Rikishi at the Big Apple Comic Con, May 22, 2011.
|Ring name(s)||Alofa the Polynesian Prince
|Billed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Billed weight||425 lb (193 kg)|
October 11, 1965 |
San Francisco, California
|Billed from||The Isle of Samoa|
|Trained by||Wild Samoans
(Afa Anoaʻi and Sika Anoaʻi)
Solofa Fatu Jr. (born October 11, 1965) is a Samoan American professional wrestler, best known under the ring names Rikishi (which means sumo wrestler in Japanese) and Fatu with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), where he was a one time Intercontinental Champion, two time World Tag Team Champion, and one time WWE Tag Team Champion.
- 1 Professional wrestling career
- 1.1 The Samoan Swat Team (1985-1992)
- 1.2 World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment
- 1.3 Independent circuit (2005-present)
- 1.4 Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2007)
- 1.5 Return to WWE (2012-present)
- 2 Other media
- 3 Personal life
- 4 In wrestling
- 5 Championships and accomplishments
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Professional wrestling career
The Samoan Swat Team (1985-1992)
Solofa Fatu, Jr. started out in 1985 for Gino Brito and Dino Bravo’s International Wrestling promotion in Montreal. There, he worked as Prince Alofa, a high flying babyface. He often teamed with the territory’s top faces. His cousin, Samula Anoaʻi, also worked in Montreal as a heel, The Great Samu.
After International Wrestling closed, the two cousins signed with the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico and became The Samoan Swat Team (Samu & Fatu). They used the "Samoan savage" gimmick their relatives, The Wild Samoans succesfully used, working barefoot, never publicly speaking English and no-selling attacks to the head. They became the new WWC Caribbean Tag Team Champions (after a long vacancy) on November 7, 1987, when they beat Invader I and Invader III. They held the title for just over a month before dropping it to Mark and Chris Youngblood before leaving the promotion.
Samu and Fatu next appeared in Texas, working for Fritz Von Erich’s World Class Championship Wrestling. Storywise, Buddy Roberts brought them in to fight his fights against the Von Erich family and former Fabulous Freebirds partner Michael Hayes. The SST was given a big push right away; presented as an unstoppable force, they beat hometown heroes Kerry and Kevin Von Erich for the WCWA World Tag Team Championship on August 12, 1988. They remained undefeated in WCCW until they dropped the belts to Hayes and his new partner, Steve Cox, on September 12. They recaptured the title four days later. Hayes and Cox beat them for the title again on October 15, and, two days later, lost it back again.
On September 12, 1988, The Samoan Swat Team became double champions by beating "Hollywood" John Tatum and Jimmy Jack Funk for the WCWA Texas Tag Team Championship. They made their pay-per-view debut at AWA SuperClash III, the AWA's first and last PPV. They successfully defended their World Tag title against Michael Hayes and Steve Cox. In the beginning of 1989, the SST left WCCW, vacating both championships.
The Samoan Swat Team signed with Jim Crockett Promotions, introduced as manager Paul E. Dangerously’s replacement for The Original Midnight Express (Randy Rose and Dennis Condrey), who had left the promotion. The SST took over the Express’ feud with The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane, beating them at Clash of the Champions VI: Ragin' Cajun on April 2, 1989. The SST teamed with former rival Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, and Jimmy Garvin at the 1989 Great American Bash, losing a WarGames match to The Road Warriors, The Midnight Express, and Steve Williams.
In fall 1989, Paul E. Dangerously was phased out and the SST took a new manager, "The Big Kahuna" Oliver Humperdink. They were also joined by Fatu's brother, The Samoan Savage. The SST lost more and more matches as 1989 drew to a close, but got a break when Sid Vicious was injured, leading his team, The Skyscrapers, to pull out of the "Iron Team Tournament" at Starrcade 1989. Fatu and The Samoan Savage, rebranded as The New Wild Samoans, replaced them. For the rest of their WCW career, Fatu and Savage teamed, while Samu only wrestled singles matches.
After leaving WCW in the summer of 1990, Fatu and Savage worked for several independent promotions in the US, Europe and Japan, often teaming with cousin Kokina Maximus. The three worked for the Universal Wrestling Association in 1991, where they won the UWA Trios Tag Team Championship and held it for just under two months. They headlined the UWA’s 16th anniversary show, losing the title to Dos Caras, El Canek, and Mil Máscaras.
World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment
The Headshrinkers (1992-1995)
After Samu and Fatu joined the World Wrestling Federation, they were renamed The Headshrinkers, but their savage gimmick remained. Kokina Maximus also joined the WWF, but was repackaged as Japanese sumo wrestler Yokozuna, and his relation to The Headshrinkers was not acknowledged. The Headshrinker's first notable angle came when they interfered to help Money Inc. beat The Natural Disasters for the WWF World Tag Team Championship. Soon after, The Headshrinkers feuded with The Natural Disasters and the recently formed High Energy.
Between 1992 and early 1994, The Headshrinkers occasionally challenged for the tag title and made sporadic PPV appearances, feuding with The Smoking Gunns and Men on a Mission. They helped Yokozuna win a casket match against The Undertaker at the 1994 Royal Rumble.
In April, The Headshrinkers turned face, took Lou Albano as their manager and challenged tag champions The Quebecers. They won the gold on the May 2 episode of Monday Night RAW. At King of the Ring on June 19, they successfully defended the title against Yokozuna and Crush. Their title reign ended at a house show in Indianapolis on August 28, when they lost to Shawn Michaels and Diesel. This happened a day before they were scheduled to defend against Irwin R. Schyster and Bam Bam Bigelow at SummerSlam. The match went on without the title, and The Headshrinkers lost by disqualification.
Soon after, Samu left the WWF to recover from injuries and was replaced by Sione (formerly The Barbarian). They were called The New Headshrinkers. The storyline reason for Samu’s departure was that he was not coping well with manager Lou Albano’s attempts to civilize him, particularly about wearing boots. The New Headshrinkers made only one PPV appearance, at the 1994 Survivor Series, where they were eliminated from their ten-man tag match, but helped their team win. They both entered the 1995 Royal Rumble; Sione lasted about seven minutes early on and Fatu over five nearer the end. They entered a tournament to crown new WWF tag team champions in late 1994/early 1995, and lost to Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka in the semifinals. For most of 1995, they worked with Jacob & Eli Blu, usually putting them over. Their final match was a loss to Men on a Mission at a June 22 house show in London, England, after which Sione left for WCW.
Making a difference, and The Sultan (1995–1998)
Fatu became a singles wrestler in 1995. He was repackaged, dropping the savage gimmick in favour of a more realistic one. He now spoke fluent English and came from San Francisco. He spoke in vignettes of his real-life experience growing up in the ghetto and being hit in a drive-by shooting (which left him clinically dead for three minutes and with a large scar on his abdomen). He often spoke of helping the community, and the gimmick became informally known as "Make a Difference" Fatu (after his catchphrase/slogan). Two men soon began showing up in the audience whenever Fatu was in the ring: Samu and his brother, Lloyd Anoaʻi, also known as "The Samoan Gangster Party". The two never got in the ring or confronted Fatu before he was repackaged and the whole angle was dropped.
In 1996, he was repackaged as The Sultan, a masked sultan who never spoke, ostensibly because his tongue was cut out. He was managed by The Iron Sheik and Bob Backlund. He unsuccesfully challenged Rocky Maivia for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 13. The Sultan vanished in 1998, when Fatu left to train at Dory Funk's Funking Conservatory wrestling school.
Too Cool (1999–2000)
After training at Funk's, Fatu returned on the November 13, 1999 episode of WWF Metal as Rikishi Fatu, beating Julio Fantastico. "Rikishi" is the Japanese term for a sumo wrestler, similar to his cousin's ring name "Yokozuna". "Fatu" soon became "Phatu", until he dropped the last name entirely after he started teaming with Too Cool. No mention was made of his WWF past. He had gained some weight, bleached his hair blonde, and wore a thong loincloth.He became known for giving opponents the Stink Face, rubbing his mostly bare butt on their faces while they sat in the corner (usually after an avalanche).
Rikishi briefly feuded with Viscera before allying with Too Cool, (Grand Master Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty). One night, during their traditional post-match dance routine, Rikishi joined them. The sight of a fat man in a thong dancing deceptively well became popular. As the routines became more frequent and longer, this popularity translated to a significant push. In the 2000 Royal Rumble match, he eliminated seven opponents, and it took six wrestlers working together to eliminate him.
In May 2000, Rikishi and Too Cool feuded with Edge, Christian and Kurt Angle, culminating in a victory at Judgment Day. After winning the Intercontinental Championship from Chris Benoit on the June 22 episode of SmackDown!, Rikishi qualified for the 2000 King of the Ring tournament. On June 25, at the PPV, he defeated Benoit in the quarterinals and Val Venis in the semis. Both opponents hit him with a steel chair after losing, weakening his shoulder and helping Kurt Angle defeat him in the final. Stemming from Venis' attack, Rikishi faced him on July 6 and lost the title after Tazz hit him with a television camera. They rematched in a steel cage at Fully Loaded. In this match, Rikishi climbed the cage and, in an allusion to Jimmy Snuka, splashed Venis from the top. Rikishi soon lost the match after Tazz again hit him with a camera.
Heel turn (2000-2001)
On October 9, 2000 Commissioner Mick Foley used a slip of the tongue from Scotty 2 Hotty to implicate Rikishi as the person who had run over Steve Austin almost a year earlier at Survivor Series, the night after Rikishi debuted in the WWF. Rikishi admitted it, claiming it was to allow his cousin The Rock an opportunity for stardom, insisting that Buddy Rogers, Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan and Austin - "The Great White Hope" - had always been pushed, at the expense of Samoan wrestlers like Peter Maivia, Jimmy Snuka, Samu, Yokozuna and The Rock. turned Rikishi heel.
Austin immediately set out for revenge, facing Rikishi in a No Holds Barred match at No Mercy. The match went to a no contest when Austin dragged Rikishi to the parking lot and tried to run him over; a police car drove in front of Austin's, saving Rikishi. Though arrested, Austin got some payback, cutting and bruising Rikishi's face. Later that night, Rikishi interfered in The Rock's WWF Championship defense against Kurt Angle, but "accidentally" kicked the champ, allowing Angle to Angle Slam them both and win the title. After several attacks on Austin by an unseen assailant, it became clear that Rikishi had an accomplice. During a handicap match pitting Rikishi and Angle against Austin, Triple H came to the ring, seemingly to aid Austin, but swerved the audience by attacking him with a sledgehammer. Triple H then revealed he had masterminded the Survivor Series assault, and hired Rikishi to drive the truck.
While Austin began feuding with Triple H, Rikishi's tension with The Rock boiled over. He lost their match at the 2000 Survivor Series. He then participated in a six-man Hell in a Cell WWF Championship match at Armageddon. Vince McMahon drove a flatbed truck ringside in an effort to dismantle the cage and stop the match. Before he could, The Undertaker chokeslammed Rikishi from the top of the cell onto the hay-covered bed. Angle later retained the title.
In January 2001, Rikishi won a Fatal Fourway match on SmackDown for the #30 spot in the 2001 Royal Rumble match. There, he eliminated The Undertaker, and was soon eliminated by The Rock. Haku returned to the WWF in the Rumble, and he and Rikishi formed a tag team and feuded with The Undertaker and Kane, then The Hardy Boys. The team split while Rikishi was sidelined with an eardrum injury in March. He returned on the May 4 SmackDown and fought The Undertaker to no-contest. On the next Raw, he turned face and gave the Stink Face to Stephanie McMahon after she distracted him, and cost him a non-title match with Austin. On May 20, at Judgment Day, he injured his shoulder in the opening bout with William Regal, which caused him to miss much of the year and the entire Invasion angle.
SmackDown; teaming with Scotty 2 Hotty and departure (2002-2004)
Rikishi returned on December 6, 2001, delivering a Stink Face to Vince McMahon and solidifying his face status. Upon the WWE Brand Extension, Rikishi was drafted to SmackDown!. At Judgment Day, he faced Billy and Chuck in a "secret partner" match. His partner turned out to be Rico, Billy and Chuck's stylist. Despite Rico's best efforts to unfairly help Billy and Chuck, Rikishi and he won the match and became the Tag Team Champions. Rico would later cause his partner to lose the titles in a rematch.
Rikishi was not featured much in late 2002 and early-2003. He feuded with John Cena, Bill DeMott, and the Full Blooded Italians on SmackDown!. The return of Roddy Piper led Rikishi to challenge him as Piper had hit Jimmy Snuka with a coconut years ago on Piper's Pit. At Backlash 2003, Piper's protege Sean O'Haire defeated Rikishi after Piper got hit with a coconut by Rikishi giving O'Haire time to hit the Widowmaker on Rikishi. Rikishi eventually formed a tag team with Scotty 2 Hotty, and the duo defeated the Basham Brothers for the WWE Tag Team Championship on February 5, 2004, holding them for two and a half months before losing them to Charlie Haas and Rico. Fatu, however, was released by WWE on July 16, 2004, following repeated requests from WWE to lose weight.
Independent circuit (2005-present)
Fatu continued to wrestle on the independent circuit. In October 2005, he shortened his ring name to Kishi after being notified by WWE legal representatives that WWE owned a trademark on the name "Rikishi". Fatu, as Kishi, would go on to operate Nu-Wrestling Evolution, a professional wrestling promotion based in Italy. On February 17, 2007, Fatu competed as SUMO RIKISHI in a tag team contest at an All Japan Pro Wrestling event, as he was brought in by Keiji Mutoh to feud with Akebono. On August 12, 2007, Fatu competed in an 8-man tag, as Rikishi, at Asistencia Asesoría y Administración's TripleMania event. On August 23, Fatu competed in a Triple Threat match against Samoa Joe and Sterling James Keenan at Ballpark Brawl VIII in Buffalo, New York. On November 17, wrestling as Rikishi once again, Fatu defeated Mike Rollins at a Heavy on Wrestling event in Duluth, Minnesota.
On March 28, 2009, Fatu debuted in Revolución Lucha Libre, a Chile based promotion, under the ring name "Kishi". In his first show, he faced Ariki Toa for the Absolute International Championship, RLL's major title. Kishi defeated Toa by pinfall with a Banzai Drop to win the title. After the match, Savio Vega assaulted Kishi.
Fatu is now wrestling in Territory League under his TNA alias Junior Fatu. He is a member of the Las Vegas Highrollers along with his friends Brian Christopher and Scott Garland, formerly known as Too Cool.
Fatu wrestled alongside his partner Brian Cristopher under their Too Cool names, Rikishi and Grand Master Sexay in a tag team main event match at an event in Cookeville Tennessee called Slamfest 2013 on May 4, 2013. The match was between Too Cool and Tommy Dreamer and 2 Tuff Tony. Fatu and Cristopher won after Tony was attempting to hit Fatu with a flaming vodka rag and accidentally hit Dreamer in the face with it. After this Fatu kicked Tony into a turnbuckle and gave him a stinkface.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2007)
On the September 13, 2007 episode of Impact!, Fatu debuted in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling under the ring name Junior Fatu. Fatu faced Christian Cage on the September 20 episode of Impact! in his first match, which he lost due to a distraction by Christian's partner A.J. Styles. On the October 25 episode of Impact!, Fatu faced Robert Roode in a Fight for the Right Tournament match, which he won due to interference by Samoa Joe. On October 30, however, it was reported that Fatu had been released from TNA, due to he and TNA management failing to reach an agreement about a pay raise. Chris Harris took Fatu's spot in the Fight for the Right semifinal match.
Return to WWE (2012-present)
Rikishi made an appearance at the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. Rikishi made an appearance on WWE RAW on July 16, 2012, defeating Heath Slater. During the match, he used the Samoan Spike and the Banzai Drop (the latter having been used as a finishing move since his 1999 repackaging as Rikishi) as a tribute to his deceased brother Umaga and cousin Yokozuna, respectively. After the match, he danced with his sons Jey and Jimmy Uso. He then reappeared on the 1,000th episode on July 23 with other Legends to help Lita take down Slater.
Rikishi next appeared for the company on the January 6, 2014 episode of Raw where he reunited with Too Cool to defeat 3MB in a six-man tag team match.
Fatu is a member of the famous Anoaʻi family. He is the twin brother of Sam Fatu (The Tonga Kid/Tama), and both brothers have fathered twins. Sam is the father of twins Marley and Myracle, and Fatu is the father of twins Jonathan and Joshua Samuel, who currently wrestle in WWE as Jimmy and Jey Uso. He and his wife Talisua Fuavai-Fatu have five children. Jonathan and Joshua Samuel (born August 22, 1985), Jeremiah Peniata (born August 30, 1986) and Joseph (born 1993). He rubs his nose twice en route to the ring to tell his children that he loves them. He is the older brother of Eddie Fatu (Umaga/Jamal). He is the nephew of Sika Anoaʻi and Afa Anoaʻi, known as the Wild Samoans, and his cousins in wrestling are Rodney Anoa'i (Yokozuna), Samula Anoa'i (Headshrinker Samu), Matt Anoaʻi (Rosey), Leati Anoa'i (Roman Reigns), Reno Anoa'i (Black Pearl), Afa Anoaʻi, Jr. (Manu), Lloyd Anoaʻi (L.A. Smooth) and Dwayne Johnson (The Rock).
On April 27, 2008, Fatu's mother Vera died after a seven-year battle with cancer.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Entrance Themes
- "U Look Fly 2 Day" by Jim Johnston (WWE/F; used while teaming with Too Cool)
- "Bad Man" by Ike Dirty (WWE/F)
Championships and accomplishments
- Portland Wrestling
- Portland Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Power Pro Wrestling (Memphis)
- PPW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Revolución Lucha Libre
- Campeonato Internacional Absoluto (1 time)
- Universal Wrestling Association
- World Class Wrestling Association
- World Wrestling Federation / World Wrestling Entertainment
- "Online World of Wrestling". Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- "Riki-Shi". Inoki Genome Federation (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-12-23.
- "Rikishi". WWE. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- California Births
- "Solofa Fatu". Veromi. Retrieved 2010-03-23.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "WCCW Show results – Cotton Bowl Extravaganza". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "AWA Show results – SuperClash results". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "NWA Clash of the Champions Results (VI)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "NWA Great American Bash Results (1989)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "NWA Starrcade Results (1989)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "StrongStyle Spirit: NJPW Results from 1991". Archived from the original on 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "U.W.A. World Trios title". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "UWA show results – Anniversary shows". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- Graham Cawthon. "WWF Show Results 1992". Retrieved 2007-04-03. "Ted Dibiase & IRS (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeated WWF Tag Team Champions the Natural Disasters to win the titles when Dibiase locked Earthquake in the Million $ Dream after the Headshrinkers interfered"
- "WWF Survivor Series Results (1992)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF SummerSlam Results (1993)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF Survivor Series Results (1993)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF Royal Rumble Results (1994)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "Title History > World Tag Team > The Headshrinkers". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF King of the Ring Results (1994)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "Title History > World Tag Team > Shawn Michaels & Diesel". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF SummerSlam Results (1994)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF Survivor Series Results (1994)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF Tag-Team Title Tournament 1995". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- Graham Cawthon. "WWF Show Results 1995". Retrieved 2007-04-03. "June 4, 1995: Jacob & Eli Blu defeated the New Headshrinkers"
- RD Reynolds and Randy Baer (2003). Wrestlecrap – the very worst of pro wrestling. ECW Press. ISBN 1-55022-584-7.
- "WWF WrestleMania Results (13)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "Junior Fatu biography (with images)". Accelerator. Retrieved 2007-10-13.
- "WWF Royal Rumble Elimination details (2000)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF Judgement Day Results (2000)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF/WWE Intercontinental heavyweight title history". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF King of the Ring Results (2000)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF Fully Loaded Results (2000)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF No Mercy Results (2000)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF/WWE World Heavyweight Title History". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF Survivor Series Results (2000)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF Armageddon Results (2000)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF Royal Rumble Elimination Details (2001)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWF Judgement Day Results (2002)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- WWE: Inside WWE > Title History > World Tag Team > 20020606 - Billy & Chuck
- "WWF Backlash Results (2003)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "WWE Tag-Team Title History (Smackdown)". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "Official NWE Wrestling Website". Archived from the original on 2008-01-02.
- "AJPW "EXCITE SERIES 2007" Results". Retrieved 2007-04-03. "(translated from German) Akebono & Toru Owashi defeated Sumo Rikishi & Johnny Dunn (Nobutaka Araya) (9:37)"
- "Rikishi returns". wwe.com. 2012-07-16. Retrieved 2012-07-18.
- California births
- California births
- California births
- Stated in the May 2000 issue of WOW Magazine
- California births
- "Elevera Anoa'i Fatu passes away". WrestlingFigs.com via wwe.com. 2008-04-27. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
- "Umaga passes". WWE. 2009-12-04. Retrieved 2009-12-04.
- "Umaga's cause of death revealed". . 2010-03-01. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- "Finishing Moves List". Retrieved 2011-05-08.
- "Managers and wrestlers trained".
- Matt Mackinder (January 17, 2008). "Sir Oliver Humperdink recalls career of yesteryear". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 - 2000". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2010-09-15.