Yokozuna was one of the most dominant and impressive wrestlers in WWE history. He was a two-time WWE Champion, a two-time Tag Team Champion, and the winner of the 1993 Royal Rumble. He was also the first wrestler of Samoan descent to hold the WWE Championship, and the first Royal Rumble winner to receive a title shot at WrestleMania. He had memorable feuds with legends like Bret Hart, The Undertaker, and Hulk Hogan, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.
However, behind his success and fame, Yokozuna struggled with a serious health problem that ultimately cost him his life. He suffered from obesity, which affected his mobility, stamina, and overall well-being. He weighed over 500 pounds during his WWE career, but his actual weight was reported to be much higher at times, possibly reaching as high as 700 pounds. His weight issues led to his departure from WWE in 1998, after he failed to obtain medical clearance. He continued to wrestle on the independent circuit, but his condition worsened over time.
What is Pulmonary Edema?
On October 23, 2000, Yokozuna was found unresponsive in his hotel room in Liverpool, England, where he was on an independent wrestling tour. The cause of his death was determined to be pulmonary edema, a condition in which fluid accumulates in the lungs. This makes it difficult to breathe and can lead to respiratory failure.
Pulmonary edema can have various causes, such as heart failure, kidney disease, lung infection, or high altitude. However, in Yokozuna’s case, it was likely due to the impact of his weight on his heart and lungs. According to Sportskeeda, obesity can increase the risk of pulmonary edema by putting pressure on the chest wall and diaphragm, reducing lung capacity and oxygen intake. It can also cause sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep. This can result in low blood oxygen levels and high blood pressure, which can damage the heart and lungs.
How Did Yokozuna’s Weight Affect His Wrestling Career?
Yokozuna’s weight was part of his wrestling persona, as he portrayed a Japanese sumo wrestler who used his size and strength to overpower his opponents. He was managed by Mr. Fuji, who would throw salt in the eyes of Yokozuna’s rivals and wave a Japanese flag. However, Yokozuna was not actually Japanese; he was a Samoan American who was born in San Francisco. He was a member of the Anoa’i family, a renowned wrestling dynasty that includes The Rock, Roman Reigns, Rikishi, The Usos, and many others.
Yokozuna’s weight gave him an advantage in the ring, as he could perform moves like the Banzai Drop, where he would sit on his opponent’s chest from the second rope. He could also display remarkable agility and athleticism for a man of his size, such as performing dropkicks and leg drops. However, his weight also limited him in many ways. He could not perform more complex or risky moves that required speed or balance. He often had short matches that did not require much stamina or endurance. He also had difficulty traveling and fitting into airplanes or cars.
Yokozuna tried to lose weight several times during his career, but he always gained it back. He reportedly had an eating disorder that made him binge on large amounts of food. He also had a genetic predisposition to obesity, as many members of his family were also overweight. He did not receive much support or guidance from WWE or his peers on how to manage his weight problem. Instead, he was encouraged to maintain his image as a monstrous heel who could draw crowds and ratings.
What is Yokozuna’s Legacy?
Yokozuna’s death was a tragic loss for the wrestling world and his family. He was only 34 years old when he passed away, leaving behind two children and many relatives. His funeral was attended by many wrestlers who paid tribute to him and shared their memories of him.
Yokozuna is remembered as one of the greatest wrestlers of his generation and one of the most influential wrestlers of Samoan heritage. He paved the way for many other wrestlers who followed in his footsteps and honored his legacy. He is also remembered as a kind-hearted and generous person who had a great sense of humor and loved to make people laugh.
Yokozuna’s life story is a cautionary tale of how obesity can have devastating consequences on one’s health and well-being. It also shows how the wrestling industry can be harsh and demanding on its performers, who often sacrifice their bodies and lives for their passion and profession.
Yokozuna’s death serves as a reminder to take care of oneself and seek help when needed. It also serves as an inspiration to pursue one’s dreams and achieve greatness, despite the challenges and obstacles that may come along the way.