Cleat Geeks

2015 WWE Hall of Fame gets The Stinkface

On February 9, 2015 Rikishi was officially announced as an inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015. While this selection is a bit of a head scratcher for me, let’s talk a little bit about his background, and re-live some of the highlights of his career in WWE. 2015 WWE HOF Inductee Rikishi
Rikishi is a part of the famous Anoa’i family tree that has made a lasting impact on the entire professional wrestling industry like no other. He is twin brothers with The Tonga Kid, younger brother of Umaga, cousins with the late Yokozuna, and the nephew of The Wild Samoans Afa & Sika. He is also related to Headshrinker Samu, Rosey, Black Pearl, Manu, L.A. Smooth, Roman Reigns and The Rock. Rikishi has also added to the famous wrestling bloodline with his sons Jimmy and Jey Uso, who will induct their father into the WWE HOF.
Rikishi started out in the WWF as one half of The Headshrinkers, with his cousin Samu in 1992, and they eventually won the WWF Tag Team Titles in 1994 from the Quebecers. They successfully defended their titles at The King of the Ring 1994, only to lose them shortly after to Shawn Michaels and Diesel. The team dissolved when Samu had to take time off to recover from many injuries, while the WWF made fans believe that he could not be civilized into the modern world. After a brief and unsuccessful repackaging with Sionne, as The New Headshrinkers, Rikishi became street smart “Make a Difference Fatu”. Fans were to believe that this Samoan wildman was now hailing from the tough streets of San Francisco, and despite his many hardships managed to make something of himself. Due to his difficult background, Fatu made it his mission to encourage fans from tough urban environments that needed a role model and some words of wisdom. Surprisingly this gimmick didn’t catch on and Rikishi soon became The Sultan, who was dressed like a genie from a lamp, and managed by former WWF Champions The Iron Sheik and Bob Backlund. The height of The Sultan gimmick took place at Wrestlemania 13 where he challenged then Rocky Maivia for The WWF Intercontinental Title.

Dancing Fools

Dancing Fools

After a short period of time away, Rikishi was re-introduced as Rikishi Phatu and wore Sumo style attire to the ring. While briefly embroiled in a feud with Viscera, who was a member of The Ministry of Darkness, Rikishi was teamed with Too Cool in a six man tag team match. It was the teaming of Rikishi with Scotty 2 Hotty and Grand Master Sexay that led to his most successful run in the WWF organization. Fans soon became enamored with the dance routines that the trio would perform at the end of each successful match, and also with Rikishi’s signature move “The Stinkface”.

The infamous Stinkface

The infamous Stinkface

This momentum earned Rikishi a chance at the WWF Intercontinental Title, which he captured in 2000 after defeating “The Crippler” Chris Benoit. He eventually lost the IC Title to Kurt Angle at the 2000 King of the Ring PPV. It was later revealed that Rikishi was actually the man that ran over Steve Austin at the 1999 Survivor Series in order to help his cousin The Rock win the WWF Championship. Austin attempted to return the favor at No Mercy 2000, but was stopped by local police. Later on that same evening, Rikishi got involved in The Rock’s match with Kurt Angle and accidentally cost his cousin the match and WWF Championship subsequently. Austin went on to feud with Triple H, who revealed that he hired Rikishi to drive the car that hit Austin. Rikishi went on to have a series of matches with The Rock, but was unsuccessful in each of them. After some time off to recover from injuries, Rikishi had one final run in the new WWE, where he was able to rekindle some of his previous momentum with Scotty 2 Hotty as the two captured the WWE Tag Team Titles in 2004 from The Basham Brothers.

Recapturing the magic with his sons, The Uso's

Recapturing the magic with his sons, The Uso’s

While Rikishi is not a name synonymously associated with WWF/WWE greatness, he managed to have some very real success during The Attitude Era that will now be re-lived for generations to come upon his entrance into The WWE Hall of Fame. His legacy is continued with the success of his sons, The Uso’s, who have had major success in the WWE tag team division. Congratulations to Rikishi and his selection in the WWE HOF. While this choice may leave me with a stinkface of my own, it is hard to deny the popularity that Rikishi managed to gain during his Attitude Era run and he should be eternally proud of what he has contributed to his family legacy.

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