Date: Early ‘80s (exact date unknown)
Location: Orlando, Florida
Source: Hannibal TV
Manny Fernandez had success in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s with Eddie Graham’s territory in Florida. He became close with Dusty Rhodes there, which is why Manny had a good position in the NWA when Rhodes took over as booker.
We’re not certain when Manny feuded with Nikolai Volkoff, but it was likely the early 1980s. During one of their matches, Manny was drunk when the two got into the ring. Volkoff said Manny liked to party, but usually when wrestlers have too much to drink, they make sure they’re sober in the ring so as not to hurt their opponent. That wasn’t the case here.
Volkoff claimed Manny tried to hurt him in the ring while in his drunken state. He asked him what he was doing, and Manny replied by saying things like, “You mother*cker, shut up, I’m the boss here!”
Manny was certainly a tough guy, but Volkoff in the ‘70s and early ‘80s was an enormous powerhouse with tree trunk legs and a thick, powerful chest. He was also about four inches taller than Manny and considerably heavier. Volkoff said either to himself or to Manny, “Oh yeah? How about this!” He then hit him two or three times, knocking him out cold with a stiff left jab. Volkoff used to be a boxer, so he was well trained in how to knock someone out. With his power and Manny’s drunken state, it wouldn’t have taken much anyway.
Manny apologized to Volkoff later on. Mick Foley has also confirmed this story is true, long before Volkoff went public with it many years later in a shoot interview.