Yiorgo: What is the Men Up Conference about? Why should men attend and what will they experience and get out of it?
Nikita Koloff: We call it Restoring Biblical Manhood. It’s equipping, empowering, training men to be healthier, spiritually of course, even physically, emotionally, mentally and just being better equipped to be Godly men, husbands and fathers. That’s the ultimate goal. Equip them, empower them and deploy them, to impact their family and their community, So we will dive into all of that.
The Men Up Conference takes place Saturday, January 29th from 9am to 3pm with a break for lunch. The cost is $29 and that includes the cost for lunch. The conference will take place at the Greater Disciples Center 3907 Lasalle Ave. Hampton, Virginia. We will take walk ups but we prefer that people pre-register by calling 540 429-5530.
Y: Are fathers able to bring their sons?
NK: Yes indeed. I did a Man Up Conference last weekend in Georgia and we had 10, 12, 15 year olds there. Dads can bring their sons for a couple reasons. They can have those young men around other Godly men. I encourage fathers to bring their sons, especially if they are teenagers. I did 18 conference weekends last year. I do the conference on Saturday and I preach on Sunday and I will be doing that here as well at the Discipleship Center at 11:00 am on January 30th.
My goal during these weekends is to impact men, restoring masculinity, talking about manhood as essentially how man has come under attack for the last several decades. We will discuss how the world sees manhood and how God sees manhood.
Y: Do you find the kids being receptive to the word of God? How do they react?
NK: At last week’s conference, one guy had his 13 year old and his 18 year old. They told me the 13 year old took about six to seven pages of notes and the eighteen year old wrote down three words, so it varies but I am very encouraged with both the young people and the adults walking away feeling better equipped and more empowered to be a Godly man.
Y: How and when did you start doing these Men Up Conferences?
NK: In 2015 the Lord gave Lex Luger and I the vision for these conferences and these camps. We started these conferences and twice a year we did a man camp. I've taken my many years of experience in health and wellness and applied
They center around the scripture of first Thessalonians, 5;23, which refers to being whole in other words healthy in spirit, soul and body. That really embodies the message It is the foundational scripture and from there, through our experiences were able to take what the Bible says and speak into men’s lives about what it means to be healthy in spirit, soul and body,
Y: Tell us about your Koloff for Christ Ministries.
NK: Koloff for Christ Ministries encompasses ministering to men, but in the past, I have done revivals, crusades and we expanded a year and a half ago to a radio show, a podcast and in 2022, I’ll be launching a TV show. The theme is the same. The conference is called Man Up, the camps are called Man Camp, and the radio show and T V show and Podcast are called, It’s Time to Man Up. We have a one stop website where they can access everything and that website is called koloff.net.
Y: What is your personal testimony?
NK: In my book, Nikita A tale of the Ring of Redemption I share my whole life story all the way back as I can remember my childhood to the present day. The short version of that is as an athlete, I loved playing football until an opportunity opened up for professional wrestling. It wasn't something I was looking for but that opportunity presented itself. I walked through that door of opportunity, took advantage of it, had a meteoric rise to stardom in professional wrestling in the eighties and early nineties.
I walked away under my own terms, I was not forced out of wrestling, only to find myself at an altar about eleven months later, surrendered my life to Jesus October 17th, 1993.
I like to say, in this way, I was successful at being a world champion wrestler, but I was unfulfilled. I was looking for what would bring that fulfillment and what I found was my decision at the altar that morning. I was looking for a personal relationship with Jesus that was missing, and what ultimately brought that fulfillment was that personal decision to receive Christ into my life, and a personal relationship was with him, So for the last twenty plus years, the journey has been surreal.
Y: Let’s talk about wrestling. What were some of your favorite highlights of your professional wrestling career?
NK: I’ll give you three. A huge highlight was at the first ever Great American Bash against a guy named Nature Boy Ric Flair. It was my first opportunity for the World Heavyweight title. At that point, I was already the world tag-team champion, the world six-men champion and I was only 13 months into the business. Wrestling Ric for the world title was huge.
Secondly, the best of seven series for the U S Heavyweight title against Magnum TA, probably the most talked about of all my career with the fans, is the best of seven against Magnum TA. That certainly was a major highlight.
The third highlight was when I made the turn from a bad guy to a good guy and I came to the aid of the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes, and became the Superpowers. That set us into an incredible series of matches with the Four Horsemen, along with the Road Warriors, culminating in the first ever War Games in Atlanta, Georgia.
Y: What was it like learning Under the learning trees of Ivan Koloff and Don Kernodle?
NK: I credit much of my success to both Ivan and Don. When I broke in, they were the world tag-team champions at the time and they went well above the call of duty. When I stepped into wrestling, I had no experience, not no training, no background of any kind of amatour or professional. Essentially I had on the job training with those two guys, the first two - three months of my career. They were instrumental in my early rise stardom, along with the other guys that we got in the ring with.
We became good friends, and in fact, I was honored to speak at Ivan’s graveside service. I spoke at Don’s funeral with Sargent Slaughter in the front row and I said, had it not been for Sarge and Don, Nikita Koloff would have never been born. They approached Jim Crockett with the idea, he loved it, and Don is the one who approached Road Warrior Animal If he knew any big guys who wouldn’t mind saving their head, he said I know a guy right now, gave me a call, I showed up and Don and Ivan, then ended up training me on the job. So that's the back story.
Y: Well then, let's peel the onion one more layer and talk about the bond between you and Road Warrior Animal (Joe Laurinaitis) and how originally you met and became friends?
NK: I recruited Joe out of Irondale high School in Brighton, Minnesota. He was a standout high school football player and I recruited him to play college football with me. I gave Joe, his mom Lorna and dad, Joe Sr. a tour of the campus, we had an instant connection, and became like a prodigal son to his family. We became best of friends, and so you might say, ironically, I recruited him out of high school to play football. He dropped out of college. I finished. He got into wrestling. He in turn recruited me out of football to get into wrestling.
Y: How about a Dusty story?
NK: Once Dusty and I partnered up, one of my favorite memories was traveling up and down the roads together, building a friendship and a love for one another. One regret I have is we forever talked about buying some land together out in Idaho and Montana but we never did it. Actually, post wrestling, I called him up one day, said I’m coming to Atlanta and I want to take you to lunch. We went to lunch. Dusty said what else are you doing here? I said nothing else. I love you, I wrote my first book Breaking the Chains. It’s a simple story of my life transformation of how I came to Christ and how others can come to Christ. I wanted to personally give it to you, thank you for everything then I am going back home to Charlotte. I personalized the book, gave it to him and left. A friend of mine who was in Dusty’s school at the time said that Dusty went into his office for about two hours and shut the door and read the book.
Y: Tell us about giving David Crockett that Russian sickle move?
NK: First I am forever indebted to the Crockett family and for Jimmy Crockett giving me my break. In regards to your question, David said on Conrad Thompson’s Tony Schiavone’s What Happened When Podcast that he knew it was coming but did not know when it was coming. Tony said that he did not know anything about it and when it happened, Tony was like Oh my gosh. And David said he laid there for a minute to make sure everything was working. In my young mind, it’s television, it has to look good so I laid it in. It was nothing personal. I loved all the Crocketts including David. David described it as if he had run into a neighbor’s clothesline in the backyard at night. It was Dusty’s idea, David went along with it and he lived to talk about it. Thank you very much David.
Yiorgo is an arts, entertainment and sports writer. A stage, TV and movie actor, he is also a sports entertainer, educator, motivational speaker, writer, storyteller and columnist.