Being on a Wrestlemania card is always an honour. Former WWE wrestler Rikishi has appeared at four of wrestling’s most majestic events, and this year, will be a part of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015. The Samoan wrestling legend adapted during different phases of his career to bring three very unique characters to life in the ring.
While most people will never know what it feels like to stand in the ring in front of a world-wide audience watching on television, Rikishi has tried to paint the picture of the sensation of staring in the event. “Oh my goodness! Where do you start? It is like being in the Super Bowl,” said Rikishi. “Any time you are a part of it that is like the grandest stage of them all for professional wrestling.”
Many wrestlers have never had the chance to appear on the biggest pay per view event in the wrestling world. Rikishi has some advice for those who are lucky enough to be included in the event. “Just to be on that card, on that list is just an honour,” said Rikishi. “It doesn’t matter what part of the card you are at everybody wants to be the main event. Those that are picked on there be honoured, be grateful, be humble. Enjoy the moment because tomorrow is not promised. Just to be on that stage is a big accomplishment in your career.”
For Rikishi his Wrestlemania moments are remembered fondly. Wrestlemania 9 took place in Las Vegas, Nevada at Ceasars Palace. It was the first Wrestlemania to take place outdoors. “I enjoyed it. It was out there in Las Vegas. I remember how hot that damn mat was out there in Las Vegas,” said Rikishi.
Rikishi, then known as Fatu, partnered with his cousin Samu as the Headshrinkers against the Steiner Brothers. “It was hardcore,” said Rikishi. “The Steiners were hard core before hard core you know what I mean? We were out there working against those bulls. That day I can easily remember that we all got together that we talked about going out there to steal the show. I think we did a hell of a job together. We just had chemistry with the Steiners. The Steiners were known as rough and rugged. That worked right up our alley. It was a fun match. They could go either way. They could work with you or they could shoot. I suggest you work with them.”
When he next appeared at Wrestlemania Rikishi had transformed from the wild and savage Fatu to the Persian wrestling machine The Sultan. He was managed by former WWE World Champions the Iron Sheik and Bob Backlund. Wrestlemania 13 emanated from the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, Illinois and feature the debut of Rocky Maivia who would go on to be the Rock.
“Being as the Sultan I worked against the Rock, my family member, when he was in the early part of his career,” recalled Rikishi. “That was a memorable deals as well.” In the end Rocky Miavia scored the pin on the Sultan.
Another Wrestlemania and another change for the Samoan sensation as his persona changed to Rikishi a sumo type character that had, blond hair, danced and wore a thong in the ring. Wrestlemania 2000 took place at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California. Rikishi joined Kane to take on Degeneration X mates X-Pac and Road Dogg. At the conclusion of the match Rikishi and Kane were joined by the San Diego Chicken who was revealed to be Pete Rose.
Rose had returned to Wrestlemania to harass his nemesis Kane. “I was the San Diego Chicken and Kane threw me up against the ring and almost broke my back and then of course Rikishi stinky faced me,” recalled Rose. “I will get even with him for that. He smelled like perfume. He put perfume all over himself. It was fun.”
Rikishi was known for placing his ample posterior in the face of his fallen foe and Rose was no exception. “Probably the highlight for me would have to be when I stink faced Hall of Famer Pete Rose,” said Rikishi.
When asked about the aroma that his opponents can expect from a stinkface Rikishi chuckled. “It never smells bad unless I don’t like the person,” said Rikishi. “A shout out to Pete Rose. I am a big fan of his. We were going over and he said, ‘Don’t really sit on me!” I said ‘Don’t worry. I got you. You’re one of my heroes.’ So it was an honour and it was one of those things where how many times do you get to sit on a hall of famer? I think he made me more famous then I made myself already.”
Wrestlemania 20 took place in the mecca of professional wrestling Madison Square Garden in New York City. WWE tag team champions Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty retained their titles in a four way match against the APA, the Basham Brothers, and the World’s Greatest Tag Team.
Few wrestlers can claim to have appeared at four Wrestlemanias. Fewer still can say they performed as three different characters at Wrestlemania. Rikishi has done so much and experienced the grandeur of the biggest wrestling event of them all.