Superstar Rewind: Rikishi
Rikishi (real name Solofa Fatu) was born on October 11, 1965 into the renowned Samoan Anoa’i wrestling family. He is the nephew of Wild Samoans, Afa and Sika, brother to Umaga (Eddie Fatu) and The Tonga Kid (Sam Fatu), cousin to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and distant relative to former heavyweight champion, Yokozuna.
Rikishi and his cousin, Samu debuted at WWF in 1992 under the tag team, The Headshrinkers. Between 1992-1995, The Headshrinkers had mild achievement in the tag team division, feuding with the Natural Disasters, The Smoking Guns, Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka. The team split in 1995.
Rikishi was then repackaged as stereotypical “Middle Eastern” known as The Sultan, complete with a face mask to hide who was playing the gimmick. In the storyline, The Sultan’s tongue was removed thus he never spoke in promos. He was managed by the Iron Sheik and Bob Backlund. The gimmick had some momentum but did not take flight. Eventually, the gimmick was dismissed within a year.
In 1999, Rikishi returned to WWF with his hair blonde and has gained considerably amount of weight. He was put together with Grand Master Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty to form Too Cool. The success of the tag team trio propelled Rikishi’s popularity. Notably, Rikishi was made famous for giving wrestlers the Stink Face.
Rikishi started to deviate from Too Cool and was pivoted to the singles division and eventually the main event scene. Rikishi was put together with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chris Benoit, The Rock, Kane and The Undertaker. The latter was later injured and lost his momentum as a single competitor. He eventually returned in 2001 as a tag team with Haku.
After his grave injury, the writers and management did not fully utilized Rikishi as a competitor. He was often sidelined and used as a filler in weekly Smackdown program. Rikishi was eventually released of his contract in 2004. By 2007, Rikishi joined TNA and had a brief feud with Christian Cage. However, that too did not last long and he was released off his contract within months.
Rikshi and his wife Talisua Fuavai have five children. Amongst his five kids, his twin sons Jonathan Solofa and Joshua Sammy recently debuted as the Uso attacking the Hart Dynasty. Rikishi currently resides in Poinciana, Florida and occasionally work with independent wrestling circuit.