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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? December 10, 2018

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The Good

For Raw, their main event was between Seth Rollins and Baron Corbin in a TLC match for the Intercontinental championship and it was a great match to end the show. It had some crazy spots and was intriguing from start to finish. To make things even more interesting, Heath Slater’s story of him being a referee played into this as well and questions what lies ahead with him too. Rollins ended up winning so the championship match with Dean Ambrose at TLC is still on.

For Smackdown, the opening match between Daniel Bryan and Mustafa Ali was as good as it sounds. Along with that, they had a promo before their match started in where Daniel Bryan picked on Ali and ended up slapping him right in the face. Bryan ended up winning after applying the heel hook,which may be his new finishing submission since he has been doing that the past few weeks. After the match, Bryan proceeded to attack Ali even more on the entrance ramp, giving him all the momentum in his title match against AJ Styles.

The Bad

For Raw, it seems a little crazy that they are trying to embrace that their ratings are at an all time low. To open the show, Seth Rollins had some things to get off his chest towards Baron Corbin. In his rant,he stated that the ratings were at an all time low and that the recent shows have been bad because of Corbin. While it is a good way for management to look bad, it still looks bad to address the bad numbers and try to think of a bailout reason to address why that is.

For Smackdown, the rap battle between the Bar and the Usos was bad and good at the same time. While it was pretty humorous to see the Bar try their best Vanilla Ice impersonation, the whole concept of having a rap battle is what made it bad. While it did help build up the tag team championship match at TLC, their could’ve been another route WWE could’ve gone.

The Final Verdict

With TLC being this Sunday, both brands needed to put on good shows to get fans prepared for the PPV. Both shows did give a lot of time building it up, but things feel a lot smoother on Smackdown compared to Raw. Smackdown has done a really good job of putting time into their championship matches along with things just meant for their show. A prime example of this is giving proper build up for the WWE Championship match while at the same time wanting fans to turn in every week to see where things go for the Miz and Shane McMahon as the Miz keeps trying to get Shane on his side. Due to this,Smackdown had the better show this week and overall had a really good build for all of their matches at TLC. In conclusion, the matches for Smackdown have all the momentum going into TLC.

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Tetsuya Naito Posts Video Aimed at Chris Jericho

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With Chris Jericho set to defend his IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Tetsuya Naito at Wrestle Kingdom 13, the trash talk has started.

Naito posted the following video, via New Japan Pro Wrestling’s official YouTube channel, where he mocks the future WWE Hall of Famer.

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Kevin Owens Likely to Return In March

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WWE Superstar Kevin Owens is slated to make his return to the ring sometime in March, but despite his timetable making him available for WrestleMania 35, it is still unclear if WWE has plans for Owens at Mania.

Owens is still recovering from surgery and WWE may be hesitant in putting him a big angle for WrestleMania, opting instead to hold off on his official return to the ring until after WrestleMania 35, perhaps at the Monday Night RAW following the event.

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