Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Fuji, hell! That's Nano Ortega!"

Yashinomi Fuji first emerged in Idaho for some independents in 1980, as a stocky, bald headed oriental, though the traditional slant of the eyes (I can think of no politically correct way to put it) didn't seem quite right and though he claimed to be from Tokyo, he spoke no Japanese. Other things, however, he did have in common with great Japanese and Pseudo-Japanese villains from the past. He bowed, he threw salt around the ring in an opening ceremony and into he eyes of opponents at the end of his matches and used the judo chops when the ref was not looking.

Sadly, the promotion folded.

Yashinomi  Fuji showed up next in Phoenix and the crowd was not fooled. As he made his debut for Chuck Hondo's shortlived promotion at the St  Mary's Gym, he prepared to face off with Benny Menedeblis.

"Fuji, hell," some fan yelled, provoking much laughter. "That's Nano Ortega!"

Hondo's promotion and the Fuji persona lasted all of three weeks. Then both went into history.

A closer look revealed Fuji was indeed Mexican wrestler, Nano Ortega, with a shaved head.

"Well, he always did look kind of like a Jap, so what's the difference," remarked fellow wrestler, John Ringer.

"I guess he just got tired of being Nano Ortega and a fan favorite and decided to do something different for a while in a different part of the United States," explained Mike Gordon in regard to the situation after Hondo's cards folded and Fuji went back to being Nano. "The thing is in other places he pulled it off, but in Phoenix the fans recognized his change in personality and nationality. They didn't know him as Nano in Idaho, but here they did, because he was previously established as Nano. The bald head and the change in name didn't cut it."

For as short as it ran, the "Fuji" vs. Mendeblis feud had some big moments and some memorable matches.

However, nothing stands more memorable than that shout from the disillusioned fan.

"Fuji, hell. That's Nano Ortega!"

 One of the all time funniest lines ever screamed by a fan in Arizona..

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