Tonga Fifita is a semi-retired professional wrestler. He is known for his appearances in the World Championship Wrestling as well as in the World Wrestling Federation. Born in the South Pacific island-kingdom of Tonga, he used to be active in athletics from an early age. Fifita became involved with wrestling at the age of fourteen, when a group of Japanese sumo wrestlers visited the island to attract people towards the sport. He soon built a successful career with the Japanese Sumo Association. However, in 1976 he was forced to retire because of a huge dispute within the association. At the age of 26, he made his debut in WWF as ‘King Tonga’. His popularity grew within a short time, especially after he bodyslammed Big John Studd on an episode of Championship Wrestling. Following his success with several other renowned wrestlers, he was eventually crowned ‘The King’ of the WWF. According to an article published on the WWE website, Tonga had the reputation of being the toughest fighter in the ring. His name was enough to send shivers up his opponent’s spine! He has also wrestled under the names Haku, King Haku and King Tonga. Though semi-retired now, he is still involved with a few commercial ventures such as Tri Women’s Fitness.
Childhood & Early Life
Tonga ‘Uli’uli Fifita was born on 3rd February 1959 in the Kingdom of Tonga. He studied at an all-boys school named Tonga College, where he excelled in sports. When he was a teenager, a group of Japanese sumo wrestlers visited the island in order to drum up people for the sport. Tonga was selected and he went to Japan to learn Sumo.
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Tonga Fifita started competing under the sumo name of Fukunoshima. He made his debut in November 1974. He performed brilliantly and soon he reached the rank of Makushita. However, after the stablemaster who recruited him passed away, he and a few other wrestlers had a dispute with his successor. This led to the Japan Sumo Association forcing Tonga to retire. Following this, Tonga turned to professional wrestling.
In 1985, he made his debut in the WWF with the name of King Tonga. He soon made an impact, after he bodyslammed Big John Studd in an episode of the WWF Superstars. Soon, along with Sam Fatu, he formed the tag team ‘The Islanders’. They had several successes over the next few years, including winning a $50,000 battle at the Madison Square Garden in October 1986. In 1988, he was crowned ‘King of the WWF’.
Tonga later formed the tag team ‘The Colossal Connection’ with Andrew the Giant, after which he won the WWF Tag Team Championship after defeating the team Demolition. However, they lost the titles after being defeated by Demolition later on. Eventually, Andrew had to retire from the WWF due to his poor health.
Tonga then entered the World Championship Wrestling with the name Meng. He initially acted as a bodyguard of Colonel Robert Parker. Later he appeared in the WCW Monday Nitro (1995) and WCW Thunder (1998). After he won the title at WCW sin, he was contacted by the WWF and asked to return.
Tonga made his return to the WWF with a surprise appearance at the 2001 Royal Rumble. Later, he formed a tag team with Rikishi which unfortunately did not last long as the latter suffered an injury. Over the next few years, he wrestled for the World League Wrestling on various occasions. He won the WXW Hardcore Championship twice.
In 2012, he appeared at the King of Trios tournament held by Chikara wrestling promotion. He was eliminated in the first round. Four years later, he made a surprise return to New Japan Pro-wrestling. He took part in the Wrestling Kingdom 10. However, he was eliminated shortly.
Tonga Fifita played a cameo role in the 1978 film ‘Paradise Alley.’ Written and directed by Sylvester Stallone, who also played the lead role, the film was about three brothers in New York who get involved with professional wrestling. The film was earned around $7 million at the box office.
He is also involved with commercial ventures such as Tri Women’s Fitness.
Awards & Achievements
Tonga Fifita has won many awards throughout his career. These include the WCW Hardcore Championship, the WWC World Tag Championship, the WWF Tag Team Championship, and the WXW Hardcore Championship.
In 1995, he stood at the 92nd position on the top 500 singles wrestlers list by the PWI Magazine. He appeared on the list again in 2003, ranking at the 330th position.
Tonga Fifita has been married to Dorothy Koloamatangi since 1977. They have two biological children and two adopted ones. All three of his sons have followed their father’s footsteps and are making names for themselves in the wrestling world.
Some of his signature moves are Back body drop, Diving Clothesline, Dragon Sleeper and Samoan Drop. His finishing moves are Asiatic Spike, Savate Kick and Tongan Death Grip.
He has been nicknamed the “Face of Terror.”