yeah, I, they just got, I, I, as near as I can recall, it just kind of threw the match together and I'll never forget, of course, you know, it was, I was still, you know, the, the, the, the commie rushing. I was the bad, baddest of the bad. And, and so he came out in an army helmet. I don't know where, I don't know where he got it. I don't know if he found it at the armory. He must've, he must've found out.

I think about it, you know, maybe he found it in the back or something. Anyway, so I'm in the ring first and he comes out and, and it was like, in my view, Nick, it was like, howdy duty meets the U S army. You know, I mean, he just, cause you know, Backlin had kind of that look, right.

That howdy duty look. And, uh, I vaguely remember the match cause I've had so many, uh, but I do remember I had that one match against him. And I think for the fans, certainly it was certainly entertaining to say the least. And so my one, yeah, my one Bob Backlin match, but, um, Well, you certainly had the look, uh, you certainly had the look. As I mentioned, I can remember the first time, you know, when I first started watching TBS and got to see the NWA shows and there was this big, scary jacked up dude.

And man, you played that part. I did and you'd come out and, and, and threaten Magnum and go through the whole bit. And, uh, and really that was one of the first, uh, big, you know, big feuds that I saw you in. And it kind of leads to my first question for you was, um, you know, that, that series was just amazing that the heat you guys got the, the, you know, everyone was so into it.

I mean, watching, uh, you know, uh, I can remember watching several of those matches, uh, myself and just, it was so into it. And I guess my question to you was, you know, what was your friendship with Magnum like at that time? I mean, you were both, you know, obviously very young guys. And at that time, you know, you still, I don't know if in, uh, in Crockett territory, if it was the same as Bill Watts where, you know, you couldn't even, you know, you, you couldn't be seen in public together and all that stuff. If you were a good guy and a bad guy, uh, but I, but there was still, you know, a good, a good amount of that, uh, playing the part. And, uh, were you and Terry friendly outside of work at that point, you know, when you, would you guys, you know, uh, would you guys hang out together now and then, or was it still, you had to keep separate, uh, you know, on, on separate sides of the world?

Well, it's a great question. And, and for those who, you know, the listeners that aren't maybe familiar with, with old, what we would call old school wrestling and, and, and that, that age, uh, uh, of wrestling, um, it, it was, um, and, and really in any territory you were supposed to maintain, you know, uh, uh, a level of protection for the business. And, you know, there were things that would happen, you know, where cars would break down or something like that.

You weren't going to leave a guy, you know, stranded on the side of the road or one of your fellow workers, you know, you'd pick them up and bring them to the town, make sure you got there. But by the same token, we typically, yeah, we rode in separate cars. We didn't train at the gym at the same time.

I mean, just all of that, just to maintain the integrity of the business. And so Magnum and I, um, which it's, it's the most talked about of, of my career is the best of seven series against Magnum. And, and, um, and we weren't really, I would not say we're the best of friends. I would say we had a working, uh, relationship at the, at that point. And, and really, so the answer to the question is no, we, we didn't hang around, you know, obviously, and even we were in a lot of times, a lot of the buildings in separate dressing rooms. So we weren't even in the same dressing room, uh, come out opposite ends of the building, but no, we, we didn't, we didn't hang out.

Didn't go to his house, didn't come to my house. So we just had a cordial, uh, friendship and, and a business relationship. And it wasn't until this accident, um, that, that really all that shifted and changed and to where, to where we became really best of friends to, to this day. In fact, we'll do occasionally, uh, road stories, we'll travel together, not together, but we'll, we'll go meet up.

And, and a lot of times, like we, you know, we'll, we did one recently at a church survey at a church outreach where we just told road stories and shared some of our story and, and, and our testimony and, and kind of where we are at today. And so we're the best of friends today, but we were not back at necessarily in those days, but we had a very cordial respect for one another outside of the ring. So, right. Oh, that's great. Yeah. It kind of leads me to, to my second question and thank you for telling me all that because I always, you know, you always wondered, you know, I know that in what I know that in the UWF Watts was extremely strict about, right.

Extremely strict about it. But, um, my, my next question of course was after a Magnum's accident. Um, you know, uh, I, I still to this day get goosebumps if somebody plays the clip of when you came out and rescued Dusty from the cage and, you know, officially, uh, became the first baby face Russian, right? Yeah. Um, and so my question for you there is, did you have any apprehension about that?

Uh, you know, uh, you know, sometimes it could be more fun being a heel, but also you were just so over as a heel or when Dusty brought it to you. Did you realize what, you know, did you realize that that was going to be money that was going to be huge? Um, did you, did you know that right off the bat? Well, that's it.

I mean, another great question. In fact, um, I didn't even know about Magnum's accident until I got back. I was on a, I think a two week tour in Japan and got back from Japan. My first night back was in Philadelphia at the civic center, downtown Philly and Jim Crockett Jr. and Dusty pulled me into a room and they were telling me about Magnum's accident. Well, wrestling's a work, right? And I'm like, Oh yeah, right. Whatever. You know, it took him a few minutes to literally convince me that no, like we're like for real, like he broke his neck.

He may be paralyzed, you know, from the neck down the rest of his life and yada, yada, yada. And I was like, Oh my gosh. So kind of let that settle in for a moment. And, and then they shared with me, the two of them shared with me the idea of, of teaming up with Dusty and, and cause him and Magnum of course had that storied career together, you know, as tag team as well as individuals. But, um, and so I, you know, cause you made reference about the, about the pop that night when, when we made the turn and you know, I, and I'm pretty sure someone recently told me a fan, told me Tony Schiavone and his podcast had mentioned, uh, or somewhere along the way when they asked Tony a very similar question, what was the loudest pop you'd ever heard in your career? Uh, of announcing that he said the Nikita Koloff turn in, in Charlotte that night by far was the loudest pop that he had ever heard. And which for me is quite a compliment because Tony Schiavone has been around some pretty big matches. Right.

And so, yeah, right. Goes without saying, but to answer, you know, more specifically your question, you know, did I have any first, did I have any apprehension when they, when they shared the idea with me, you know, and, and, and they said, you know, you know, think, think about, think about it, think it through, you know, and, and see, you know, see if, uh, you know, if this is something you want to do, I guess, uh, Nick, what I thought my mind was, you know, here's Jim Crockett Jr. Who's family had been in professional wrestling, promoting for, you know, 50 plus years. Here's Dusty Rhodes, who's legendary creative genius in, in, in the wrestling business. And, and I just thought, man, if, if, if they think this could work, cause as you said, never been a baby face Russian that we knew of, if they think this can work, then why not?

Let's, let's, let's, let's do it. And I do know this too, years later, somebody was traveling with Dusty on the road, um, and, and asked him a similar question to yours, did you know instantly that this would be big business, that it would be huge. Right. And his answer, and the same with mine, that night I had no clue, I was just in good faith and trusting Dusty and Jim's judgment, but when they asked Dusty that years later, Dusty said we, we had no idea, we, it was a roll of the dice, we hoped it would. Right.

But never, you know, never did we anticipate it would explode the way it did. And I mean, cause for the next two years, he and I did, anywhere we went, whether it was him and I or him and I in the road wars, you know, against the four horsemen or, or whatever, eight man, six man, tag team, singles. I mean, we just did sell our games, all war games.

We just did sell our business wherever we went in every venue. So yeah, so that was looking back. And by the way, one last caveat to that. I'm, I'm glad, I'm glad that I got the opportunity to be on both sides of the tracks and most likely had Magnum never had that accident. Uh, I really wonder if I may have been the bad guy my entire career if Magnum had never had that accident.

So just, I like to say just to some of the mysteries, the way, the way God, God orchestrates things, uh, even in, even in the wacky world of professional wrestling, cause it led to, to the platform I have now with, with ministry and everything. So, but, um, and I know you had, and you had, you had one more question for me today. If you don't mind, or am I taking too long or are we good? We're good.

We'll, we'll nail this last one and then, then we'll be done. Why did we never see Nikita Koloff in WWE? I just feel like you and Hogan would have been just huge business then just, just huge. And with your look, Vince would have just, I mean, I would have thought that Vince would have been drooling over that possibility of seeing Nikita versus Hulk Hogan.

So, uh, you know, I've heard that you were, um, you know, that, that, that they never approached you then I, I've heard that, you know, they approached you, but the timing wasn't right. And just tell us. Well, let's, let's start with, um, you know, of course all the magazines touted the WrestleMania Hogan versus Koloff and what that would, you know, what that to your point, what that would potentially draw and, and, and, uh, you know, perhaps set wrestling on its ear.

And, and, and, uh, you know, as you said, create, create huge money, uh, for the, for the company. And so the, the, the main reason, uh, I never made the jump, uh, was because of, of my loyalty to the NWA. I'll just, let me just start right there. Jim Crockett gave me my break. He gave me the opportunity of a lifetime really, uh, took a chance again, a roll of the dice, took a chance with, uh, on a guy who had no amateur wrestling background and zero professional training.

The night I debuted guess where Nick and Dorton arena in Raleigh, that was my debut, uh, stone's throw from where you're living now. And, and so he took a chance. And so I just, I'm, I'm loyal to a fault. You might say, and in that, yeah, I realized I probably could have went there probably would have made, who knows huge money, as you said, 10 times 20, who knows how much, but out of my loyalty to Jim Crockett in the end to this day, NWA forever loyal through and through.

Um, so that was a part of it. Now, now, uh, Barry Darso, who went to high school, Robinsdale with me, who wrestled as crusher crew chef, and then later on as demolition, as well as repo man, a couple of the characters, the man, the man of a hundred gimmick, the man of many faces, Barry Darso, um, you know, he had approached me about going up there as demolition and, and I just, you know, in my heart of hearts, I'm just like, nah, I just want, I didn't want, I didn't want to change character work, work so hard on the Nikita Kolov character. I didn't want to change character. I was great friends with road war animal. I didn't want to disrespect them in any way.

Um, you know, by taking on a similar type of character. And the only conversation I ever had with Vince McMahon was at a gym in Las Vegas. We're running shows the same night. We're head to head.

This is before the Monday night wars. We were running shows head to head and we crossed paths in the gym, very cordial conversation. Uh, never talked business, you know, per se.

Um, and the only other conversation I had with him is when I spoke at road warrior Hawks, uh, funeral and, uh, and I like to say if they ever did reach out to me, they, they must've left a voicemail on the, on the old, old recorder. And I missed it, I guess, you know, but, uh, but, um, so I, yeah, I just never, uh, so it wasn't that we didn't reach the right deal. It wasn't that the timing wasn't right. It was more than anything. Just the fact that, uh, I was loyal to the NWA and willing to bypass probably millions of dollars, but, but, uh, money isn't everything in my world.

Um, and, and just be loyal to, to the NWA loyal to Jim Crockett and, and respectful to, um, to, to, uh, to the wrestling business as well. So great questions today. Yeah. Well, thank you so much. And, and, and, uh, uh, I'll let you in on something that, uh, my, my grandsons, uh, Colton and Cody who are 11, Colton is 11 and Cody, the Carolina dream.

Come on. Uh, we call them dusty codes, uh, is nine years old and, um, he knew what was going to happen. He's, he's got it all figured out.

He probably would have figured out right away that you weren't really Russian. And, uh, and he called the finish of the Royal rumble two minutes after it started this year. The kid is smart. The kid is smart and, and he may have future Booker written all over him. Good for him. You told me he had a whole bunch of names, Nick. You said you have a bunch of names for him.

Oh yeah. He's he's the Carolina dream dusty codes. He's code Berg.

He's Samoa codes, you name it. And I, I try to find it. I try to find a way to put his name into code dust code dust.

Yes. Well, Nick, thanks so much for joining us on Q and a questions and answers with Koloff and, and thank you and all the, the, the children and grandchildren and the many others, the friends and all those that you've, you've, uh, impacted for, for generations for, with, with wrestling. And just really sincerely appreciate all you guys. Thank you. Uh, thanks. You bet. And, uh, next time, you know, you're going to be up this way.

You let me know. All right, Nick, God bless. Have a wonderful day. Okay.

All right. Bye. Bye. Bye. This is the truth network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-14 09:47:38 / 2023-11-14 09:59:30 / 12

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