Rikishi on Yokozuna: “he’s nothing like you see on TV”
Rikishi recently joined Bally Sports for a conversation about all things pro-wrestling, including his thoughts on legends of the past like the Macho Man Randy Savage and the great Yokozuna. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
Calls Randy Savage a brother, and someone who was always cool with the Samoans:
He was a brother. Randy was ALWAYS cool with the Samoans. He was good friends with my uncle Afa and Sika back in the day and when we came into the picture we got that same love and respect that he showed my uncles. He showed it to me and my cousin Sammy [Fatu] and we were honored to to be underneath that locker room to learn some advice and so forth from Macho Man; he was charismatic… he was one of the most – I mean, during this time and back in the day one of the MOST remembered icon in the industry. And so we would just sponge up underneath that. He was just a good dude. He loved us, he loved our entire family and vice-versa.
Remembers winning the Intercontinental championship in WWE:
Well you know I did make a complaint to Vince McMahon and the crew that they need to add a few more buttons behind that belt. But, you know hell… I would’ve worn that thing around my neck like a gold chain! [laughs] So, it was an honor and it was a good opportunity for me during the time for me to step up as a single wrestler during that time as Rikishi and to be able to wrestle against the greats such as Chris Benoit – they gave him the right name by ‘Wolverine’ because every time you stepped in the ring with him… some nights I’d be tired from traveling from coast to coast and overseas, and when you get there you know you’re going to wrestle a guy like the Wolverine – a guy that just brings it 24/7, I knew I had to up my game that night and as you see we had that match and I was fortunate to come out on top that night. It just took Rikishi to another level.
How humble Yokozuna was, and his love of freestyle rapping:
You know, he’s nothing like you see on TV. Yoko was just a humble cat in the locker room in and out of the ring. He was a joker, he loved hip-hop, he LOVED to freestyle – one of his favorite rappers back in the day was Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg. He loved to play bones (dominoes) in the locker room. He was a cat that numerous times when we would go eat a restaurant and you see all the boys there, Yoko was so generous at all times and would pick up these bills: food bills, drink bills… whatever the case it may be – I’m talkin’ about bills that were well over $2,000 – $3,000 dollars was no joke; and was always a teacher of the game. Every time a new talent came through the locker room, if they wanted to learn, he was in their ear. He was a good leader in the locker room. He had passion for the industry. If he didn’t like you or you did something wrong, he’d tell you straight — he’d tell you straight and then after that it’s done. And everybody respected Yoko; and it was just his ways of being a caring big person.