When I was first approached reading “Is That Wrestling Fake?” The Bear Facts, I knew very little about the career of Ivan Koloff. Yes, I remember the time he won the WWWF Championship from Bruno Sammartino as well as his 80s run in the NWA.
But, I also knew that there was a lot more to his career than just those 2 runs. It was interesting to learn about his roots in Canada and how much his upbringing would influence what happened later in his life. I can see for myself how true that would be as well.
Here are the biggest takeaways I got from Ivan Koloff’s book.
Drug & Alcohol Abuse
A big part of Koloff’s story is his use and subsequent abuse of alcohol and other hard drugs. It was a combination of his childhood and the abuse his body took in the ring. Granted, he wrestled more often for longer than I did, but it’s still a wake-up call to see how easy and justified turning to outside substances is.
Similar to Lex Luger‘s story, Koloff found Jesus Christ and this was a big part of the autobiography (moreso than in Luger’s IMO). Organized religion isn’t my thing, but it’s amazing to see how much of a different perspective he has now that he got saved.
Knowing Your Self Worth
Another theme that’s consistent throughout Koloff’s book (and a topic I’ve covered in this previous blog post) is making sure you do good business for yourself. Whether it was ensuring he got enough money for his work or regretting not asking for more, Ivan spoke a lot about his payouts through his years in wrestling.
Koloff also knew when a company wasn’t treating him right on the card for what he felt he could provide. It’s a “seeing the writing on the wall” type of feeling that I’ve felt with companies before & acted on it.
Other things I took away from “Is That Wrestling Fake?” The Bear Facts include:
- Mentoring a tag team partner, such as Nikita Koloff & others in his case
- How old wrestling schools worked & how Ivan broke into wrestling & got his breaks
- Other historical information & stories from his career