Jim Cornette has discussed the massive u-turn performed by Vince McMahon who was intent on firing Rikishi but hired 3 of his relations instead.
Rikishi is a member of the hallowed Anoa’i wrestling dynasty that includes Afa and Sika of The Wild Samoans as well as current Universal Champion Roman Reigns. After joining the then-WWF in 1992, Rikishi had run the gambit of characters including being known as Fatu – both as a Headshrinker and someone trying to make a difference as well as The Sultan.
At the turn of the Millennium, Rikishi’s time with the company seemed to be up and Vince McMahon was set to let the larger-than-life star go. Jim Cornette explained on his Drive-Thru podcast how that didn’t happen and how McMahon ended up with three more names on his books instead:
“I think he’d been The Sultan for a while and then they’d done something else… he’d gone through two or three gimmicks, he’d been there for a few years and Vince one day said, ‘We’ve got to cut Fatu.’ So, they called Fatu to the office – they didn’t do it on the phone back in those days – Vince was going to talk to him personally.”
“Afa comes with Fatu, and so did Rosey and Jamal. All four of them come in, they had the meeting with Vince and I see them leave and went in and talked to Bruce Prichard about something. I said, ‘Did Vince tell Fatu?’ He said, ‘Nope. He not only didn’t fire Fatu, he hired the other three.'”
Jamal and Rosey debuted on WWE television as the fondly remembered yet evil henchmen of Eric Bischoff who imposed a 3-Minute Warning on his enemies as he ruled Raw. They were involved in the infamous Billy and Chuck wedding angle on SmackDown when they interrupted proceedings at Bischoff’s behest.
Rosey later became a Superhero In Training with The Hurricane while Jamal became known as Umaga and captured the Intercontinental Championship. Sadly Umaga passed away in 2009 with Rosey also passing away in 2017.