Yokozuna – 10 Stories Showing the Kind of Man He Was

From personal accounts from family, friends, and fans, these stories show a different side of Rodney Anoa’i — the man fans knew as Yokozuna.

Yokozuna gets pampered backstage with Bull Nakano and Luna Vachon looking on.
Yokozuna gets pampered backstage with Bull Nakano and Luna Vachon looking on.

1. The Gowinns on What Yokozuna Was Like Outside of the Ring

Yokozuna (far right) with his New Generation-era clique the 'Bone Street Krew'- Savio Vega, Rikishi, Henry O. Godwinn, Charles 'The Godfather' Wright and Undertaker
Yokozuna (far right) with his New Generation-era clique the ‘Bone Street Krew’- Savio Vega, Rikishi, Henry O. Godwinn, Charles ‘The Godfather’ Wright and Undertaker

The Godwinns open up about Yokozuna as a person, the unofficial policemen of the locker room, and the BSK:

“What was Yokozuna like as a person? He was awesome, in the ring and out. He would invite us to huge barbecues where he lived in California, and we always felt invited and comfortable around his family.”

On the Bone Street Krew: “Yoko and Undertaker came up with it, all the members got tattoos, including Godfather, Savio Vega, Crush, Paul Bearer, and Rikishi.”

The Godwinns continued, “They were the unofficial policemen of the locker room. Wrestler’s Court did exist, and either it was Undertaker, Ron Simmons, or Yokozuna who held court, and people would present their case, and then a decision would be made. Typical punishment would happen if people disrespected themselves or the company. Sunny was one person who went through the system.”

2. Bo Dallas Shares a Yokozuna Story

headshot of Bo Dallas, current WWE superstar
Bo Dallas.

"We were up at my dad’s home state in New York,” Bo Dallas began. “I went on a tour with my dad, and he was bringing back some of his friends/superstars to his mom’s house. There was a group coming in, and my grandmother’s house is kind of old. It’s in New York, and it has that basement underneath, so the top floor is kind of hollow. As the Superstars are coming in and we’re waiting in the kitchen, Yokozuna was one of the ones that came in.

“He took the first step onto the floor, into the kitchen, and you hear all the boards crack like it’s about to fall through. We all looked at each other like, ‘Oh no, this can’t be good!’ He took another step, and it sounded as if he were to take one more, he would have fallen through to the basement. Everybody had to leave, and we went and ate somewhere else because the ground couldn’t hold Yokozuna at my grandmother’s house."

3. The Infamous “Poop” Encounter Backstage

Yokozuna in the air about to banzai drop

Bret Hart claims that he and The Undertaker had their funniest moment together when Yokozuna busted a toilet backstage. The poop stories get even worse since Hart says he almost ended up with a splattered face in the ring.

When Hart was asked in an interview about his funniest moments when traveling on the road, the first thing to come to mind was Yokozuna’s poop. The big man was nearly 700 pounds at this time, and needless to say, this meant his assets were bigger than usual. Bret recalls one time in Washington when he and The Undertaker were hanging out in the locker room together, and they suddenly heard a loud fireworks-like bang followed by the sound of rushing water. The two wrestlers stuck their heads around the corner, and there was poor Yokozuna, who had broken the toilet when he sat down and was covered in poop and flooding water.

Both Bret Hart and The Undertaker had to hold back laughter since Yokozuna was almost crying due to a cut in his leg from the broken porcelain, and he was holding up his hands begging for help. Hart says The Undertaker especially couldn’t help himself and kept having to hide a moment behind the wall to laugh, only to pop up again, looking all concerned. Neither man wanted to get anywhere near Yokozuna due to all the poop.

Unfortunately for Bret Hart, Yokozuna’s poop stories do not end there. There was once a time when the two were wrestling in India, and the Samoan wrestler was suffering from a case of horrible diarrhea. The two were in the middle of a match, and just as Hart was about to be hit by a Banzai drop, he noticed something pretty nasty.

When Bret Hart looked up, he was horrified to see a huge poop stain on Yokozuna’s trunks that resembled a huge bowl of pea soup. According to Hart, that was the quickest he ever moved in his entire wrestling career, and he barely dodged the stinky Banzai drop. The Indian ring was not so lucky since Yokozuna forever left a large pea green "stamp of approval" on the corner of the ring.

Purchase this Wrestlers' Court shirt featuring Undertaker, Yokozuna, and JBL on PWSTees.com today!
Purchase this Wrestlers’ Court shirt featuring Yokozuna on PWSTees.com today!

4. A Fan Encounter with Yokozuna and Undertaker

Yokozuna, the Godwinns and Undertaker with 4 young fans back in the '90s
Yokozuna, the Godwinns, and Undertaker with 4 young fans back in the ’90s

"This is kind of minor,” Reddit user ‘WritingContraction’ wrote to us in private, “but when I was a kid, maybe 13-14, my dad ran a hotel, and the WWE guys were staying there. Being the boss’s son, I could go into the bar (and it was in Europe, so who really cared).

“I had gotten a ton of autographs and spent a long time talking with Steve Keirn (he was in his skinner, back up Doink phase), but I was missing two of the biggest names, Yokozuna and the Undertaker who happened to be sitting at a table with some young ladies.

“I was a little apprehensive about walking up to them because even then I was respectful of their privacy and their downtime, but it was those two guys, so I approached and told them very politely that I was a huge fan and I really would like their autograph. Yoko basically told me to get lost, but Taker slapped him on the arm and said something along the lines of, “The kid was really polite and is a big fan, sign his book,” to which Yoko smiled and asked for the book. Yoko signed, “Keep the Faith.” Taker signed, “Rest in peace.”

“Way awesome day for a young fan. Taker is cool forever in my book. I am trying to find the book, so I can post pictures. It’s been 20 years, but I still have it somewhere.”

5. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin Brings a Whole New Meaning to “The Bottom Line”

Yokozuna facing off with Steve Austin in the ring
Yokozuna facing off against Steve Austin.

"We were in South Africa,” Steve Austin shared on an episode of The Voice Versus Steve Austin, “a dietary change for me and I was working with Yoko [and he’s] weighing probably six or seven hundred pounds at the time; you know, when you’re that heavy, a hundred pounds doesn’t make a difference, he might have been eight hundred, you know (laughs).

“So anyway, goddamn Yok’ picks me up with one arm and slams the shit out of me.


“He slammed me [so hard] I shit my pants!

“It wasn’t like a gigantic shit, I mean, you know – I sprayed. So I’m thinking to myself – again, no pun intended – Oh shit. I gotta get outta this motherfucker.

“So I look up at Yoko, and I say, ‘Yok, let’s go home,’ and he goes, ‘Ok, brah.’ We did the finish – I can’t remember who won or lost – and I headed directly to the showers, took care of business (laughs).

“I’m lucky I wore black trunks…”

6. Jimmy and Jey Uso Share Stories About Their Uncle, Yokozuna

Yokozuna with his cousin Rikishi backstage sitting on a bench
Yokozuna with his cousin Rikishi backstage.

In an episode of Talk Is Jericho, Jimmy and Jey opened up about their uncle: “Uc (pronounced: ‘oose’) [one of the Uso brothers] took the leg drop from Yoko one time.

“‘Just lay there, man, don’t move.’

“We were 8 at the time. He lined up there in the corner and just walked up and BOOM.

“‘You alright?’

Jey continued, “He was our uncle. We grew up [with Yoko]. He and dad (Rikishi) would come home from their loop, we’d be sleeping, and they’d wake us up. They’d wake all of us up, me him, all of our brothers, all of us. Yoko had a daughter and a son. He’d wake us all up and make us dance. They’d put on Bell Biv Devoe.

“‘Here, dance! Fire up the grill’

“We’d start dancing and barbecue. Just barbecue, man. This is when dad [Rikishi] was out there in Puerto Rico. He’d just come home and, ‘Just fire the grill up, man!’ We’d be out there just barbecuing and dancing.

“When [Yokozuna] would sleep, he would have to sit up. He couldn’t lie down. That’s how big he was. He would sit up against the couch. He would sit on the floor, and then he’d put his back up against the couch, and that was how he would sleep. And we would know, dad would go, ‘Rodney’s coming home.’ So we would get all the blankets and all the pillows and put them in the den. We would make him a little bed on the floor where he would just lay back on the couch. He would snore so loud, though, so when you heard him stop snoring, we would have to get up and check on him. We would just hit him, ‘You alright?’ He’d be like [deep snore crackling sound], ‘Yeah yeah, I’m alright. I’m good.’

“[He passed away in 2000] in Liverpool. He had a heart attack. He was tipping 6.”

7. Chris Jericho on Working with Yokozuna in Japan

Chris Jericho added, “And this isn’t wrestling exaggerations. This is 600 pounds.

“I remember I was out in Japan with Yoko in ‘94, and he was getting really big but once again, just amazing work, and we went to Ribera (the famous steakhouse in Japan). And you sit on basically a piece of a tree stump, and they had to get three tree stumps for him to sit down because he was, he had a big ass. He was so huge! And then he got into the ring with this guy Tenryu. He was our boss. And Tenryu slammed him. Yoko was like, ‘I want you to slam me, brother.’ ‘Are you sure?’ "I want you to slam me.’ [Tenryu] went up and boom. Wow. He was like 500 pounds or something like that at that time, you know? Just another great guy.”

WATCH: Yokozuna vs. Genichiro Tenryu, WWF House Show from Osaka, Japan on May 9, 1994:

YouTube video

8. Feeding Yokozuna Laxatives on an Airplane

Yokozuna and Bret Hart in the ring

“On a flight home from Japan,” Bret Hart began, “some years later, Curt took his seat up in first class and casually offered Yokozuna a chunk of his chocolate bar.

“Perhaps not surprisingly, Yoko always had a sweet tooth and pestered Curt for more and more chocolate.

“Little did Yokozuna know Curt was feeding him a chocolate laxative.

“Three-quarters of the way through the flight, Yoko practically offset the balance of the plane when he leaped up and frantically pleaded for emergency assistance from the petite Japanese stewardesses.

“Yoko, unfortunately, was well over 600 lbs. at this time and couldn’t get into the little airplane toilet. So, much to the horror of the travelers in coach class, Yoko was escorted to the back of the plane where newspaper was placed on the floor, and these brave, courageous stewardesses held up blankets to block the scene from the view of the passengers.

“It was a turbulence they’d never seen the likes of before — and I dare to say since!”

9. A Chance of a Lifetime for One Young Fan

Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Typhoon. June 30th, 1994
Yokozuna (with Mr. Fuji) vs. Typhoon. June 30th, 1994 [Photo: shitloadsofwrestling.tumblr.com]
After reading this article, a fan by the name of Jon Herrmann reached out to us via our Facebook page to share an interesting experience he had at a WWF house show when he was younger.


“When I was about 12 or 13, I won a radio contest where I got to ‘manage’ Typhoon at a house show in a match versus Yokozuna.

“Basically, I just walked Typhoon to the ring, and then they sat me at a chair at ringside, and I was supposed to cheer on Typhoon.

“Midway through the match, Yokozuna looks down at me at ringside and proceeds to scream at me repeatedly that I’m a ‘little f****t.’ Imagine my surprise as I was still a little mark at the time and didn’t even realize he spoke English… He spoke it quite well.

“I screamed a few things back that a 12-year-old probably shouldn’t have been saying, so needless to say, I didn’t make the TV segment that this part was taped for. I still hold a grudge…”

Herrmann continued, “I tell this story quite often whenever I meet new friends who are also wrestling fans.

“I can still picture Fuji sitting there at the ring apron, holding his flag, staring and smiling at me while Yoko was yelling these things at me. Pretty sure I shot Fuji a ‘WTF’ expression before I started yelling back at Yoko!”

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10. A Fan Interaction Just Days Before the Death of Yokozuna

Yokozuna on the UK-based program "Big Breakfast" six days before his death on October 17th, 2000.
Yokozuna on the UK-based program “Big Breakfast” on October 17th, 2000. Sadly, he would pass away only six days later.

Reader Chris Gary sent this heartbreaking story to us via our Facebook page:

“I met Yokozuna at a show in my hometown Southport, England. He was a great guy and talked about how he might be going back and working with his cousins The Rock and Rikishi in the WWF. He died a week later in Liverpool. He was one of the nicest wrestlers I’ve ever spoken to.”

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Some of the quotes used in this article were compiled by Matt Pender and shared here with thanks to our friends over at ‘Wrestling’s Glory Days’ Facebook page.

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JP Zarka founded Pro Wrestling Stories in 2015 and is the creative force behind the website as editor-in-chief. From 2018-19, he was the podcast host and producer for The Genius Cast with Lanny Poffo, brother of WWE legend Macho Man Randy Savage. His diverse career includes work as an elementary school teacher, assistant principal, and musician, notably as a singer-songwriter with the London-based band Sterling Avenue. Zarka has appeared on TV programs like “Autopsy: The Last Hours of” on Reelz (U.S.) and Channel 5 (U.K.) and has contributed research for programming on ITV and BBC.