George 'The Animal' Steele's got company in line at the pearly gates.
Ivan Koloff, who ended Bruno Sammartino's nearly 8 year WWWF Championship Reign back in 1971, has passed away at the age of 74. He had been battling liver cancer.
Koloff, whose real name was Orreal Perreas, wasn't even actually Russian. He was a French Canadian from Montreal. He lost the WWWF title 21 days after he defeated Sammartino for it, acting as a transitional champ to put the belt on Pedro Morales, and he never had a second reign. He left the WWWF that same year and had a long and successful career in the NWA, forming a great heel tag team with "Krusher" Kruschev--The Russians. They had a great many battles with 2017 WWW Hall of Fame Inductees The Rock 'n' Roll Express.
He was one of the many wrestlers who joined the infamous concussion lawsuit against the WWE.
This is what the WWE wrote on their website.
WWE is saddened to learn that Ivan Koloff, best known to the WWE Universe as one of Bruno Sammartino's most bitter rivals, has passed away at age 74.
Koloff, nicknamed "The Russian Bear," quickly became a primary rival to one of the most beloved WWE Champions of all time, Bruno Sammartino. In an infamously memorable instance in WWE and Madison Square Garden history, Koloff crushed Sammartino's throat with his knee by jumping off the top turnbuckle. This act on Jan. 18, 1971, allowed “The Russian Bear” to cover the WWE Hall of Famer and score an astonishing three-count to become WWE Champion, ending the Italian powerhouse's record-setting seven-year title reign.
WWE extends its condolences to Ivan Koloff's family, friends and fans.