My first memory of Mr. Fugi is of him trying to kill Ricky Steamboat.
It was the beginning of a crazy feud that saw Fugi and his charge at the time Don Muraco hang "The Dragon" with the belt from Steamboats Karate Gi. It was also the beginning of my fascination with one of the most unique villains in all of wrestling.
Fugi immediately struck me as different than many of the other managers because he would often get in the ring as a partner to Muraco and actually be able to hold his own. That of course was because for many years Fugi himself was a world class competitor and Tag Team Champion. So Fugi was more than equipped to step into the ring against Steamboat, Santana, Snuka and even Hulk Hogan when it was required.
Fugi and Muraco were an amazing team, who were not only devious and underhanded villains, but also one of the funniest comedy duos in all of wrestling. Their appearances on Tuesday Night Titans (TNT) were always hilarious, and to this day I still watch their Fugi Vice, Fugi Bandito and Fugi General skits on the WWE Network regularly.
Comedy and Fugi seemingly went hand in hand as he also was involved in many crazy moments throughout his WWF career. Winning a marathon in a tuxedo at Wrestlemania (spoiler alert, he cheated) the wacky contests that took place during Saturday Nights Main Event or his over the top appearance with Yokozuna on Conan O'Brien were just some of awesome things that come to mind when I think of The devious one.
Whether it was Tag Team Champions Demolition, Yokozuna, Muraco or any of his other rough and rowdy charges, Mr. Fugi was the perfect combination of enhancement, distraction or foil that made him one of greatest managers of all time. He is part of a wrestling tradition of great managers who made their protégées even better, and it's an aspect of the industry that is truly lacking today.
Thank you Harry "Mr. Fugi" Fugiwara for all of the wonderful memories and laughs you provided, the wrestling world and my childhood was a much better place because of your contributions.
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