Born in Hawaii as a Japanese American as Harry Fujiwara on May 4, 1934 in Honolulu, solidly-built wrestler was more famous for being the evil Mr. Fuji who would throw salt (like a sumo wrestler) into the eyes of his opponent, blinding them so they could be easily pinned.
Uh, you do know this is sports entertainment, right?
Debuting in 1965 as a wrestler under the name Mr. Fujiwara, winning many championships.
When he debuted with the WWF in 1972, he became a heel (bad guy) wrestler, teaming up with Professor Toru Tanaka (you might known him as the ice-staking, razor hockey stick swinging ‘stalker’ in the Arnold Swartzenegger movie “The Running Man”) and managed by the Grand Wizard - one of my all-time favorite managers! Both gentlemen preceded Fujiwara.
After throwing salt into opponent eyes, Mr. Fuji’s famous finishing moves include the:
- Kamikaze Clothesline (it’s a lariat, which is similar to a clothesline, except the attacking wrestler runs at the opponent and wraps the arm around upper chest and neck to force them to the ground, and
- The Cobra Clutch - I always loved that one! You can look up wrestling maneuvers HERE.
When Mr. Fuji retired in 1985 - pretty much just before wrestling became a big bucks enterprise - he became a heel manager, continuing to blind opponent wrestlers with salt in the eyes, or maybe whacking them with his walking cane.
From that time on, he wore the black tuxedo and bowler hat, and it you weren’t that familiar with who he was, you’d swear he was Oddjob from the 1970s James Bond flicks.
Wrestlers managed by Mr. Fuji are:
- George The Animal Steel -Andrew… like… George…(nod-nod);
- Don The Magnificent Muraco;
- Cowboy Bob Orton - quack, quack… someone will get that joke;
- The Moondogs;
- Killer Khan;
- Jim The Anvil Neidhart (best beard ever);
- Sika (one half of the Wild Samoans);
- Kamala the Ugandan Headhunter;
- Demolition, featuring Ax, Smash and Crush;
- The Powers of Pain (The Barbarian and The Warlord) - I admit to not knowing who they are as a tag team. I do individually;
- The Berzerker;
- The Orient Express, featuring Pat Tanaka, Akio Sato and Kato;
- Crush (as a single);
- Yokozuna - big guy died young. I have no idea how the ring was able to sustain his weight;
- Owen Hart - I was watching the pay-per-view when he fell to his death during some stupid entrance;
- Davey Boy Smith, one half of the British Bulldogs. Died young;
- Jeff Jarrett - hated that guy, which means he was great at his job of being a heel.
Mr. Fuji was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.
No official cause of death was given, but let's hope it was old age - having the old ticker explode while on a bender at a cat house in Reno.
Probably not. He was always so quiet, and sneaky quiet... he'd never go out like that.
Anyhow… Mr. Fuji… thanks for the entertainment. Back in the days before the WWE/WWF became the behemoth it is, professional wrestling-entertainment was a lot of fun, and Mr. Fuji was a huge part of that. Domo arigato.
From parts unknown,
Andrew “Gorgeous George” Joseph
PS: I no longer watch the weekly programs as I used to, but I have flipped the channel to let my son see what's going on. Just last light he tapped his bent right elbow with the palm of his left and attempted to drop it on his mother who was lying on the couch. Apparently that was my fault for letting him see that stuff in the first place. I'm snickering as I write this. I had to teach him that it's actually fake - which elicited a huge "Awwwwww", and showed him how they really do the elbow drop and punches.