Yokozuna, one of WWE’s top stars in the 1990s, is the Wrestling Republic Wrestler of the Day for January 11th.
Birth Name: Agatupu Rodney Anoa’i
Age: 34 (October 2nd, 1966 – October 23rd, 2000)
Weight: 558 pounds
Place of Birth: San Francisco, California
Accolades: 2x WWE Champion, 2x WWE Tag Team Champion, Royal Rumble winner (1993), WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2012), 1x UWA World Trios Champion, #5 on PWI Top 500 in 1993
On January 11th, 1993 WWE aired the first-ever episode of Monday Night Raw. In the opening match, Yokozuna defeated Koko B. Ware. In honor of his place in history as the first person to win a match on Raw, Yokozuna is today’s Wrestler of the Day.
Coming from an extensive family of wrestlers, Yokozuna got his start in promotions across the US, Japan, and Mexico. In 1992, he was signed by Vince McMahon’s WWE, where he was quickly partnered with Mr. Fuji. Despite his Samoan ancestry, his gimmick saw him portray a Japanese sumo wrestler. With surprising quickness for a man his size (well over 500 pounds) and his fearsome Banzai Drop, Yokozuna shot to the top of the card.
After winning the 1993 Royal Rumble, he faced WWE Champion Bret Hart at Wrestlemania IX. as is fitting a heel, Yokozuna won the match thanks to Mr. Fuji throwing salt into the eyes of the Hitman. Despite his tremendous talent, failure to keep his weight under control led to an early end for both his career and his life. Weighing over 750 pounds at the time of his last match, Yokozuna passed away at the age of 34. He was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his cousins, the Usos, and their father Rikishi.
Photo Credit: WWE