I’m taking it a number of you haven’t ever socialized with a crew of Russian wrestlers. World class trash talkers but funny guys—macho, testosterone fueled, typically not to be taken too seriously. Through the haze of years, vodka, and Baltica beer, here is a very rough transcription of a conversation at the old Soviet training center in Minsk in 2004:
Russian guy: You like John Smeeth, yes?
Me: Yeah, great wrestler.
Russian guy: He’s lucky guy. We call him “Mr. Lucky.”
Me: Oh yeah? Why’s that?
Russian guy: He win Olympics but lose Cuban guy. He lose Sarkissian and later win World. Lucky guy.
Me: Well, he must have been lucky at the Olympics and Worlds six times.
Russian guy: Yes, you understand.
Me: So tell me, what do you call Satiev? He lost to American guy who only won one big tournament in his whole life.
Russian guy (feeling the vodka muscles swell): Satiev is great wrestler! Greatest in history! He kill this guy they meet again!
Me: Yeah, Satiev is one of the greatest, no argument, but they didn't meet again, did they? Ready for another piva, moi droog?
Keep on rockin' in the free world, Khuzin.