Solofa Fatu had several gimmicks before setting on Rikishi during WWE's Attitude Era. That gimmick would become his most popular one and it's still one he uses to this day when making sporadic appearances in WWE.
Bruce Prichard discussed how the Rikishi gimmick came about and it turns out, the idea was a spinoff of Rikishi's real-life cousin, Yokozuna.
"I knew in the back of my mind I knew that Vince loved the Yokozuna gimmick and was looking to recreate the Yoko gimmick. But I know that one of the regrets that Vince had with Yoko was that Yoko wore the long tights and covered up his a**. Vince wanted the a** hanging out and wanted him in the regular sumo garb and wanted his a* hanging out," Prichard said on Something to Wrestle. "He wanted him to be a real sumo. Vince says one day, 'You know, I am looking at [Fatu's then-gimmick] The Sultan, that a** is getting bigger every day, now he can be a great sumo. He can be better than Yoko because he is not as big as Yoko and my God it would be great, but he has to have those a** cheeks out.'"
"During this time I am going down to Memphis [WWE's developmental promotion] and asking Fatu, what if he had his bare a** exposed? He responded by telling me that he thought that Yokozuna should have always done it that way and everything, he said I would do that. I thought, would you now? I went and told Vince McMahon that he was game to do this sumo deal and wouldn't hesitate to expose his a**. Vince says that he should have bleached-blonde hair and starts describing what he should look like with bleach-blonde hair and his a** hanging out and doing this a** bump in the corner. Rikishi was born out of that. The next trip down I pitched the idea and told him that he had to bleach his hair blonde, he didn't flinch and was looking at it as this is the road to victory. This is going to be the one because the other gimmicks, for whatever reasons didn't work, and I think Rikishi, considering it was a while since Yokozuna was around, it is new, and it is different enough."
Rikishi's go-to move became the Stink Face in which he would rub those a** cheeks in his opponent's face. It comes as no surprise that Vince McMahon was also involved in coming up with the execution of the Stink Face.
"Vince McMahon always had that in his mind because of that a** hanging out. He saw that a** bump in the corner and Rikishi coming in and actually doing the big a** bump and shoving his a** in their face. The Stink Face was something that evolved from that. Vince's whole description of what he should look like and do, a version of the Stink Face was always involved," said Prichard.
Fatu won the IC title once and the tag titles twice as Rikishi. He would induct Yokozuna into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012 and then he, himself, would be inducted by his sons, The Usos, in 2015.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something to Wrestle with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.