Mana the Polynesian Warrior

Mana the Polynesian Warrior

Mana the Polynesian Warrior in 2005
Ring name(s) Mana the Polynesian Warrior
The Wild Samoan
Billed height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Billed weight 310 lb (140 kg)
Born 7 April 1978 (1978-04-07) (age 33)
Waharoa, Waikato, New Zealand
Resides Pennsylvania, United States
Billed from San Francisco, California
Trained by Afa Anoa'i
Samula Anoa'i
Debut 2000
Website ManaThePolynesianWarrior.com
Mana the Polynesian Warrior on Myspace

Nikora Mana Tuhakaraina[1] (born 7 April 1978) is a New Zealand professional wrestler, better known by his ringname Mana the Polynesian Warrior. He competes in North American independent promotions including Ballpark Brawl, Combat Zone Wrestling, Jersey All Pro Wrestling, Major League Wrestling, the National Wrestling Alliance, Pro Wrestling Unplugged and World Xtreme Wrestling. He has also teamed with Samu as the Samoan Island Tribe in Mikey Whipwreck's New York Wrestling Connection as well as both Major League Wrestling and World Xtreme Wrestling.[2]

Contents

Early life

Tuhakaraina was one of eight children born a poor Māori family in the small village of Waharoa.[3] His family belongs to the Raungaiti, a small tribe belonging to the Ngati Haua.[2] When he was six years old, his father died and he was thereafter raised by his mother.[4] Like his brothers, Tuhakaraina was involved in rugby since the age of four[2] and played for Waikato Secondary School and Matamata College. Among his teammates during this time included star rugby union players Keith Lowen, Bruce Reihana, Damian Karauna, Jason Spice and Nicky Little. In 1994, he trialed for the New Zealand under-19s with All Blacks players Anton Oliver, Christian Cullen, Carlos Spencer, Carl Hoeft, Chris Jack and Marty Holah.[4]

Professional wrestling career

Early interest in wrestling and training

A wrestling fan when he was younger, Tuhakaraina often watched WWF Superstars of Wrestling and was in attendance at a World Wrestling Federation event in Hamilton when Don Muraco, Jim Powers and Dynamite Kid during a WWF tour of New Zealand.[5] After seeing WrestleMania IV,[6] he became a fan of The British Bulldogs, The Hart Foundation, Demolition, The Islanders and especially the Samoan Swat Team. Tuhakaraina would team with both members, Samu and Fatu, later in his career.[4]

While living on Perth, Australia, Tuhakaraina met wrestler Sione Vailahi who advised him to attend Afa Anoa'i's Wild Samoan Pro Wrestling Training Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He corresponded via e-mail with Anoa'i for several months while building scaffolds with two of his brothers and his nephew in western Australia. He arrived in the United States not long after and lived with Salvatore Bellomo while training at the wrestling school. Training consisted of 1,000 squats, 100 sit-ups, 100 leg raises and 200 pushups before entering the ring with instructor Moondog Molsonn. Along with additional training from Anoa'i and Samula Anoa'i, Tuhakaraina graduated early from the program within 60 days breaking the previous record set by Billy Kidman at 96 days.[5] He also became close friends with fellow graduates Tommy Suede and Supreme Lee Great while training at the school.[4][7]

World Xtreme Wrestling

Introduced as a villain, Tuhakaraina made his professional debut in World Xtreme Wrestling defeating easily defeating his opponent, a masked wrestler aptly named Guy In A Mask. Tuhakaraina proved so popular with the crowd, that he would wrestle as a fan favorite for much of his early career. He also began performing the Haka, a Māori war dance, prior to his matches.[2] Some of his first opponents in his first years on the independent circuit included WWF veterans Virgil, King Kong Bundy, Tito Santana and Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, ECW's Gary Wolfe, Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman as well Dave Batista and Lo Ki. He has also faced members of the Anoa'i wrestling family Samu, Rikishi and 3 Minute Warning (Rosey and Jamal).[5]

A month after the 11 September attacks, he was denied a six month extension on his work visa by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.[5] Although forced to remain in New Zealand for some time, he eventually returned to active competition[7] in early-2003 as one half of the Samoan Island Tribe with Samu.

On 28 April, he defeated Gene Snisky for the WXW Heavyweight Championship in Mountainville, Pennsylvania. Although he lost the championship to Rapid Fire Maldonado in Sciota, Pennsylvania two months later, he regained the title at SportsFest '04 in Allentown on 9 July. With nearly 8,000 in attendance, Tuhakaraina pinned Maldonado with a Samoan drop from the second rope. He was immediately attacked by Rob Dimension's Ivy League Havoc stable, led by newly crowned WXW Television Champion Boogaloo, before Dave Batista cleared the ring.[8] His second reign lasted nearly three months before losing the title to Sinister X in a three-way match with L.A. Smooth on 29 October 2004.

In February 2005, he and John Cabbie would represent WXW in Chikara's 2005 World Tag Grand Prix and were eliminated by F.I.S.T. (Gran Akuma and Icarus) in the opening rounds. During the next two years, Tuhakaraina would be involved in feuds with several former ECW wrestlers Balls Mahoney, Steve Corino and, in 2006, against Abyss. On 25 February 2006, he took part in the 2006 World Tag Grand Prix with Larry Sweeney but was eliminated by Team DDT (KUDO and MIKAMI) in the opening rounds once again.

Other promotions

As part of the Samoan Island Tribe with Samu, he defeated The S.A.T. (Jose and Joel Maximo) at MLW Revolution although they lost to them in a rematch at MLW Hybrid Hell. On 10 January 2004, he and Samu lost to The Extreme Horsemen (CW Anderson and Simon Diamond) at MLW Reloaded #2. On 8 April, Tuhakaraina teamed with former enemies The SAT and Guillotine Legrande in an 8-man tag team match against Greg Spitz, Mark Mest, Rapid Fire Maldonado and Rockin Rebel at a show for Pro Wrestling WORLD-1. Losing to Dustin Rhodes the following night, he and Guillotine Legrande defeated the Christopher Street Connection on 10 April.

On 25 February 2005, Tuhakaraina defeated Tony DeVito and The Sandman in a no disqualification three-way dance at a show for Pro Wrestling Unplugged. He appeared for Frank Goodman's USA Xtreme Wrestling the next night where he and Axl Rotten fought to a no-contest. At the debut show for MWA, he and Supreme Lee Great defeated Nikolai Volkoff and The Patriot. That same year, he lost to Mike Quackenbush but later beat Josh Daniels and Mike Kruel.

On 26 March 2006 he lost to Bobby Roode in a four-way match for the vacant CSWF Heavyweight Championship in Dover, New Jersey. The other participants were Matt Bentley and Rodney Mack.[9][10] He had brief stints in a number of independent promotions throughout 2006, including Combat Zone Wrestling, NWA Cyberspace and Mikey Whipwreck's New York Wrestling Connection.

Touring Australia with the Australian Wrestling Federation during the summer of 2007, Tuhakaraina lost to AWF Heavyweight Champion TNT on 24 August. He also lost to Steve Ravenous the following night. He wrestled for the Southern Hemisphere Wrestling Alliance (SHWA), and ran the wrestling school for a number of months before establishing NHPW as a separate federation. He now wrestles for New Horizons Professional Wrestling in Australia.[11]

Retirement

Tuhakaraina competed in his final match at NHPW Final Chapter on 20 November 2010 after losing to Tama Williams and Headshrinker Samu in a Xtreme Tribal Warfare Triple Threat Match. He was pinned by Williams after an Air New Zealand Splash through a Barbed Wire Board to retain his NHPW Art of Fighting Championship.

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

  • Declaration of Independence
    • Breakout Heavyweight of the Year (2004)[3]
    • DOI ranked him #34 of the Top 250 independent wrestlers in 2004[3]
  • IWA Championship Wrestling
    • IWA Triple Threat Championship (1 time)[3]
  • NWA World Alliance of Wrestling
    • NWA WAW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[3]
  • NHPW Australia
    • NHPW Art of Fighting Championship (2009)[11]

References

  1. ^ "Mana's official Facebook profile." <http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=574554467>.
  2. ^ a b c d "Mana the Polynesian Warrior." DeclarationofIndependents.net. DOI Interviews. 19 September 2008 <www.declarationofindependents.net/doi/pages/interviews/mana.html>.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The Polynesian Warrior". Biography. ManaWXW.com. http://manawxw.tripod.com/bio.html. 
  4. ^ a b c d Staniforth, Peter (2005). "Mana Interview". Wrestling Clothesline. http://www.wrestlingclothesline.com/PeterMana2.htm. 
  5. ^ a b c d McCracken, Dion (August 2003). "Mana". Interviews (2003). NZPWI.co.nz. http://www.nzpwi.co.nz/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=552&Itemid=88. 
  6. ^ Pierce, Dale (25 January 2006). "Interview with Mana the Polynesian Warrior". Wrestling Then and Now. http://www.angelfire.com/wrestling3/thenandnow/interviews/Mana.html. 
  7. ^ a b Schwan, Brett (2003). "Ten Questions With ... Mana The Polynesian Warrior". WrestlingClothesline.com. http://www.wrestlingclothesline.com/Mana.htm. 
  8. ^ "Mana regains WXW Championship at Sportsfest". NZPWI.co.nz. 1 August 2004. http://www.nzpwi.co.nz/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=628&Itemid=71. 
  9. ^ "N.W.A. Cyberspace Heavyweight Title". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. http://www.wrestling-titles.com/us/nj/nwa/cswf-h.html. 
  10. ^ Westcott, Brian (2006). "CPW Heavyweight Title History". Solie's Title Histories. http://www.solie.org/titlehistories/htcswf.html. 
  11. ^ a b "New Horizons Pro Wrestling Australia". NHPW. 2009. http://www.nhpw.com.au. 
  12. ^ Shaffer, Eric; Ben Ziek, John Lazarsky, Mark Clemson and Sam Cesare (2005). "WXW World Heavyweight Title History". Solie's Title Histories. http://www.solie.org/titlehistories/whtwxw.html. 

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