This Sunday was a very sad day for wrestling as three wrestlers passed away in a matter of a few hours. If Brickhouse Brown was a steady presence in the 80s and 90s working for AWA, USWA, and the CWA, where he feuded with Terry Funk, Scott Steiner, Jerry “The King” Lawler, among others, Nikolai Volkoff was a WWF Legend while Brian Christopher Lawler, aka Too Cool’s “Grandmaster Sexay”, was none other than the son of WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Josip Nikolai Peruzović was better known by his ring name of Nikolai Volkoff, was born in Croatia in 1947. After a successful weightlifting career in Europe, he moved to Canada by the end of the 60s to received training in Calgary from Stu Hart. He became the protégé of Newton Tattrie there. When Tattrie left the territory in 1968 for the US, Peruzovic left with him, working in various NWA territories.
In 1968 he began wrestling in Vince McMahon Sr.’s WWWF, now known as WWE. As Bepo Mongol, managed by “Captain” Lou Albano and partnered with Newton Tattrie (as Geeto Mongol) as The Mongols, he captured the WWWF International Tag Team Titles in 1970. He would leave WWWF a year later to make a name by himself under the name Nikolai Volkoff.
When he returned in 1974, it was at Madison Square Garden and against none other than Bruno Sammartino. From that moment, he would team with Killer Kowalski and Big John Studd, feud with Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund during Backlund’s tenure as champion. His greatest team partner was the Iron Sheik from 1984 to 1987 with whom he competed at the first-ever WrestleMania in 1985. He would later feud with Hulk Hogan and Jim Duggan.
He became a member of Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Corporation in 1994, working with Sid and Diesel. Volkoff entered a semi-retirement the year after. He had made many appearances on WWE over the years, the most important in 2005 when Volkoff was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Jim Ross.
Brian Christopher Lawler was only 46. Like many “sons/daughters of”, he had struggled all his life to make a name by himself. To the point of refusing to be a Lawler in the ring. He began his career in 1988 as one half of the masked tag team “The Twilight Zone”, but quickly got unmasked and wrestled as “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher. There, he feuded with wrestlers such as Jeff Jarrett, Tom Prichard, even his father Jerry Lawler. He was never revealed to be Lawler’s son until 1999 when Doug Gilbert broke kayfabe.
He made his debut with WWF at the beginning of The Attitude Era and began to compete in the light heavyweight division. In mid-1998, he started teaming up with Scott “Too Hot” Taylor to form the tag team of Too Much. They became Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty and renamed their team” Too Cool.” They would later be joined by Rikishi and became three of the company’s top fan favourites. They defeated Edge and Christian in May 2000 to become the Tag Team Champions. The trio’s run ended in late 2000 when Rikishi turned on his teammates. He was released in 2001.
After a stint with WWA in Las Vegas, he joined the brand new TNA under the name of Brian Lawler. He would there team up with David Flair and Erik Watts, son of WWE Hall of Famer Bill Watts, and got involved in a rivalry Dusty Rhodes. He signed back with WWE in 2004 but only appeared in a few matches. He would appear many times after in “old school” episodes. He made what would be his final WWE appearance, on NXT Arrival in February 2014 as part of Too Cool in a losing effort as mystery opponents to The Ascension, who defended their NXT Tag Team Championship. From 2004 to 2011, Lawler wrestled for several independent promotions, sometimes with his Too Cool’s partners, Rikishi and Grand Master Sexay.
All pics courtesy of WWE.com