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‘The Russian Bear’ Ivan Koloff Dead at 74

Jack Evans

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‘The Russian Bear’ Ivan Koloff Dead at 74

It’s been a very sad week for wrestling fans this week – the death of ‘The Russian Bear’ Ivan Koloff marks the fourth former WWE pro-wrestler and wrestling legend to pass away this week alone.

Ivan Koloff was a huge WWE (or at the time rather WWWF) superstar, and even managed to do something nobody saw coming at the time – beat Bruno Sammartino (who had just held the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship for nearly 8 freaking years!) 



These two squared off in New York City and the legendary Madison Square Garden arena. Below is Bruno Sammartino vs. Ivan Koloff in its entirety, as well as other various highlights from ‘the Russian Bears’ legendary career.

[td_block_video_youtube playlist_title=”Highlights from ‘the Russian Bear’ Ivan Koloff’s’ Career” playlist_yt=”DmV0ez6kA38, uE-uPj41sec, Ggk5ZQU1_hk, w20zsMoBU8w” tdc_css=””]

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Wrestling

A New Women’s Champion Crowned

Chris Parker

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A New Women’s Champion Crowned

 

NXT has a new women’s champion, and her name is Ember Moon. After hitting a double finisher on both Peyton Royce and Nikki Cross, Moon pinned Cross, meaning the vacant title now has a holder.

Going into the match, Moon was a favorite, though not by much. The now-champion had a series of classics with former champ Asuka, leaving many to believe she was on the cusp of reigning supreme in one of the most exciting divisions in the WWE. Yet, many fans could make a case for any woman involved.

Kairi Sane just came off a fantastic run during the Mae Young Classic, and considering the success of her fellow Japanese superstar, Asuka, the WWE could have easily placed her in a similar position. While she didn’t come out victorious, the fact that she wasn’t involved in the finish at all probably bodes well for the Pirate Princess. Along with Sane, both Royce and Cross have been on the rise since their debuts, and in reality, could sit atop the division at some point in the near future.

Regardless of who fans were rooting for, it will be hard to top the high octane action that was the Women’s championship Fatal 4-way. In a fast-paced back and forth match, it looked like it could be over multiple times. Fans were treated to arguably the best elbow drop in the wrestling business by Sane, along with some of Cross’ patented unhinged offense. But for now, the Houston native Moon is the woman to beat, and to truly signify this passing of the torch in the NXT women’s division, her longtime rival Asuka met her in-ring to congratulate her.

Normally, in WWE’s developmental territory, a championship win means the company intends to call up said superstar at some point, so it will be interesting to see how long Moon’s title reign is. The Superstar shake-up last year gutted the women’s division in NXT, but this match really solidified the division again. Hopefully, for selfish reasons, we don’t see too many NXT call-ups and are treated to a variety of fresh championship matchups throughout the year.

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Wrestling

Almas Defeats McIntyre For Championship

Chris Parker

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Almas Defeats McIntyre For Championship

 

In a surprising turn of events, we now have a new NXT Champion—Andrade “Cien” Almas. Going into the title match, many fans believed the now former champion Drew McIntyre was the odds-on favorite to go home with the strap, but as we found out, anything can happen in WWE.

Though it’s hard to believe after his initial run in WWE, McIntyre has become one of the most exciting names in wrestling. After his release, the former 3MB member found his way to TNA and really hit his stride. He then left the company and plied his trade on the indies, and is partly responsible for the white-hot scene in the UK. Weirdly enough, he found his way back to WWE, and was considered the biggest acquisition NXT could get at the time. As is tradition with big stars coming to WWE’s developmental territory, McIntyre was rocketed to the top of the promotion, eventually becoming the promotion’s champion.

Almas, on the other hand, was kind of the opposite. The star was one of the biggest names in Mexico and Japan as the masked Luchador La Sombra, but once he made his way to WWE, his mask was gone and the Mexican star had to start from scratch. He struggled to gain footing for a long time, but once he was paired with his manager Zelina Vega, everything clicked.

It seems like everything is going well for Almas now as he’s on top of what many consider the hottest promotion in wrestling, and he did so on one of the biggest possible stages in Houston. He left nothing on the table either, as Almas’ athletic style was on full display, even pulling off an insane aerial maneuver to the outside of the ring.

What this means for McIntyre is a mystery, however. History suggests that the Scottish superstar is main roster bound, but that might not be the case. Both Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura were kept in NXT after their title losses, but at that point, the promotion needed some star power as the Superstar shakeup left NXT relatively barren of recognizable talent

Regardless, TakeOver: WarGames continues to be a historic night for both WWE and NXT, and a surprise championship win is just the cherry on top of what would be an otherwise memorable night anyway.

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Sports

Goldberg comments on his WWE 24 Documentary

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Goldberg comments on his WWE 24 Documentary – The Riot Housewives

 

Bill Goldberg tweeted the following in response to his new WWE 24 special that premiered on the WWE Network last night:

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