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Go to colof.net to get registered today. Set for one flaw. Introducing first, from Lithuania, he weighs 123 kilos, the Russian nightmare, Nikita Kolov. Welcome to another episode Q&A with Kolov, the Devil's Nightmare. Today, today, today from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
I've got Chad Bonham. Chad, welcome to the Q&A show with with Kolov. Hey Nikita, it's great to be with you.
Thanks for having me. Well, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. So tell our listeners, you and I met, we figured out, I guess, well over 20 years ago that you and I met, but tell our listeners, take a minute and tell them who Chad Bonham is out in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
Sure, yeah. So I grew up in Oklahoma on the western side of the state. Actually, my parents were in ministry, and so I kind of grew up as a PK. And we moved to Houston for a year, came back, ended up in the Tulsa area in this town called Broken Arrow. And from there, I just kind of grew up in music and creative arts and learned early on in middle school, junior high, that I had a talent for writing, but didn't really get serious about it until college, started writing for the newspaper there. Thought I was going to get involved in some other things, in athletics and in publicity and public relations, but the Lord had something different for me, and eventually I was able to do a lot more writing for some Christian publications. And then in 2000, I wrote an article for New Man magazine. It was a cover story about seeing the wrestler's conversion story. And then a year later, I did another article for New Man about how there was a revival kind of going on in wrestling.
A lot of wrestlers were getting saved. And that led to my first book, Wrestling with God, and that's what led me to Nikita. He was one of ten guys that I interviewed for that book, where we just were able to tell the testimony stories of guys like Sting and Ted DiBiase and Tatanka, Ivan Koloff, B. Brian Blair, Tully Blanchard, among others. And so that launched a long writing career. I've now written over 40 books, either as the writer or the co-writer. I've worked with a fellowship of Christian athletes for the last 20 years. And then more recently, in the last 15 years, I've been blessed to get involved in some film production and documentaries, and I've written a couple of screenplays that are being kind of pitched out there to the filmmaking world. I did a film in 2020 called Divided Hearts of America, a pro-life film with Benjamin Watson from the NFL, and just got a lot of things in the fire right now, and that's pretty much how you exist and how you make it in the creative media world.
And you just have to hustle and just trust God for the rest. So that is, wow, how did I do that? I just told a lot of information in about three minutes.
I'm not sure how I did that, but I'm kind of impressed. Yeah, that was very, very impressive, Chad. And of course, we met through that book, Wrestling with God. It was one of the 10 stories, and I want to encourage people to go over to the Man Up show and listen to Chad's full interview. You will be blessed to hear some more of his story, and even about that book, Wrestling with God, and his wrestling interest in pro wrestling that kind of led to all of that. And, wow, I mean, over 40 book projects and, of course, film, and you are doing a lot, but you're making a difference.
You're making an impact. Let me ask you this. You mentioned PK of sorts, so grew up in, it sounds like, in a Christian home. At what point, Chad, did Jesus become real in your life?
That's a really great question. Probably, you know, I mean, I remember early on, probably was seven, six, seven years old when I woke up from a nightmare, you know, and kind of was, you know, had heard a lot of messages about, you know, heaven and hell, and really impacted me. My mom came in, and we prayed.
I prayed this, you know, prayer to receive Christ. But, I mean, I would say it was definitely, you know, one of those things as a kid, you kind of tuck away. You just move on with your little childhood-type life. And I would say, probably for me, I had to get a lot more serious about my faith when I went to college, and when I started to become challenged a lot by some things that were different than what, you know, I believed. I think it's once you kind of step out as a young adult, at least that was it for me, you know, I had to. And then, of course, you know, once you start to struggle in life, and with your career, or aren't sure who you're going to marry, and all these big questions come, and you have to back up a little bit and ask yourself, well, why, you know, why am I even doing this? And I think that I always believe, I never didn't really, I can't say there was a time I didn't love the Lord, didn't love Jesus, but I think it was probably, you know, in that early stage, college, and the first couple years out of college, that I think I really started to get super serious about making my faith my own. Embrace your faith. Yeah, you just said the key word, making it your own, because what comes to mind is you're telling your story, you know, a lot of times, especially if you're raised up in a Christian home, you know, you can kind of ride the coattails of your parents, right? And even if they're, you know, yours were in ministry, but even if they weren't in ministry, you know, maybe they have you in school, or say in church, you know, every Sunday, or whenever the doors are open.
But at some point, yeah, for our listeners out there, at some point, you have to take ownership of your own faith and come to that ultimate decision for yourself. Well, that's a great story, and I appreciate you sharing that part of it. Now, you have a family. Just take a minute and tell us about your bride and your children.
Sure. Yeah, I got married a little later in life, I guess. I was, you know, almost a couple weeks away from turning 29, and my wife and I had met years earlier through kind of being in the same church denomination. She was from the Oklahoma City area.
I was up in the Tulsa area, but we would meet up at different, you know, events and sorts of things, you know, throughout the year, and we'll go to a youth camp together and that sort of thing. So we got married, and she was a school teacher at the time, was working on her master's, and she is now not teaching anymore. She did some ministry work.
She now actually has a nonprofit called A Special Purpose, which is for helping families who care for special needs kids, helping them with resources and encouragement and respite care. And then we have, you know, had three kids along the way, three boys. It's the opposite of you. I know you made all girls. We couldn't figure out how to do that, so we were only able to make boys. And they're 19, 15, and 12, and our 15-year-old son, Cole, he's on the autism spectrum, and that's a part of our story as well, and that's why we are involved in trying to help special needs families. So that is kind of our story in a nutshell.
Yeah. What's your wife's name? Amy. My wife's name is Amy. I've got Lance, Cole, and Quinn are my boys, and I love still having them in the house.
Our 19-year-old's probably not going to be here at some point in the near future, so we're just enjoying that while we can. Wow. And is there a website for your wife's nonprofit? Yes. It's aspecialpurpose.org.
Yeah, you can find out all about it. She's doing some great work. specialpurpose.org. Training churches, how to better care for kids, doing respite care for families that just need a break because it's really tough on a lot of families that deal with 24-7 needs of their children. So it's our personal story, and so we're really passionate about it.
Yeah, a lot of special needs out there. Well, I appreciate you sharing that part of your story as well. Hey, just a little side note here. In June, actually, Father's Day weekend, we have a huge men's conference centered around fathers and sons. So it's interesting you have three sons, and we're actually going to do a special workshop that weekend. Some might call it a rite of passage to really solidify those father-son relationships. And I've been encouraging guys as well, even if they're a granddad or they have a grandson.
And so you're listening out there, go to coloff.net and click the link for that Father's Day weekend man up conference, a champions summit. So Chad, let's transition. Let's segue here to your questions for me. It is Q&A with Koloff, after all. So fire your first question away. Alright, okay.
So having written that book, there's a lot of things that I probably asked about back then, but some things maybe I didn't. And one of the things that I always was wondering about when I was growing up, I wasn't thinking a lot about how wrestlers came up with their personas and their different, you know, promos and all those things. But at some point, you know, you had to make the decision, we're going to roll with this for the first time, right? I'm going out there as the Russian nightmare for the first time, and it's not like you can practice it. I mean, you obviously practice it, but what happens? Like, you have to just, I was always curious about when you go out there for the first time, how much of what the reaction is going to be and how well it goes is going to dictate whether you're going to stick with this thing or not. Does that make sense?
I hope that's a good question, but what is the mindset when you go out there for the first time and now you are this thing that you hope really takes off and does well for a long time, for years to come? So I didn't, you know, Don Crenodle and Ivan Koloff, well, really Don Crenodle, Sergeant Slaughter, came up with the original idea of a nephew for Ivan Koloff, and they wanted to, you know, want to extend his career, and so they came up with this idea to find a nephew for Ivan Koloff. And there was a whole storyline that Sarge and Ivan wrote out, or excuse me, Sarge and Don wrote out and presented to the promoter Jim Crockett. He liked the idea and thought, well, if you can find the guy, and then Don Crenodle approaches Road Warrior Animal and says, hey, do you know any big guys who wouldn't mind shaving their head becoming a Russian? Animal makes a phone call to me, I make a five-minute phone call to Jim Crockett Jr., and I show up the day, he says to be in his office, stepped out, took a risk, drove to a city I'd never been with everything I owned to my name, which wasn't much, and that was it. He introduced me to two guys, Ivan Koloff, Don Crenodle, the World Tag Team Champions, and did we know it was going to work on day one?
No, we didn't, but looking back, I got to think Crockett, when he saw this 285-pound behemoth walk in through his doors, all muscle-bound, the dollar signs were ringing through his eyes, if he thought I could work at all. You're listening to the Truth Network and truthnetwork.com. I am excited. Did you hear the huge announcement, the big announcement?
Well, maybe it's a minor announcement. Anyway, Facebook, go look up my new fan page, Nikita Koloff Fans, and like it and follow today. If you would like to support Koloff for Christ Ministries, for a gift of $25, Nikita will send you his two CDs, Adoration and Declaration. For a gift of $50, Nikita will include his book, Wrestling with Success, and for a gift of $100 or more, Nikita will include a signed copy of his newly updated life story, A Tale of the Ring and Redemption.
Go to www.koloff.net and donate today. You're listening to the Truth Network and truthnetwork.com. And many know this story. A lot of people don't know this story. That's where Nikita, A Tale of the Ring and Redemption, come in and give the full story, but I'm giving a cliff note version of it. But, you know, they put me in an interview set, and part of the story is you don't speak any English. I'm like, all right, well, you know, take your shirt off, put chains around his neck, look mean. So we did that for hours of interviews, and then the next night in Raleigh, North Carolina, with no experience whatsoever, they say you're going to wrestle on television, and Don showed me a couple basic things in the dressing room, believe it or not. And so I went to the ring with no experience, no training, no background in front of a sold-out crowd, hoping, as you asked the question, that this character might get over. And really, the crux of that story is I was, by laws of association, they hated me right out of the gate. They didn't even know me from Adam, but they hated me right out of the gate because I was associated with Ivan Koloff and Don Curnodle, right, the Russian and the American sympathizer turncoat, right? And so even though they didn't know me, they hated me from day one, and so Jim Crockett saw that, and it got over in 11 seconds, my first win in professional wrestling, and then I just developed the persona, Chad, from there over the next, really about the next six months, not speaking any English anywhere in public and just destroying someone week after week on television and night after night in the ring in a house show, and that's how it got over. And fast forward 13 months later, I'm the World Tag Team Champion, World Six-Man Champion, and I'm wrestling the Nature Boy Ric Flair for the World Heavyweight Championship at the first Great American Bash. So we didn't know, but it got over. So great question. You had the advantage, though, of not, yeah, but you had the advantage of being new, right? That's probably not as easy for somebody who comes in who's maybe wrestled a little bit more and is known, and they're going to change to a new character, right? Is that fair to say?
Well, yes and no. I mean, in those days, there were territories, right? So you could actually bounce around to 20 different territories and change your character. You know, there wasn't cable television.
There was just local TV. So you could come into a new territory in the Mid-South where you lived or Texas with the Von Erichs and repurpose yourself or repackage yourself all over again. And fans really pretty much wouldn't know.
It's much different than the product today with AEW and WWE and cable and pay-per-view and all that. Very much more limited when it comes to repackaging yourself. But that's a great question. Question number two. Okay, I'm going to fast-forward to the end of your career. I'm curious, what were some of the challenges you faced when you decided, you're obviously, I don't know, you have to fill the blanks in on this in terms of how long it was between your retirement and getting into ministry. But what kind of challenges did you face getting into ministry? In my mind, I'm thinking, well, you know, were people going to take this former pro wrestler serious?
You know, did people still think that you were Russian? I don't know. What kind of challenges did you face early on in your ministry life and how did you overcome those things?
That's a great question. And because I didn't just dive into ministry immediately and nor did, you know, unlike yourself, you've shared that, you know, you're a PK, right? You're kind of a preacher's kid, grew up in ministry, around ministry, grew up in church.
I didn't, nor did I grow up in Russia. If you hadn't figured that out yet, didn't grow up, grew up in Minnesota, that's where you got to get a tale of the ring of redemption to get the whole story. Go buy that book, go to coloft.net and buy that book.
And it'll be autographed personally by me. But that said, just a shameless plug right there for the book. That said, that said, it was about 11 months after I made the decision to walk away from wrestling under my own terms.
You know, it's just something that's there's more to that story, but just to condense the story and the answer to your question. 11 months after leaving wrestling, I found myself at an altar, 17 October 1993, surrendering my life to Christ. And I didn't just dive right into ministry, going out and preaching and doing camps and conferences and crusades and revivals. I spent about five years there and was really what the Bible would call, I was discipled, kind of the great commission, right? Go out and disciple, you know, all the nations. I was discipled and by an evangelist from South Africa, as well as my pastor from my church who's still my pastor today, Jay Stewart, still my pastor.
Almost 30 years later, we meet on a monthly basis and still discipled by him. And I went out and did some projects. I went out and we helped build a church in Trinidad, helped build a Bible school on the sister island of Tobago.
And then made my first trip to Africa, Angola, Africa for three weeks to help build a church over there. And then slowly doors began to open for me to be able to share my faith and share my story and share my testimony. And all that to say, people were a bit, let's just say, skeptical, right?
There's been many times I've had people come, especially not to pick on older women, but to some of the more seasoned women in the church that came to me after the fact, after a service. And like, I thought, well, what can this wrestler say to me? Now, they didn't necessarily sound like that, but just for the highlight of the story. And then, but they said, you know, I have to apologize to you because I thought, you know, what's this wrestler going to say about Jesus? But fortunately God has gifted me with the ability to deliver a message at the core of who I am and Kolah for Christ Ministries is evangelism, salvation. And so I have literally to date been able to witness tens, at this point really, tens of thousands of people make a decision for Jesus.
And so it took a while for them to really embrace. And the last part of that story, let me just say this real quick. The last part of that story, that evangelist from South Africa said this, and I'll never forget. He said, right now, they're going to want the wrestler Nikita Kolah, because you're known for that. If you want to say, quote, famous for that. But there will come a point in time where churches will reach out, pastors will reach out, not because of the wrestler Nikita Kolah, but because of the evangelist Nikita Kolah.
And he said that to me in 1995, and I can tell you all these years later, I have seen that come to fruition, the fulfillment of if you want to say that prophetic word. So that's a great question. Yeah, thank you. All right. We got time for one more question, Chad, if you have one more for me. Yes, I do.
I do. And this kind of brings us more to kind of today. And it's kind of more of a philosophical question. You know, back whenever I was doing all the writing with Wrestling with God, there was a revival kind of going on. Maybe this is too big of a word for it, but there was a lot of people coming to Christ.
And then I even continued a little later on. You had Shawn Michaels and some other guys after that, obviously. But I don't know what caused that, you know, like what was going on in the scene that kind of created the momentum for that. But do you see, like what is it going to take, what would it take for something like that to happen today? You know, you see kind of what's going on with the current pro wrestling scene.
But what would it take today for something like that to happen and recreate itself from what was happening 15, 20 years ago? Well, let me first, let me address the first part of the question. And that is what was going on. There was a ministry out of Phoenix, Arizona, called AIM, Athletes International Ministries. And Larry Karachuk was the, had the vision for this ministry. And in fact, I've had him on the Man Up show, actually did a three-part series with Larry Karachuk.
Go back into the podcast archives and look up some of the most fascinating stories you'll hear about some of the greatest athletes you've ever heard of. Deion Sanders and David Robinson and Coach McCartney and so many others that were a part of that ministry. And myself and Ted DiBiase, Ted was the first one to meet Larry and go to this conference. And then he invited me and then from there I invited Sting. I rode where Hawk and Animal, Hawk gets saved at that conference. We had so many guys, the big boss man, Ray Traylor came. I mean, George The Animal Steel, Greg Valentine, Shawn Michaels, Sting. I mean, so many guys became a part of that conference. And one after one after one, maybe either got saved out there at the conference or invited some wrestlers who didn't know the Lord, Luna Vachon, the woman wrestler. Luna Vachon came out and her life was impacted out there. So many. So that's, I think, had a lot to do with the momentum of the revival of sorts as you made reference to inside the world of wrestling.
Credit goes to Larry Karachuk and the AIM Ministry out there in Phoenix, Arizona. And to the second part of your question, what could be, how could you replicate that or duplicate that? I don't know, Chad. I don't know that you can. You know, it seems like God does something different all the time.
So I don't know if that could be replicated or not. We do our best, myself, Tully Blanchard and so many others, you know, just to be salt and light to the wrestling world. You know, Sting is with AEW and he is a light to that dark, dark world. There are guys like AJ Styles over in WWE who is a Christ follower and a believer.
Some are more outspoken with their faith while others are more reserved with it. But let's keep that in prayer, Chad, and for all you out there in Listening Land, you know, you're a Christ follower, you're a believer. Let's believe, you know, whether another revival within the world of wrestling, or Chad, I'm going to summarize and say a revival in America. We certainly could use a revival within the world of wrestling, but we need an awakening in America. So let's just pray for that in Jesus' name.
Amen to that. Well, Chad Bonham, let me say this for those of you curious, go Google Chad Bonham. Chad, spell your last name for him so I don't butcher it. B-O-N-H-A-M and I am the Chad Bonham from the United States, not the Chad Bonham from England.
There's apparently a Chad Bonham in England. I didn't know there was another one of me. So don't get confused. I'm the one that does the writing and the film stuff. There you go. The way you'll know the difference. Well, supposedly, you know, there's an old adage that everybody has a twin somewhere in the world.
So I don't know, maybe that's true. But anyway, great to have you on Q&A with Koloff today and thank all of you out there in Listening Land each and every week. Man, you're so faithful to tune in and, you know, help us out. Spread the word on this Q&A show, on the Man Up show. Spread the word to family and friends and help get the word out. Encourage people to download, subscribe, go to the Truth Radio app, or just go to your app store and download the show.
Let's get it out there to 100 plus countries. And Chad, appreciate you being on the show today. Thanks, Nikita.
I really enjoyed it. All right, well, God bless you and your family. Keep up the good work. And all of you out there in Listening Land, have an amazing day. This podcast is made possible by the grace of God and your faithful prayers, support, and generous gifts. May God bless you for your continual contributions. Go to koloff.net and donate today.
Hi, Nikita Koloff. Be sure to check out the Man Up show, now available on television, broadcast, and podcast. Go to MorningStarTV.com or the Truth Radio Network. Check out your local listings or better yet, download the Truth Network app today. If you are enjoying Q&A with Koloff, would you help us spread the word?
Tell your family, tell your friends, tell your neighbors to download, subscribe, and leave a comment. Hi, Nikita Koloff and I am excited to announce that I will be hosting my first ever Holy Land Tour. That's right, a trip to the Holy Land with the Russian nightmare. And I'm extending a personal invitation to you. Join me December 27, 2023 to January 5, 2024 for a once in a lifetime trip. Go to NikitaKoloff.com and get registered today for the Holy Land Tour. Nikita Koloff here. If you're needing to buy a car and have marginal credit and considering using buy here, pay here, that's worse than taking the Russian sickle. Winston-Salem motorcars will put you behind the wheel of a car you can rely on while helping rebuild, repair, or establish your credit score. Conveniently located on Silas Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem, be sure to check them out today at wsmcthenumberone.com because you are number one.
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