Exclusive: Haku discusses his tough reputation, Bullet Club, PCW Ultra & more!
When the good folks over at PCW Ultra informed me that Haku/Meng is available for an interview, I jump at the chance. June 8th will be Haku's debut appearance for the promotion, where he will be part of a 'meet and greet' session.
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Many have dubbed Haku has not merely the toughest, but also the nicest guy in professional wrestling history. He certainly comes across as a humble, soft-spoken man during our interaction, a man content at being home with his family. It is tough to believe that this is the same man that one allegedly fought five marines and knocked them out in seconds!
When I ask Haku about his fearsome reputation and quiz him about who the toughest man he's ever faced is, he responds with a chuckle:
They're all tough. It's very kind of others to talk like that about me. But, as you know, I come from a Third World Country, hoping only to spread the name of Tonga in the world. My parents, my grandparents, my cousins, my hundredth cousin...they wanted me to send money home. I had to fight my way for everything, to send money home.
So how did those altercations (that have attained mythical proportions of sorts) come about?
There are people out there who don't understand wrestling, who wanted to try the wrestlers and the wrestler they faced just happened to be me (laughs). We were just told that we have to take care of ourselves, inside and outside the ring. Pro wrestling has been great to us, to me and my family. It was wrestling that helped me survive all these years.
Haku mourns the demise of characters in wrestling such as Hulk Hogan, Rick Rude, The Road Warriors, The Faces of Fear, The Wild Samoans, etc. He does admit that the wrestling matches that today's superstars compete in are just as good as ever.
When I ask Haku about Goldberg's claim that he would have been ideal for Mixed Martial Arts, Haku is quick to say that he doesn't dwell on such matters. These days, he is content playing with his job, his grandchildren and catching a good movie on television:
I've done it. I've given everything to wrestling. I want to go to PCW Ultra and pass the torch to new generations. Martial arts and all that stuff is far behind me now and I gave it all to wrestling when I was able to.
Haku goes on to mention that he still watches a fair bit of wrestling when he can. He is particularly fond of the Japanese wrestling style. He always loves to watch the Bullet Club, a stable that he has represented on more than one occasion. When it comes to WWE, he is a fan of The Usos and Nia Jax.
Haku jokes that when he watches The Bullet Club in the ring, he is tempted to return. However, his current focus revolves around old-school movies featuring Clint Eastwood and James Bond, and Haku admits that he's just a regular guy now who loves his job, who's left the glitz and glamour behind.
I contest the fact and tell him he was in great shape when he competed at Wrestle Kingdom 10, only two years ago. Haku laughs out loud:
I try to stay in shape for my grandchildren, so that I'm able to lift them up and run around with them. Sometimes, Barbarian calls and tells me a certain promoter wants The Faces of Fear. You just never know. My thing is...the money's great, I love meeting up with the boys and I help them draw a good house. Those are the good things happening with the independents. I get to catch up with my old co-workers.
Ultimately, I ask him about his association with Bobby Heenan. In the light of his recent passing, what memories does he treasure of his former manager?
Heenan was always a fun person to be around. We were on the road a lot. Some times, we didn't have a day off in three or four months. You need fun people like Heenan to keep you going. The Nasty Boys were also like that. We were a good team.
Haku is amazed when I tell him I'm from India and I've grown up watching him on television. He hopes to make an appearance with PCW Ultra someday. Judging by how fast the promotion is growing, this may just happen down the line. For now, I wish them all the best for their event on the 8th of June!