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Vladimir Kozlov

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Oleg Aleksandrovich Prudius (April 27, 1972) is a Ukrainian-American professional wrestler, also known by his ring name Vladimir Kozlov. Since competing for WWE, he won the WWE Tag Team Championships with Santino Marella on one occasion. He is trained in freestyle wrestling, rugby, football, sambo, kickboxing, judo, and mixed martial arts.

Prudius has also worked as a stage and screen actor, notably having a small role in Spike Lee's 25th Hour. Prudius also had a role in Grindhouse, appearing in the "Werewolf Women of the SS" trailer; he was credited under his real name and his WWE persona for the appearance. He is a former Ohio Valley Wrestling Heavyweight Champion.

Before wrestling

Prudius has won numerous achievements, becoming the 2005 USA Open Heavyweight Sambo Champion and a United States Kick-Boxing Association (USKBA) International Heavyweight Grappling Champion. He has also played American football for the Ukrainian National Team as well as Santa Barbara City College.

Career

Pre-wrestling

Prudius has won numerous achievements, becoming the 2005 USA Open Heavyweight Sambo Champion and a United States Kick-Boxing Association (USKBA) International Heavyweight Grappling Champion. He has also played American football for the Ukrainian National Team as well as Santa Barbara City College.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2005)

Prudius accompanied Jerry Jarrett to the ring at Slammiversary in 2005.

World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE (2006–2011)

On January 17, 2006, World Wrestling Entertainment announced that Prudius had signed a developmental deal and was sent to Deep South Wrestling.[4] On April 7, 2006 he debuted under his real name "Oleg Prudius" and had his first match in DSW against Tommy Suede.

On May 5, 2006, Prudius had his first untelevised WWE match during a house show in San Jose, California, defeating Rob Conway. The next night, at another house show in Sacramento, California, Matt Striker cut a promo on Prudius, calling him a "filthy immigrant," causing Prudius to attack him. Prudius then picked up the microphone and said he that he is "proud to be in America."

On the December 18, 2006 episode of Raw, Prudius made an appearance as a WWE prospect named Vladimir Kozlov, which became his ring name. For the next several weeks, Kozlov was interviewed on WWE programming, proclaiming his love for "Double Double E" (WWE), but drawing some heel heat for declaring his superiority over whatever wrestlers were competing at the time, saying "I could beat both of them." He then was taken off television for over a year while working in the developmental system and participating in a number of dark matches all of which he won.

Ohio Valley Wrestling (2007-2008)

On July 28, 2007 in Louisville, Kentucky, he won the OVW Heavyweight Championship by defeating Paul Burchill, but gave the Championship the same night to Michael W. Kruel due to an agreement they made before.

SmackDown (2008-2009)

On the April 4, 2008 episode of SmackDown, Kozlov made his official WWE debut as a heel, with the unique quirk of having no entrance music and no TitanTron video – his "entrance" consisted of complete darkness except for a solitary spotlight following him to the ring. He defeated Matt Bentley in his first match, and over the following weeks, Kozlov would win a series of squash matches, first against local talent, and then established names including Colin Delaney, Funaki, Nunzio, Shannon Moore, Jimmy Wang Yang, Jamie Noble, and Domino. On the July 11, 2008 airing of SmackDown, Kozlov debuted an entrance theme and TitanTron video as he defeated Stevie Richards.

In the following weeks, as Kozlov continued to easily win matches, he began demanding "better competition". On the September 12, 2008 edition of SmackDown, he started to seek that competition, attacking Jeff Hardy. Over the following weeks, Kozlov would continue attacking both Hardy and the WWE Champion Triple H, eventually starting a loose feud between the three of them over the WWE title. Kozlov earned a match against Triple H for the WWE Championship at Survivor Series by defeating The Undertaker by disqualification on the November 6 episode of SmackDown. Edge was added to the match while it was in progress, and pinned Triple H to win the match. Jeff Hardy was originally supposed to compete, but was (kayfabe) found unconscious in a Boston stairwell. At Armageddon, Kozlov gained his first pay-per-view win by defeating then-ECW Champion Matt Hardy in a non-title match. Kozlov competed in the 2009 Royal Rumble match, entering number 6, but was eliminated by Triple H after eliminating The Great Khali, Carlito, and Montel Vontavious Porter. He then qualified to be part of the No Way Out Elimination Chamber match, where he was pinned for the first time after receiving a Last Ride from Undertaker, though he still remained unpinned in one-on-one competition. Kozlov's undefeated streak in televised singles competition ended on the March 2, 2009 episode of Raw, in which he was defeated by Shawn Michaels; this match was for the opportunity to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXV.

ECW (2009-2010)

On April 13, 2009, Kozlov was drafted to the ECW brand as part of the 2009 WWE Draft, as ECW's only pick of the night. Shortly after the draft, his character was tweaked to further highlight the training he received within the Russian military. He won his first match on the brand when he easily defeated a local competitor. On the June 30 episode of ECW on Syfy, he teamed with William Regal to defeat Christian and Tommy Dreamer. His first defeat in single's competition on ECW came on the July 9, 2009 edition of ECW, where he lost a number one contender's match to Christian for Tommy Dreamer's ECW Championship at Night of Champions.

On July 21, Kozlov began an angle with Ezekiel Jackson in which, week after week, after one of them had easily defeated a local competitor, the other would come out and hit their finishing move on the fallen opponent in a game of one-upmanship. On the August 18 episode of ECW, Jackson was set to team with ECW Champion Christian against the team of Kozlov and number-one contender William Regal. Jackson turned on Christian, forming an alliance with Regal and Kozlov. Kozlov and Jackson aided Regal in his feud with Christian over the ECW Championship, but Regal was unable to capture the title.

On the December 15 episode of ECW, Kozlov came out with Regal to face Jackson in an ECW Homecoming battle royal qualifying match. During the match, Regal turned on Kozlov by pulling his feet while at ringside, which ultimately cost him the match. After the match, Kozlov attempted to attack Regal, but Jackson jumped him from behind and both proceeded to attack Kozlov. This split Kozlov from the Ruthless Roundtable, making him a fan favorite.

Raw and Heel turn (2010)

When the ECW brand came to an end, Kozlov, along with all other ECW talent, became a free agent. He would then debut on Raw on March 8, 2010 in a handicap gauntlet match (John Cena vs. Mr. McMahon, Vladimir Kozlov, Drew McIntyre, Jack Swagger & Mark Henry) and became a heel again. Kozlov would face Kofi Kingston on the March 22, 2010 edition of Raw for the tenth and final spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXVI, a match in which Kozlov was defeated. Kozlov was in the dark 26 Man Battle Royal match at WrestleMania XXVI, which was won by Yoshi Tatsu. On the April 12 edition of Raw, in a backstage segment with Carlito, Kozlov would tell him he will destroy the next week's guest hosts (The cast of MacGruber) if he did not get what he wanted. The following week, Kozlov would have a match against MacGruber, but the match would then be changed to a handicap match, when The Great Khali (who would be announced as MacGruber's half-brother, "Khaluber") assisted MacGruber and beat Kozlov by count-out. On the May 3 edition of Raw, he would team again with his former ECW partner William Regal to face the tag team champions The Hart Dynasty, Kozlov and Regal were defeated when Regal tapped out to David Hart Smith's Sharpshooter. On the May 10 edition of Raw, he appeared backstage with Santino Marella, William Regal, and Flavor Flav in a backstage segment, where Santino asked to join him in a tag team. However, Kozlov refused to join, stating that "he (Santino) always loses". The May 20th edition of Superstars, after Santino made another offer to form a tag team with him, Kozlov beat him in a squash match.

Face turn and Departure (2010-2011)

On the May 31st edition of RAW, Kozlov turned face again when he chokeslammed William Regal behind the referee's back during a mixed tag team match, allowing Santino Marella & Eve Torres to pick up the win. On the June 7th edition of Raw, he and Santino Marella were forced to compete in a dance-off, which Kozlov won. On June 14 edition of Raw, Kozlov served as a special referee for the match between William Regal and Santino Marella which Marella won after Kozlov intentionally gave him a fast count. On the June 28th edition of Raw, he fought Marella one on one with the stipulation being if Kozlov loses he would become Marella's tag team partner. He won, however, with Regal interfering after the match. Kozlov stopped Regal with a big boot to the chest and then carried Marella backstage. The following week, he teamed with Santino against William Regal and The Great Khali. Kozlov and Santino went on to win the match, while after the conclusion of the match, The Great Khali hit Regal with the brain chop. Kozlov and Santino would continue to form a tag team against Regal and Zack Ryder on Raw, Regal and Primo on Superstars, and the Usos on Raw. Both matches were won by Kozlov and Santino continuing their undefeated streak.

At Night of Champions 2010 Kozlov and Santino Marella competed in a tag team turmoil match for the WWE Tag Team Championship but were unsuccessful as the titles were won by "Dashing" Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre.

On the November 15th edition of Raw, Kozlov and Marella fought in a tag team match against The Usos to determine the #1 contenders for the WWE Tag Team Championship. They won the match and faced the reigning tag team champions, Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel at the Survivor Series 2010 event in which they lost. They went on to win the Tag Team Championship in a Four-Way elimination tag team match on Monday Night Raw on December 6, 2010 against The Usos, The Nexus and the tag team of Mark Henry and Yoshi Tatsu. This marked Kozlov's first ever championship win in WWE. The duo lost the titles at Elimination Chamber to Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater. He was supposed to compete in an 8-man tag team match in WrestleMania XXVII to team with Santino Marella, Big Show and Kane to face The Corre but he was attacked by his opponents at Wrestlemania Axxess. He was replaced by Kofi Kingston. Kozlov returned to action on the April 25th edition of Raw in the interbrand Battle Royal in a losing effort. Kozlov's last appearance was on the August 5 episode of Smackdown, losing to Mark Henry in a squash match. The same day, it was announced that Kozlov had been released from his WWE contract.

Wrestling facts

  • Finishing moves
  • signature moves
  • Battering ram to a charging or diving opponent – WWE
  • One–handed chokelift dropped into a kneeling spinebuster – WWE
  • Scoop lift dropped into an inverted DDT – WWE
  • Fallaway slam
  • Fireman's carry takeover
  • Kick to the chest of an opponent draped horizontally over the top turnbuckle
  • Overhead / Side belly to belly suplex
  • Over the shoulder arm drag
  • Pushing big boot to the chest of an opponent
  • Powerslam
  • Nicknames
  • "The Moscow Mauler"
  • "The Ruthless Russian"
  • "The Russian Wrangler"
  • Managers
  • Theme music
  • "All For The Motherland" by Jim Johnston (2007–2008; Used for dark matches)
  • "Pain" by Jim Johnston (Used while competing without Santino Marella) (April 4, 2008–August 5, 2011)
  • "La Vittoria è Mia (Victory Is Mine)" by Jim Johnston (Used while teaming with Santino Marella) (March 2010–August 2011)
  • "Bringin' Da Hood T U" composed by Jim Johnston (One night only, dressed as a gangster)

Championships and accomplishments

Martial arts

  • USA Open Heavyweight Sambo Champion (2005)

United States Kick-Boxing Association

  • USKBA International Heavyweight Grappling Champion

Professional wrestling

  • Most Overrated (2008)
  • Worst Worked Match of the Year (2008) vs. Triple H and Edge at Survivor Series

External links

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