Prince Iaukea

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For the Prince Iaukea who competed in Pacific Northwest Wrestling, see Rocky Iaukea.
Prince Iaukea
Ring name(s) Prince Iaukea[1]
The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea[1]
The Artist[1]
Mike Hayner[2]
The Tongan Prince
Billed height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[1]
Billed weight 219 lb (99 kg)[1]
Born (1964-08-01) August 1, 1964 (age 49)[3]
Honolulu, Hawaii[1]
Resides Zephyrhills, Florida[4][5]
Billed from Honolulu, Hawaii
The Kingdom of Tonga
Trained by Larry Simon
Dean Malenko
Rico Federico
WCW Power Plant[1]
Debut 1995

Michael Laauli "Mike" Hayner[2][4][5][6] (born August 1, 1964)[3] is an American professional wrestler best known as Prince Iaukea in World Championship Wrestling. He earned a black belt in Judo right after high school and is well trained in amateur and submission wrestling. He has trained with former USMC champions Greg Gibson and Craig Pittman, submission wrestlers Gordon Nelson, Ron Hill, and Karl Gotch.

Career[edit]

World Championship Wrestling (1995–2000)[edit]

After being trained by Dean Malenko and Rico Federico, Hayner debuted on World Championship Wrestling (WCW) pay-per-view Fall Brawl 1995 as a cadet delivering papers to Cobra for Craig Pittman. Later, Kevin Sullivan brought him to some TV tapings and was so impressed by his professionalism, overall attitude, and respect for the business that Sullivan gave him the Iaukea name taken from Curtis Iaukea, a good friend of Sullivan. Prince Iaukea debuted on WCW TV in 1996 and quickly made a name for himself with his unique Samoan persona and real submission wrestling skills along with solid pro wrestling ability. The common pronunciation of his ring name came about by the mispronunciation from WCW Announcer Tony Schiavone. Prince Iaukea also received blessing from King Curtis Iaukea during a phone conversation with King Curtis telling him that "he was family" and that he enjoyed the work that Prince was doing.

On February 17, 1997, Iaukea captured the WCW World Television Championship by defeating Lord Steven Regal[1] and would hold it for 2 months before losing it to Ultimate Dragon. Iaukea then went off to tour New Japan working with established greats such as Shinjiro Otani and Koji Kanemoto. On the tour he was kicked severely by Koji Kanemoto and badly injured. Japanese booker Riki Chōshū was a huge supporter of Iaukea.

Back in WCW, Iaukea would then float around the lower mid-card for several years, mainly because of an alleged romantic link between Iaukea and the wife of an upper level WCW executive. Iaukea denied the allegations, but the rumor persisted. He turned heel and was repackaged in 1999 as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea, a comedic gimmick based on singer Prince. Later, his ring name was shortenend to simply The Artist. He won the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship from Lash LeRoux in February 2000.[1] The Artist would lose the title to Billy Kidman and later reclaim it[1] before being stripped of the title by Vince Russo in April 2000 when Russo and Eric Bischoff "re-launched" WCW.

Hayner appeared as Prince Iaukea alongside several other WCW wrestlers in the movie Ready to Rumble (2000).

Independent circuit (2001–present)[edit]

After WCW was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation in March 2001, he wrestled the independent scene traveling around the country for various promotions. He was briefly known as The Tongan Prince for Jimmy Hart's X Wrestling Federation, but when that went under he used his military background and went to work for a security contractor overseas. In 2007 he started 3SX Entertainment (Samoan Strong Style Xtreme Wrestling and Entertainment) in American Samoa where work on a Pro Wrestling and MMA Dojo is ongoing.

He won the NWA Florida Junior Heavyweight title of the Floridan promotion Pro Wrestling Fusion by defeating Chris Jones on November 29, 2008, and held it for 6 months before losing it back to Chris Jones, but he rebounded and received a Heavyweight title shot against Steve Madison only to lose a close contest.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Hayner is also a devout Christian and hopes to set an example for others by his professional attitude and demeanor.

Hayner owns and promotes 3SX Pro Wrestling and 3SX Entertainment which runs events in the Pacific, particularly American Samoa and New Zealand.

Hayner is married to Georgette[5] and has a son who wrestles professionally under the name of Nick Primo. Hayner and his son both currently work for Pro Wrestling Fusion, New Florida Wrestling (NFW), and Definitive Wrestling International (DWI), All are Florida based independent wrestling promotions.

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • Pro Wrestling Fusion
    • NWA Florida Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[1]
  • Other titles
    • eXtreme Japan World Championship (2 times)
    • FXCW World Championship (2 times)
    • GPCW World Championship (3 times)
    • IWF InterNational Championship (1 time)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Prince Iaukea profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  2. ^ a b "WCW Saturday Night". WCW Saturday Night. 1996-05-18. TBS (TV channel).
  3. ^ a b "Intelius People Search Report". Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Wise, Madonna Jervis. "History of Zephyrhills High School: Highlights of 1982". Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c "Intelius People Search". Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Bell, Amy (August 2000), "Purple Passion", WCW Magazine (World Championship Wrestling, Inc.) (64): 61, ISSN 1057-1396 
  7. ^ a b c d World Championship Wrestling (1999-08-09). "The Dead Pool vs Norman Smiley, Prince Iaukea & Lash Leroux". WCW Monday Nitro.

External links[edit]