Oleg Prudius officially began his career as an entertainer in 2002 and one of his first projects was Spike Lee’s 2002 film 25th Hour in which he played a small role. The following year, Prudius appeared in multiple episodes of the HBO series The Wire.
The six-foot-three Ukrainian-American then took a short break from acting to pursue combat sports competitively. In 2005, Prudius became the USA Open Heavyweight Sambo Champion and a United States Kick-Boxing Association (USKBA) International Heavyweight Grappling Champion.
A year later, Prudius decided to combine his expertise in combat sports with his passion for entertaining and embarked on his journey as a professional wrestler. In December 2006, Prudius made an appearance as a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) prospect on Rawunder the name Vladimir Kozlov. The ring name stuck.
From 2006 to 2011, Kozlov was a mainstay on the brand’s various programs: WWE Raw, WWE SmackDown, WWE NXT, and WWE Superstars. Simultaneously, from 2007 to 2010, Kozlov also played a significant role in a show created by WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon called Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW).
Prudius dove into another element of entertainment when he voiced his character Vladimir Kozlov in two video games: WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2011 and WWE ’12.
Kozlov competed in his last WWE match on an episode of SmackDown that aired on August 5, 2011. Prudius decided to continue his professional wrestling career in Japan for the Inoki Genome Federation and assumed a somewhat new ring name, Alexander Kozlov. On October 16, 2012, Prudius retired from professional wrestling.
Since, Prudius has returned to acting in films and television shows. In 2013, he starred in 30 Cuts Deep and appeared in an episode of USA Network’s Burn Notice.
In 2016, the WWE did a Where Are They Now? feature on Prudius and it has amassed the most views of any in the series with more than 1.2 million and counting.
In 2017, Prudius had roles in three films, all hits in the box office. He appeared in John Wick: Chapter 2 and the eighth installment of the famed Fast & Furious franchise, The Fate of the Furious. The third and most recent film he acted in is the second highest-grossing film of all-time in a single market. Wolf Warrior 2 grossed more than $874 million in the Chinese box office and it became the only non-Hollywood film ever to be included in the list of 100 all-time highest-grossing films worldwide. Prudius played the role of Bear, the muscle of the villains.