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 - Brandon Truitt

We start off with footage from Jim Crockett Promotion's World Championship Wrestling show, with Nikita destroying Ric Flair as Ivan Koloff commentates. Flair eventually knocks down Nikita and gets him in the Figure Four, but then Ivan jumps him and we have a beatdown until Dusty Rhodes makes the save.

Next we get a clip from the end of the last match in the Nikita vs. Magnum TA Best of Seven series for the US Title, the same one shown in the Magnum TA shoot, as Nikita blasts Magnum with the chain and gets the three count for the US title.

After that is a clip from the infamous cage match with Dusty and Nikita against Ole Anderson and JJ Dillon. This is Nikita's babyface turn coming shortly after his arch-enemy, Magnum TA, wrapped his Porsche around a telephone pole and was forced to retire. They destroy Dillon and Ole in short order, then Flair comes to ringside to threaten the newly formed Super Powers. Nikita sells getting a face reaction for the first time ever VERY well, as he's in shock until he climbs the turnbuckle and starts making the "I want the belt" motion towards Flair.

The interview starts with the standard question of how he got started in the business, but not before Nikita jokes about how he must have shocked the Hell out of people now that he's speaking fluent English after years of just Russian while kayfabing. He entered the business while attempting to train for a football league, but Animal of the Road Warriors (a former football teammate) asked him if he wanted to get in the business. He was told to call up Jim Crockett, which he did and admitted that he'd never been in the ring before.

He says Crockett ribbed him by claiming he had been told he had all kinds of experience, but then told him to show up on a certain date with his head shaved. He was 285 pounds and cut to shreds, so when Crockett talked to him and saw his body, he told Ivan Koloff and Don Kernodle (the current tag champions) that he was being paired with them. All he had to do at first was stand in the back of their interviews and look big and bad. The next night there was a TV taping and he was scheduled to wrestle, but he got there later than he was supposed to and didn't get a chance to work out in the ring first. After conferring with Crockett, Ivan told him "don't trip on the ropes getting into the ring", as Crockett had said it would get him fired immediately.

Training- From there, he was given on-the-job training by Ivan and Kernodle before he'd go out and squash someone in 15 seconds flat. He'd then watch Ivan and Kernodle's match and Ivan would critique what Nikita did in his match.

Was he a fan growing up? Not really. He said that he graduated from the same high school as Verne Gagne (Robbinsdale High School, which also includes amongst its alumni Rick Rude, wrestler / internet columnist Tom Zenk, Barry Darsow (Demolition Smash, Kruscher Kruschev), and "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig). He'd watch a little AWA every once in a while, mainly because he used to train at Jesse Ventura's gym and wanted to see Jesse wrestle.

First impressions of the road- He sold his gimmick as a newly-arrived Russian immigrant by never speaking English in public and never showing that he knew exactly what people were saying. The only place he ever spoke English was in the car with Ivan so, in order to sell the gimmick, Ivan had to go around and help Nikita get his apartment, hook up the utilities, and get a gym membership. He went months without paying membership fees at the gym in order to sell the "doesn't understand English" part of his character. He tells a funny story about the manager trying get the dues by speaking slowly. "Ni-ki-ta... we... need... mon-ey... mem-ber-ship... mon-ey..." Eventually, the just told him "Nikita... bring... Ivan... to-mor-row", so they got their money when Ivan was there to "translate". He said that the manager never asked for it before that because he'd seen footage of him beating people with the Russian chain and decided it wasn't worth pissing him off until several months of dues built up.  

He talks about how Kruscher Kruschev was brought in from Mid-South and he'd heard stories about how "there is a shooting Russian up in the Carolinas" and, when he found out it was his old high school buddy, said "I should have known it was you... only YOU could have pulled this off."  More...


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