Monday, August 29, 2016

5 things I loved about Mr. Fuji


Fuji & Demolition
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Over the weekend WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Fuji died. By the time I started watching wrestling in late 1983, Fuji had transitioned from wrestler to manager, though he still had a few matches against good guys like Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat and his former tag team of Demolition. While "the Devious One" had a great career in the ring, holding the WWF tag team titles a couple of times, I will remember him as a constant force on the outside of the ring. His managerial career in the WWF outlasted others from that era like Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Slick and Jimmy Hart.

So I've decided to do a tribute here today with five of my favorite Mr. Fuji moments. He managed many men during his tenure, so narrowing it down to five was tough. (These aren't in any particular order.)

Helping Yokozuna win
Courtesy: WWE
1. His constant "a-salt" on opponents. Mr. Fuji became synonymous with tossing salt into the eyes of his foes in the ring. That act continued as a manager. He "blinded" everyone from Hulk Hogan to Ricky Steamboat to Bret Hart. In fact that act of malice cost Hart the WWF World Championship at WrestleMania IX and Fuji's huge henchman Yokozuna won the gold. But the title run lasted mere moments when Fuji challenged Hogan on the spot and his salt toss backfired and Yoko got the treatment. 


2. He was a sharp dressed manager. For most of his time as a manager, Mr. Fuji wore a black tuxedo, bowler and carried a cane. That looked also lead to an interesting tuxedo match against Hillbilly Jim, in which both men are in tuxes, and the man stripped down to his underwear first loses. Watch the clip above. Eventually when he began managing Yokozuna, he wore a traditional kimono and carried the Japanese flag.

The cane about to go into action
Courtesy: WWE
3. His "cane-do" attitude. Mr. Fuji's cane often became a weapon of mass destruction when his men needed it the most. That cane was used to bring Demolition the WWF Tag Team Titles against Strike Force at WrestleMania IV.  Dozens of good guys left the ring with an imprint of that cane on their back, head or abdomen.

4. He was the king of the low blow. Fuji used to set up his opponents for the ultimate low blow, a head butt to the crouch. It hurts me to just type this one out.



5. He and the Magnificent Muraco put Crockett and Tubbs to shame. The manager-wrestler duo did a spoof of Miami Vice on Tuesday Night Titans called Fuji Vice. It was a a fun segment to capitalize on the popularity of the crime show and give it a wrestling twist. Again, watch the above clip.

These are just a few of the many accomplishments Mr. Fuji made during his long career. I'd be remiss to not mention him during on Demolition during the 1988 Survivor Series and joining forces with the Powers of Pain. Rest in peace Mr. Fuji. You will be missed.

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