WZ Special Feature: The Giants of Wrestling – Past and Present

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Yokozuna

Yokozuna

Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

Rodney Anoa'i (nephew of the Wild Samoans; cousin of The Rock, Umaga, Rikishi and more) is the definition of a wrestling "big man", fluctuating between 500 and 600 pounds during his run with the WWE. And although he was a member of the most famous Samoan family in wrestling, Anoa'i was given a gimmick as a Japanese sumo legend by Vince McMahon, and thus… Yokozuna was born!

In 1993 Yokozuna was quite possibly the biggest heel in professional wrestling. The legend started when the monster last eliminated "Macho Man" Randy Savage in the '93 Royal Rumble. He then destroyed American Patriot "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, laying the flag over his body and dropping his massive weight down with the Banzai drop four times! With a Rumble win and a new momentum carrying Yokozuna forward, he defeated Bret Hart for the WWF Championship; who can forget Mr. Fuji throwing salt into Hart's eyes? Unfortunately, the newly crowned Champion got over-confident, and challenged Hulk Hogan in the same night, losing his title.

That loss would not define Yokozuna's legacy however; it only served as a catalyst to a much bigger fire. Yoko met Hogan again at the '93 King of the Ring, and won back his WWF Championship. Hogan then left the company, under the guise that Yokozuna had "ended Hulkamania". As if that achievement weren't enough, the massive sumo warrior retained the belt against the likes of Lex Luger and the Undertaker, effectively taking the Deadman out of action for several months. He would eventually drop the title to Bret Hart at WrestleMania X, but he maintained his dominance returning the WWF the following year, winning tag team gold with Owen Hart.

Sadly, Yokozuna passed away in October of 2000. He was inducted into the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame class by Rikishi and the Usos. Yoko was in a league of his own, maintaining his dominance as a heel in a time where his ridiculous gimmicks and heel tactics were taken seriously by the wrestling audience. He was a monster in every way, and his status as one of wrestling's "big men" has never been in question. BANZAI!

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