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Grimmas

Yokozuna

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Yokozuna doesn't have the match resume of Vader or even Bigelow, but he's someone often cited as doing all the big man stuff right, so I thought we should create a thread for him and discuss him. He really was great at both teasing that he was about to go off of his feet and doing the big "Tim-BEERRRRRR!" style bump. I think everything he did with Bret Hart (aside from the WM matches, which are oddly enough probably the worst matches against each other they had) is worth seeing but maybe there's more?

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I've always had a soft spot for Yokozuna - his "fall through the ropes and stagger into the post" is one of my favourite stooge bumps up there with Adonis' where he'd go backwards over the rope and end up being tied up in them. His offence obviously looked killer and he'd milk the "tim-berrrr" bump for all its worth. I actually really like the Rumble match with Taker as it's a proto-TV match before the palaver. He's fun in moderation but surely too limited to make my list.

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Yoko benefits greatly from the way I now think about wrestling versus the way I used to think about wrestling. 18-24 year old Bill dismissed Yoko without any thought. He wasn't any good, and when he was good it was guys like Bret bringing great out of him. Now, 33 year old Bill, watches Yoko and sees the things he does that help to make matches good or great. Yoko has a definite shot at my top 100 because while he may not have the great match resume, he does have the great performance resume.

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How much of Yoko is available prior to his WWE run. I'm sure there are Great Kokina matches from Japan and possibly AWA. Do those hold up?

 

As it stands, I would not vote for him, but that's not to say I dislike his work. He worked smart during his run on top, but then he gained too much weight and it was over from there. A solid two years isn't enough for GOAT.

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I enjoyed him as Kokina in Japan. He hadn't gotten super-fat so he was more of a standard mobile big man. But he carried more presence as Yoko. If his WWF run doesn't put him in a GOAT discussion for you, I don't think the Japan stuff would push him over the top.

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Yoko was underrated, but I don't see him making my list. He was great at the "timber" spot and I agree with Matt on his impeccable timing. He just doesn't have the resume for this type of list.

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Yoko was great at little things and little moments, but I struggle to think of many of his performances where afterward I think "yep, that match was worth a bunch of snowflakes!". He's one of the better squashers out there for short vivisections of hapless jabronis, sure. But man, his competitive matches could be dull, especially once he started gaining more weight around '94. Sometimes it seemed like he'd spend half the match working The Shoulder Massage Of DOOM; and to this day, I've still never seen any man walking the planet who could make the standard Samoan "nerve pinch" look good. (The entire point of how Spock did it on Star Trek was that Nimoy barely even touched the other guy; the gimmick was that Vulcans were so precise with its application that it would lay anyone out instantly.) It always looked but the most blatantly lazy, non-hurty resthold this side of of Killer Kowalski's laying-down stomach claw; and sometimes Yoko would just sit there doing it for seemingly nine hours straight.

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Couldn't agree more. Yoko = great at small stuffs and certain spots. Never got it together to have really strong matches. Nerve hold sucks (oh, that Lex Luger match at Mania X)

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It's interesting to think where he would have gone had he kept his weight to 1992 levels. He was well regarded in the company with management and peers and always had a great spot on the card up until his disastrous face turn (didn't he turn heel again, for like a single episode of Raw against Shawn in 1996?). Heel and in shape Yoko against Austin, Foley and Rock would have been interesting f the character got an "attitude" adjustment with those changing times.

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