(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":
- Acrofatic: He was quite agile and did moves that super heavyweights normally didn't do. Stuff like high kicks, running leg drops and his finisher saw him dropping from the second turnbuckle.
- Arch-Enemy: Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Vader
- 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!"
- Does Not Like Shoes: He would wear flip-flops to the ring, only to remove them before his match.
- 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.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: He defeated Mark Kyle, Denny Parton and Reginald Walker in a 3-on-1 handicap match on the March 9 (taped February 20), 1996 WWF Superstars. At one point, Yoko hit the Banzai Drop on Kyle. He set up Parton for the Banzai Drop in another corner, slammed Walker onto Parton and hit the move on both guys.
- 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 .
- Power Stable:
- (as Kokina Maximus in the AWA): The Sheik's (Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie)'s Army
- (in WWE): Camp Cornette
- 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: Averted in WWE. His character there was Japanese.