Wrestling By The Numbers: Rodney ‘Yokozuna’ Anoa’i
World Wrestling Entertainment announced this past week that joining the 2012 WWE Hall Of Fame Class this year will be former 2-Time WWE Champion Rodney ‘Yokozuna’ Anoa’i. The San Francisco California native who was also a 2-Time WWE Tag-Team Champion and 1993 Royal Rumble Winner joins Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, J.J. Dillon, Edge, Mil Mascaras, Ron Simmons and Mike Tyson in this year’s Hall Of Fame Class.
Rodney Anoa’i was born October 2nd 1966 into wrestling’s most famous Samoan family. His uncles were Afa Anoa’i and Sika Anoa’i and his wrestling cousins include The Rock, Rikishi Phatu, Samu, The Tonga Kid, Umaga, Rosey, Manu, Black Pearl, L.A. Smooth & Vale Anoa’i. He was trained by Afa Anoa’i and started his 17-year career in 1984. In 1988 Anoa’i joined New Japan Pro Wrestling competing as The Great Kokina. He had a couple matches in both 1989 and 1990 in the American Wrestling Association but worked mostly in both NJPW and Mexico’s Universal Wrestling Association.
Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation signed Anoa’i in late 1992 and he was brought in as Yokozuna and was managed by both Mr. Fuji and James E. Cornette during his 6-year run. He was a main event heel and had top feuds against the likes of Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Lex Luger, The Undertaker and Vader. He also formed a successful tag-team with the late Owen Hart. In Yokozuna’s second half of his WWE run weight issues plagued the Samoan superstar. By 1998 Anoa’i had his wrestling license revoked by the New York State Athletic Commission which resulted in multiple other states not allowing him to perform. Yokozuna wasn’t seen on WWE television after 1996 and had lost 100 lbs while still employed by the WWE but it wasn’t satisfactory and he was released by the company in 1998.
Up until the year 2000 Anoa’i competed in numerous independent organizations with his most high profile match being in the main event of the Heroes Of Wrestling pay-per-view where weighing in at over 750 lbs. He wrestled with an intoxicated Jake Roberts against King Kong Bundy & Jim Neidhart. On October 23rd 2000 while on an independent wrestling tour of Europe Rodney Anoa’i was found dead at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool England. He was 34-year-old and weighed an estimated 680 lbs at the time of his death.
Below we look at the North American wrestling career of Rodney ‘Yokozuna’ Anoa’i by the numbers…
World Wrestling Entertainment:
* 25 Matches on WWE Pay-Per-View.
* 7 Main Event Matches on WWE Pay-Per-View.
* 36 Matches on WWE Raw Supershow.
* 14 Main Event Matches on WWE Raw Supershow.
* 30 Matches on WWE Superstars.
* 6 Main Event Matches on WWE Superstars.
* 2 Matches on WWE Prime Time Wrestling.
American Wrestling Association:
* 1 Match on AWA Wrestling On ESPN.
Heroes Of Wrestling:
* 1 Match (22nd Most All-Time) on HOW Pay-Per-View. (Match: 1999 Heroes Of Wrestling With Jake Roberts Vs King Kong Bundy & Jim Neidhart)