Wrestling Salvage Yard: Rikishi Makes A Difference

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Fatu. The Sultan. Rikishi Phatu. Junior Fatu. Kishi—Rikishi has had many names in wrestling. He’s also had many gimmicks. Who could forget “Make A Difference” Fatu? Did we even really need Rikishi to make a difference? 

Yes, he became the Sultan after he failed to make a difference but I’m on this gimmick. Rikishi just always seemed like the springboard for creative’s gimmicks. We’re going to get into this. 

Rikishi The Samoan Headshrinker 

Fatu is a wrestler I appreciated in WWE. He was really good in The Headshrinkers team with cousin Samu. Now, I never knew Samoans or Polynesians, in general, had such a history with shrunken heads but WWE creative figured they did.  

So, Fatu is working his savage gimmick and doing well. He’s in good shape in the early 90s, gradually started to put on weight but he was still getting air off his splash and doing his flip bump off clotheslines. 

He was still in peak form. Samu leaves and is replaced by The Barbarian. The team had something of a new style. Samu and Fatu still did the trademark Samoan brawling mixed with a faster pace and some athletics.  

Fatu was providing most of that in the New Headshrinkers. The Barbarian dipped for WCW and Fatu was on his own. I believe that if Samu had stayed and didn’t take time off—or even if The Barbarian had stayed—Rikishi probably would’ve continued with the savage gimmick longer. 

Now that I think of it, there really wasn’t a reason to change the gimmick. I mean if it was too dated for 1995, it wasn’t in 2006 with Umaga. Whatever. 

Making A Difference In 1995 

Now alone, Fatu had to stay current in New Generation WWE. What did creative do? Give him a street-wise inspirational gimmick. They took an incident that happened eight years earlier that he survived and had moved on from and figured “This is it. This is Fatu.” 

So, now we have this heavyweight guy who was just sneering, yelling, headbutting, and brawling months earlier—who was from THE ISLE OF SAMOA—saying “I’m actually from the Bay and I almost got clapped in a drive-by.”  

Headshrinker Fatu was wearing Cross Colours-adjacent jackets, colorful gear, and telling me to stay in school, stay off drugs, and don’t join gangs. It was 1995, we had to deal with D.A.R.E.  

I don’t want one-half of my one of my favorite teams being a walking after school special every Monday night. 

Also, WWE loved to attempt realistic gang-like beefs but fail all the time. This one and the three-faction Attitude Era gang war are the best examples. The thing with Fatu’s is that it never took off. 

Usually, I’d end this with some fantasy booking or trying to explain why the gimmick could’ve worked. However, this gimmick annoyed me so much. If it had been run in WCW, they probably would’ve brought P.N News to tag with him.  

Should he have gone to ECW to “Make A Difference” he would’ve been considered a lame and jobbed to The Gangstas. Seriously, now.

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