Koloff in November 2011
August 25, 1942 |
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Resides||Winterville, North Carolina|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Ivan Koloff
|Billed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Billed weight||298 lb (135 kg)|
|Billed from||Moscow, Russia|
|Trained by||Jack Wentworth
Perras was raised on a dairy farm in rural Ontario along with his six brothers and three sisters.
Since first watching professional wrestling on TV at the age of eight, he wanted to become a wrestler, and would often wrestle with his brothers growing up. At age 18, he left high school and joined Jack Wentworth's wrestling school in Hamilton, Ontario, where he would lift weights and learn wrestling holds. Ivan stood 5' 7 1/2" tall, and weighed approximately 270 pounds. Towards the end of his career he dropped a considerable amount of weight and was tipping the scale at 205 pounds.
Professional wrestling career
Perras debuted as an Irish rogue heel character named Red McNulty, billed from Dublin, Ireland and wrestling with an eyepatch. For the next three years, he wrestled around the Toronto area, eventually quitting his regular job to wrestle in the north-western area of Canada. There, Perras acquired much wrestling experience, and from there he made his first trip to Japan.
The Russian Bear
In 1967, Perras became "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff, a bearded villainous character billed from the Ukraine, and debuted with the International Wrestling Association in Montreal, Québec. He defeated Johnny Rougeau for the IWA International Heavyweight Title the following year. Ivan Koloff debuted in the World Wide Wrestling Federation in 1970, managed by Capt. Lou Albano. He soon started a feud with then-WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino. On January 18, 1971, "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff defeated Sammartino in Madison Square Garden for the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship by pinfall after a kneedrop from the top rope, ending Sammartino's seven and two-third years reign on top. Koloff lost the title only 21 days later to Pedro Morales, essentially being used as a "transitional" champion (as he was used to move the title from Sammartino to Morales without having the two faces work against each other), much like Stan Stasiak and the Iron Sheik would be in later years. After the loss, Koloff remained a contender for the title, but never reclaimed it, and left the WWWF in 1972.
During his time in the WWWF, Ivan Koloff wrestled WWWF title matches against Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Superstar Billy Graham and Bob Backlund, holding the distinction, with fellow villain Stan Stasiak, as one of only two men to challenge all four of these popular champions. Koloff would also be the first opponent to ever challenge for the WWWF title in a cage match in a rematch loss against Bruno Sammartino.
During the 1970s and 80s, Koloff found success in the NWA, winning many regional tag and singles titles in the Georgia, Florida, and Mid-Atlantic territories. In February 1981, he teamed with Ray Stevens to defeat Paul Jones and Masked Superstar to capture the NWA World Tag Team Championship. This would be the first of his four reigns as a World Tag Team champion, later winning the belts with Don Kernodle and twice with his "nephew" (kayfabe), Nikita Koloff as The Russians.
The Russians (which also included Krusher Kruschev) were a top heel stable from 1984 to 1986, and Nikita, under Perras' training and mentoring, and by association, became a hated heel in his own right, and would go on to have a successful singles career of his own. After Nikita turned face on Ivan to join their enemy Dusty Rhodes in 1986, Ivan teamed with Vladimir Petrov and Dick Murdoch to get revenge. Ivan Koloff's biggest NWA feuds were against Rhodes, The Road Warriors, The Rock 'n' Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) and Magnum T.A..
Koloff spent time in Paul Jones' stable, the Paul Jones Army in 1988, where he was a "coach" of sorts for The Powers of Pain, The Barbarian and The Warlord. He later split with Jones, reunited with Nikita, and feuded with Jones' team, the Russian Assassins, before leaving Jim Crockett Promotions in January 1989. He also spent time in Eastern Championship Wrestling, appearing on the very first ECW card in 1992. In 1992, Koloff also wrestled in the first television main event of Jim Cornette's Smoky Mountain Wrestling, beating Bobby Fulton.
Currently, Perras lives in Winterville, North Carolina with his wife, Renae and has four adult children. He remains active in various charities. He has written a book, titled Is That Wrestling Fake? The Bear Facts. Perras became a born again Christian in 1995. He travels to churches to share his testimony, and is an ordained minister. Koloff spoke openly and candidly of his conversion to Christianity and struggles with alcohol and drugs and the crazy days of wrestling in the recent book, "Life in the Trenches." 
- Finishing moves
Championships and accomplishments
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- Coastal Real Extreme Wrestling
- CREW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Georgia Championship Wrestling
- Great Lakes Wrestling Association
- GLWA United States Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- International Wrestling Alliance
- IWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with "Mad Dog" Maurice Vachon
- International Wrestling Association (Montreal)
- IWA International Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Masterz of Mayhem
- MoM USWA North American Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling / Jim Crockett Promotions
- NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship (4 times)
- NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Don Kernodle
- NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Championship (2 times)
- NWA Television Championship (3 times)
- NWA United States Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Krusher Khruschev (1), Dick Murdoch (1)
- NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Nikita Koloff and Krusher Khruschev (Baron Von Raschke with Krusher injured) (1), The Barbarian and The Warlord (1)
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (Mid-Atlantic version) (5 times) – with Nikita Koloff (1), Nikita Koloff and Krusher Khruschev (1), Ray Stevens (1), Don Kernodle (1), and Manny Fernandez (1) (substituting for Rick Rude who had left for the WWE(F)
- Virginia Wrestling Association
- VWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Western Ohio Wrestling
- WOW International Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
Koloff is featured in:
- Solomon, Brian (2006). WWE Legends. Pocket Books. pp. 155–158. ISBN 978-0-7434-9033-7.
- "Ivan Koloff's profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2011-05-01.
- Mooneyham, Mike (2007-06-10). "'Evil Russian' softens, looks back on career". The Post and Courier. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
- Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
- "Finishing Moves List". Other Arena. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- Matt Mackinder (January 17, 2008). "Sir Oliver Humperdink recalls career of yesteryear". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- "House of Humperdink". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "Lawler, McMahon, Road Warriors among PWHF Class of 2011". Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. 2010-11-26. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
- Southern Championship Wrestling (2002). "SCW Hall of Fame". SCW Superstars. SCWprowrestling.com. Archived from the original on October 5, 2002. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
- Wrestling With God by Chad Bonham, 2001, ISBN 1-58919-935-9, pp. 179–197.
- IvanKoloff.com (Official Website)
- Ivan Koloff's profile on WWE.com
- Profile at OWW
- "Is That Wrestling Fake? The Bear Facts" by Ivan Koloff and Scott Teal