The WWE universe lost a legend today.
As reported through WWE.com, Former WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Fuji passed away at the age of 82. As of now, there is no cause for his passing. Mr. Fuji was involved in professional wrestling from 1965 until 1985 as a wrestler and then transformed into a heel manager from 1985 to 1996.
He made his professional wrestling debut on December 15, 1965, in his native Hawaii. When he made his debut, though, he was under his ring name Mr. Fujiwara.It would be less than a month into his wrestling career that he would win his first belt, and that would be the NWA Hawaii Tag Team with Curtis Iaukea on January 7, 1966. It would be at that point where he would shorten his name to Mr. Fuji and would start touring many territories. Territories were a feature in wrestling before Vince McMahon bought the WWF into the 21st century and started buying up many of the territories. Mr. Fuji would continue to tour the territories util 1972.
In 1972, he would make his debut for WWWF as a heel. He would form a tag team with Professor Tanaka and would be managed by one of the legendary heel managers, the Grand Wizard. During his run with Tanaka is where Mr. Fuji would begin throwing salt into his opponent’s faces. He would win his first title in WWWF on June 27, 1972, when they would defeat Sonny King and Chief Jay Strongbow for the World Tag titles. He would end up leaving the WWWF after him, and Tanaka was unable to recapture the tag titles. But it would not be the last time we see either wrestler.
Roughly two years later and having a run Georgia Championship Wrestling, Tanaka, and Mr. Fuji returned to the WWWF and were being managed by Freddie Blassie. Mr. Fuji would continue to wrestle in the territories on and off until 1985. It was at this point that Mr. Fuji would become a heel manager. His outfit was supposed to be a take on the Oddjob character from the James Bond series.
He would end up becoming the manager for several legendary wrestlers that included George Steele, Jim Neidhart (before his contract was sold to Jimmy Hart), Demolition ( Ax and Smash), and Yokozuna. Towards the end of his managerial career, he would end up managing Crush again after he turned on Randy Savage. He would retire entirely from wrestling in 1996. He would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on March 31, 2007, by his Fuji Vice co-star Don Muraco.
Several people from the wrestling world spoke about their memories of Mr. Fuji. I did not get a chance to watch him live as he retired when I was three years old, but I have seen him on the WWE Network. When it comes to heel managers in wrestling, Mr. Fuji is up there for being a true heel. He will be missed and expect Monday Night Raw to do some tribute to him as they are coming from Houston, Texas.