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Wrestling / The Barbarian

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Sione Havea Vailahi (born September 6, 1958) is a Tongan Professional Wrestler best known for his work in the 1980s and 1990s as The Barbarian. He debuted in 1980 after having previously competed in Japan in sumo wrestling. He wrestled under the names Tonga John, King Konga and Konga the Barbarian before settling on "The Barbarian." He competed in various National Wrestling Alliance territories before settling into the Mid-Atlantic initially as a Face. He was turned Heel and teamed with the Warlord as The Powers of Pain. He made his PPV debut in the steel cage battle royal that was the main event of NWA Bunkhouse Stampede, January 24, 1988, with Dusty Rhodes eliminating him to win. The POP surprised many people by jumping from the NWA to WWE in the summer. The team split in 1990, with the Warlord joining Slick's stable and Barbarian joining the Heenan Family. He stayed around for another two years, leaving in February. He then briefly allied himself with Cactus Jack in Jack's feud with WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ron Simmons. He had a brief run in WWE in late 1994-1995 as "Sionne" of The Headshrinkers after Samu left. He and Warlord were briefly reunited under masks in WCW in late 1995 as "The Super Assassins" before Warlord left. Barbarian joined the Dungeon of Doom and teamed with Meng as The Faces of Fear until that team split. Barbarian and Meng would alternate between teaming and feuding in 1998 and 1999. He has also competed for CHIKARA, Juggalo Championship Wrestling, New Japan Pro-Wrestling and many independents around the world. Among his in-ring achievements, he is a former NWA World 6-Man Tag Team Champion and he and Dick Slater were the last-ever WCW United States Tag Team Champions.

"Barbaric Tropes":

  • The Brute: Often played this rule.
  • David Versus Goliath: Played straight at WrestleMania VII when the Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) defeated Haku and Barbarian. Inverted when the Faces of Fear defeated Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero on the February 4, 1997 WCW Monday Nitro.
  • Death from Above: 6'2, 300 lbs. of solid muscle and, while he wasn't precisely a high flyer, one of his finishing moves was a diving clothesline off the top rope and another was a diving headbutt off the top.
  • Demoted to Extra: In WCW, he went from a World Heavyweight Title challenger to a lower tier mook in the Dungeon of Doom and then, after a brief monster push, the least important member of the First Family.
  • The Dreaded: Much like his partner Meng, he was another wrestler who people knew better than to mess with.
  • Combination Attack: After Meng's backdrop, he would catch the opponent and then power bomb them. Less often, Meng would hit a Manhattan Drop to set up the Kick of Fear.
  • Facial Markings: During his early 90s WCW run, as seen in the page image.
  • Finishing Move: Barbarian never had a finishing move with the staying power of, say, the Stone Cold Stunner. His finishing moves and trademark moves were exchanged and switched around regularly. At various times he used the Diving Headbutt, Top Rope Clothesline, Kick Of Fear, Piledriver, and Powerbomb as finishers. While tag teaming with Meng, one of their tag finishers was for Meng to back drop someone into Barbarian's arms and he'd powerbomb them out of midair.
  • Garbage Wrestler: Averted even though WCW did put him in the Hardcore division for a time in 1999 - he was a power wrestler primarily and a brawler secondarily.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: From the 1992 Royal Rumble match:
    GORILLA MONSOON: (Ominously) Barbarian doesn't like Flair.
    BOBBY "THE BRAIN" HEENAN: Barbarian doesn't like anyone. When I managed him, he barely liked me! Why do you think they call him The Barbarian? He's not a hairdresser on his days off, you know.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Started as a face, turned heel, the POP were brought into WWE as face, did the Face/Heel Double-Turn with Demolition at Survivor Series 1988, stayed heel the rest of his time in WWE, a heel in WCW, a face again in WWE as a member of the Headshrinkers, heel again in WCW...
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Referred to this way at times in WCW. During the Tag Team Street Fight between The Public Enemy and Hugh Morrus/The Barbarian on the June 15, 1998 WCW Monday Nitro, Heenan said, "Barbarian thinks these guys are lunch."
  • Lesser Star: Barbarian's turn on Meng was sparked because he was tired of being seen as the inferior half of the Faces of Fear.
  • Maniac Tongue: Barbarian would often snarl at his opponents or the fans to intimidate them, and he often stuck his tongue out when he did so. It's depicted on the page image.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Well, let's just say they didn't call him The Barbarian because he was a hair dresser when he wasn't wrestling
  • No-Sell: When wrestling jobbers, a lot. Sometimes he'd no-sell for his legitimate opponents early on so they'd look more badass when they started hitting him hard enough to make him sell later.
  • Parts Unknown: Billed from there at times.
  • Power Stable:
    • Paul Jones' Army
    • The Heenan Family
    • The Dungeon of Doom
    • The Alliance to End Hulkamania
    • The First Family (led by Jimmy Hart in 1998-1999 WCW)
    • Darkside (in USA Championship Wrestling in Tennessee)
  • Ring Oldies: Although his full time wrestling career ended when WCW released him in mid-2000, he's been wrestling part time in the indies ever since - and as of 2018, he's still going. He was born in 1958.
  • Starter Villain: In WCW it wasn't unusual for someone to beat The Barbarian to set up a match between them and Meng, which would in turn set up a match between the person and whoever Meng was Dragoning for.
  • Tag Team: The Powers of Pain with The Warlord (also known for a time as the Untouchables or under masks as the Super Assassins)
    • The New Headshrinkers (with Fatu, first appearing as a replacement for Samu and then permanently replacing him)
    • The Faces of Fear (with Meng)note 
  • Wild Tongan: Afa does not count him as part of the family though, even though he has teamed with wrestlers (Fatu, Haku/Meng) who are.
  • The Worf Effect: He was Goldberg's second televised victim, on the September 29, 1997 WCW Monday Nitro. A few dozen matches into Goldberg's streak, he and Hugh Morrus lost a handicap match against Goldberg, giving him far less trouble than either of them did in their singles matches against him. He also worfed for Tank Abbott on his final WCW Nitro appearance.
  • Wrestling Family: His niece is Lei'D Tapa, who competed for Impact Wrestling in 2013 and 2014.
  • Wrestling Monster: Being that he was right at the bottom edge of being big enough to pull it off and that he was rarely pushed to the top of the card, not usually. However, he did have his moments, such as his early 90s WCW run or his brief push in 2000.