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Oleg Prudius
Ring name(s) Oleg Prudius[1]
Vladimir Kozlov[1][2]
Billed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)[1][2]
Billed weight 302 lb (137 kg)[2]
Born April 27, 1972 (1972-04-27) (age 37)[3]
Ukrainian SSR[4]
Resides Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Billed from Moscow, Russia[2]
Trained by Deep South Wrestling
Ohio Valley Wrestling
Debut 2005[1]

Oleg Oleksandrovych Prudius (Ukrainian: Олег Олександрович Прудіус) (born on April 27, 1972) is a Ukrainian-born American professional wrestler, also known by his ring name Vladimir Kozlov.[5] He is currently signed to World Wrestling Entertainment, working on its Raw brand.[2] He is trained in freestyle wrestling, rugby, football, sambo, kickboxing, judo, and mixed martial arts.[1][6]

Prudius has also worked as a stage and screen actor, notably having a small role in Spike Lee's 25th Hour.[1][6] Prudius also had a role in Grindhouse, appearing in the "Werewolf Women of the SS" trailer; he was credited under his real name and his WWE persona for the appearance. He is a former Ohio Valley Wrestling Heavyweight Champion.[1]


Before wrestling

Prudius has won numerous achievements, becoming the 2005 USA Open Heavyweight Sambo Champion and a United States Kick-Boxing Association (USKBA) International Heavyweight Grappling Champion.[1] He has also played American football for the Ukrainian National Team as well as Santa Barbara City College.[2]

Professional wrestling career


World Wrestling Entertainment

Kozlov entering the arena during a dark match on February 25, 2008.

On January 17, 2006, World Wrestling Entertainment announced that Prudius had signed a developmental deal and was sent to Deep South Wrestling.[7] On April 7, 2006 he debuted under his real name "Oleg Prudius" and had his first match in DSW against Tommy Suede.

On May 5, 2006, Prudius had his first untelevised WWE match as a babyface during a house show in San Jose, California, defeating Rob Conway. The next night, at another house show in Sacramento, California, Matt Striker cut a promo on Prudius, calling him a "filthy immigrant," causing Prudius to attack him. Prudius then picked up the microphone and said he that he is "proud to be in America."

On the December 18, 2006 episode of Raw, Prudius made an appearance as a WWE prospect named Vladimir Kozlov, which became his ring name. For the next several weeks, Kozlov was interviewed on WWE programming, proclaiming his love for "Double Double E" (WWE) but also began drawing a villainous response after declaring his superiority over whatever wrestlers were competing at the time, saying "I could beat both of them." He then was taken off television for over a year while working in the developmental system and participating in a number of dark matches, all of which he won.[8]

Ohio Valley Wrestling (2007–2008)

On July 28, 2007 in Louisville, Kentucky, Kozlov won the OVW Heavyweight Championship by defeating Paul Burchill, but gave the Championship the same night to Michael W. Kruel due to an agreement they made before.[1]

SmackDown (2008–2009)

Vladimir Kozlov after a victory on SmackDown.

On the April 4, 2008 episode of SmackDown, Kozlov made his official WWE debut as a villain, with the unique quirk of having no entrance music and no TitanTron video – his "entrance" consisted of complete darkness except for a solitary spotlight following him to the ring. He defeated Matt Bentley in his first match,[9] and over the following weeks, Kozlov would go on to easily win several matches, first against local talent and then established names including Colin Delaney,[10] Funaki,[11] Nunzio,[12] Shannon Moore,[13] Jimmy Wang Yang,[14] Jamie Noble,[15] and Domino.[16] On the July 11, 2008 episode of SmackDown, Kozlov debuted an entrance theme and TitanTron video as he defeated Stevie Richards.[17]

In the following weeks, as Kozlov continued to easily win matches, he began demanding "better competition". On the September 12, 2008 episode of SmackDown, he started to seek that competition, attacking Jeff Hardy. Over the following weeks, Kozlov would continue attacking both Hardy and the WWE Champion Triple H, eventually starting a loose feud between the three of them over the WWE Championship. On the November 7 episode of SmackDown, Kozlov earned a match against Triple H for the WWE Title at Survivor Series after defeating The Undertaker by disqualification after he was attacked by Jeff Hardy.[18] The match was originally intended to include Kozlov, Jeff Hardy, and Triple H, although Hardy was removed due to an storyline injury. The result of this was the addition of Edge to the match while it was in progress, and ultimately Edge would go on to pin Triple H and win the title.

Kozlov in the WrestleMania XXV Fan Axxess.

Continuing his pursuit of the WWE Title, Kozlov competed in and was unsuccessful in winning a Beat the Clock Challenge match against ECW Champion Matt Hardy for another title shot. This led to the two meeting at Armageddon, where Kozlov gained his first pay-per-view win by defeating Hardy in a non-title match.[19] Kozlov competed in the 2009 Royal Rumble match, entering as the sixth participant but was eliminated by Triple H after eliminating The Great Khali, Carlito, and Montel Vontavious Porter. He then qualified to be part of the No Way Out Elimination Chamber match, where he was pinned for the first time after receiving a Last Ride from Undertaker, though he still remained unpinned in one-on-one competition.[20] Kozlov's undefeated streak in televised singles competition ended on the March 2, 2009 episode of Raw, in which he was defeated by Shawn Michaels;[21] this match was for the opportunity to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXV. His first televised singles loss on SmackDown came against The Undertaker on March 13, 2009.[22] Although he was unable to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXV, Kozlov did participate at the event as a lumberjack during the tag team championship unification match between The Colóns and John Morrison and The Miz.

ECW (2009–2010)

On April 13, 2009, Kozlov was drafted to the ECW brand as part of the 2009 WWE Draft, as ECW's only pick of the night. Shortly after the draft, his character was tweaked to further highlight the training he received within the Russian military. He won his first match on the brand when he easily defeated a local competitor. On the June 30 episode of ECW on Syfy, he teamed with William Regal to defeat Christian and Tommy Dreamer.[23] His first defeat in single's competition on ECW came on the July 9, 2009 edition of ECW, where he lost a number one contender's match to Christian for Tommy Dreamer's ECW Championship at Night of Champions.

On July 21, Kozlov began an angle with Ezekiel Jackson in which, week after week, after one of them had easily defeated a local competitor, the other would come out and hit their finishing move on the fallen opponent in a game of one-upmanship.[24][25][26][27] On the August 18 episode of ECW, Jackson was set to team with ECW Champion Christian against the team of Kozlov and number-one contender William Regal. Jackson turned on Christian, forming an alliance with Regal and Kozlov.[28] Kozlov and Jackson aided Regal in his feud with Christian over the ECW Championship, but Regal was unable to capture the title.[29][30]

On the December 15 episode of ECW, Kozlov came out with Regal to face Jackson in an ECW Homecoming battle royal qualifying match. During the match, Regal turned on Kozlov by pulling his feet while at ringside, which ultimately cost him the match. After the match, Kozlov attempted to attack Regal, but Jackson jumped him from behind and both proceeded to attack Kozlov. This split Kozlov from the Ruthless Roundtable, making him a fan favorite.

Raw (2010)

When the ECW brand came to an end, Kozlov, along with all other ECW talent, became a free agent. He debuted on Raw on March 8, 2010 in a handicap gauntlet match (John Cena vs. Mr. McMahon & Vladimir Kozlov/Drew McIntyre/Jack Swagger/Mark Henry) and seemingly became a heel again.

Other media

Prudius has made many television appearances. He appeared in the second season of the HBO drama series The Wire, as well as Roksalana and It's Not To Easy on Ukrainian TV.[6] In 2002, he appeared in Spike Lee's film 25th Hour, playing a Russian mafia enforcer.[6] He appeared in the Russian military theatre play Victory Day and a Ukraine University play Three Musketeers.[6]

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

Martial arts

  • Sambo
    • USA Open Heavyweight Sambo Champion (2005)[1]

Professional wrestling


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  6. ^ a b c d e "Vladimir Kozlov resume". Carry Company. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  7. ^ "Oleg Aleksandrovich Prudius - Biography". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  8. ^ Online World of Wrestling Profile
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  27. ^ Medalis, Kara A. (2009-08-11). "A Regal No. 1 Contender". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
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  36. ^ Passero, Mitch (2008-04-18). "Results: Anarchy in the U.K.". WWE. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
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External links


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