Today In Pro Wrestling History (Dec 31): Putting an Armbar on The Iron Curtain

Today in Pro Wrestling History: A significant moment in wrestling history occurred when Antonio Inoki and New Japan Wrestling organized what was billed as the first professional wrestling event in the Soviet Union.

Today In Pro Wrestling History (Dec 31): Putting an Armbar on The Iron Curtain

Today In Pro Wrestling History December 31
Antonio Inoki organized the first professional wrestling event in the Soviet Union.

During a time when the Cold War was nearing its end, and with the US-USSR relations still tense, this event was groundbreaking. The Soviet Union, with its strict communist regime, had never witnessed a spectacle like this.

The event featured nine matches with wrestlers from Japan, the USSR, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Notable American wrestlers participating included “The Raging Bull” Manny Fernandez, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Olympian Brad Rheigans.

In less than two years following this historic event, the Soviet Union collapsed, paving the way for modern-day Russia.

The fall of communism opened doors for professional wrestling in Russia, although the presence remains limited to a few independent companies. WWE eventually hosted house shows in Russia in 2012 and 2013.

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