Commentary legend Jim Ross is quick to acknowledge that Yokozuna was a dominant force in WWE, especially for an 18-month period when he was at the top of his game.
However, in a recent Grilling JR Podcast, Good Ol’ JR discussed the concerns that WWE had with Yoko at the time and why there were concerns around his in-ring ability.
Yoko’s weight kept increasing. The more he weighed, the less his cardio was prominent. He gained 100 pounds; he got huge. When you get out of breath or fatigued and you’re starting to lose strength in the ring, sometimes you just can’t execute. Somebody as large as Yokozuna, a minor miscue could be very devastating.
With concerns about his ability to perform, steps were taken to try and help Yokozuna out.
It turns out that Yoko and Vader were both sent to a weight loss clinic, but the desired effect didn’t happen.
How do you gain weight at a weight loss clinic? Upon some Chicago Police work, we found out they were leaving the facility rather late in the evening to go to whatever drive thru was open. Generally, it can serve chicken. The chicken business probably peaked at that time.
Yokozuna was eventually let go by WWE, however they still took a duty of care to keep in touch and give him a target if he wanted to make a return.
I would talk to him sporadically in my role. Just to touch base with him and see how he was feeling. Obviously, we wanted him to come back. The 400 pound number was the number – we thought that if he got to that level, he could better address his heart issues. He was 200 plus over that. He’s got to pass a physical, and he couldn’t; it’s simple as that.
With thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.