Nicholai Ivanov
Ring name(s) Nicholai Ivanov
Sgt. Sputnik
Height 6'2"
Weight 238 lbs
Born July 17, 1986
(Moscow, Russia)
Resides Toronto, Ontario
Billed From Moscow, Russia
Debut 2007

Nicolai Mikhailovich Ivanov (born July 17, 1986 in Moscow, Russia) is a Russian professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Nicholai Ivanov. He is best known for his time in Soul Wrestling Incorporated, where he is a former SWI World Champion, and a two-time SWI North American Champion.

Early life and careerEdit

Nicolai was born to Mikhail and Vasilisa Ivanov in 1986. He has an older brother named Kazamir (born 1981). The family fled from Russia right before the collapse of the Soviet Union and soon relocated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Nicolai took an interest in professional wrestling at a young age, and worked numerous jobs to save up for a nearby wrestling school. After completing his training, Nicolai debuted in 2007 as Sgt. Sputnik, working various eastern indies.

Soul Wrestling IncorporatedEdit

The European Union and North American Champion (2009 - 2012)Edit

After signing a deal with SWI in early 2009, Nicolai (under his real name, with his first name tweaked to Nicholai) made his debut alongside Benjamin Collier and Sam Hawkins (known as Team England) at Questions Unaswered, joining Jotun in attacking The Party Animals, forming what would be known as the European Union. They made their in-ring debuts by defeating The Party Animals, Jason Hardcore, and Christopher Evans at Renewal. The European Union would then defeat XS3 in a gauntlet match at Disasterpiece, although Nicholai was the first man eliminated. Nicholai and Jotun assisted Team England in winning the SWI World Tag Team Championship from C-Code & MC Bob in September. After Team England lost the titles to The Party Animals, Nicholai and Jotun joined the two in challenging The Party Animals in a triple threat tag team match at Broken Chains, but the two teams were unsuccessful, causing friction in the group. A tag team turmoil match at Destiny Fulfilled only exasperated matters, and Nicholai and Jotun then separated from Team England, whom they lost to at Beginning Anew. Nicholai then turned on Jotun after the match, and defeated him in a match on the following episode of Apocalypse.

Nichoali soon had a low-key solo career until November, when he turned face by joining Rainmaster and Frankie Starr in fending off The Drinkin Clan. The three men then defeated The Drinkin Clan at Broken Chains. Nicholai soon turned his attention to the SWI North American Championship, defeating Darren Phoenix at Beginning Anew to win the championship. He defeated Darren in a rematch the following month at Challenging Adversity. Nicholai then turned heel on the following episode of Apocalypse, when Tannark Fisher became the #1 contender to his title. Nicholai defeated Tannark at Rise of the Forces to retain the belt. Nicholai lost the title to Blackwolf on the April 30 episode of Apocalypse, then lost a rematch at Renewal. Nicholai challenged for the title in a fatal four way at Independence, but was unsuccessful in his bid to win the title. Nicholai remained in the midcard after that, reuniting briefly with the European Union in September in a loss to Tannark, Gene Van Tyler, and David Besser at Betrayal. Nicholai challenged for the North American title once again at Broken Chains, but was again unsuccessful.

Following two more bids at winning the title, Nicholai soon turned face in April after saving Gene Van Tyler from an attack at the hands of Frankie Starr. After coming up short in a triple threat match at Renewal, Nicholai defeated Frankie in a Russian Chain match at Independence to finally win the North American title once again. Nicholai then began feuding with Waylon Kenney, whom he defeated at Disasterpiece to retain the title. Nichoali lost the title to Waylon in August, then lost a rematch at Unholy Confessions. Nicholai entered the Destiny Fulfilled Tournament in October, but was eliminated in the first round by Frankie. After coming up short in a fatal four way for the North American title at Broken Chains, Nicholai (along with Team England) parted ways with SWI in December.

Return and World Champion (2013 - 2015)Edit

At Kill or Be Killed, Nicholai made his return with the European Union, helping Tannark and XS3 fend off an attack from Starrway Enterprises in the main event. On the following episode, the Union revealed that (in storyline) Waylon and Frankie were the ones who initially got them fired for pointing out their expired vias, but they had since signed new contracts after getting their visa issues worked out. Nicholai then had his first match back on November 16, defeating Frankie. Nicholai then teamed with the Union and Tannark to defeat Starrway Enterprises in a Falls Count Anywhere match at Broken Chains. Nicholai then turned his attention to Waylon, whom he defeated in a Tables match at Destiny Fulfilled. Nicholai continued his feud with Waylon into the new year, when the European Union and Kelsey Ayami defeated Waylon, The Callahans, and Serena at Beginning Anew.

In April, Nicholai began a feud with the newly debuting Fair Verona Connection. He teamed with Stan H. Johnston in a loss to the newcomers at Questions Unanswered. On the following episode, the European Union joined Nicholai in fending off another attack. The Union then defeated the Fair Verona Connection in a Steel Cage match at Renewal. The European Union continued to team together more consistently after that, including a victory over Bad Attitude Inc. and B. Randall Morrison at Unholy Confessions in a match that was nominated for SWI Match of the Year. Nicholai then entered the Destiny Fulfilled Tournament, where he defeated TANK and Frankie Starr before defeating Keiji Satoshi at Kill or Be Killed, earning an SWI World Championship match. Nicholai faced Waylon for the title at Destiny Fulfilled, where he was unsuccessful despite showing a great amount of intestinal fortitude. Nicholai received a rematch at Beginning Anew in a triple threat match involving Blackwolf; Nicholai pinned Waylon to become the new SWI World Champion, becoming the first wrestler born outside of North America to win the title. He defended the title against the likes of Waylon, Frankie, and Monty James before losing it to Blackwolf at Renewal. Nicholai faced Blackwolf for the title in a rematch on the following Apocalypse, but was unsuccessful. Nicholai then aided former rival Waylon in fighting off Frankie and Daniel Ness. The two of them defeated Frankie and Ness in a Steel Cage match at Independence 10.

Betrayal and departure (2015 - 2016) Edit

Nicholai then turned heel by betraying the European Union at Broken Chains. Nicholai later teamed with Keiji Satoshi to face Team England at Destiny Fulfilled, but lost when he walked out on Keiji. Nicholai would then continue to play mind games with Team England, particularly Hawkins by refusing to have a singles match with him. This would lead to Nicholai defeating Collier at Beginning Anew with Hawkins as the guest referee. Nicholai would continue to taunt Hawkins for weeks, eventually leading to Hawkins splitting from Collier. The three then faced each other in a #1 contender's match at Rise of the Forces, with Hawkins coming out on top but Nicholai avoiding taking the fall. Nicholai's feud with Hawkins ended at Questions Unanswered, when he was defeated in a Steel Cage match. Nicholai then announced his departure from SWI that evening.

Personal lifeEdit

Nicolai currently resides in Toronto with his girlfriend. He enjoys playing lacrosse in his spare time.

In wrestlingEdit

  • Finishing moves
    • Hammer & Sickle (Double underhook brainbuster)
  • Signature moves
    • Bearhug
    • Diving European uppercut
    • European uppercut
    • Flapjack
    • German suplex
    • Snap suplex
    • Soviet Strike (Leaping clothesline)
    • Stalling spinebuster
    • Ura-nage
  • Nicknames
    • "The Russian Rebel"
  • Entrance themes
    • "Ode to Joy" (May 9, 2009 - January 31, 2010; September 25, 2011)
    • "Echoplex" by Nine Inch Nails (February 6, 2010 - December 13, 2012)
    • "Ode to Joy" by the Xmas Trans-Nation Orchestra (October 27, 2013 - November 29, 2015)
    • "Sgori [Burn]" by Stvore (December 12, 2015 - April 24, 2016)

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit