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Vladimir Kozlov…ECW’s Next Big Thing

Vladimir Kozlov Right now, you’re reading this thinking one of two things to yourself. The first being “WTF”. The second being “He might be right.” yourself. The first being “WTF”. The second being “He might be right.”

I will freely admit it. Vladimir Kozlov is one of the main reasons I find myself enjoying Double Double E’s (it had to be done) ECW brand. Fans will remember Kozlov as being the being the sole Draft Pick of the WWE Draft earlier this year.

Since arriving on the ECW program, Kozlov has been booked as an unstoppable monster in squash matches against local talent. After a while, one opponent wasn’t enough; so now Kozlov is taking on two competitors at a time in handicap matches. In each match, I’ve started to notice more & more cheers for the Moscow Mauler & couldn’t help thinking that there has to be more to this guy than just another heel hoss. So I decided to look into his background.

Kozlov, for all intents & purposes, is a legitimate badass. He has training in freestyle wrestling, sambo, kickboxing, judo, MMA, rugby, & football. Among his achievements outside the ring are holding the title of 2005 USA Open Heavyweight Sambo Champion and USKBA (kick boxing) International Heavyweight Grappling Champion. Now, seeing this, you’re probably asking why he has yet to hold any title in WWE. The one thing that comes immediately to my mind is the fact that he can’t talk.

When Kozlov was first introduced to WWE fans, he was portrayed almost as a doof. During interviews, he would say things like “I love Double Double E” or “I’m proud to be in America”; not the kind of things you’re going to want a monster to say or how to act.

The best thing WWE could do, in my opinion, is follow the Brock Lesnar formula. Fans will remember that Lesnar was paired with Paul Heyman shortly after being introduced to WWE TV. Heyman would talk up Lesnar to the crowd & then watch Lesnar back up what his manager was saying. Kozlov could benefit from being paired up with a manager to talk for him. With the way wrestling is today though, managers have been all but phased out. His character needs defining as well. Let’s face it; this is not the 1980’s anymore. The old USSR flag is not going to get him over as a heel.

Something needs to be done with the unmolded clay that is Vladimir Kozlov. Once he can be established as a solid heel or face & given a spark of personality, I think he’ll be poised to become more than a squash match star.

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See Kozlov challenge Triple H for the WWE world title on the Survivor Series 2008 DVD.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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