Rikishi explains why he turned heel back in 2000. The WWE Hall of Famer was one of the most popular babyface in the company at the time.
At the prime of his career, Rikishi was one of the most beloved wrestlers in the WWE. He was guaranteed to entertain whether it was with his in-ring skills or his antics. The fans adored him. Which is why it came as a surprise to many when it was revealed that he drove the car that hit Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The WWE Hall of Famer was recently a guest on the WrestleSlam podcast. He spoke about his heel turn and explained why he went from being the good guy to the bad guy. Rikishi revealed that he did so in order to work with the likes of Stone Cold and The Rock.
Rikishi explains why he turned heel back in 2000
“I wasn’t ready to be revealed as the person who was behind that, behind the wheel there because at the time I was doing Rikishi. After so many characters, you finally find one that sticks and I was a babyface, really just starting to catch fire.
“During that time there, we were very slim pickings on a lot of heels so when the opportunity came up as far as switching over as the bad man, I kind of thought that was my time to be able to work with guys like Stone Cold, The Rock and a lot of the other babyfaces because you had so many of us.
“I didn’t even think that they thought the Rikishi character was going to come up to that level. It was just something that happened overnight. That fans loved it and they stuck with me and supported me and before you know it, I was at the top at the main event with everybody else. So that is why it was the right time for the character Rikishi to turn Rikishi the bad man.”
Rikishi wrestled under several names in the WWE before finally finding success as Rikishi in 1999. He went on to win Intercontinental Championhip once and is also a three-time Tag Team Champion. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015.
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