Rikishi has opened up about the origins of his WWE gimmick.
On a recent episode of Insight with Chris Van Vliet, the WWE Hall of Famer explained that his sumo character came about after a meeting with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, shortly before his original contract was due to expire.
Rikishi also explained how he voiced his concern to McMahon that a sumo-themed gimmick could have been too similar to the gimmick of his real-life cousin, Yokozuna:
"I was getting paid to stick my a** in people’s faces! And bust a move, and dance. All these years it took me breaking my body, bumping, getting hit with chairs, you name it. And then finally, this is what takes me overboard, was backing that a** up and busting a move."
"(Bruce Prichard) said Vince wanted to have a meeting with me. We had that meeting and away we went… When he came up with the idea of wanting to do a sumo, as soon as he said “sumo” I thought of my cousin Yoko (Yokozuna). And I was like, I don’t want to do a sumo character when my cousin already did it. Just due to respect for Yoko. He wanted to do the whole “Yours will be different, I want to show your butt, wearing the shoot sumo gear.” Now, when he said that (laughs) I said, “You mean just everything on show, my buttocks, live on TV?” - Insight
Rikishi asked for his kids' opinions before going ahead with the sumo gimmick
Rikishi would go on to explain that he asked his children - Jimmy and Jey Uso - for their opinion, before confirming his new creative direction with Vince McMahon:
"So, I took the drawing home, I go to Vince “Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.” I had dinner on the table. I pulled those drawings out and said “Here’s the deal, this is going to be my new character, and I want to know from you kids, will you guys be upset if I wear something like this on TV? They all said “Hey dad, you wanna do it, that’s up to you. It’s all good.”
Rikishi would experience huge success with his sumo gimmick, going on to form the popular trio Too Cool, alongside Scotty-2-Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay.