Tonga 'Uli'uli Fifita (born 3 February 1959) is a Tongan semi-retired professional wrestler, best known for his appearances in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) as Haku. He is also known for his time in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where he wrestled under the name Meng. In the WWF, he also wrestled under the names King Tonga and King Haku.
|Birth name||Tonga 'Uli'uli Fifita|
|Born||3 February 1959|
Kingdom of Tonga
|Residence||Kissimmee, Florida, United States|
Dorothy Koloamatangi (m. 1977)
Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga and Hikuleo
|Professional wrestling career|
|Billed height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
|Billed weight||300 lb (136 kg)|
|Trained by||Giant Baba|
Sumo wrestling careerEdit
Growing up on the main island of the South Pacific island-kingdom of Tonga, Fifita attended Tonga College where he played rugby union. At the age of 15, he was part of a group of six teenagers and young men sent by the King of Tonga to Japan to study Sumo. Sione Vailahi, who would later become better known as pro-wrestler "The Barbarian", was also a part of this group. After moving to Japan in 1974, he competed under the shikona (sumo name) of Fukunoshima (福ノ島). He made his debut in November 1974 and reached the rank of Makushita 27. However, in 1975 the stablemaster who recruited him died, and he and the other five Tongan wrestlers got entangled in a dispute with his successor, which led to him being forced to retire by the Japan Sumo Association in 1976.
Professional wrestling careerEdit
Early career (1978-1986)Edit
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.
In the early 1980s, Fifita, taking the name King Tonga, wrestled in Canada for Frank Valois' International Wrestling promotion based in 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. He worked in Puerto Rico for the World Wrestling Council where he feuded with Invader 1 and won many titles such as the WWC North American Tag Team Championship with El Gran Apolo, The WWC World Tag Team Championship with Hercules Hernandez and the WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Championship. 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 (1986-1992)Edit
The Islanders (1986–1988)Edit
In 1986, King Tonga, in his rookie year in the World Wrestling Federation, became a star by bodyslamming Big John Studd on Championship Wrestling, though predictably Studd's manager Bobby "The Brain" Heenan didn't pay him the US$15,000 he promised to anyone who could do so. He made a name for himself as Haku in the WWF as half of "The Islanders" with Tama. Originally a fan-favorite team, The Islanders had mixed success, though they did win a $50,000 tag team Battle Royal at Madison Square Garden in October 1986. They turned heel in 1987 during a match on the WWF Superstars of Wrestling with The Can-Am Connection (Tom Zenk and Rick Martel). Earlier in the show heel manager Bobby Heenan had announced he would have a new tag team that night and everyone thought he was going to introduce a new team to the WWF. Instead he showed up at ringside during the match where it became known his "new" team was in fact The Islanders. The team had a classic feud with The British Bulldogs that was started when the Islanders, along with Bobby Heenan, kidnapped the Bulldogs' mascot, a bulldog named Matilda. Their feud ended after a 6-man tag team match at WrestleMania IV where The Islanders and Heenan (wearing an attack dog outfit) defeated the Bulldogs and Koko B. Ware when Heenan pinned Koko.
King's Crown and Colossal Connection (1988–1990)Edit
In 1988, following King Harley Race's legitimate stomach injury sustained in a match against Hulk Hogan, Haku was given Race's crown and robe and was rechristened King Haku. In of his first big matches after becoming King Haku, he would face Hulk Hogan with Miss Elizabeth in his corner on Saturday Night's Main Event in October of 1988. He would cement his position as king by successfully defending his crown against the returning Race in a match at the 1989 Royal Rumble at The Summit in Houston. He would later lose the "crown" to Hacksaw Jim Duggan who himself was crowned as "King Duggan". Haku 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 from Demolition on the December 30 edition of Superstars (taped on December 13). Haku and André lost the titles at WrestleMania VI, when Demolition defeated the Colossal Connection to regain the titles. Haku never legally tagged Andre into the match (due to André's poor health). Late in the match André attempted to interfere, but Haku accidentally struck him with a savate kick which left André tied in the ropes; Haku was pinned shortly after this. The team's manager, Bobby Heenan, blamed André for the loss and even slapped the Giant, who retaliated by "paint-brushing" Heenan. Haku tried to ambush André; however, The Giant blocked Haku's kick and struck him repeatedly before leaving the ring alone to a standing ovation. André's face turn meant that the team had split. Due to his poor health it would be the last ever match for André in the WWF although he would go on to wrestle for several years afterwards in Japan.
Various feuds and departure (1990–1992)Edit
Just after WrestleMania, Haku became the first wrestler to challenge the new WWF champion, The Ultimate Warrior, but he lost the match. He formed a tag team shortly after this with fellow Heenan Family member The Barbarian. Their most notable match was a defeat in the opening match of WrestleMania VII against The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty).
Japan and Mexico (1992–1994)Edit
Coming towards the end of Fifita's WWF career, he would wrestle under the name King Haku for Japanese promotion Super World of Sports. On February 14, 1992, Haku and Yoshiaki Yatsu became the first SWS Tag Team Champions. They lost the championship on April 16 when they lost them to George and Shunji Takano but would regain them on April 18, holding them until June 19 when SWS closed. With SWS closing, King Haku wrestled for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre in Mexico and New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Wrestle Association R in Japan, before finally joining World Championship Wrestling.
World Championship Wrestling (1994-2001)Edit
Dungeon of Doom and Faces of Fear (1994–1998)Edit
In WCW, (because the name Haku was trademarked by the WWF) Fifita wrestled as Meng. He was initially portrayed as the mysterious and intimidating bodyguard of Col. Rob Parker, wearing business suits and shades while maintaining a quiet demeanor. His last night as a bodyguard was at SuperBrawl V when Hacksaw Jim Duggan wrestled Bunkhouse Buck; after the match, Meng attacked Duggan. Later in the event when Blacktop Bully was scheduled to wrestle Dustin Rhodes, WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel came out and escorted Meng back to the dressing room because of the attack on Duggan earlier in the show. The next week, Col. Parker announced that Meng will no longer be a bodyguard, but will be a wrestler from now on, winning his first match against a jobber with one fast high kick. Teaming with Kurasawa, he feuded against Sting and Road Warrior Hawk.
Later, he faced Sting in a losing effort for the vacated United States title at the 1995 Great American Bash. Meng later joined the Dungeon of Doom forming a tag team named the Faces of Fear with his previous WWF tag team partner The Barbarian, with the pair being managed by another former WWF alumnus, Jimmy Hart. 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 supine position and experience the full effect of the hold.
Hardcore Champion (1997–2001)Edit
Meng spent much of 1997 facing lower and mid-card performers before starting a small winning streak in the summer of 1998. This led to a main event WCW World Championship match with Bill Goldberg on the August 10 edition of Monday Nitro. Goldberg, too, had an impressive winning streak. Goldberg won and retained his title that night and thus added another wrestler in his winning streak, making it 160–0. Prior to this, Meng had faced Goldberg (before he won the World Championship) on WCW Saturday Night and despite the loss had pushed Goldberg for longer than anyone had until that point. 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 top 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. He became the final WCW Hardcore Champion.
Return to WWF (2001–2002)Edit
Exactly one week after his WCW Hardcore Championship win at Sin, Fifita returned to the WWF as Haku and made a surprise appearance at the 2001 Royal Rumble. 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 the WWF, his final opponent being Shawn Stasiak on a WWF Jakked taping in Buffalo, New York on July 23, 2001. He would return to WWF house shows for a few months in the beginning of 2002.
Independent circuit (2000–present)Edit
Fifita, under the name Meng, wrestled for World League Wrestling winning the WLW Heavyweight Championship on two occasions in 2000. He would return in 2003 to win the championship for the third time. Since 2003, Fifita has been essentially retired, returning to the wrestling ring on a few occasions over the years. In 2009, as King Haku, he would wrestle regularly for World Xtreme Wrestling where he won the WXW Hardcore Championship twice. He would return to semi retirement after his stint. Meng appeared at Chikara's King of Trios 2012 tournament, held on September 14-16 in Easton, Pennsylvania, teaming with The Barbarian and The Warlord under the team name the Faces of Pain. On September 14, the team was eliminated from the tournament in the first round by Team ROH (Mike Bennett and Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson).
New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2016–present)Edit
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 Loa, 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 Loa 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.
Haku is married to Dorothy Koloamatangi. They have a daughter, Vika; a son, Tevita who is also a wrestler; and two adopted sons, Alipate and Taula. His son Tevita played football as a defensive end for the University of Texas at El Paso and was on the WWE roster from 2009 until 2014, as Camacho, and was also known as Micah in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Tevita and Alipate currently wrestle as Tanga Loa and Tama Tonga in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Haku's youngest son Taula made his professional wrestling debut in November 2016. He works under the ring name Hikuleo previously, Leo Tonga. Among Haku's cousins are former New England Patriots defensive tackle Steve Fifita and Australian Wallabies rugby international player Tatafu Polota-Nau. Haku made a cameo appearance in the 1978 Sylvester Stallone movie Paradise Alley along with many other professional wrestlers.
Professional wrestling legacyEdit
Many former wrestling personalities have described Haku as the toughest or greatest legitimate fighter in wrestling, including Stone Cold Steve Austin, Road Warrior Animal, Perry Saturn, Barbarian and Warlord, Hulk Hogan, Rocky Johnson, The Rock, Rick Steiner, Arn Anderson,Goldberg,Big Van Vader,Fit Finlay,Mean Gene Okerlund,Ric Flair,Stu Hart,Rikishi,Frenchy Martin,Jim Cornette,Bob Holly,Dave Penzer,Gino Brito,JJ Dillon,Sonny Onoo, and Hillbilly Jim.
On March 3, 1989, Haku got into an altercation with some men at the Baltimore Airport bar who called wrestling "fake", and during the fight, Haku bit off the nose of one of the men. Haku stated, "Yeah. It was in Baltimore Airport...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."
In a shoot interview Bobby Heenan talked extensively about Meng and referred to him as the toughest man he has ever met. The most extreme story he shared was in regards to a bar fight in which he claimed 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." Heenan said that if he hadn't been there and seen it himself, he wouldn't believe it. Heenan was also close friends with Andre the Giant and claimed that the only two men in the world that Andre feared were Meng and Harley Race. Heenan also praised Haku as a good-hearted family man.
Kevin Sullivan told a story to WWE Classics about the time when he and Haku went to a tavern to grab a few beers before heading to their hotel. According to Sullivan, it was obvious that he and Meng weren't locals, so when they walked into the bar, a guy playing pool insulted Meng. "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.
Wrestler Shane Douglas said in a shoot interview that one would be better off fighting the US Army than fighting Haku. He spoke about an incident when he witnessed several cops trying to hold Haku down and one of them struck Haku with a baton on his face while the others emptied their cans of mace on him but nothing seemed to faze Haku.
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
- 50th State Big Time Wrestling
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- 2 January Korakuen Hall Heavyweight Battle Royal (1981)
- Lutte Internationale
- Impact Pro Wrestling
- IPW New Zealand Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Liger
- North Carolina Wrestling Association
- NCWA Tag Team Championship (1 time, current) - with The Barbarian
- NWA Mid-America
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Super World of Sports
- Tokyo Sports
- World Championship Wrestling
- World League Wrestling
- World Wrestling Council
- World Wrestling Federation
- World Xtreme Wrestling
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
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