Victor Zangiev (aka The Real-Life Zangief!) in UWF-I (and other Dream Matches)

Victor Zangiev | BWWE Wiki | Fandom

Welcome to another Dream Matches column! Kind of! I mean, didn’t you ever want to know how Zangief would do in a REAL pro wrestling ring?

Okay, so let’s get this out of the way- YES, probably, Victor here is the basis for Zangief from Street Fighter II. He is a hairy-chested, mustached Russian named “Zangiev”, often wearing red, with legitimate wrestling skill, and he trained and wrestled with New Japan in 1989 for a tour or so- this makes the timing match up pretty well for SFII, which came out a short time later in Japan. He even wrestled for WCW in their weird “Pat O’Connor International Tag Team Tournament” in 1990. That was it for four years, until he randomly did a tour for UWF-I. The short version of that promotion is that they were the biggest deal in the world for a hot minute- being a Fake Shootfighting promotion that pretended to be real, making grandstand challenges at all the “fake” wrestlers… at least until a combination of killing all their Ace’s challengers and the revelation that they were fake as hell (hard to pretend your stuff is real when UFC becomes a thing and people realize you can’t just “make the ropes” out of a fully-applied cross-armbreaker) completely destroyed them and the promotion folded right after they were huge.

Read more