Follow TV Tropes


Wrestling / Rikishi

Go To

Solofa F. Fatu Jr. (born October 11, 1965) is a Samoan-American Professional Wrestler best known for his work in WWE in the 1990s and early 2000s as Fatu, The Sultan and, especially, as Rikishi. He debuted in 1985 in the International Wrestling territory in Montreal as Alofa the Polynesian Prince. He switched to the Fatu name when he and his cousin Samu started teaming in the World Wrestling Council promotion in Puerto Rico as the Samoan Swat Team. They would go on to compete in World Class, the AWA, WCW and many other promotions. In 1992, they arrived in WWE and were renamed The Headshrinkers. This lasted until Samu left in 1994 and was replaced by Sionne (The Barbarian), who left in 1995. Fatu was repackaged with a gimmick based on his own life, as a street-smart, tough Samoan who had survived getting shot and wanted to use that to send an anti-drugs/anti-violence message. He was billed as "Make a Difference" Fatu. In late 1996, Mr. Bob Backlund brought back The Iron Sheik as the co-manager for Sheiky's new discovery, the Sultan. This gimmick had Fatu wearing a mask and not speaking. He jobbed a lot in this gimmick and he disappeared in early 1998. He returned in late 1999 as Rikishi Phatu (shortened to just Rikishi after a couple months), doing a dancing sumo gimmick, which got over far more than anything he had done before. He had a brief heel run from late 2000-mid 2001 after he claimed to have been the one who had run over "Stone Cold" Steve Austin at Survivor Series 1999. He suffered an injury that put him on the shelf for a while and when he came back he was a face and his previous heel run was never acknowledged. He left WWE in 2004 and would go on to compete in TNA as Junior Fatu and for numerous independent promotions. Among his in-ring achievements, he is a former WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion, a former 2x WWE World Tag Team Champion (1x w/Samu and 1x w/Rico), a former WWE SmackDown! Tag Team Champion w/Scotty 2 Hotty, and in 2000 Pro Wrestling Illustrated gave him their "Comeback of the Year" Award.

Inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015.

"Back That Trope Up!"

  • Action Dad: He has five children including The Usos and Solo Sikoa. He once danced inside a wrestling ring just like he used to do with Jey and Jimmy.
  • Acrofatic:
    • As Rikishi, he's a 425 lb fat guy who could fly off the top of cages.
    • Look at how he sells this clothesline from The Rock.
  • Angry Samoan Man Stereotype: He claimed that he ran over Austin because of how Samoan wrestlers had been mistreated by WWE. This flopped because he had never shown any signs of this in the whole time he had been doing the Rikishi gimmick...though, it was later revealed (or retconned) that he had been working for Triple H the whole time, so this may have been a lie, or at best an excuse.
  • Ass Kicks You: Has several moves for this purpose, the Stink Face being his best known.
  • Big Fun: As a face.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: With Scotty 2 Hotty.
  • Cool Mask: As The Sultan.
  • Cool Shades: As Rikishi Phatu.
  • Cool Teacher: He and Gangrel trained Alexander Rusev
  • Cut Short: In WWC, he(Fatu) and Samu Wrestled Invader #1 and Bronco #1 to an indecisive finish four times in August of 1991. This series never did have a truly decisive winner, as though Invader and Bronco won, it was only after Samu had to be replaced with Wild Samoan Savage the following month.
  • Dance Battler: As Rikishi, who is a cross between a sumo wrestler and a hip-hop dancer.
  • Determinator: He got shot and was clinically dead for three minutes. What more do you need?
  • Didn't See That Coming: Rikishi had become so used to opponents fearing the offense of his tremendous backside that when Rico Constantino would actually spank him or beg for the Stinkface, it completely threw Rikishi off his game, forcing him to tag Scotty in and eventually lose their tag titles to Rico and Charlie Haas.
  • Disguised in Drag: Dressed up as a woman to fool Eric Bischoff, who was looking for a lesbian to hire for his own twisted purposes.
  • Fat Bastard: As a heel.
  • Fat Best Friend: To Scotty 2 Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay, who he would dance with after Too Cool won a match.
  • Fan Disservice: Anytime we get a closeup of his 425-pound Samoan ass, especially during the 2000 Royal Rumble.
  • Finishing Move: Samoan Splash; (as the Sultan): Camel Clutch; (as Rikishi), Rumpshaker (Yokozuna's Banzai Drop), Rikishi Driver
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Attempted by Konnan in AAA by making him part of La Legion Extranjera, but it didn't really work out.
  • Fun Personified: As a face, he would dance after matches with Too Cool.
  • I Have Many Names: Fatu, The Sultan, Rikishi Fatu, Alofa the Polynesian Prince, Junior Fatu, JR Smooth, HUSTLE Rikishi...
  • I Know Karate: In kayfabe.
  • Laughably Evil: And not in a good way either. Turns out trying to make the guy most known for wearing a thong and sitting on people into a heel without radically altering his persona was not going to get him over.
  • The Mentor: Has become this to the non-TV members of the Samoan Dynasty in his later years.
  • No-Sell: During his feud with John Cena, Cena punched him right on the ass. Rikishi no-sold it. Cena sold his hand.
  • Power Stable
    • The International Squad of Terror, in the late 1990s version of NWA Mid-Atlantic.
  • Power Trio
    • Too Cool, with Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty
    • The Samoan Swat team was one for a stretch with Tama and Samu
  • Prefers Going Barefoot: As a Headshrinker. This became a plot point in his "Makin' a difference" Fatu gimmick, where he had difficulty climbing the ropes because he wasn't used to wearing boots.

  • Punny Name: When working with Too Cool and spelling his last name Phatu - 'phat' being a slang term roughly equivalent to 'cool.'
  • Ring Oldies: Still toured around the world at 49
  • Spell My Name with an S: When he started teaming with Too Cool his last name would either be "Fatu" or "Phatu".
  • Stout Strength: Hit a Samoan Drop on THE BIG SHOW on the January 17, 2002 SmackDown!.
  • Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: For the WWE Originals album from 2004, he recorded a song called "Put a Little Ass On It."
  • Tag Team
    • The Samoan Swat Team/The Headshrinkers
    • (in the UWA in Mexico): The Hawaiian Beasts, with Kokina (Yokozuna) and The Samoan Savage (The Tonga Kid/Islander Tama)
    • The New Samoans with Wild Samoan Savage, alternatively called "The Great Samoans"
    • Briefly, with Haku during his 2000-01 heel run.
  • Take That!: Not to anyone specific, but, on the September 5, 2002 SmackDown!, he explained to Edge that he had experienced "the ass of life," and that the Stinkface was his way of throwing everything bad he had experienced in his life back at people.
  • The Unfought: The Headshrinkers defended the WWF tag team title belts against the Heavenly Bodies in several dark matches but never faced them on television.
  • The Voiceless: As the Sultan, makes sense because he had no tongue.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • The Sultan repeatedly lost to put over Mark Henry, not that Henry's resulting pushes ever went anywhere but to in turn serve as the "Worf" for someone else. Yeah, Sultan wasn't too high on the WWF pecking order.
    • Rikishi also worfed for none other than John Cena during Cena's first push, partly because Cena was strong enough to get him up for the F-U.
  • Totally Radical: As "Make a Difference" Fatu.
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object
    • "Kishi" and his cousin Black Pearl repeatedly against The UK Pitbulls "The Bulk" and Big Dave in the Italian New Wrestling Entertainment.
    • "The Battle Of The Big Men" bout during the World Wrestling League's 2013 Dream Matches Tour in the Dominican Republic pitting "Rikichi" against “El Leon” Apolo.
  • Wild Samoan: As a member of the Headshrinkers, complete with tribal spears, unkempt hair and an inability to speak english. Averted by Rikishi, who was a bizarre cross between a hip-hop dancer and sumo wrestler that could speak some surprisingly good english.
  • Wrestling Family: Part of the Anoa'i family led by Afa and Sika through his mother's side. Nearly every Anoa'i and their father (quite literally) has been part of WWE at some point in the last 20 years. More directly, though, his twin sons wrestle for WWE as the Usos, his another son Sefa Fatu known as Solo Sikoa and his daughter-in-law Naomi, formerly of the Funkadactyls.