Zangief is a wrestling character from Soviet Russia who was popularized by the Street Fighter franchise.
Zangief is a Soviet pro wrestler who is a national hero and nicknamed the "Red Cyclone." He is acquainted with the General Secretary of the CPSU and Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev. Zangief takes part in world fighting tournaments to both prove the might of the Soviet Union and to fight against the crime syndicate known as Shadaloo.
Zangief is a wrestling character popularized by Capcom's popular Street Fighter video game franchise. He first appeared in Street Fighter II and has made subsequent appearances in other games in the franchise. His name is based off real-life professional wrestler Victor Zangiev, a former pro wrestler involved with New Japan Pro Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling and UWF International. Zangief's original name during development of Street Fighter II was Vodka Gobalsky.
Zangief has made appearances in animated adaptations of Street Fighter which include Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Street Fighter II-V and Street Fighter Alpha. In Japanese, he was voiced by Tetsuo Kanao for Street Fighter II, Yasuo Tanaka for Street Fighter II-V and Hidenari Ugaki for Street Fighter Alpha. In English, Zangief was voiced by Michael Sorich for Street Fighter II and Street Fighter II-V, while Joe Romersa voiced him for Street Fighter Alpha.
Zangief stands at '7' (214 cm) and weighs 253 pounds (115 kg), having a brown-haired mohawk and blue eyes. He has a large muscular build with a mustache and triangular shaped chest hair. When fighting, Zangief dons a red pair of wrestling trunks, red wrist bands and red wrestling boots.
Zangief is a patriotic and proud character who is a fearless and tactical fighter who can anger easily. Despite his short temple, he can have a gentle nature and have a good sense of humor. Outside of wrestling, Zangief is a skilled cossack dancer and loves to drink vodka.
Zangief's roles in Street Fighter II and Street Fighter Alpha were minor ones as he only existed to take part in fights against Blanka for SFII and Ryu's brother Shun for Alpha. He is one of M. Bison's henchmen in Shadaloo for Street Fighter II-V as Zangief abducted Ryu to have him brainwashed as one of Bison's soldiers and would be defeated in combat against Guile during the soldier's infiltration of Shadaloo's headquarters.
Zangief utilizes a close-range style of professional wrestling as he utilizes his great strength and grappling skills to deliver devastating maneuvers to his opponent like the Spinning Piledriver and Atomic Suplex. His strength is great as such where he will often train against brown bears to polish his wrestling skills. Since he specializes more in close-range combat, Zangief does have problems dealing with fighters who utilize projectile attacks. To counteract these moves, Zangief utilizes both variants of his Spinning Clothesline and the Banishing Fist to close in on his foes, the latter technique allowing him to negate projectile attacks while his fist is engulfed in his energy.