Memories of Mr. Fuji

Harry
Harry “Mr. Fuji” Fujiwara

Mr. Fuji.

The first Christmas I can recall has few crystal clear memories. One that remains is my three-year-old self trying to unroll the poster that came with my Mr. Fuji LJN figure. I can remember the smell of the rubber man in the tuxedo, feel the plastic toy cane accessory, and remember the thought that my figures had “the Devious One” to lead them to victory. Mr. Fuji may not have the legacy of a Bobby Heenan or a J.J. Dillon but he was very special for numerous reasons.

Mr. Fuji was an attraction from a special time when wrestling was like the wild-west. His character would not exist in today’s PC culture. He exploited post-World War II anti-Japanese sentiments to become a hot heel for decades. Even into the 80’s he was still known to mention Pearl Harbor, on occasion.

Mr. Fuji was a tag-team champion on numerous occasions. Few men have held WWWF (or WWF) tag-team gold on the number of occasions he has or with a greater number of partners. Maybe Tony Garea can boast that record, but the list of possible candidates is short.

After transitioning to a managerial role, and donning his trademark tuxedo, he was associated with some of the biggest stars in the “Rock and Wrestling” era. He starred in “Fuji Vice” with Don Muraco, one of the WWF’s first non-traditional promotional segments. It was so bad, yet so good, fans still recall it to this day.

When Roddy Piper turned heel, Mr. Fuji had challengers lined up for “the Hot Rod”. He even took on “the Rowdy One” in select house show attractions across the country, showing his marquee-value long after his physical prime.

We fondly recount Demolition’s record setting reign as tag-team champions but often overlook the man who led them to glory. Not only did Mr. Fuji manage the powerhouse team, he was responsible for their face turn in 1988. Ditching Demolition for the baby face tandem of the Powers of Pain, resulted in one of the first “double turns” on WWF programming. He then teamed with his new protégés in his only WrestleMania match to take on Demolition for the Tag-Team titles at WrestleMania 5.

He managed several others into the 90’s and like other times we thought his star had faded, a new sun rose on Mr. Fuji’s horizon. Yokozuna hit the WWF like a meteor in 1992 and at his side was none other than “the Devious One” himself. Ditching the tuxedo in favor of a kimono, Fuji led Yokozuna to the WWF title in 1993. It was the first time a Samoan wrestler held the title.

After health issues ended his career we thought we had seen the last of Mr. Fuji’s influence. We were wrong. In 1999 The Big Bossman kidnapped Al Snow’s pet Chihuahua, Pepper, during their memorable feud. To bury the hatchet, Bossman invited Snow to his hotel room for dinner. After the meal, Bossman informed Al that he had just eaten Pepper Steak. This was taken from a notorious Mr. Fuji story involving his own neighbor’s dog. Some would argue he deserves a second Hall of Fame induction for his ribs alone.

As I hold that same LJN figure in my hand, I can feel myself playing with my figures while watching WWF on Saturday mornings. I can see Mr. Fuji flanking his clients. I can feel the joy that wrestling has given me. Most of all, I hear the legendary prankster, character, and entertainer, shouting his trademark phrase: “BANZAI!!!”

Rest in peace, Mr. Fuji-

 

Episode 17 or WWE’s Class Ring Style Titles and Summer Slam Weekend

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Brian and Andy were able to get together to watch WWE Summer Slam for the first time in 15 years. This week they revisit all the happenings over Summer Slam weekend.

-NXT Takeover: Brooklyn 2 thoughts

-“Glorious” Bobby Roode

-Ember Moon’s debut

-NXT Booking Subtlteties

-Bayley versus Asuka

-Is Bayley the greatest female wrestler?

-Thoughts on Samoa Joe versus Brock Lesnar

-Brock Lesnar on PEDs

-Ways WWE not testing part-timers hurts the new generation

-Samoa Joe versus Shinsuke Nakamura

-Shinsuke Nakamura’s Entrance

-Summer Slam 2016

-Was Bret Hart right? Is Seth Rollins reckless?

-Finn Balor versus Seth Rollins

-Fugly WWE Universal Title

-Mick Foley’s comments towards fans reacting to the Universal Title

-John Cena versus AJ Styles steals the show

-Cena goes emo after losing a match clean

-The Dean Ambrose Dolph Ziggler train-wreck

-WWE injuries continue to pile up

-Aderall and wellness policy suspensions

-Roman Reigns versus Russev

-Is Roman Reigns the only option to put the WWE Universal Title on?

-Post Summer Slam Raw

-Sami Zayn-injured or master selling??

-Brock Lesnar splits Randy Orton

-Bayley gets called up

-What comics Brian and Andy are reading

-The Strain

-Fables

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Episode 15- Conor McGregor Trolls WWE or Eva Marie Sounds Like Mr. Bill

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Brian and Andy take on the latest happenings in WWE.

-WWE Cruiserweight Classic

-What will WWE do with the Cruiserweights when they get to Raw?

-Will the winner of the CWC be the first Cruiserweight Champion?

-Eva Marie’s debut angle on SmackDownLive

-Did Eva Marie lose her top or was that Mr. Bill?

-Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch, good wrestlers and great to look at

-Has Ric Flair become a punch-line?

-Shelton Benjamin not returning to WWE

-Mick Foley Autism Awareness note

-Sheamus not happy with his position

-Conor McGregor’s anti-WWE trolling

-Is Conor McGregor completely wrong?

-Steve Austin buries Dean Ambrose on Stone Cold Podcast

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Episode 14- WWE, Comic Books, Van Halen, and F*ck Bob Dylan

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-Rest in Peace, Marty Ruff-

The Dynamic Duo of Brian Jay and Andy Ruff reunite to discuss the latest crappenings and to remember Andy’s late father, Marty.

-Remembering when Van Halen was cool

-The original Van Halen debut album

-Memories of wrestling, music and sports with Andy’s dad, Marty

-JBL is WWE’s Foghorn Leghorn

-Andy’s post-WWE Draft thoughts

-Was Finn Balor versus Seth Rollins in the works for WrestleMania 32?

-Spawn of Satan Baby II

-Andy-“Fuck Bob Dylan, the crazy hippie”

-David Bowie

-Is “Weird Al” a nice d*ck?

-How WWE could showcase Bayley on NXT and WWE

-Thoughts on Nia Jax in WWE

-Post Draft Raw and SmackDown Live are the same show, thanks to Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn

-Are the small production changes enough to make the shows feel different?

-Ric Flair’s and Mick Foley’s selective candor

-WWE adding new titles to SmackDown Live

-How long before Nikki Bella beats Becky Lynch for the SmackDown Live Women’s Championship?

-No Goldberg……Please….

-Batman The Killing Joke

-Suicide Squad and Harley Quinn & The Joker

-Mark Hamill conversation between The Joker and Luke Skywalker- Star Wars Celebration 2014

-Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

-Jason Mewes’ addiction recovery

-Happy Birthday, Kevin Smith

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Episode 13 Part 1 or The WWE Intergalactic Beastie Boys Championship of Raw

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In part one of a two-part show this week, Brian discusses the first week of WWE TV coming on the heels of the WWE Draft.

-Run down of Raw and SmackDown Live

-Pros and Cons of both

-WWE Universal Championship

-Which show was the better show

-Are the shows branded differently?

-WWE Superstars returning to SmackDown Live

Episode 12 or 2016 WWE Draft and Batman the Killing Joke

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-2016 WWE Draft

-Mauro Renallo exposing Michael Cole

-Brock Lesnar PED rumors

-Cody Rhodes announces date of Ring of Honor debut

-Mark Hamill reads script excerpt from Batman: The Killing Joke live

-Concept for movie about aged Batman and Joker, starring Michael Keaton and Mark Hamill

-Butt-Chin Brian Cartoon concept inspired by the neighborhood Brian and Andy grew up in

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2016 WWE Draft

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This week’s show will not be available until tomorrow morning, but here are some quick thoughts after watching the 2016 WWE Draft:

Ambrose’s clean win was much needed and gave SmackDown a nice rub as well.

SmackDown has WWE and IC Champs, Raw has the US, Tag, and Women’s title. Don’t forget, Raw gets cruiserweights exclusively, too and has some big star-power. And does Triple H count as a pick?

After the draft, is Raw clearly the A show? In 2002 viewers chose wrestling (SmackDown) over “talking stars” (Raw). Just because Raw is positioned as the flagship doesn’t mean that will hold true.

Women and tag teams are split pretty evenly. You HAVE to watch some parts of both shows depending on what you like, instead of being able to choose. It hurts the branding of each show but it’s smart for WWE to give each show something you need to see.

I hope they don’t duplicate titles for each roster. Keep it interesting. Let them be defended on both. As you add depth, you will have two sets of challengers that, mostly, have not crossed paths. This will make for fresh scenarios down the line, if they can remain disciplined enough to stick to the plan.

I see PLENTY of room for additional call-ups. Don’t be surprised to see some new, or returning, faces soon.

I’ve heard a lot of “No Bailey?!?!?!?!??! OMG!!!!!!!!!!” Stop it. You sound ridiculous.

It would have been nice to see Bailey, but this hints that something bigger may be planned for her.  Sasha, Becky, and Charlotte were all hurt because they were all lumped together on their debut in one angle, and not everyone can be the star. Let them do something special with Bailey (Hint: Battleground?)

Are they splitting off members of The Club and The Wyatts or are they taking over both shows? The groups aren’t exactly tag-teams, but “families”, or “gangs”. Just because your brother moves doesn’t mean you aren’t still brothers, right?

Great NXT Picks-American Alpha, Finn Balor, Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, and Eva Marie-I’ll take one bad pick to get four good ones. I’m especially excited to see American Alpha, and Finn has been stagnating in NXT for the past year.

Baron Corbin to Smackdown, see my thoughts on Eva Marie.

With the recent rumors of splitting them up, I’m glad they kept Enzo and Cass together. Enzo is money and Cass is still just a big green hoss, but the dynamic works. Good looks on not killing two G’s with one pick.

The Big Show….With all due respect, the rub of being picked on TV could have gone to someone else. I know he’s given a lot, but much has changed since Andre the Giant’s time. Being a giant isn’t enough anymore. I know 4 people through Twitter alone who are over 6’10”. The guy needs to go and hasn’t really been around in 6 months any way.

As for Mark Henry? I like the guy but see my thoughts Big Show, above.

The quote of the night was Shane McMahon calling Seth Rollins Cross fit Jesus. Definitely an internet troll, but still fun, regardless.

Putting Mauro on commentary with Michael Cole is like a Harvard PHD debating a kindergartener. Cole is what WWE wants in a commentator, but Mauro is what they desperately need. More Mauro…..Please.

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Did anyone else see Mick Foley’s Hardcore Holiness? I think, last night, he proved that Foley is God, after all.

I want to believe that this is the start of something good, but the 2002 Draft had promise as well. And the WCW Invasion. And ECW. And CM Punk’s walk-out……. Here’s hoping.

Overall, I thought the 2016 WWE Draft was a fun show and I like the rosters so far. I’m interested to see what happens from here, especially with Roman returning and Brock potentially being suspended. Until then, Battleground is Sunday and this week’s B Show drops tomorrow morning here.

Episode 11-B-Show Mock WWE Draft

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Brian and Andy preview the upcoming WWE Draft by holding their own mock draft. Part fantasy, part realistic, the rosters  could very well mirror the new rosters after the upcoming draft.

-Surprising Ghostbusters 2016 reviews

-Stan Lee and Marvel Comics

-Bray Wyatt Compound fight versus Final Deletion

-WWE’s commissioner/GM/COO/scout troop leader angle

-B Show Mock WWE Draft ( at 46:00)

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Episode 10-Matt and Jeff Hardy’s Final Deletion or Natalya Runs Like Super Mario

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Andy and Brian are back together this week talking about the latest in wrestling/WWE.

-TNA Final Deletion with Matt and Jeff Hardy

-WWE denies Kurt Angle Return

-Natalya runs like NES Super Mario

-Bret Hart’s Recent comments on Triple H

-Randy Orton versus Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam?

-Bobby “The Brain” Heenan joins Twitter

-Top/Favorite WWF/WWE commentary teams

-1980’s Ultimate Weenie Vince McMahon versus today’s Mr. McMahon

-When will we see Shinsuke Nakamura and Finn Balor on the main roster?

-Hilary or Trump? Which foot do I want to shoot?

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Episode 8- Money in the Bank, Roman Reigns Suspended, and Bill Goldbrick

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Money in the Bank 2016 recap and thoughts, Dean Ambrose cashing in, Dean Ambrose as WWE Champion, Roman Reigns’ WWE Wellness Policy failure and suspension, wrestlers playing roles, Sami Zayn versus Kevin Owens, Vaudvillains, New Day losing steam, Jerry “the King” Lawler’s arrest, Paige taken into custody, AJ Styles versus John Cena, WWE Draft rumors, 3 hour SmackDown, WWE running two Pay-Per-Views per month, WWE Pay-Per-View format improvements, WWE Women’s division, Sasha Banks’ WWE return, Kurt Angle WWE return, Brian Cranston is Zordon in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and much more.

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