Monday, February 27, 2012

Old School Profile - Mr Fuji

The old school profile of the week has been MIA for a little so we had to come back strong. Our legend for this week is one Mr. Fuji.

During the Rock n Wrestling Era of the WWF one of the biggest stars was Mr Fuji. He was the legendary manager of tag teams like the Orient Express and Demolition. What you may not know is that Fuji was a very accomplished in ring performer back in the day.

Fuji a Japanese American from Hawaii who started his career in 1965 in the state of Hawaii. He won his first championship, the NWA Hawaii Tag Team Championship, with Curtis Iaukea on January 7, 1966. He then went on to have a successful run in the Portland territory.

Fuji and Tanaka
In 1972 Fuji made his way to WWWF ran by Vince McMahon Sr. He continued on with tag team wrestling teaming with Professor Toru Tanaka. They were managed by the legendary Grand Wizard. Tanaka was the muscle while Fuji provided the brains and was a great ring psychologist. This around the time when he started being called "The Devious One". He also around this time started using the now famed salt to his opponents eyes.

Their run was successful and he and Tanaka quickly captured the tag team titles. They had a 11 month run with the belts. They lost the belts to Tony Garea and Haystacks Calhoun in 1973. Fuji and Tanaka had a feud with Garea and Calhoun where they won back and lost the titles again. After that Fuji and his partner left the WWWF and in 1975 appeared in Georgia Championship Wrestling in 1975.

The 2 quickly found success and went after tag team gold. They would feud with longtime opponent Tony Garea and Dean Ho. They also had issues with Jerry Brisco and Bob Backlund. The team toured various territories in the NWA and back to the WWWF until 1981.

Classic Fuji and Mr Saito teaming together..

Fuji returned to WWWF in 1981, which had been renamed the WWF in March 1979. Now he began tagging with the legendary Mr. Saito, and were managed by Captain Lou Albano. The team went on to have feuds with their favorite rival Tony Garea who now teaming with Rick Martel. They also had problems with the Strongbows in 1981 and faced them for the tag team belts. After their feud Saito left the WWF in 1982 and Fuji went on as a solo competitor until 1985.

Fuji The Manager
In 1985 The Devious One took on the role he most noted for in WWE history. The position as a manager. One of the most successful heels during the classic 1980s and 90s. Although Bobby Heenan has the reputation of getting his clients to the gold, Fuji is no stranger to championships himself.

He started off his managerial career guiding George "The Animal" Steele. After being under tutelage Fuji Steele became a baby face. His next client Don Muraco would form a better relationship and led both to new heights. Muraco whose career was kind of quiet at the time went on to co-headline 3 consecutive cards at Madison Square Garden against World Champion Hulk Hogan, ending with a bloody steel cage match on June 21 in which Hogan was victorious. Don also went on to win the first ever WWF King of The Ring Tournament in July of 1985.

During this time Fuji had a chance to show the was not only a great manager but was an entertainer with acting capability. He and Muraco starred in Fuji Vice. A short series and a take off the famous TV show Miami Vice.
Inside the ring Muraco had an on going issue with WWE Hall of Famer Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat.

After Muraco started aligning himself with Adrian Adonis and Cowboy Bob Orton, Fuji moved on to one of the most successful partnerships of his career. He began go lead the team of Ax and Smash, better known as Demolition. With a Road Warriors like gimmick Demolition went on to be one of the most dominant teams in the history of the WWF.

<>Feuding with big time face teams of their era like British Bulldogs, The Killer Bees and The Hart Foundation. Ax and Smash went on to become 3 time tag team champions and hold the record for the longest tag team title reign and most combined days as champions.

The Devious One also guided the career of the Powers of Pain (Warlord and Barbarian) and The Oriental Express.

In 1992 Fuji was able to translate his tag team success to a singles competitor. He was able to strike gold with the late great Yokozuna.
Billed as a Japanese Sumo wrestler and became one of the most dominant big men of his era. He went on to win the 1993 Royal Rumble. The 93 Rumble started the tradition of the winner getting a Wrestlemania title shot. Yokozuna went to face Bret Hart at Wrestlemania IX where Yokozuna captured his 1st WWF title. Where Fuji was very influential in his win after using his patented salt to eyes on the champion.

Fuji went on to manage Yokozuna until 1996. He retired from the wrestling business in 1997 and resides in Tennessee.

Cold Slither Podcast 9.5 The Tutelage

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