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Tonga Fifita

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Tonga 'Uli'uli Fifita (February 3, 1959) is a semi-retired Tongan professional wrestler, known for his appearances in both World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). In WCW, he wrestled under the name Meng; in the WWF, he wrestled under the names King Tonga, King Haku, and Haku.

Career history

Growing up in the South Pacific island of Tonga, Fifita attended Tonga College, and at the age of 14, he was part of a group of teenagers sent by the King of Tonga to Japan to study Sumo. After moving to Japan in 1974, he competed under the shikona (sumo name) of Fukunoshima. He made his debut in November 1974 and reached a highest rank of Makushita 27. However, in 1975 the stablemaster who recruited him died, and he and five other Tongan wrestlers got entangled in a dispute with his successor, which led to him being forced to retire by the Sumo Association in 1976.

Under the guidance of two other former sumotori who had turned to puroresu, Genichiro Tenryu and Takashi Ishikawa, he joined their home promotion, All Japan Pro Wrestling. Early in his career, he also refereed matches in the Amarillo territory. Nevertheless, this merely served as a springboard for him to wrestle all over the world. He made a name for himself outside the ring as the toughest wrestler of his era. This developed throughout several incidents and has been validated through comments by various wrestlers and people involved in the business.

In the early 1980s, Fifita, taking the name King Tonga, wrestled in Canada for Frank Valois' International Wrestling promotion based Montreal. The heel Tonga was managed by former wrestler Tarzan "The Boot" Tyler. Tonga feuded with the top stars of the promotion, including Dino Bravo. A face turn appeared to be in the offing, as Tonga interfered in a tag match, attacking Road Warrior Animal and Paul Ellering during a bout with Jos Leduc and Jacques Rougeau, Jr. A miscommunication in another tag match with partner Butch Reed led to Reed and Tyler attacking Tonga. Tonga formed a team with his until-then rival Dino Bravo, and the two became successful, including a win over the Road Warriors at the Montreal Forum.

World Wrestling Federation

In 1986, King Tonga, in his rookie year in the World Wrestling Federation, became a star by bodyslamming Big John Studd on WWF Championship Wrestling. He made a name for himself as Haku in the WWF as half of "The Islanders" with Tama. The team had a classic feud with the British Bulldogs that was started when the Islanders, along with manager Bobby Heenan, kidnapped the Bulldogs' mascot, a Bulldog named Matilda.

In 1988, upon King Harley Race's departure from the WWF, Haku was given Race's crown and robe and rechristened "King Haku." He would later lose the "crown" to Hacksaw Jim Duggan. He would later go on to form the tag team known as The Colossal Connection with André the Giant and win the WWF Tag Team Championship. Afterward, he formed a tag team with The Barbarian.

World Championship Wrestling

In WCW, Fifita served as Meng, initially the bodyguard for Col. Rob Parker. During this time, he faced Sting in a losing effort for the vacated United States title at The Great American Bash '95. Meng later joined the Dungeon of Doom forming a tag team named the Faces of Fear with his old partner The Barbarian. He was touted as being a former bodyguard to the Emperor of Japan. Meng's finishing maneuver was the feared Tongan Death Grip, a nerve grip on the Adam's apple applied to a standing victim who would drop into a prone position and experience the full effect of the hold.

Meng spent much of 1997 facing mainly lower and mid-card performers before starting a small rampage of a winning streak in the summer of 1998. This led to his main event World Championship match with Goldberg on the August 10 edition of Monday Nitro. Goldberg, too, had culminated an impressive winning streak and retained his World title that night. In the spring of 1999, when Ric Flair was the (kayfabe) president on WCW programming, the barbaric Meng would often annihilate Flair's enemies per his instructions. Later on, Meng had a short-lived feud with Sting and occasionally faced uppercard stars like Lex Luger and WCW Champion Bret Hart. He also participated in matches for the newly introduced WCW Hardcore Championship toward the end of 1999. Meng finally won the title at the Sin pay-per-view on January 14, 2001. It was then vacated when he appeared in the WWF shortly before the sale of WCW, making him the last man to hold the belt.

Return to WWF and beyond

Fifita re-debuted as Haku as a surprise entrant in the 2001 Royal Rumble. At the time he jumped ship to the WWF, he was the reigning WCW Hardcore Champion, but this was never mentioned by WWF, nor was the Hardcore title referred to again on WCW programming. After the Rumble, he formed a tag-team with Rikishi, but the team did not last long due to Rikishi's injury. Haku was left to wrestle on the lower card shows like Sunday Night Heat. He was eventually released from WWF. He still wrestles on occasion in the independent scene. He was chosen as the tag partner of Genichiro Tenryu on May 3, 2004. And, he won brothers of Asashōryū Akinori in Tokyo Dome. Haku now wrestles in various independent promotions.

Personal life

Fifita is married to Dorothy Koloamatangi. They have a daughter, Vika; a son, Tevita; and two adopted sons, Pate and Taula. His son Tevita played football as a defensive end for the University of Texas at El Paso. His parents are Kelepi Fifita (father) and Atiola Vikilani Fifita (mother). Among Fifita's cousins are New England Patriots defensive tackle Steve Fifita and Australian Wallabies rugby player Tatafu Polota-Nau. He appeared in the 1978 Sylvester Stallone movie Paradise Alley. He also starred in a Little Caesars commercial alongside Goldberg. He was the best man at The Rock's wedding. He appeared on the VH1 series Hogan Knows Best, and can be seen throwing Brooke Hogan into the family swimming pool.

Wrestling facts

  • Nicknames
  • "The Face Of Terror"
  • Tag teams and stables
  • Managers
  • Theme music
  • “Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss (WWF)

Championships and accomplishments

  • Lutte Internationale (Montreal)
  • NWA Hawaii Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • PWI ranked him # 330 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003.

See also

External links

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