Crowbar Press

Is That Wrestling Fake?

Is That Wrestling Fake?


Kindle edition: 234 pages

Publisher: Crowbar Press

Item #: cbp04-ik-kindle

Price: $9.99

"Is That Wrestling Fake?"
Get information about
the print edition

"Is That Wrestling Fake?" by Ivan Koloff with Scott Teal

"Is That Wrestling Fake?"
Get information about the print edition HERE.

Synopsis  |  Excerpts  |  Chapter Titles  |  Index  |  Reviews  |  Media Appearances  |  Crowbar Press

Excerpt from "Is That Wrestling Fake?"  The Bear Facts
Copyright © Ivan Koloff and Scott Teal
  I got mad one night when Dusty told us, "Nikita needs to get pinned tonight."
  I thought that was the worst thing they could do.  "Just a minute," I said.  "If we need to lose tonight, then pin me.  Don’t beat Nikita, because down the road, it will mean more if he’s unbeaten."
  I was smart enough to know that after spending twenty years in the business, I could get the job done both in the ring and on interviews, so it wouldn’t hurt me to lose.  If they beat Nikita when he was still relatively inexperienced, it would kill him.  His mystique was that of a monster Russian who couldn’t be beaten.  We would get a lot more mileage out of the Koloff team if we waited to beat him when he was over more.

For decades, professional wrestling fans have asked the question – "Is that wrestling fake?"

However, they wouldn't have dared ask that question directly to Ivan Koloff, whose work in the ring made believers out of the most cynical viewers.

Growing up on a farm in Ontario, Ivan learned the meaning of hard work and discipline.  Unfortunately, he made wrong choices and wound up in prison for cattle rustling.  Upon his release, he enrolled in a wrestling school and began a career in pro wrestling as Red McNulty, the Irish Rogue.

Five years later, on January 18, 1971, he appeared in Madison Square Garden under the name Ivan Koloff and did what had never been done before.  He pinned Bruno Sammartino's shoulders to the mat and won the WWWF heavyweight title.  When the referee called for the bell, you could have heard a pin drop as the more than 21,000 screaming fans were instantly moved to a stunned, disbelieving silence.

That accomplishment made Ivan Koloff one of wrestling's biggest superstars until his retirement from the ring in the mid-1990s.  Competing in virtually every major promotion throughout the world, he feuded with every top name in the wrestling business, including Andre the Giant, Ric Flair, Dick the Bruiser, Bob Backlund, Billy Robinson, Dusty Rhodes, and Ivan Putski.

Here for the first time, Ivan tells the story of his life: the highs and the lows; his admission of alcohol and drug abuse; reflections of a life spent on the road, and the toll it took on his body and soul; the event in Kannapolis, North Carolina, that changed his life forever.

Ivan also talks about:
•  growing up on a farm in Canada
•  going to prison for cattle rustling
•  learning to wrestle at Jack Wentworth’s school in Hamilton, Ontario
•  getting blood for the first time
•  wrestling as Red McNulty, the (one-eyed) Irish Rogue
•  wrestling Bruno Sammartino (Ivan’s hero) for the first time
•  working as a Union steward at a steel company
•  becoming a full-time professional wrestler
•  working in preliminaries and doing job for two years
•  working as a bouncer in Vancouver with Dale Hey (the future Buddy Roberts)
•  going to Montreal as a main event wrestler
•  Tony Angelo, his first manager
•  how Lou Albano paved the way for his first run in New York
•  dealing with Vince McMahon Sr. and what he thinks of him as a businessman
•  his tour of Australia with Playboy Gary Hart and King Curtis
•  who, how, and when he was approached about winning the WWWF title from Bruno Sammartino (and you won’t believe who the New York office sent to talk to him about it)
•  how the New York wrestling office double-crossed Ivan after he won the title.
•  his first tour of Japan
•  working for Verne Gagne in the AWA
•  teaming with Superstar Billy Graham
•  wrestling a young Ric Flair
•  getting into a fight with Buck Ramstead in Japan
•  how wrestlers used alcohol and drugs to deal with their injuries and physical problems.
•  the part steroids played in the careers of many of his peers.
•  acting as referee for a fight in the dressing room between Don Jardine and Wahoo McDaniel
•  being blackballed for wrestling for the International Wrestling Alliance
•  attempting to promote wrestling in California with Superstar Billy Graham
•  trying to find work with promoters who didn’t agree with the policies of National Wrestling Alliance promoters
•  the promoters who thumbed their nose at the NWA and booked him
•  his opinion of Ole Anderson as the booker for Georgia Championship Wrestling
•  his time in the ring and on the road with Mad Dog Buzz Sawyer
•  why he and Alexis Smirnoff were stopped and interviewed by the FBI
•  his fight with the Iron Sheik on an airplane
•  turning down what he thinks was a second opportunity to win the WWWF title
•  the lifestyle of a professional wrestler and the price they pay
•  being assaulted by fans with knives, bent nails, pieces of wood, chairs, and even a woman’s handbag
•  Nikita Koloff’s introduction to the business
•  why and how Nikita was turned babyface without Ivan knowing it was going to happen
•  teaming with Krusher Kruschev (Barry Darsow)
•  teaming and traveling with Dick Murdoch
•  being forced out of Jim Crockett Promotions
•  wrestling for Carlos Colon in Puerto Rico
•  operating wrestling schools with Paul Jones and Bobby Fulton
•  network marketing with Nikita
•  his conversion experience and accepting Christ as his Savior and Lord
•  his fight to beat his addictions to drugs and alcohol
•  Erica Flair, the Nature Girl
•  working for Children’s Miracle Network
•  his life today and what he’s been doing since he quit full-time wrestling

Ivan tells stories about many of the personalities he worked with, including Bill Miller, Stu Hart, Mad Dog Vachon, Ernie Ladd, Andre the Giant, Johnny Rougeau, Jacques Rougeau, Bepo Mongol (the future Nicolai Volkoff), Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Gorilla Monsoon, Freddie Blassie, Bobby Heenan, Red Bastien, Bull Bullinski, Kevin von Erich, Kerry von Erich, Mr. Fuji, Johnny Valentine, Dick the Bruiser, Roddy Piper, Mr. Saito, Ray Stevens, Stan Hansen, and Abdullah the Butcher.

This is a revealing memoir that will take you into the mind of the Russian Bear, both in and out of the ring.

A bonus is a section called "Christian Facts Guidance," which is written by Blackjack Mulligan, shared here in print form for the first time.

"Is That Wrestling Fake?"
Get information about the print edition HERE.

Chapter titles and contents
1  Scaffold Match
2  The Meanest Fighter I Ever Fought
3  Fox in the Henhouse
4  "When I was a kid ..."
5  Cattle Rustlers
6  Red McNulty, the Irish Rogue
7  The Cat in the Frying Pan
8  Speaking Russian
9  The Insurance Policy
10  Blackout
11  Blackballed
12  Motel Room Brawl
13  Missed Opportunity
14  The Daily Ritual
15  Nikita
16  The Long Walk
17  Blind, But Now, I See
18  Renae's Story
19  A Tribute to My Friends
20  Me-Ma and Pa-Pa
Bonus Section — Christian Facts Guidance by Blackjack Mulligan

"Is That Wrestling Fake?"
Get information about the print edition

Subject index
Adonis, Adrian, 124-125
Albano, Captain Lou, 8, 75-77, 161, 177
Allen, Ted, 116
Altomare, Tony, 75
American Wrestling Alliance, 89
Anderson, Ole, 82, 96, 116-118, 123, 127-128, 130, 138, 142, 176
Anderson, Randy “Pee Wee”, 137
Anderson, Gene, 96
Anderson, Lars, 94-95
Angelo, Tony, 65, 67, 76
Animal, Road Warrior, 140, 166, 177
Anoai, Sika, 135
Anoai, Afa, 135
Apollo, Argentine, 65
Atlantic Coast Wrestling, 152
Atlas, Tony, 176
Baba, Giant, 60, 95, 110
Backlund, Bob, 76, 124, 126, 176
Bagwell, Buff, 166
Baillargeon, Tony, 65
Barbarian, The, 166, 176
Barend, Johnny, 79
Barnett, Jim, 78-79, 82, 118
Barrett, Pat, 56
Bastien, Red, 93, 177
Beefcake, Brutus, 165
Bell, Al, 43, 155
Bence, Jack, 56
Blackwell, Crusher, 169
Blair, Brian, 122
Blake, Al, 144
Blanchard, Tully, 154, 161, 165
Blanchard, Joe, 165
Blassie, Fred, 84
Blondes, The Hollywood, 60
Boesch, Paul, 81-82, 175
Borne, Matt, 122
Bravo, Dino, 178
Brazil, Bobo, 70, 177
Brito, Gino, 65
Britton, Jack, 61, 70
Brower, Bulldog, 42, 65, 170, 177
Brown, Jerry, 60
Bruggers, Bob, 102
Bruiser, Dick the, 82, 89, 100, 109-112, 178
Brunzell, Jim, 89
Bullinski, Bull, 93, 177
Bully, Blacktop, 144
Butcher, Abdullah the, 65, 67, 117, 162-163
Calhoun, Haystack, 56
Capral, Ed, 168
Carpentier, Edouard, 65, 90
Caudle, Bob, 168
Christy, Paul, 178
Clark, Sailor, 42-44, 138, 155
Colon, Carlos, 150-151
Crockett Sr., Jim, 136, 168
Crockett, David, 168
Crockett Jr., Jim, 140, 142-144, 147, 150, 163-164
Crusher, The, 89
Curtis, King, 78
Darsow, Barry, 144
Deaton, Joel, 151
Denucci, Dominic, 161
DiBiase, Ted, 161, 165
Dillon, JJ, 142, 146
Draper, Dave, 110
Dusek, Frank, 152
Eaton, Aileen, 109
Einhorn, Eddie, 106-108
Exodus Wrestling Alliance, 166
Farmer, Woody, 56
Fenton, Rod, 56
Fernandez, Manny, 179
Ferrigno, Lou, 110
Fever, Mike, 170
Flair, Ric, 89-90, 96, 101-103, 113, 117, 130, 134, 146, 166-167, 170, 172, 175
Foti, John, 53
Freebirds, The Fabulous, 60
Froelich, Eric, 56
Fuji, Mr., 102, 124-125, 179
Fulton, Bobby, 151-153, 178
Gagne, Verne, 67, 70, 82, 89-90, 99, 100, 178
Garvin, Ronnie, 90, 136, 176
Geohagen, Timothy, 56
Giant, Andre the, 67-68, 177
Gibson, Robert, 176
Gordy, Terry, 60
Gouldie, Archie, 108
Goulet, Rene, 56, 70
Graham, Mike, 170
Graham, Superstar Billy, 89, 96-99, 102, 108-110, 177
Graham, Eddie, 82, 90, 103, 112, 178
Gulas, Nick, 108
Hansen, Stan, 121, 123, 175
Hanson, Swede, 144
Hart, Stu, 61-62
Hart, Playboy Gary, 78-79, 179
Hawk, Road Warrior, 177
Hawk, Rip, 106, 108, 170, 178
Hayes, Michael, 60
Heenan, Bobby, 93
Hegstrand, Mike, 99
Heideman, Johnny, 113
Hennig, Curt, 99, 124
Hey, Dale, 58-62, 67, 70
Hodge, Danny, 60, 90
Hogan, Hulk, 96, 126
Igor, Mighty, 65, 106, 171-173, 177
Inoki, Antonio, 60, 95
International Wrestling Alliance, 106-108
Jacobs, Abe, 174
Jaggers, Bobby, 144, 179
Jardine, Don, 101
Johnson, Bull, 41-42, 48
Johnson, Dwayne, 57
Johnson, Rocky, 56-57, 134-135
Jonathan, Don Leo, 56-57, 60, 65
Jones, Paul, 56, 100, 106-107, 147, 151-152, 176, 179
Kabuki, The Great, 179
Kalmikoff, Karol, 42
Kalmikoff, Ivan, 42
Keirn, Steve, 112-113, 170
Kernodle, Don, 134, 136, 162, 176
King, Sonny, 170
Kiniski, Gene, 65, 177
Kobayashi, Strong, 93
Koloff, Dan, 61
Koloff, Vladimir, 151, 159
Koloff, Nikita, 140-144, 147, 149, 152-154, 156, 161, 166, 175
Koloff, Ivan (origin of name), 61
Kovacs, Sandor, 55-56
Kowalski, Stan (Big K), 92-93
Krockett, Keith, 166
Kruschev, Krusher, 144, 176
Kusatsu, Great, 93
Ladd, Ernie, 68-69, 116, 170
Lambuth, Mike, 151
Landrum, Rich, 168
Lanza, Black Jack, 89, 93
Layton, Lord Athol, 53
Lewin, Mark, 79
Ligon, Gene, 151
Long, Teddy, 137
Love Brothers, The, 106
Luger, Lex, 143, 165
Luke, Lumberjack, 59
Lyons, Billy “Red”, 41
Maivia, Peter, 57-58
Mantel, Dutch, 144
Marconi, Frank, 56
Martinez, Pedro, 106-108
Martinez, Ron, 107
Martinez, Luis, 178
Mascaras, Mil, 90, 106, 108
McClarty, Roy, 56
McDaniel, Wahoo, 45, 47, 67, 89, 97, 99-101, 113, 117, 151, 154, 159, 175
McGraw, Bugsy, 132
McGraw, Rick, 99
McKenzie, Tex, 106
McMahon Jr., Vince, 45, 84, 96, 124, 126, 161-162
McMahon Sr., Vince, 8, 48, 52, 77-78, 80-81, 83-84, 106-107, 109-110, 175
McNulty, Red, 42-43, 47, 52, 55, 58, 60, 161
Milano, Mario, 83
Miller, Bill, 51-52
Mongol, Bepo, 68
Mongol, Geto, 68
Monsoon, Gorilla, 82-83, 177
Moquin, Larry, 65
Morales, Pedro, 80, 84
Morrison, Don, 59
Morton, Ricky, 166, 176
Mosca, Angelo, 102, 177
Mosca Jr., Angelo, 179
Muchnick, Sam, 82, 112, 126
Mulkey, Randy, 170
Mulkey, Bill, 170
Mulligan, Blackjack, 89, 93, 96, 152, 166, 169-170, 173-175, 181
Muraco, Don, 114, 178
Murdoch, Dick, 89, 138, 144, 146
Patera, Ken, 89
Patterson, Pat, 178
Patterson, Thunderbolt, 106, 116, 178
Petrov, Vladimir, 144, 176
Piper, Roddy, 93, 113, 175
Poffo, Angelo, 65
Poffo, Lanny, 65
Powers, Johnny, 106, 108, 170
Powers, Sean, 153
Price, Greg, 166
Pugliese, Tony, 51-52
Putski, Ivan, 178
Race, Harley, 70, 146
Ramstead, Buck, 94
Red, Eric the, 65
Reed, Johnny, 42, 43
Regal, Steve, 47
Repo Man, 144
Rhodes, Dusty, 82, 89, 96, 117, 142-144, 147, 176
Rich, Tommy, 121, 123
Road Warriors, The, 144, 149, 152, 177
Roberts, Buddy, 58-62, 67, 70, 103
Robertson, Dewey, 41
Robinson, Billy, 57, 89-91, 97, 99, 177
Robley, Buck, 130
Rock, The, 57
Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, 144, 149, 176
Rogers, Buddy, 103, 167, 172
Rossitani, Vic, 41
Rougeau, Johnny, 8, 61, 64-65, 70, 82, 150, 177
Rougeau, Jacques, 8, 57, 61, 64-65, 68, 70, 150, 177
Royal, Nelson, 106
Rude, Rick, 99
Saito, Mr., 112-113, 178
Sammartino, Bruno, 8-9, 42, 48, 52, 75-78, 80, 83-84, 96, 110, 127, 161-162, 175
Sanchez, Pete, 150
Santana, Tito, 126
Savage, Dutch, 56, 60, 65
Savage, Randy, 10, 65
Sawyer, Buzz, 118-119, 121-122
Schmidt, Hans, 68, 90
Schwarzenegger, Arnold, 109-110
Scicluna, Baron Mikel, 52
Scott, George, 82, 89-90, 100, 103, 106, 147, 151
Shamrock, Ken, 151
Sheik, Iron, 89, 121-122, 124-126, 130, 147
Sheik, The (original), 117, 171
Shields, Bad Boy, 93
Smash, Demolition, 144
Smirnoff, Alexis, 120, 131, 176
Snuka, Jimmy, 176
Snyder, Wilbur, 178
Solie, Gordon, 103
Solie, Gordon, 170
South, George, 161, 166
Spade, Solomon, 153
Spittles, Al, 41
Stasiak, Stan, 62
Steamboat, Ricky, 178
Steamboat, Ricky, 130
Steamboat, Sam, 80
Stevens, Ray, 99, 122-123, 179
Sting, 143, 161, 166
Stomper, The Mongolian, 108
Strongbow, Jay, 177
Sullivan, Kevin, 131
Superstar, The Masked, 179
Swayze, “Beautiful” Bruce, 170
Sweetan, Bob, 84
TA, Magnum, 142-143
Teal, Scott, 8, 56
Tenryu, 102
Thatcher, Les, 168
Thesz, Lou, 108, 177
Thomas, Sailor Art, 91-92
Thunderfoots, The, 151
Tolos, Chris, 41, 55, 96
Tolos, John, 41, 55, 96
Travis, Steve, 131
Vachon, Butcher, 70
Vachon, Maurice “Mad Dog”, 64-65, 67, 70, 90, 93-94, 96, 119
Valentine, Johnny, 45, 90, 101-103
Valentine, Greg, 166, 176
Valentino, Bilotto (Valentino), 116
Valiant, Jimmy, 111, 149, 161-166, 174-175
Valiant, Angel, 164-165
Volkoff, Nicolai, 68, 176
Von Raschke, Baron, 178
Von Erich, Kevin, 97
Von Erich, Kerry, 97
Watson, Phil, 170
Watson, Whipper Billy, 65
Watts, Bill, 130, 144
Wentworth, Jack, 7, 41-47, 49, 51, 55, 155
Windham, Barry, 179, 181
Windham, Kendall, 181
Woods, Tim, 174
World Championship Wrestling, 147
WWWF Heavyweight Title, 80, 83-84
Youngblood, Jay, 136-137
Youngblood, Mark, 136
Zacko, Phil, 48
Zhukov, Boris, 176

"Is That Wrestling Fake?"
Get information about the print edition

Reviews and comments

Scott Teal has done it again and has co-authored yet another championship literary work in the fast moving world of Professional Wrestling!

  This time he tag teams with Ivan "The Russian Bear" Koloff in Is That Wrestling Fake? and takes us down another unique path of what the old school kayfabe days of pro wrestling were like.  Here you will read about Ivan’s life long struggles both in and out of the squared circle — his rise in to the main events — how the WWWF title was to exchange hands between Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales and himself, and why it was done exactly the way it was done at that time — his travels to many wrestling territories of his time: WWWF, NWA, AWA, WWA, IWA, etc. — how he carried his anti-American act too far and found himself deep in trouble with the FBI — and about his great partners and the tag titles he held.

The book is very different than most other wrestling books you might have read before.  In fact, you might seem to think, like me, that the book is somewhat incoherent until you realize the angle Ivan and Scott are coming from.  The book is not set up in a straight, historical time line; rather, it is set up as if Ivan and Scott were sitting right next to you, sharing a beer, and talking about the good old days.  The thoughts come out as naturally as if you were talking to your best friend on old childhood memories.  Nothing is rehearsed, and the thoughts flow freely from topic to topic; or in wrestling terms, from pillar to post.

Readers who were fortunate to have read Inside Out by Ole Anderson, and Wrestlers Are Like Seagulls by J.J. Dillon, know just how much work it took to make the matches come to look as real to a fight as possible, and for good reason; the people believed it was real, but if it were real, the wrestlers could never have wrestled several times a week as they did then.  That is not to say the wrestlers did not get hurt, or suffer all sorts of physical punishment.  The truth is, THEY DID!

Finally, you will read about Ivan’s reclamation through his faith in God.  It is this part of the book that reminds me of "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck, in that no matter how far from grace a man has fallen in the sight of God, he still maintains the choice to do better, to choose between good and evil – "timshel" or Thou Mayest, is truly ever present in Ivan’s life and book.

Accolades to Ivan and Scott on a great book!
Mark Cappuzzo

I finished the book a few nights ago and I really enjoyed reading it a lot.  Ivan is a very interesting guy and his life is a remarkable story.  I also learned a lot about the wrestling business, at least the way it used to be when it was good from a fan and spectators standpoint.  I assumed that the top guys made a whole lot more money.  Perhaps they do today.  I rattled off some of the names he mentioned to my brother and we had a lot of fun reminiscing, remember this guy, remember that guy, etc.  I hope that the book is a huge success for both you and Ivan.  Please let him know how much the guy who printed his book enjoyed reading it!
Steve Sirlin

Just wanted to let you know that I just finished your book with Ivan Koloff.  I must say, great job again.  I found the book to be very entertaining from a wrestling fans perspective (since 1970) and also I found Ivans story and his trial of his faith to be tremendously inspiring.  I will recommend this book to any and all.
John Mozuke

I have now received and read the J.J., Ole, and Ivan books and all I can say is Bravo!!  All three are great reads and even better than I thought they would be!!  They blow away the sanitized works put out by the WWE.  I can't wait for the Bruiser Brody book.  And do you have an E.T.A. for Stan Hansen?  Also, two more names come to mind when thinking of possible subjects: Kevin Sullivan and Abdullah The Butcher.  Have either ever shown any interest in telling their no-doubt fascinating stories?
Jim Filipski

I just finished Ivan's Is That Wrestling Fake? and was enthralled and wanting more.  It is a good read, full of interesting tidbits on the wrestling business, it's characters, and Ivan's life.  In his book, he proves, without doubt, that God can save the worst of us.
Tim Quinn
Webmaster for

Received the Koloff book.  Can't wait to sit down and actually read it cover to cover.  I keep grabbing it and reading bits and pieces here and there.  It is another one of your masterpieces and couldn't be on a finer talent than Ivan Koloff, one of wrestling's all-time finest.  We need one on Donnie Fargo now!
Ken Jugan, aka Lord Zoltan

I loved your Ivan book.  It was great.   I would love to see a book that exposes the deaths related to drugs?  I believe it is just terrible.  Ivan is a friend.  I am happy to see his life detailed in a book.
Paul Jones

I received Ivan book today and thumbed thru it at lunch.  GREAT pics in the book, especially near the end.  I can't wait to read story tonight of Ivan, Bruno Sammartino, and WWWF title swap.  Thanks again for another great piece of work.

Kelly Townsend

"Is That Wrestling Fake?"
Get information about the print edition HERE.

Media Appearances by Ivan Koloff
To schedule radio interviews or other media appearances with the authors, please contact Scott Teal at

Scott Teal's e-mail address

When It Was Real
Copyright notice