It was a tough weekend for wrestling fans with the deaths of two big wrestling names, Nikolai Volkoff and Brian Christopher Lawler. Volkoff, aged 70 died after a bout of pneumonia, he was 70 years old. Christopher died after hanging himself in prison facing several DUI and other charges; he was 46. Fans and fellow wrestlers shared stories and memories of the two on social media. Both men were widely respected in wrestling and left enduring legacies among those they met.
WWE paid tribute to both with a ten-bell salute at an NXT event.
— Shane Dale (@ShaneDaleABC15) July 30, 2018
Jeff Jarrett tagged with Christopher in Memphis and virtually grew up alongside him and shared this story.
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7/30/2018 I woke up Sunday morning in London with many, many texts of the initial report on Brian. And, over the next few hours I had the time to reflect on all the years that I’ve known Brian; our fathers were business partners for many years and that’s how we initially met. From our first times together in USWA there were ALWAYS two things you could count on him to do—one, he was going to make you laugh no matter what was going on, and two when he stepped in the ring he was going to let his incredible charisma shine thru…his infectious laugh(at times really annoying), his athletic ability, and his knack for making everyone in the match better! For about 3 years I wrestled with or against Brian more than anybody during that time; and, I became a better professional wrestler because of it. Over the years the Brian I, and so many more, knew became covered up in “life”… The disease of addiction is real, it’s very dark, and it’s fatal if left untreated. Brian, love ya and I will miss you my friend. I pray your soul is finally at peace! 🙏🙏🙏🙏 #RIPBrianChristopherLawler
In a bittersweet moment, Brian Christopher himself spoke on the issue of suicide among wrestlers.
HEARTBREAKING: Following Chris Benoit’s suicide in 2007, Brian Christopher talked with @andersoncooper about the number of friends he’s lost in wrestling who didn’t live to age 45.
— Kellerman on Wrestling (@AKonWrestling) July 30, 2018
The podcast of Jerry Lawler’s podcast posted this simple tribute.
— Dinner With The King (@DinnerWithKing) July 29, 2018
While never a huge star in WWE, Christopher was a big name in the Memphis wrestling scene, transcending the shadow of his legendary father.
He was the Rock’s first tag partner in USWA
RIP Brian Christopher. I remember watching BC after school on USWA on ESPN. He was fantastic. I marked out for his RAW debut where he took on Chris Candido in a great light heavyweight match. What talent! Both gone far too soon. Hunt that match down. A way to celebrate BC & CC.
— Court Bauer (@courtbauer) July 30, 2018
This is the Brian Christopher I want to remember……… pic.twitter.com/BTyn5kuWCv
— Kris Zellner (@KrisZellner) July 29, 2018
Brian Christopher was known as a great talent in and out of the ring. James Ellsworth shared this memory of meeting Christopher as a fan.
I first met Brian During intermission of a indie show in 2001
My brother asked to dance with him, Brian asked if he could do the worm
After his match Brian pulled my brother in the ring to do the worm
— James Ellsworth (@realellsworth) July 30, 2018
Nice story about booking Brian Christopher from Dan McDevitt’s Facebook page. pic.twitter.com/s3Dn1jZ3Cz
— David Bixenspan (@davidbix) July 30, 2018
The Iron Sheik, who tagged with Volkoff shared these tributes to Christopher and Volkoff.
SAD DAYS REMIND ME OF THE GOOD DAYS WITH THE BRIAN AND THE UCE BUBBA. SENDING THE LOVE TO MY BROTHER JERRY LAWLER AND FAMILY pic.twitter.com/Z1xxoCXVNo
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) July 30, 2018
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) July 29, 2018
MY BEST FRIEND. MY PARTNER. MY BROTHER. WE GET MORE HEAT THAN ANYONE ON EARTH. I TRUST HIM WITH MY LIFE. HE TAKE CARE OF ME WHEN I WAS DOWN. I MISS YOU FOREVER 💔 pic.twitter.com/pp7ZgQRDnb
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) July 29, 2018
Matt Hardy’s first ever match in WW(F)E was against Volkoff.
My thoughts & prayers go out to the family & friends of Nikolai Volkoff. Nikolai was my very FIRST @WWE match in 1994 & proved to be a true gentleman when I encountered him many years later down the road. May you REST IN PEACE, Mr Volkoff. pic.twitter.com/YfpZgxh7xh
— #WOKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) July 29, 2018
Nikolai Volkoff, One Of The Really Nice Men In The History Of Our Business. Rest In Peace 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/gdhv7z8URC
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) July 29, 2018
RIP to a prince of a man, Nikolai Volkoff. You could always find his hotel room because he was always cooking something. He is in the yellow shirt in this pic. pic.twitter.com/CDCfWRmWsh
— Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat (@real_steamboat) July 29, 2018
Unfortunately, there was one glaringly disrespectful comment made by ECW wrestler and noted provocateur New Jack. You can read the comments here.
Share your memories of Brian Christopher and Nikolai Volkoff in the comment section below.