Embracing the nostalgia of bygone WWE years, "Road Dogg" Jesse James takes a reflective journey back to a period of wrestling history delicately intertwined with what might have been. His heyday with the WWE Universe didn't genuinely ignite until 1997, during his tenure with the New Age Outlaws, a moment that curiously, yet poignantly, postdates the final WWE appearance of the late Hall of Famer Yokozuna at the 1996 Survivor Series.
Despite James himself eventually inscribing his legacy with a Hall of Fame career, an aura of regret lingers over never locking horns with Yokozuna, a wrestler he silently esteemed from a distance. On his podcast, "Oh You Didn't Know?", James emanates a profound respect for the departed star, articulating, "He was the man, the myth, the legend.
Yokozuna commanded the respect from the people whose recognition you sought most earnestly." James continues, elucidating how Yoko, universally admired, was a colossus not only in physicality but also in garnering reverence from his peers.
His persona, permeated by an ineffable coolness, was relished nearly universally, defying the typical narrative of backstage politics or personal feuds.
James Remembers Anoa'i Family
Yokozuna stands out as a uniquely unblemished character in a world where stories of conflict are more common than tales of unanimity.
James never had the fortune of directly opposing him in the ring. Still, he reminisced about an untelevised dark match, wherein he experienced a mere brush with the mammoth, being bumped off the apron while in Jeff Jarrett's corner.
"Engaging with numerous Anoa'i family members in the ring was invariably a magnificent experience. They all embodied greatness. Yoko would have been another cherished name on that list," James expresses. Yokozuna's attempts to return to WWE post-1996 were regrettably hampered by his inability to successfully navigate state-mandated physicals, culminating in a sorrowful release in May 1998 and his untimely passing two years later.
October 2, 2023, would have seen the wrestling icon celebrate his 57th birthday. James, commemorating the occasion with warm reflection and an undertone of longing, signs off his podcast with a heartfelt "Happy birthday, Uce," paying homage to a giant gone too soon yet whose legacy perennially endures.