I originally posted this in February of this year but thought those unaware of Mr. Fuji’s whole career would want to know some of his background and the beginning of his wrestling career.
Once again, RIP Harry “Mr. Fuji” Fujiwara
This was filmed on October 22, 2004
The interview was conducted by Rob Feinstein
It runs at one hour and thirty-seven minutes long
The first question asked to Fuji is how he got started in wrestling. Fuji talks about growing up in Hawaii and becoming a “judo champion” then going to Japan and beating their champion and from that, he was asked to get into wrestling. Fuji said he trained for eight months. He then talks about how he never liked wrestling growing up.
Fuji said that The Destroyer approached him about training. He said that he new how to fall because of his judo background. He puts over Roy Shire and Pat Patterson teaching him psychology while working in San Francisco.
He is asked about working in Portland. Fuji said that Moondog Mayne was a good friend of his but drank a bottle of Southern Comfort daily and told Fuji one day on the phone he was going to go to rehab and get his life back in order but later that night he died in a car accident. Fuji then tells a story traveling with the Sheik and Don Muraco in a blizzard. He was driving and had three shots of Jack Daniels and going slow. The others made fun of him for driving slow so Fuji said he stomped on the gas and was going close to 100mph as he was skidding all over place while the others told him they were just joking around. Normally, the drive takes 1.5 hours but Fuji made it in an hour, in a blizzard.
Fuji is asked about some other guys he worked with. He called Jimmy Snuka one of the best natural athletes he has ever seen and how he loved to chase girls. Fuji puts over Jim Barnett for taking him to tours of Australia and how he made a lot of money.
He then worked for the Fuller’s in Tennessee. Fuji said it was alright but called it a “Mickey Mouse” promotion.
Fuji is asked about working against Chief Jay Strongbow in the WWWF. Fuji said Strongbow was alright but always complained, as Fuji thought e acted like a “sissy” at times.
On being managed by the Grand Wizard, Fuji said he was the best. The Wizard also told Fuji that he would become one of the best managers in the business, something Fuji never thought about doing at the time.
He then talks about wrestling in Puerto Rico and how violent the crowds were and the fans would throw rocks at him and once he got stabbed, as he shows a large scar on his arm. Fuji said his vein was hanging out and it required eighteen stitches.
Back to the WWWF and the crowds, Fuji said he never got nervous with large crowds as you lose the match when that happens.
He is asked about Toru Tanaka. Fuji said that he was quiet but loved to chase girls as well. Fuji also talks about how when he passed away, his family refused to claim his body due to the fact he left his wife for a young girl he met in Tennessee. He then said his body was finally brought over to a military cementary in California and he was buried there.
Fuji is asked why he never wore boots while wrestling. He said that he always did everything barefoot and his feet were tough from that already.
He is asked about several workers. Fuji talks about Haystacks Calhoun and how he once accidentally rolled over and suffocated his own chiuhaha. Fuji said Andre the Giant had a “heart of gold” and taught his son how to play cribbage. Fuji also said when they went out, Andre told Fuji to keep his money for his family and that he would pay, because Andre was single. Fuji then brings up a story of how his son came up to him and said Andre drank 12 bottles of wine and two cases of beer, as Fuji told his boy that was natural for Andre to do. Fuji then adds that Andre never even had to take a piss either. In the ring, Fuji said he would fly all over the place for Andre and the crowds loved watching them. Fuji said Tony Garea was a good wrestler but a very cheap guy. He did not interact much with Superstar Billy Graham.
He talks about partying and drinking with Vince McMahon Jr. when he was first there in 1972 but that all changed when he came back in 1977. Fuji then talks about how Vince loved him to pull ribs on everyone and proceeds to tell a story. While over in England, Vince told Fuji he wanted to pull off a “big rib.” They were boarding a bus to head over to Newcastle as Fuji said he bought “two bags of smoke” and they were all getting high on the bus, as Fuji said they all had about two joints each. Fuji said there was a stewardess on the bus and all the boys were trying to grab her ass and the bus driver must have gotten a contact high because he got lost and it took them twice as long to get to where they were going. Fuji said that when they went back to New York, Vince couldnt stop talking about how much he loved the rib as Fuji said Vince almost took off his clothes and ran around the streets of London naked when it happened but he was stopped.
Fuji said Freddie Blassie was a good man and that his wife was a great cook. Fuji said Blassie gave him his first pair of wrestling trunks.
Back to the ribs he pulled, Fuji said he would shave eyebrows, cut hair, and put shit in peoples shoes as some of the stuff he has done. When asked if anyone ever got mad and tried to fight him, Fuji said no as they would have got their asses kicked if they tried.
Fuji talks about working for Lawler. He said the fact you drove around for forever to only make a few hundred a week, saying it was “Bullshit.” Fuji talks about working with Bill Dundee, who said that when he saw Fuji in Australia, they used to carry his opponents out on a stretcher but that its a lot different now. So, Fuji said he shot him outside with a suplex and Dundee ended up leaving on a stretcher. Fuji walked over and said how his opponents still leave on a stretcher as Dundee said he should have just shut his mouth. Fuji said that Jerry Jarrett was a very intelligent man.
On returning to the WWF, Fuji recalls drinking with Vince Jr. and a few others where Vince said he was going to “takeover the world.” When asked what was like for Vince to take guys from all the territories, Fuji said it was good for Vince but bad for the boys as you basically worked for him or just sat at home.
Fuji said that Mr. Saito was a world-class worker but as far as his partners, he got along better with Tanaka.
Fuji said Lou Albano was always drinking and swearing but had a good heart and always played the piano. He said his matches with the Strongbows were terrible as they were hard to work with. Fuji said that with Saito, he decided to make himself the “fall man” while Saito was the “captain.” He liked Jesse Ventura and said they used to drink together and in bars, Ventura would whip his cock out and wave it around, joking that if you had a big one then why not. Fuji then puts over Jesse for doing a good job on his term as Minnesota Governor and the governor that followed “fucked it all up.” He talks about Tony Atlas and how he had a major drug problem and women would take money away from him.
On putting a lot of people over towards the end of his run as an active wrestler, Fuji said he didnt care because he still got paid the same. Fuji then said instead of beating some jabroni, they would beat him and get over that way.
Fuji then talks about undergoing seven knee surgeries that totaled about $300,000. He says his two knees now are “plastic” and notes he never wore knee pads. When asked if he regrets that, Fuji said he does but chalks it up to him being young at the time and thought he was invincible.
Fuji said that the Dynamite Kid was a good man and wants to find where he lives and give him some money to help him out. Fuji said that the Bulldogs are leaerned from him when it came to ribbing.
He is asked about the incident involving Jimmy Snuka and Nancy Argentino (Snuka’s girlfriend who was found dead in her hotel room in 1983). Fuji said he was staying in the room next door and did not notice anything out of the ordinary. Fuji also believes that Snuka is innocent of her death then talks about how Nancy’s uncle was a bookie and hints at that being the reason for why she died.
He is asked about the rib in which he cooked a dog and fed it to other wrestlers. Fuji said he marinated and grilled it “teriyaki style” while Muraco bought a bunch of beers. After they ate, Muraco revealed the bag and the guys found out it was dog and began to puke. Fuji said that Billy White Wolfe and possibly Skandor Akbar were the ones who ate the dog.
Fuji tells another story of how he invited Tony Altimore, Peter Maivia, and Toru Tanaka over for spaghetti and meatballs. However, the meatballs were actually Alpo dog food.
He tells another story of a rib he played on Mr. Saito. He wanted to sleep and the drive was only a half-hour long. So, he kept giving Saito the wrong directions and it wound up being an 8.5 hour drive.
Fuji is now asked about several workers. He said JYD was an alright guy but really “into the snow.” On the Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper rivalry, Fuji said Piper tried to fight his way to the top but lacked the charisma Hogan had and said Piper could talk great though. Fuji then said he told Piper one day to not “look at the ground for pennies” and rather “look into the camera for $100 bills” as Fuji said talking while looking at the ground will not make you any money. He talks about Jake Roberts being a good worker but someone else who was all fucked up on drugs. Fuji said that Shawn Michaels started off green but really developed a big ego. He also said he was a “little guy” and joked to Feinstein that he could beat him up.
At WrestleMania III, Fuji said that Vince put everyone on “standby” in case Andre did not want to job to Hogan. Fuji said he asked Vince what they were supposed to do if he said no as Andre could beat up everyone at the same time. Fuji said that Andre is a businessman though.
Fuji is asked about managing Demolition and the Powers of Pain. Fuji said that he spent more time with the Powers of Pain because they needed the help. Fuji said Demolition really clicked as a team. He said John Nord (The Berzerker) was a good guy. Fuji said that Yokozuna was constantly eating and was not shocked to hear he passed away due to health issues.
He is asked about Lex Luger. Fuji said they pushed and pushed him but at the end Luger “couldn’t cut the mustard.”
Fuji tells us another “rib” story that took place in the early 70’s. He hooked up an M-80 to the engine of the car that S.D. Jones and Spiros Arion drove in to the arena. S.D. tried to start the car but it wouldnt work then eventually the hood blew off as the two ran out of the car as Fuji said Arion was going crazy on the ground. Fuji said he had no idea it would cause that much damage but luckily there was a junkyard nearby and they fixed the car for free.
On his ribs, Fuji said he does not regret them as they were for fun. However, he would never do anything that caused physical harm.
He talks about the groupies in England. Fuji tells a story of how he got four girls in his room then had them all take off their clothes as he finger-banged them all. After he had Dave Hebner give them tickets, he did the same to four other girls. Fuji said that the quality of girls were better in the 90’s. He also said not to mess with girls with Amsterdam as you could openly see people using drugs and shooting up in the streets and sharing needles. Fuji said the girls in Germany were the best. He talks about going to the Philippines and how you can go to a whore house and for just $75 you can get a girl for the night who will let you fuck them in the ass. Fuji said they will do anything in the hopes they can follow you to America.
Fuji said he works a few days a week at the local movie theatre, just so he can get out of his condo. Fuji said the owner is a fan and set up a table for him and the patrons take photos and talk with him.
He said adjusting to life after wrestling is very hard as you go from being on the road for years to being at home. Fuji said that he changed his number too. Fuji said he no longer watches wrestling but keeps in touch with Howard Finkel.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I thought the interview was okay. Fuji does tell a lot of his “rib” stories and gives insight into being a wrestler. However, at times Fuji mumbles and is difficult to understand and the interview itself was poorly structured.
Fuji did tell some insane stories here. He also told us how much damage he did to himself as a wrestler and today is confined to a wheelchair due to all of his surgeries.
For those that are fans of Fuji’s “rib” stories, then I would recommend this. If you are someone despised by them, then I would not recommend this to you at all as the rest of the interview is just too unfocused.
You can purchase the DVD of this shoot for $20 or download a digital copy for just $5 by clicking on the links below: