If the name Meng or Haku doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps you know him better by the name of Tonga Fifita, Prince Tonga, King Tonga, or King Haku.
1. A four-letter word which stands for danger.
2. If near, high risk of harm or injury; risk; peril.
If you’re still not familiar with who he is, let us introduce you to one of the most terrifying men in professional wrestling.
Grab a coffee, an alpha brain, or some protection, and come along for a dangerous ride. Here are the tales of one of professional wrestling’s toughest men, Meng, as told by some of the biggest names in the business!
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“[Wrestlers] just wanna throw my name out for the heck of it. I think we were all tough. You had to make the people believe that in wrestling for us to make some money. For us to have all those angles on TV, and to bring them back for all this good stuff. Everybody was tough those days to make money and protect the business.”
– Meng on His Reputation of Being the Toughest Man in the Locker Room
Meng – Professional Wrestling’s Tough Man
“Wrestling…you don’t have to convince ME that it’s real – convince the people, y’know? I mean, that’s what the ‘art’ of wrestling is. We all know it’s a work…so, man – LOOK like you’re taking my head off, but [don’t really].
I’ll give you an example. King Haku…I would put this guy against anybody [in a real fight]…he could kill anybody – this guy’s a killing machine. Ask anybody in professional wrestling, ‘Who’s the toughest motherfucker you’ve ever met?’ It’s this guy.
[But, in the ring] he’d give you a side-kick or whatever and [you would barely feel it].
That. That is the art.”
[Comparing MMA fighters to Haku] “Don’t ever think that anybody would mess with Haku. If he was a young guy and he got into MMA, my god — he’d have done everything! He was the toughest son of a bitch I’ve ever met in my whole life. No lie, take my word for it.”
[After being asked who would win in a fight between The Barbarian, Meng, Scott Norton, Jim Duggan, Fit Finlay, Scott Steiner, Rick Steiner and himself] “Tonga. Nobody else would stand a chance. Not even a question. He could kill everyone without blinking and there is nothing anyone could do about it.”
“One time we were in a rough part of St. Louis for a show. Everyone had been drinking and a large fight broke out, which resulted in the police showing up. Meng had a few drinks but saw the fight break out so he started trying to break it up. In the process, police thought he was part of the fight and maced him then handcuffed him. Meng was cuffed behind his back, looked at the police, and snapped the handcuffs.”
“Meng is the toughest man, not just wrestler, I’ve ever met in my life. A fight once broke out in a bar and Meng took his two fingers on his right hand, his index finger and trigger finger, and he reached into the guy’s mouth and he broke off the guy’s bottom teeth. If I hadn’t been there and seen it himself, I wouldn’t believe it.”
“The only two men in the world that Andre [the Giant] feared were Meng and Harley Race.”
[One time] “Meng fought off eight police officers. They shot him with mace and he closed his eyes and sucked it in. He just opened his mouth and took a deep breath. I mean some of the stuff he did was like, ‘What the hell?’ Scotty and I always thought we were tough guys but that was before we met Meng.”
“There are three types of men in the world. There are tough men, there are wrestler-tough men, and then there’s Meng. He was in a completely different category than anyone else on the planet. There was one instance where a large cowboy was arguing with Meng and he pushed the cowboy through two different sets of doors using only one hand.”
Meng Chokes Brutus Beefcake After Complaining about a Match
One of the most famous stories happened during his time as Haku in the WWF. Brutus Beefcake had gone to management and complained that Haku slapped him too hard during their match. When Haku found out he walked straight to Beefcake’s locker room and grabbed him out of the shower. He started choking him and lifted him two feet in the air while everyone else looked on because they were too scared to step in and break it up. Eventually, Hulk Hogan came in and talked Meng down.
“Meng was never fired from WCW because no one was brave enough to do it. On one particular day, Greg Gagne and I walked into the locker room and interrupted a conversation between Meng and Chris Candido, Chris Jericho, and Tammy Sytch. Meng immediately looked at the pair of us and said, “Hey! Apologize to my friends. I’m talking to them.” The entire room went silent and everyone just froze. It was then that I realized the stories about Meng weren’t just legends. Gagne and I apologized to them and waited for the conversation to finish before speaking with Meng.”
Meng sets Jesse Barr straight in Puerto Rico
On a trip to Puerto Rico [in 1987], fellow wrestler Jesse Barr when Barr decided to kick dirt onto a man who was digging ditches. Meng was upset by it and told Barr he shouldn’t have done it. Barr decided to get in Meng’s face and argue with him, which turned out to be a bad idea. Meng grabbed him and popped his eyeball out of the socket. Some wrestlers claimed he completely tore it out, but Meng said that wasn’t true.
“I didn’t take his eyeballs off. I was ready to, my hands were in there, ready to take his eye off, but then I realized how stupid we were. Here, we are brothers on the road together. I told Jim after all these things, and he got fired for it, and all these things here. And I feel bad for him. It was something that happened at that moment.” –responding to the above incident
Meng on Taking Particular Offense When Anyone Called Wrestling Fake
“When I walk in and you tell me it’s fake, I’ll show you how fake the business is. Whether I take your teeth out or take your eyeballs off or whatever it was in those days. Maybe they’re going to kick my butt around, but watch it – I’m coming back and finding you. But those were those days. I’m glad nobody picked up a gun and shot my ass. But in those days, that’s how it was. It’s my love for the business.”
Kevin Sullivan Shares Some Stories on Meng
“On one occasion when I was a booker in WCW, I asked Meng to do something that wasn’t major, but it wasn’t completely the right thing to do. Meng got a little upset and it was the most scared I’ve ever been in my entire life, despite Meng not being that angry.
I’ve also used Meng to my advantage when I had to inform a few guys that they would be losing an upcoming match. When the wrestlers became upset and told me they refused to do the job, I told them that, instead of arguing, I would just go get Meng and have him take care of the situation. The guys immediately agreed to lose their matches if I promised not to go get Meng.”
Kevin Sullivan was a wrestler/booker in WCW and they traveled together quite often when they were on the road. He told a story to WWE Classics about the time the duo went to a tavern to grab a few beers before heading to their hotel. According to Sullivan, it was obvious that they weren’t locals, so when they walked into the bar, a guy playing pool called Meng a horrible, derogatory word.
“The next thing I know is that Meng goozles the guy like Mr. Spock,” Sullivan said. “It was fast and furious. He then grabbed another guy who tried to get involved and knocked him unconscious.”
After that, things got even crazier.
“Meng bit through the guy’s shirt like a wolf bit a chunk out of the guy’s back, then spit it on the floor,” he said. “I said, ‘It’s time to go.’ “
Sullivan said that as they drove from the bar he saw police cars pulling into the parking lot, but authorities didn’t pursue them and no charges were ever filed.
Meng Recounts an Infamous Airport Incident
“It was in Baltimore Airport. There was a hotel there. We were staying at another hotel – the Marriot or something. There was another hotel there, though. It was hopping at the time. The music was playing and it was packed. It was during the week I believe. Me and Siva Afi went over and there were lots of babyfaces there at the bar. So we went and sat in the other corner away from them. When they were ready to close, we had a few drinks, and on our way out there were five guys just sitting there. Of course, the same thing came out. The “fake” stuff. “Hey, are you guys with those guys – wrestlers? The fake wrestlers on TV?” You know. I said, “Yeah. I’ll show you.” And I reached over without thinking – there are four other guys there (laughs) – grabbed his face, and bit his nose off. Then the fight started. Me and Siva kind of cleaned house there and left. I’ll never forget it (laughs).”
“If I had a gun and was sitting inside a tank with one shell left and Meng is 300 yards away, he’s mine, right? Well, the first thing I’m going to do is jump out of the tank and shoot myself because I don’t want to wound that son of a bitch and have him pissed off at me.”
What is Meng / Haku Up To Today?
Meng now manages the car spa at a Toyota dealership in Florida. The lesson to take away from all of this? Don’t try to haggle in a complimentary ‘New Car Smell’ air freshener for your car – you might lose an eye!
April 20, 2017 edit: While this piece shares many stories proving why he was one of the toughest S.O.B.’s the business has ever seen, having read this piece, Bobby Fulton of The Fantastics got in touch to say, “[He’s also] one of the nicest!”
Further update (2016-present): We’re happy to see Haku is back involved with wrestling! From his Wikipedia page:
“On January 4, 2016, Fifita, as King Haku, made a surprise return to New Japan Pro-*Wrestling, taking part in the New Japan Rumble on the Wrestle Kingdom 10 pre-show. During the appearance, he represented his son Tama Tonga’s Bullet Club stable. He was eliminated from the match after submitting to Hiroyoshi Tenzan. The following day, Haku teamed with his son and fellow Bullet Club members Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson and Yujiro Takahashi in a ten-man tag team match, where they defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Kushida, Satoshi Kojima, Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma. Haku next appeared at NJPW’s G1 Special in USA on July 2, 2017, alongside his sons.
Haku, once again representing Bullet Club, returned at the G1 Special in San Francisco. He, alongside Tama Tonga, Tanga Roa, Yujiro Takahashi and Chase Owens defeated Chaos members Yoshi-Hashi, Gedo, Rocky Romero, Yoh and Sho, after making Gedo submit to the Tongan Death Grip. Later that night, Haku appeared with Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa after Kenny Omega successfully defended the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Cody. They initially congratulated Omega, but suddenly turned and attacked Omega and the Young Bucks as they were celebrating on the ramp while wearing T-shirts referring to themselves as the “BC Firing Squad”. After dragging Omega and the Young Bucks back to the ring to attack them further, fellow Bullet Club members Hangman Page, Marty Scurll, Yujiro Takahashi, and Chase Owens all attempted to come to The Elite’s defense but were summarily beaten down. The Firing Squad attempted to make peace with Cody, but Cody refused and was also attacked. Haku then delivered a piledriver to Omega onto a steel chair, leaving the Firing Squad standing tall at the end as they declared themselves to be the real Bullet Club.”
SOURCES: wrestlezone.com, Highspots, Martel Shoot, Perry Saturn YouShoot interview, Heenan shoot interview, Arn Anderson autobiography: 4 Ever, Rick Steiner shoot, Jake Roberts shoot, droptoehold.com, World Wrestling Insanity, mandatory.com
Some quotes used in this article compiled by Matt Pender and shared here with thanks to our friends over at ‘Wrestling’s Glory Days’ Facebook page
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