Old School Flashback: Ivan Rasputin Wrestles Dick Afflis aka Dick The Bruiser

by Daniel Johnson

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Ivan Rasputin vs. Dick Afflis

If you’re into vintage beefy and tough wrestlers, but don’t have a lot of time then this clip preserved by Chicago Film Archives through the Russ and Sylvia Davis Collection, 1932-1970 is for you!

Ivan Rasputin was one of the original Soviet baddies as The Cold War was terrifying people worldwide. The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels by Greg Oliver and Steve Johnson has an informative and brief write-up of Rasputin. Unlike some foreign heels of the time, according to the book Rasputin had some legitimate roots as his parents had moved to the United States from Ukraine. Although actually born in Chelsea, Massachusetts and debuting in 1935, before The Cold War was even a thing, Rasputin with his broad, but untoned and hairy body and fearsome beard had a natural heel look for the era.

Before he was mangling up and comers in Detroit, Michigan, Dick the Bruiser, just went by Dick Afflis. While some wrestlers build up their bodies over the course of their career, Bruiser was not one of them. A former lineman for the Green Bay Packers one has to feel sorry for his mother’s womb because this guy was made out of granite.

Afflis may have been out brawling in the streets of Chicago before this match took place because commentator Russ Davis can’t help but notice the future Bruiser has a huge bruise on him. “This is a real grade a mouse, it’s almost rat size that he’s wearing on his left eye,” Davis jokes.

Given the slow pacing, fans at the Chicago International Amphitheatre are not on their feet for the whole encounter, but certainly seem up for a test of strength, which Dick easily wins. Shame. If Rasputin had studied more in Professional Wrestling 101 he would have known to kick Afflis in the gut. Although Rasputin clamps on the bear hug Soviet heels are so infamous for, Afflis escapes and then lets loose with a series of football tackles including one that nearly knocks the referee out of the ring. Go Packers!

Dick wins it with a flying body press and fans of  Fred Kohler’s NWA territory rejoice!

The full match can be seen right here:

For more in the Old School Flashback series showcasing wrestling from Chicago click here and here.



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  1. Old School Flashback: Jim Graham Makes His Opponent Look Like a Bozo | The Johnson Transcript

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