It was his former tag-team partner that confirmed the death of WWE wrestling legend Nikolai Volkoff aka Josip Nikolai Peruzović. The Iron Sheik who endured a second wave of popularity during the height of Twitter, shared the news of Peruzović’s passing on the very same platform. His message registered as more than a passing regard but a long goodbye among friends. The Sheik expressed with resolute pride, his fondness for Josip. The camaraderie among wrestlers in the golden era was something to behold. There’s no doubt in my mind that Sheik and Volkoff shared countless hotel suites and road stories during the peak of their run with the WWE.
Josip’s on-screen persona oscillated between good and bad, but never amounting to a break of character. His run with the company coincided with the Reagan era Cold War so he was conveniently slapped with a “Soviet” angle he never once abandoned. The irony of his characterization is that Peruzović isn’t of Russian descent or from a former Soviet colony. Josip was indeed Croatian, but that didn’t stop him from singing the “Russian Anthem” before placing the CCCP banner at ringside and warming up.
Volkoff was 70 when he passed. He was among the first inductees into the WWE’s upstart Hall of Fame in 2005.