In late 1992 it didn’t take long for WWF fans to take notice of a new superstar dominating the roster. Yokozuna made his debut on the October 26th edition WWF Primetime Wrestling defeating enhancement talent Joey Maggs in under three minutes. Yoko debuted his finishing move, the Bonzai Drop. The move would quickly become one of the most devastating moves in the company. Of course, Yokozuna was playing the role of a Japanese sumo wrestler who disliked America and what the country stood for.
For several weeks Yokozuna would continue to easily defeat enhancement talents leading into the Survivor Series pay per view. At the event, Yokozuna easily defeated Virgil. Virgil had been relevant in recent years feuding with Ted DiBiase and others. It was obvious that Yokozuna was the new top heel in the company and nobody would be able to stop him.
The WWF would often times rely on a foreigner vs. American storyline for television and build to a blowoff feud. This is something that went on for decades and is still often times used in modern day wrestling despite being a played out form of storytelling.
Yokozuna would win the 1993 Royal Rumble by last eliminating Randy Savage to earn a WWF World Championship opportunity at WrestleMania. Yoko’s win was heavily promoted on television and was presented as being an unstoppable force in the WWF.
Insert the American flag waving ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan. Duggan was not going to standby and allow Yokozuna and his manager Mr. Fuji disrespect the country that he loves. Duggan challenged Yokozuna to a match on the February 6th, 1993 edition of Superstars. The only way Duggan could win was if he was able to knock Yokozuna off his feet. Duggan ended up being successful in knocking Yokozuna off his feet.
However, Yokozuna didn’t take the defeat well and proceeded to deliver four Bonzai Drops onto Duggan. The attack was highlighted in the WWF Magazine and featured Duggan coughing up blood. It was one of the first articles that I ever saw as a child and I was instantly convinced that Yokozuna was a monster and nobody would be able to defeat him.
For several weeks on television, Duggan’s family would call into WWF programming discussing about Duggan’s future. Duggan’s wife didn’t want him to ever wrestle again, but his father encouraged him to get back into the ring. Duggan would also call in and apologize for letting down the country, despite winning the challenge in the first place.
On the April 10th, 1993 edition of Superstars, Duggan made his return to television and was victorious over Barry Horowitz. Prior to his TV return, Duggan squared off against Yokozuna for a special televised event in Paris. Duggan failed to get revenge against Yokozuna losing the match after suffering the Bonzai Drop. After the match, Duggan ran Yoko off with his 2×4. Duggan would get a pin on Yokozuna on April 11th following a lariat and Fuji throwing salt into Yokozuna’s eyes on accident, but it was a dark match.
They would continue to wrestle on the house show circuit for the next several months with Yokozuna winning each encounter. At one point their matches had lumberjacks at ringside, but that didn’t stop Yokozuna for continuing his dominance.
Their final televised bout would take place on August 22nd on the SummerSlam Spectacular special event. WWF World Champion Yokozuna successfully defeated Duggan in a non-title match following the Bonzai Drop with help from Mr. Fuji causing a distraction. This would end up being Duggan’s final appearance on WWF television for over a decade and signed with WCW the following year.
What are your memories of the feud between Jim Duggan and Yokozuna?
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.