After spending more than 30 years in pro wrestling, Rikishi surely has a wealth of unique experiences to look back upon. The WWE Hall of Famer is now taking a trip down memory lane reflecting on his legendary career through stand-up comedy shows.
Ahead of his next set of dates (March 26 at Zanies Comedy Club in Nashville, Tenn. and March 31 at the Improv in Brea, Calif.), Rikishi talks to us about why he decided to journey into stand-up. You can also support the big man at shows by sporting Samoan Dynasty apparel available on the Blackout Fight Gear website.
When did you decide you wanted to pursue stand-up comedy?
It just came to mind after the CBS. When I was doing The World's Best, I was actually sitting amongst a few comedians who were on the Wall of the World. The one who was funny to me while we were there was the guy from South Africa by the name of Tats. Just hearing his stories and him hearing my stories, it opened my eyes. If my wrestling stories was funny to him and he's a pro, I'm assuming it would be that much more interesting to the core audience of fans of professional wrestling. I wanted to use this platform to meet all my fans and have them hear my stories.
Not only with the Samoan Dynasty and my family, my kids the Usos, but also my personal life. I felt why not? Let me try the comedy journey. I love competition. Meaning I wanted to get in there and be able to see if I could do this. I've done everything in professional wrestling. The challenge is to be able to challenge myself and utilize the platform. Hopefully, my story in the comedy clubs will be able to motivate those from the journey of my life and my family's life. I want them to understand if they are going through these types of problems or questions if they can do a certain thing. Hopefully, my stories will motivate them and laugh about it as well.
You had the first show at Punch Line Comedy Club in Sacramento. What was that like?
Shout out to the Bay Area. My humble beginnings born and raised in the streets of San Francisco. It was an awesome feeling for me to be able to be there. They welcomed me as the native back home. The Bay Area showed me the love. It was really cool and personal for me. Not only that's where I was born and raised, but to be able to come back full circle 31 years later and be inducted into the Hall of Fame. For me, to have this be my first city to jump-start this Rikishi "In You Face" gig. It was awesome. It was a fun experience. It felt like I was at home with family in a big living room just having a ball and talking about stories in my life in the Bay Area.
You mention inspirational stories. Stories taken from your life. Give me an idea what people can expect when they come to your shows? What do you talk about?
I'll tell you one thing I'm tired of talking about and answering. I read all my fan comments on my social media. I love answering questions. The one thing I get is why is there so many of the Samoan Dynasty in the business. I'm like, "Damn it. I don't know!" I get tired of answering all those questions. So that's one thing I'm going to bring here. Also, the family tree. A lot of people are confused about the family tree. That's another thing I'm going to bring to the table. Then I'm going to talk about the splash from the cage on Val Venis. The Hell in a Cell match. All those are core topics I'm going to bring to them. And last but not least…it's the Stink Face.
I was going to say it has to come up.
It's like who is the one you liked to give the Stink Face to, who liked the Stink Face, who didn't like the Stink Face, and even how the character came about, and who was the one that had the idea for the Stink Face. I want to leave that for fans to come and listen to me tell those stories. All the meet-and-greets it's the same questions all the time.
There are so many of your peers on the road doing stand-up shows or speaking tours. Did you seek any advice from a Mick Foley with this being a new foray for you?
I've watched some of Mick Foley. Whenever you go into a new industry, you definitely want to do your homework. I feel like professional wrestlers, our stories alone are sad, happy. It's comedy. It's funny. I've done my research watching Mick Foley. Mick is Mick. He is a funny guy, but the stories I see is just to be able to go out there and tell it. We're wrestlers. You can't give me a script and have me read the script and actually have me follow the script. We like to adapt on a dime. You're going to hear the Rikishi story. I can't tell anyone else's story, but my story, my family's story, my kids' story. I'm going to open up the doors a little bit for the fans to be able to sit and see how it is to sit at our dinner table to hear some of the good days and some of the hard times.
The full audio from Wrestling Inc's exclusive interview with Rikishi was included in a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. You can hear the full audio in the embedded player below.
You can check out past episodes of the WINCLY here.