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Brian Christopher, Nikolai Volkoff and Brickhouse Brown Pass Away

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It’s one thing when a wrestler passes away, it’s another when three performers move onto the next life. Former professional wrestlers Brian Christopher, Brockhouse Brown and Nikolai Volkoff all passed away on July 29.

All three wrestlers live made their respective marks on the industry.

Brown wrestled during the territory days, mostly under Southwest Championship Wrestling – Joe Blanchard’s promotion and wrestled his first match with no training. He would later learn under Eddie Graham and Terry Funk and wrestle in various territories. He spent some time in World Class Championship Wrestling, where he held the Texas Heavyweight Championship and was in a racially-charged angle with Robert Fuller in his Stud Stable – it was the 1980s, we’ll leave it at at – and even worked some tapings for WWE.

He the first recipient of the Cauliflower Alley Club’s Courage Award during the 2018 ceremony.

Fans will remember Volkoff for being tag team partners with The Iron Sheik, who paid tribute to his friend on social media. Who can forget the chorus of fans booing as Volkoff tried to sing the Russian National Anthem before a match.

What many fans might not realize is Volkoff was trained by Stu Hart and wrestled in numerous territories in his career. A fan like myself who watched WWF in the early ‘90s remembered his low-key babyface run where he was a liberated Lithuanian – this was right after the fall of the Soviet Union – and he was in an angle with an Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter. My apologies for bringing up that time period and those memories.

Outside of the ring, Volkoff was said to be one of the nicest human beings in the business. He was married for 35 years and worked with youth.

Christopher passed away after being hospitalized. He was rushed to the hospital after he attempted suicide in jail. According to a report from Wrestling Inc., the family has not disclosed a statement regarding his passing. 

Of the three wrestlers who had passed, Christopher is the one I’m most familiar with. I first watched him as “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher where he played an arrogant heel and was a foil to the talented Taka Michinoku when WWF was starting their light heavyweight division. He tagged with Scott Taylor and the two would later gain popularity as “Too Cool,” even winning the WWF Tag Team Championship. He also teamed with Steve Blackman for a bit.

While Too Cool was popular during WWF’s Attitude Era, the team didn’t last and Christopher never reached past lower mid-card status as a singles star. Part of this could be attributed to him being the son of Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler. Second-generation wrestlers always seem to be in the shadow of their parent and have that hill to climb when they start their career.

Christopher also had his bouts with drug abuse and recently run-ins with the law. People who abuse drugs and alcohol struggle and battle with their issues every day. Struggling with these issues, combined with other factors can lead to someone wanting to take their own life. All we can hope is that he has now found peace.

Inside Pro Wrestling offers condolences to Brown, Christopher and Volkoff, as well as all of their family and friends. To steal a phrase from film director Kevin Smith, a big bucket of win for all three wrestlers.

As a final note, I wanted to say that if you feel like you want to harm yourself or take your own life, please reach out for help. There are numerous resources for you to contact and people who want to talk to you. No matter what you are struggling with, you are not alone and you are loved.

For a list of crisis hotlines, follow the link.

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? February 4, 2019

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The Good

For Raw, the whole back and forth rivalry between Jeff Jarrett and Elias was entertaining. What started at the Royal Rumble and has carried over for the past few weeks, seeing Elias and Jarrett exchange guitar shots had a throwback feel to it. Along with that, Road Dogg being in the corner of Jarrett really brought times back. Lastly, Elias ended up winning the match, which helps give him momentum going into whoever his next rival will be. 

For Smackdown, Mustafa Ali and Randy Orton put on the best match during their show this week. Ali’s high flying against Randy Orton’s slow attacking pace was a great matchup of styles and it showed. Orton ended up winning after hitting an RKO from the top rope and gives him the upper hand towards the Elimination Chamber match.

The Bad

For Raw, the lack of featuring the tag team champions on their show this week was evident. While they did have a number one contenders match featured this week, the winners ended up being the Revival. This is a match that we have already seen one too many times and if there isn’t a different result this time around, then what is the point of the Revival facing off against the tag team champions.

For Smackdown, after R-Truth shocked the world last week by defeating Shinsuke Nakamura to win the United States championship, you would think that we would get a segment of him celebrating this victory the next week. Instead, he wasn’t even really on the show this week. As good as R-Truth is, at least a 30 second segment would’ve been better than nothing from him. 

The Final Verdict

Both shows were average this week. They did help build the Elimination Chamber as well as still pushing Ronda Rousey versus Becky Lynch as the main event of Wrestlemania. But, there was lots missing from both brands this week. Both shows were missing champions this week and didn’t even bother mentioning them. As talented as the champions currently are, each one should get respective time. With that said though, I will have to say that Raw had the better show this week. A debuting EC3, a solid double match with Ronda Rousey, and a decent main event gave Raw a better show this time around. In conclusion, WWE still has some work to do when building up these next two PPV’s, hopefully, they can put on better efforts that they did this week.

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The Hart Foundation To Be Inducted in WWE Hall of Fame

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The original ‘Hart Foundation’ have been revealed as part of the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame Class, according to a report from PW Insider.

The original group, and the ones being honored, includes WWE Hall of Famer Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart, and WWE Hall of Famer ‘The Mouth of the South’ Jimmy Hart.

Sadly, Neidhart will be inducted posthumously as he passed away in 2018 at the page of 63.

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? January 28, 2019

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The Good

For Raw, the ending segment between Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar was an awesome way to close out the show and start the build for this match at Wrestlemania. After Rollins won the Royal Rumble on Sunday, he had to make a decision on which champion he would face. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar told Rollins to choose Daniel Bryan over Lesnar because he didn’t want to fight with Lesnar, which led to Rollins responding by igniting a brawl. Overall, great way to help ramp up the intensity for what could be the main event of Wrestlemania. 

For Smackdown, we have a new United States champion and this moment really came out of nowhere. R-Truth went one on one against Shinsuke Nakamura for the championship and he won via roll up. Soon after Truth won, Rusev then came out and challenged Truth to defend his newly won belt. Truth won again via roll up, which led to both Nakamura and Rusev attacking him after. Its a fresh start with the US championship and somebody with as much charisma as Truth is a good way to hit the reset button for this belt.

The Bad

For Raw, who knows what they are trying to do with Kurt Angle. After losing to Baron Corbin in about five minutes, this leaves lots of questions on where Angle stands with WWE. Ever since he has came back to the ring, he has lost over and over again. This shouldn’t be happening with a hall of fame of his status. But, this could lead to an interesting story considering how good Angle is. 

For Smackdown, while it was a feel good moment to see the Miz and Shane McMahon win the tag team championship, their celebration on the show this week wasn’t that compelling. At the PPV, when they won the match, they celebrated with the Miz’s father. Then, during this celebration, it was the same thing as the Miz’s dad came out and celebrated with them along with a video package being played. This could’ve been done better and differently considering we already saw this type of celebration during the PPV.

The Final Verdict

Overall, both shows were really good this week. Not only are they starting to layout some of the big matches for Wrestlemania, but they are also starting to implement matches for their upcoming PPV, Elimination Chamber. Smackdown felt a little crammed though as they were trying to fit in promos during superstars entrances and having promos during commercials. While Raw, on the other hand, was able to announce two huge matches for Wrestlemania as well as help build up some rivalries going into Elimination Chamber. Raw had the better show this week for a few reasons. A solid ending, a great beginning for the Ronda Rousey versus Becky Lynch match, and an entertaining segment with Elias help Raw deliver this week. In conclusion, 2019 continues to be good for WWE so hopefully they can continue this pace going into their next big PPV of the year.

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