(1966-2000) was a Samoan-American Professional Wrestler
best known for his time in WWE
from 1992-1996 as Yokozuna
. His gimmick
was of a former champion Sumo wrestler. He was a 2x WWE Champion
and a 2x WWE World Tag Team Champion
with Owen Hart
. He started his career in the 1980s, first making an impression as Kokina Maximus in the American Wrestling Association
, where he broke Greg Gagne's leg
and ended his career. He also wrestled in the Continental territory in Alabama and in the UWA promotion in Mexico, where he co-held the UWA World Trios Title
with Fatu (Rikishi
) and the Samoan Savage (Sam "The Tonga Kid"/"Islander Tama" Fatu.) He made his WWE TV debut in October 1992 and left after Survivor Series
in November 1996. He was a member of the famous Wild Samoan Wrestling Family
. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.The Other Wiki
has a good writeup about his life and career.
"The Banzai Trope":
- Arch-Enemy: (as a heel): Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Lex Luger, The Undertaker, Earthquake; (as a face): Vader, Owen Hart
- Ass Kicks You: His Finishing Move, the Banzai Drop, was Yoko climbing up to the second turnbuckle and coming down in a sitting position on his opponent.
- Badass Family/Wrestling Family
- Bash Brothers: with Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Samu
- Catch Phrase: "BANZAI!"
- Downer Ending: His death in 2000 at the age of 34.
- Enemy Mine: In battle royals, since it would usually take several guys teaming up to eliminate him.
- Establishing Character Moment: Squashing Virgil in his PPV debut at Survivor Series 1992.
- Fat Bastard: Already weighed 505 lbs. when he debuted and only grew heavier and fatter from there. In fact, he got so heavy that he couldn't get a wrestling license because he couldn't get the necessary medical clearance.
- Geisha: At the start of his WWE run, he'd have two flower-bearing geisha girls in the ring waiting for him before his matches.
- Heel-Face Turn: After his manager Jim Cornette sided with Vader in early 1996.
- Legacy Character: Rikishi's Samoan Sumo gimmick had similarities to Yokozuna.
- Yokozuna's trainee King Dabada is a more obscure example.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Despite his fearsome character several of his fellow wrestlers talk about what a nice guy he was. Undertaker, one of his most hated opponents in the ring, was actually one of his best friends in real life.
- Mighty Glacier: Of a sort. While he generally did not move very quickly, often because he did not need to, and it took a lot for his opponents to knock him down, it should be noted that the Undertaker claimed in 2002 in WWE's special WrestleMania X-8 magazine, in an article about UT's streak to that point, that Yoko "was as agile as a cat."note .
- Shout Out: Received one on the November 6, 2000 Raw. The Undertaker defeated Val Venis, and celebrated the win by opening his vest to show that he was wearing a Yokozuna T-shirt in tribute, as Yoko had passed away on October 22.
- In Japan, Akebono, an actual sumo wrestler turned pro wrestler, used the Banzai Drop for a time as a tribute to him.
- Tag Team: with Owen Hart
- (in the UWA in Mexico): The Hawaiian Beasts
- Wild Samoan