Pittsburgh Wrestling Legends
Photo by Barratts/PA Images via Getty Images

Nikita Koloff On How Professional Wrestling Prepared Him For Christian Ministry

Nikita Koloff’s full time in-ring career ended in 1992 when he was only 33 years old, but as the old adage goes, ‘When one door closes, another door opens.’ Not much time had passed before Koloff found himself outside of the squared circle and in the pulpit as an ordained minister. ‘The Russian Nightmare’ opened up about his faith on the latest episode of The Apter Chat, “It’s really the foundation at this juncture in life and what I’m doing is full-time ministry.”

Koloff is now teaming with former WCW World Champion Lex Luger to serve in a men’s ministry, “I’m very heavily involved in men’s ministry. Lex Luger is a partner with me in a new launch of a men’s ministry later this Spring right after the Crockett Cup tag team tournament.”

The legendary NWA grappler opened up about the transition from professional wrestling to full-time ministry, “That was a transformation of my life after I left wrestling at the tail end of 1992, beginning of 1993. I had not had much of a church background or upbringing, but I found myself at an altar on October 17th, 1993 having given my life to the Lord and then the doors just began to swing right open to begin to preach and minister.”

Koloff has taken his message worldwide and now preached in 28 different countries, “That’s kind of the whole foundation in who I am and what I do now. Even with my involvement in wrestling – whatever that looks like in the future, it’s all a part of it.”

Koloff also recognizes that professional wrestling may have helped ready him for full time ministry, “When I say entertaining, I’m not trying to put on a performance just to get a laugh out of people. I’ll interject some humor into my sermons or into my messages depending on the audience or who I’m talking to, whether it’s youth in a high school gym or men on a men’s ministry event, or something of that nature on a Sunday morning. Yes, I will incorporate some humor, but again to that point all of that training I had with wrestling certainly helped me become more engaging with the audience and bringing across the ultimate message I feel I’m supposed to bring on that particular day.”

The ordained minister retired at a young age, well before The Attitude Era and the Monday Night War, but has no regrets, “I walked away before that explosion on the financial end of it. As Lex Luger likes to say, ‘I went from making thousands to making multiple millions of dollars,’ and I walked away from all of that. That’s part of what people ask, as well, ‘You could have made so much money.’ I have zero regrets for walking away with the timing that I did. I walked away under my own terms and looking back now….I didn’t really watch much or any of that era, but I saw enough and heard enough to know that it would have really compromised my faith to be a part of that, so I truly believe that part of the journey and destiny for me was to walk away when I did and have the encounter that I had in October 1993….no regrets, zero regrets on leaving when I did.”

Koloff sees divine intervention in his life’s journey, “I’ll put it this way. What did I do in wrestling? I flew on airplanes, I rented cars, I stayed in motels, I talked in microphones in front of cameras, I entertained crowds for a living. I’m not entertaining crowds anymore, but I am flying on airplanes, renting cars, staying in motels, talking in microphones in front of cameras, so if you want, you can say that this, in a sense, was a divine setup by the Lord, by opening that door of wrestling, which I had never expected or anticipated, and it was training ground for the ultimate call on my life, which was to go out and share the good news of the Gospel.”

(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone) 

Readers may listen to Bill Apter and Josh Shernoff’s interview with Nikita Koloff below:

RELATED: Nikita Koloff On Garnering Backstage Heat, How The Magnum T.A. Accident Changed His Career