he's been called by many names over more than 30 years in professional wrestling, but no matter what he's gone by, he's gone through some of the best competitors in the industry.
lions pride sports is honored that rikishi is part of the pride.
The big man's family lineage is unlike any other in professional wrestling. From the blood brothers Amituana'i Anoa'i and Peter Maivia through subsequent births and marriages, the A'noai family includes some of the most memorable names in professional wrestling. Rikishi's twin brother competed as The Tonga Kid and Tama. His younger brother wrestled as Umaga. The Rock, Roman Reigns, Yokozuna and Rosey are some of his cousins. Two of Rikishi's children, Jimmy and Jey Uso, are quickly rising through the ranks of the greatest tag teams of all time. Jimmy is married to one of the top women's wrestlers, Naomi.
Rikishi's wrestling journey began with training from his uncles Afa and Sika, WWE Hall of Famers The Wild Samoans. He debuted in Montreal in 1985. Not long after, he took on the ring name Fatu and teamed with his cousin, who went by Samu. Known as the Samoan Swat Team, the uncontrollable duo competed in various promotions across the country, including the NWA and WCW.
Some of their greatest successes came in Texas as part of World Class Championship Wrestling. In 1988, the Swat Team defeated Kerry and Kevin Von Erich -- two of the promotion's heroes -- to become the world tag team champions. At one time, they simultaneously held WCCW's Texas tag titles.
The World Wrestling Federation eventually brought the savages Fatu and Samu into the fold in 1992, changing their team name to The Headshrinkers. The duo won the tag team titles from The Quebecers in May 1994. After a reign of nearly four months, Shawn Michaels and Diesel took the championships.
After a stint with Sione (better known at The Barbarian) as The New Headshrinkers, Fatu set out on his own in 1995. No longer a savage, he preached a message of positivity while discussing his difficult upbringing and a 1987 shooting that left him clinically dead for minutes. Come 1996, The Sultan arrived in the WWF. The silent figure was managed by The Iron Sheik and Bob Backlund during his run, which wrapped up in 1998.
The career of the veteran may have shone its brightest starting in 1999. Known at Rikishi Phatu at first, his last name was dropped around the time he gained a couple of partners. The team of Too Cool, consisting of Scotty 2 Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay, joined forces with the super-heavyweight to become one of the most popular acts in the WWF. As the company's Attitude Era was in full swing, the trio entertained sold-out crowds with their post-match dance moves. In the matches, Rikishi often utilized his ample posterior to perform what became his signature offensive maneuver, the Stink Face.
In June 2000, Rikishi became the WWF Intercontinental Champion. Days later, he got to the finals of the annual King of the Ring tournament, eventually falling to Kurt Angle. Earlier in the pay-per-view, Val Venis had attacked the big man. Venis would end Rikishi's title reign the next month at the Fully Loaded event in a cage match, but not before Rikishi climbed to the top of the steel structure and splashed his opponent in a stunning piece of offense.
Rikishi quickly turned from fan favorite to hated competitor when it was revealed he had driven the car that ran over Stone Cold Steve Austin at Survivor Series 1999. He initially claimed he had done it to help The Rock, a move The People's Champ rejected. That set into motion feuds with The Rattlesnake and Rocky. At Armageddon in December 2000, Rikishi was part of the first six-way Hell in a Cell match. One of the highlights saw The Undertaker chokeslam Rikishi from the top of the cell into the bed of a truck.
Injuries kept Rikishi out of action for much of 2001, and he returned late in the year as a good guy. He wrapped up his WWE career in July 2004, having won tag team gold two more times, including once with Scotty 2 Hotty.
In the years that have followed, Rikishi has traveled across the country and around the world to compete, wowing crowds with his size, power and dance moves.
Rikishi returned to WWE in 2012 to induct Yokozuna into the company's Hall of Fame. He's made occasional appearances on television since then, and in 2015, was himself inducted into the Hall of Fame. His sons, Jimmy and Jey Uso, presented him at the ceremony.
- Written by Steve Fullhart
(information from various online sources)