|Birth name||Victor Dzantemirovich Zangiev|
May 26, 1962|
Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union
|Professional wrestling career|
|Billed height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Billed weight||247 lb (112 kg)|
|Billed from||Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, U.S.S.R.|
Victor Dzantemirovich Zangiev (Russian: Виктор Дзантемирович Зангиев, Ossetian: Зæнджиаты Дзантемиры фырт Виктор; born May 26, 1962) is a retired Soviet and Russian amateur and professional wrestler of Ossetian origin, who wrestled professionally in Japan. He is the namesake of the character Zangief in the Street Fighter video games.
Amateur wrestling career
Victor Zangiev was an amateur wrestler from the Soviet Union. In 1981, he reversed the first seat in the 100 kg class for the Junior World Championships in freestyle wrestling. In 1985, he won two major amateur wrestling titles, the U.S.-Soviet Cup Championships and the World Cup Championships. In 1988, Zangiev won the Soviet Championships.
Professional wrestling career
New Japan Pro Wrestling (1989–1990)
In 1989, Zangiev, along with several other amateurs, were invited by Antonio Inoki to train in his dojo and wrestle professionally in his promotion, New Japan Pro Wrestling. Debuting on February 22 at Sumo Hall, Zangiev wrestled two exhibition matches, first against Salman Hashimikov (which ended in a time-limit draw), then against Osamu Matsuda, whom he defeated. In April 1989, he participated in a tournament to determine the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion at New Japan's first show at the Tokyo Dome; he defeated Buzz Sawyer in the quarterfinals, but lost to Shinya Hashimoto in the semifinals. Zangiev would continue wrestling in the mid-card, before leaving at the tail end of 1990.
Before their departure, he and Hashimikov were chosen to represent the Soviet Union for the Pat O'Connor International Tag Team Tournament at Starrcade '90: Collision Course for World Championship Wrestling; they defeated the Canadian team of Danny Johnson and Troy Montour in the quarterfinals, but lost to Masa Saito and The Great Muta in the semifinals.
UWF International (1994)
In April 1994, Zangiev returned to Japan, this time with the shoot-style UWF International. Like in NJPW, he didn't compete for championships, he mainly wrestled in mid-card single and tag team matches. In October 1994, he left UWFi and retired from professional wrestling.
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #71 of the best 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1991