WWE: The Best of WWE – The Best of Yokozuna
THE BEST OF WWE: The Best of Yokozuna
Runtime: 3 Hours
- Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Koko B. Ware – (WWF Monday Night Raw, 1/11/93)
From the first episode of RAW. Koko is part of the High Energy tag team with Owen Hart at the time, while Yokozuna was squashing everybody in his path. Literally. WHOA! Rob Bartlett is the first to drop an “A” bomb on Raw. Koko tries his hardest just to knock Yoko off his feet, but it just isn’t going to happen. Yoko avoids a charge and sends Koko throat-first to the top-rope. Like a one-handed hotshot. Yoko follows up with the Leg Drop, the Avalanche, and the BANZAI DROP to pick up the win. (3:45) B. Ware of Yoko. Seriously, this guy will CRUSH you. ½*
- The Rumble Match – (WWF Royal Rumble 1993)
We are joined in progress with Yokozuna at #27. He immediately throws out Tatanka. Carlos Colon gets sent back to Puerto Rico. Quake and Yoko have a stand-off. This shouldn’t surprise anybody – John Tenta was once a sumo wrestler. Owen Hart runs down at #28, but it doesn’t matter much because Yoko and Quake are in there. Quake splashes Yoko, but then Yoko flips Quake over the top to the floor. Now Yoko has no competition. #29 is Repo Man. All of a sudden, everybody has the same idea to try and get rid of Yokozuna, but he fights them off one person at a time. Randy Savage is our last guy to enter the ring. He goes nuts on Repo Man as Yokozuna sends Tito to the floor. Owen dropkicks Sags out by accident after Martel moved out of the way. Martel thinks he’s eliminated Owen, but he skins-the-cat back in the ring. Bob Backlund is still in the ring, by the way. Yoko hiptosses Owen to the floor and Savage hiptosses Repo out on the other side of the ring. That leaves us with…
Final Four: Bob Backlund, Rick Martel, Yokozuna and Randy Savage. Backlund looks to be dead weight at this point. He and Martel fight over who’s going out to the floor. After they battle over a suplex, Backlund places Martel on the top rope and punches him off to the floor below. While Yoko stomps away on Savage, Backlund turns his attention onto him. Backlund dropkicks Yoko once, two times, but then charges and gets dumped out over the top rope to the floor. That’s 61:10 spent in the Rumble! A new record that would stand until Chris Benoit lasted 61:30 in 2004! Now Yoko wonders what he was doing before he was rudely interrupted. Oh yeah! He was dismantling Randy Savage. After lots of choking in the ropes, Savage kicks back and mounts a ton of offense on Yoko. He hits a pair of flying double ax-handles, but then he runs into a superkick. Yoko kills him with the Belly-To-Belly Suplex, followed by the Legdrop. Yoko yells “BANZAI!” and butt-splashes Savage in the corner. He tries a second time, but Savage moves out of the way. Yoko collapses as Savage heads up top for the MACHO ELBOW. Out of “instinct”, he covers Yoko, so Yoko presses him up over the top rope and to the floor for possibly the most exaggerated Rumble finish ever. (14:53 shown) If you didn’t pay much attention to Yokozuna before this match, you would have to now. This lacked so much star power. I mean, you wouldn’t think that one year would make much difference, but it did and the match suffered because of it. I’m going with the standard amount of stars for a Rumble, because it’s at least worth that much.
- WWF Championship: Bret Hart (c) vs. Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji) – (WWF WrestleMania IX)
Bret uses the stick-and-run strategy to start, but that backfires and gets him put out on the floor. Yoko kicks at Bret through the ropes one time too many and gets tripped up in the ropes so Bret can punish him while he’s stuck. Bret runs at Yoko a couple times with clotheslines, but gets leveled on the third attempt. Uh oh, the Legdrop that makes everyone gasp follows. Yoko grabs the nerve hold, but then runs into a boot in the corner. Bret leaps off the middle rope possibly going for a bulldog and lands on Yoko instead to take him off his feet. Yoko gets back up and drops Bret with a superkick. Back to the nerve hold. Yokozuna whips Bret across into the corner to set up a splash, but Bret moves and bulldogs Yoko down from the middle rope. Cover, 1-2-NO! Bret hits the vertical elbow drop off the middle rope for another two. He follows up with a pair of clotheslines that takes Yoko down. Bret wants the ten-count corner punch, but Yoko interrupts and tries for the atomic drop. Bret grabs hold of the turnbuckle pad and winds up pulling it off to send Bret crashing to the mat. Yoko wants to smash Bret into the exposed corner, but Bret puts on the brakes and smashes Yoko’s face instead! With Yoko laying on his stomach, Bret manages to hook on the SHARPSHOOTER, avoiding having to turn the big guy over. Just when it looks like Yokozuna can’t take anymore, Fuji throws salt in Bret’s eyes to break the hold. The ref sees nothing as Yoko covers for 1-2-3. (8:58) Kind of a Sting/Vader deal, but on a much weaker level. Hogan runs down to protest and to help out his “friend”. As Hogan helps Bret out of the ring, Fuji makes a challenge to Hulk right then and there for the WWF championship. Hogan isn’t sure what he should do, but Bret tells him to “go get ’em, big guy!” says JR. ***
- WWF Championship: Yokozuna (c) (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Hulk Hogan – (WWF WrestleMania IX)
Yoko pounds away on Hulk as Fuji pulls out some more salt. Yoko holds Hulk, but he ducks and Yoko takes the salt to the eyes instead. Fuji gets nailed, followed by a Hogan clothesline/LEG DROP combo to Yoko for the 1-2-3 to give him his fifth WWF world title. (0:23) Pretty much the worst ending to a WrestleMania ever, but Hulk Hogan’s got a movie coming out, so we’ve got to have him at the top if it’s going to do well! Yeah, I am not rating what just happened.
- WWF Championship: Hulk Hogan (c) (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji) – (WWF King of the Ring 1993)
This would be Hogan’s last WWF PPV appearance until February 2002. We get a near two-minute stallfest to start. Once they lock-up, it’s WrestleMania 6 all over again, as they take turns shoving one another out of a tie-up. Yoko takes over with throat thrusts and a slam. He whips Hulk from corner to corner and then tries for the Running Butt Splash, but there’s nobody home. Hogan fires back and tries a slam, but nah uh .He fires back and attempts another slam, but still not going to happen. Hogan hits a pair of clotheslines, but then Yoko stops him on the third try with a clothesline of his own. Hogan avoids a splash, but then runs into a bearhug. It’s the typical bearhug segment where Hogan fights it for as long as possible and then he starts to pass out, but then he wakes up and makes sure his arm doesn’t fall three times to kickstart his comeback. On the comeback part, scratch that. Yoko levels him with a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. Cover, 1-2-NO! It’s HULK UP time! He punches Yoko three times, whips him in the ropes for the Big Boot and connects! But he doesn’t go down. A second Big Boot connects, but Yoko will not fall. How about a third Big Boot? Ok, he finally falls. Hogan hits the LEGDROP for 1-2-NO! Whoa! Mr. Fuji’s on the apron and he gets nailed. Wait a minute, some strange looking photographer is standing on the other side of the apron. Maybe his camera doesn’t have zoom? Hulk walks over to him and gets blasted with a fireball! Talk about a defective camera! Yoko throat-thrusts and LEGDROPS Hogan for 1-2-3. (13:12) Yokozuna has regained the belt. Pretty much your standard Hogan vs. Monster match, except this time he gets screwed out of the belt. To put the final squash on Hogan’s WWF career, Yokozuna gives him a BANZAI DROP. So long, Hulk. Have fun in WCW! ½*
Lex Luger shows up and slams Yokozuna on an aircraft carrier and travels the country in the “Lex Express” bus hanging out with sick children and making them smile leading up to his WWF title shot at SummerSlam. That pretty much sums it up.
- WWF Championship: Yokozuna (c) (w/Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) vs. Lex Luger – (WWF SummerSlam 1993)
During the face-off, Fuji tries to sneak in on Luger from behind, but the eyes in the back of his head sees him coming. Yoko elbows Luger away when he tries to roll him up off the ropes (what was Lex thinking?), but he misses the Legdrop. Luger starts kicking away at the leg and hits the jumping elbow drop for two. Wow he NEVER hits that. Luger hits a corner clothesline and follows up with the ten-count corner punch. Once that’s over, Yokozuna chops him in the throat and chokes him down in the corner. When the ref pushes him away, Fuji climbs up to the apron to literally throw salt in Luger’s game. Good thing Lex has those eyes in the back of his head, because they come in quite handy again in this match. Lex punches Yoko and tries to slam him, but that’s not going to work just yet. Yoko superkicks him down instead and takes him to the floor for some splashing up against the ringpost. Luger avoids a chairshot and comes back with a pair of flying double ax-handles back in the ring. A third leap off the top is a flying forearm, which finally puts Yokozuna down. Cover, 1-2-NO! Luger clotheslines Yoko down from behind for 1-2-NO! Double-KO spot happens next. Cornette hops up on the apron as Fuji rolls a wooden (?) pail into the ring. WHAM! Yoko nails Luger right in the face with it! Yoko crawls over for 1-2-NO! Belly-to-Belly Suplex gets two. Yoko chokes Lex in the ropes and then delivers a Morishima-like backdrop suplex! Cover, 1-2-NO! Now Yoko grabs the nerve hold. Luger elbows out and tries to slam Yokozuna again, but Yoko falls on top for 1-2-NO! Yoko hits the Legdrop for 1-2-NO! Luger avoids the BANZAI DROP and the butt splash in the corner leading to the eventual slam on Yoko. Heenan ~ “HIPLOCK! HIPLOCK!” Fuji gets nailed and OFF COMES THE FOREARM PAD! Luger hits Yoko with the BIONIC FOREARM, which knocks him clear through the ropes and to the floor. He’s totally KO’ed and gets counted out to give Luger the win. (18:00) Definitely Yokozuna’s longest match to date, and not a bad one at that. You have to hand it to Yokozuna for sticking it out and not relying on so many restholds. The Steiners, Tatanka and Randy Savage all come down to celebrate with Luger like he actually just became champion or something. Red, white and blue balloons drop from the ceiling – the whole shebang, American style. It’s so cheesy and overly patriotic, I think it would probably even make Jim Duggan blush. **½
- Casket Match for the WWF Championship: Yokozuna (c) (w/Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) vs. The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) – (WWF Royal Rumble 1994)
So Undertaker has been freaking Yokozuna the crap out with caskets lately, which leads to this match. Pretty much everyone at least on the internet world assumed Taker was walking out of this show as champ since this is *his* specialty match, but I don’t think anybody had any clue what they were about to witness. They presumably have a staredown contest to start, which Yoko loses! Yoko then storms at Taker, but he sidesteps and hits a pair of jumping lariats. They head to the floor where Yoko stumbles right into the ringpost. Wow, never seen that before. Taker heads out and gets slammed on the steps, but he NO-SELLS! Back in, Taker delivers OLD SKOOL on Yoko. Taker misses a third jumping lariat and rolls out to the floor. Yoko follows and grabs a chair, but Taker blocks and nails Yoko instead. Yoko grabs some salt from his wooden pail and throws it in Taker’s face. Guess his face is like a snail or something. You smash his face into STEEL steps, you get nothing. But salt? That’s a whole other story. Taker gets hit in the head with a chair. Back in again, Yoko clotheslines Taker and puts him in the casket. Taker’s head and arms are sticking out though. He’s not done yet. He punches his way back into the ring, but takes a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. ZOMBIE SIT-UP! Chokeslam to Yoko! Wow, Yoko took the chokeslam better than Hogan at Judgment Day ’02. Taker hits the Jumping DDT! Now he rolls Yoko into the casket and tries to close the door, but Crush runs down and stops him just in time. Oh, here we go. He gets rid of Crush momentarily, but now the Great Kabuki and Genichiro Tenryu storm the ring. They do nothing. Bam Bam Bigelow is out here now. Together, he and Crush corner Taker to make it four-on-one. Meanwhile, Fuji has taken the urn away from Paul Bearer. While the foursome try to put Taker in the casket, Bearer comes over and avenges the urn by taking out both Fuji and Cornette. Bearer raises the urn in the air and HERE COMES THE UNDERTAKER! Out comes Adam Bomb. Taker starts destroying people again until Bigelow nails him with that wooden salt pail. Now Jeff Jarrett is out here looking like a Power Ranger. The Headshrinkers are here! It’s NINE-on-one now including Yokozuna. They continue to ravage the Undertaker until he’s placed in the casket. OH WAIT! He’s up again before they can close the door. People are being punched all over the place. Uh oh, Diesel’s here. That’ll stop the Undertaker for sure. In hope of finishing Taker off once and for all, Yokozuna hits Taker with the urn! The urn gets dropped and GREEN SMOKE starts to come out of the urn! Is Barbara Eden’s evil twin sister here? After the Headshrinkers both splash the Taker, its time to roll him into the casket for good. Everyone dogpiles the casket door so that the Undertaker will just go away. (14:25) The group of mid-card heels wheel the casket up the aisleway until smoke starts to exude from it! An overhead camera shot of the Undertaker supposedly from inside the casket shows up on the video wall. BONG! He’s alive! That’s right. He will not rest in peace. After his message of hope, he goes back to sleep as apparently his body explodes and then an inverted Undertaker floats up the screen. As he goes off the screen, his body or “soul” is levitating up to the heavens, I can only suppose. An absolute “What the %&@# did I just watch?” moment. In reality, which this whole post-match segment was the opposite of, Taker needed some time off because of a back injury. He’ll back though. Don’t you worry. ¼*
- WWF Championship with Special Referee Roddy Piper: Yokozuna (c) (w/Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) vs. Bret Hart – (WWF WrestleMania X)
Guest timekeeper: Jeannie Garth from Beverly Hills 90210. Guest ring announcer: Burt Reynolds. As for the special referee, don’t forget we saw Bret defeat Piper for the IC title two years earlier at WrestleMania 8. By the way, this was his first WWF appearance since SummerSlam 1992. Yokozuna attacks Bret right from the start. He stays in the hair and bites Bret’s nose, which causes Piper to get in Yoko’s face about it. He will not take any crap from anybody tonight! Bret fights back and headbutts Yoko, but it looks to have taken more out of Bret than Yoko. Yokozuna goes to the eyes and Piper yells at him again. Bret hammers Yokozuna down and covers for 1-2-NO! Cornette pulls Piper out and gets nailed. Piper gets in Yoko’s face about choking, so Yokozuna Legdrops Bret. Yoko bows to Fuji and throws Bret over to the top rope. Bret makes it back in at nine. Yokozuna misses a buttalanche and Bret hits a bulldog for 1-2-NO! Flying elbow drop gets two. Jumping clothesline gets two. Bret comes off the middle rope and gets caught with a Belly-to-Belly Suplex! Time for the BANZAI DROP! Whoops, Yokozuna slips and hits the back of his head on the mat. Bret covers for 1-2-3! New champ. (10:31) And the roof is blown off MSG. More of a great moment than a great match. Curious how Yokozuna didn’t go after the leg considering Cornette made a point to say that he knows the leg is hurting. **¼
- Casket Match with Special Outside Enforcer Chuck Norris: Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) vs. The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) – (WWF Survivor Series 1994)
Chuck is here to keep all the bad men out so that we don’t get a complete repeat of their Royal Rumble casket match. Thank God. Taker freaks Yoko out at the beginning and he tries to bail, but he’s just too fat to get away. Yokozuna reverses a whip and then splashes Taker in the corner, but Taker NO-SELLS because he’s *dead*! Yokozuna gets nailed out on top of the casket and then runs away. He’s skeered of them things. Yoko pulls Taker out to the floor, where Taker sends Yokozuna into the steel steps head first. Back in, Taker goes OLD SCHOOL on Yoko, but he doesn’t go down! He catches Taker with a Samoan drop. Yoko tries to put Taker in the casket, but Taker fights back. However, Taker misses an elbow and sits up. Uranage by Yoko, followed by a legdrop. Taker gets rolled into the casket, but Yoko can’t close the door on him. Taker pulls Yoko into the casket with him and they both fight trying to get out. Fuji comes over and pulls Taker’s hair. He gets out and goes after Fuji. Cornette comes up behind Taker, but Taker turns around and nails him. Back in, Yoko dominates with some boring offense until Taker comes back with a flying clothesline. As Taker tries to roll Yoko into the casket, Bundy and Bigelow come down to ringside to bother Chuck Norris. While this is happening, IRS sneaks in and attacks Taker, including putting him in the casket. IRS then leaves with Bundy and Bigelow through the crowd. As Yokozuna goes to shut the casket, Taker reaches up and grabs Yokozuna by the throat. Now Jarrett comes down to ringside and he gets kicked down by Chuck Norris. Back in the ring, Taker delivers a clothesline and a DDT off the ropes to Yoko. Taker kicks Yokozuna into the casket. He throws Fuji’s Japanese flag in with him and shuts the casket to win the match. (15:24) This wasn’t as bad as the prior casket match between these two, but still a suck fest. Yokozuna wouldn’t be seen again until WrestleMania XI as Owen Hart’s super secret tag team partner. ½*
- WWF Tag Team Championship: The Smoking Gunns (c) vs. Owen Hart & Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) – (WWF WrestleMania XI)
Still obsessed with Bret, Yokozuna is Owen’s mystery partner because Yoko pinned Bret at WrestleMania 9. It was rumored that Chris Benoit was going to be Owen’s partner. Can you IMAGINE? Instead, Benoit stayed with ECW. We haven’t seen Yoko since his casket match with Undertaker back at Survivor Series. He’s sporting a new douche beard now. Billy and Bart work on Owen’s arm to start. Owen’s watched some Tiger Mask and knows how to escape an arm wringer, so he does just that and tags in Yokozuna. Yoko catches Bart off a crossbody for a slam and tags Owen again. The Gunns give Owen a Double Russian Legsweep and a double dropkick to Yoko puts him on the floor. Owen receives a Reverse 3D for 1-2-NO! That was pretty cool. Bart whips Owen in for the chest-first bump his big brother does for two. Side slam/Famouser to Owen! Yoko comes in to distract the ref and avoid a pin. Finally, it gets two. Blind tag to Yoko as Billy goes down to a drop toehold/LEGDROP combo. Billy rolls out to the floor and gets his back slammed into the ringpost from Owen. Back in, Yoko grabs a nerve hold to kill some time. If you’re tired Yoko, why not just tag Owen? Yoko holds Billy for a missile dropkick from Owen, but Billy moves and Yokozuna gets nailed. HOT TAG TO BART! Owen gets dumped after a press slam, allowing the Gunns to double-team Yoko. As Bart comes off the ropes, Owen pulls the top rope to send Bart to the floor. Meanwhile, Billy runs into a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. Belly-to-Billy? BANZAI DROP! Bart breaks up the pin, but gets dumped out. Owen tags and teases the Sharpshooter. Instead he just covers Billy and gets the 1-2-3. (9:42) NEW CHAMPS! Owen wins his first title in the WWF! He celebrates like he just beat Bret. Even Diesel for that matter. Basically a glorified squash as the crowd was more into Owen and Yoko than the cowboys. **
- Shawn Michaels (w/Jose Lothario) vs. Yokozuna – (WWF Monday Night Raw 8/19/96)
This would end up being Yoko’s final match on Raw since he never got his weight under any kind of control. The classic stick-and-move strategy works fine for Shawn until he tries a headbutt the man. Commercials! When we return, Cornette is slugging Lothario down. Meanwhile, Shawn is trying to fight out of a nerve hold. He scares away Cornette, which just serves as a distraction. Yoko whips Shawn in for the Ray Stevens corner bump and then delivers a Belly to Belly Suplex. Yoko misses a splash though and here comes Shawn. Flying Forearm and the Flying Splash gets two. Yoko blocks Sweet Chin Music and twirls Shawn around for a Samoan Drop. Ha! Leg drop misses, and he stands back up into SWEET CHIN MUSIC to give HBK the win. (4:14 shown) Way better than I thought it would be considering Yoko’s severe weight issues. *½
Final Thoughts: You may not see tons of snowflakes for these matches, but Yoko was fun to watch simply because he was believable by just looking at him and unbelievable at the way he moved in the ring. I wonder how he compares to someone like Andre the Giant in that you hear Andre wouldn’t hurt guys he respected – even though much like Yoko, he certainly could hurt people if he wanted to. Anyways, a “thumbs up” watch for those New Generation fans like me.
Posted on November 2, 2020, in WWE and tagged Bob Backlund, Bret Hart, Carlos Colon, Earthquake, Hulk Hogan, Jerry Sags, Jim Cornette, Jimmy Hart, Jose Lothario, King of the Ring, Koko B. Ware, Lex Luger, Mr. Fuji, Owen Hart, Paul Bearer, Randy Savage, Raw, Repo Man, Rick Martel, Roddy Piper, Royal Rumble, Shawn Michaels, Smokin' Gunns, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, Tatanka, Tito Santana, Undertaker, WrestleMania, Yokozuna. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.