Boris Malenko

image

Real Name - Lawrence Simon
Lifespan - ?/?/33 - 9/?/94
5'10" 230 lbs. - Tampa, FL
Aliases - Larry Simon, Crusher Dugan, Otto Von Krupp
Athletic background - Wrestling
Peak Years - 1960s

Place in History - Boris Malenko may be remembered for various contributions to pro-wrestling: he was an innovative foreign heel, he popped the Florida territory (perhaps the hottest of the 60s-70s) with a very famous and imitated angle, he was great interview, manager and trainer. Early in his career he worked as a nazi-sympathizing German and developed his technique as a heel in the Midwest before heading East. Vince McMahon Sr. suggested the name "Boris Malenko" and helped him develop his character. As a Russian in the Cold War period who knew how to work crowds, Malenko got incredible heat and popped several territories around with his "Russian Chain Match." In the 60s, he and Eddie Graham were major rivals. After Malenko was turned face for a successful run in the early 70s, problems began. Some say Graham was jealous of Malenko's developing popularity, in any event he was fired and blackballed by the NWA. He began a rival promotion and would challenge Dusty Rhodes and other members of the CWF to matches for charity. Simon was a real-life tough guy and his sons were trained by Karl Gotch, so they were no one Graham, Rhodes, etc. wanted to tangle with. He finished up his career in the Southeast as his sons were breaking in and then went on to becoming an excellent manager for the Masked Superstar and Kim Duk. His interviews were considered amongst the best of the 60s and numerous stars of the 80s grew up idolizing his slow-paced interview style. He spent his later years training numerous workers, the notables being Sean Waltman, Marc Mero, Buddy Landel and Debbie Malenko (whom he let use the name in Japan). Larry Malenko, as he became known as, suffered through chemotherapy for leukemia before an infection took him and his funeral was amongst the highest attended by wrestlers and people in the wrestling community. Malenko's contributions to the wrestling world are various and though often overlooked, he can certaintly be considered a legend.

1