The Barbarian (wrestler)

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The Barbarian
The Barbarian in 2012.
Birth name Sione Havea Vailahi
Born (1958-09-06) September 6, 1958 (age 58)[1]
Nukuʻalofa, Tonga
Residence Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
Spouse(s) Seini Tonga
Children 7
Family Lei'D Tapa (niece)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) The Barbarian
Headshrinker Sione
King Konga
Konga the Barbarian
Super Assassin #1
Tonga John
Billed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[2]
Billed weight 300 lb (136 kg)[2]
Trained by Red Bastien[3]
Debut 1980

Sione Havea Vailahi (born September 6, 1958) is a Tongan professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, The Barbarian.

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in Tonga, Sione was one of five teenagers sent by the King of Tonga to Japan to study Sumo wrestling in the mid-1970s. Tonga Fifita was one of the other teenagers. Sione was known in sumo circles as Sachinoshima.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Jim Crockett Promotions[edit]

After migrating to the United States, he trained in professional wrestling under the tutelage of Rolland 'Red' Bastien. In 1980, he made his debut, wrestling Killer Karl Krupp in Modesto, California. He wrestled as King Konga in several NWA regional territories in 1981. He soon went to the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions, where he teamed up with Ron Garvin as a face.

Seeing the "heel" potential in a huge, intimidating man with surprising agility, Jim Crockett, Jr. changed him into Konga the Barbarian. He debuted as 1/3 of the Road Warriors. That was a brief stint as he soon joined the stable of Paul Jones. From 1985 to 1987, he wrestled as part of "Paul Jones' Army" and teamed with Pez Whatley, Teijho Khan, as well as Baron Von Raschke. It was during this time that "Konga" was dropped from his name and he became simply The Barbarian.

In late 1987, he formed a team with Ivan Koloff, who was also his "coach." By early 1988, he was paired with The Warlord as The Powers of Pain. They feuded heavily with another team of big men, The Road Warriors, Animal and Hawk. They kayfabe injured Animal's eye during a weight lifting contest, and soon after won the NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Titles, along with Ivan, from the Road Warriors and Dusty Rhodes. In 1987, he appeared in the movie Body Slam, as Axe, of the tag team called The Cannibals.

In April 1988, Crockett decided he wanted the feuding tag teams to have a series of scaffold matches, which neither team wanted because they felt that they were too large to safely participate. This was especially so for the Powers of Pain, who were scheduled to lose the matches by falling off the scaffolding. Barbarian and Warlord decided to leave for the WWF. The NWA announcers explained that the Road Warriors had run them off, even though they still held the Six-Man Titles.

World Wrestling Federation (1988-1992)[edit]

Upon their arrival, the Powers of Pain were faces, initially managed by Tito Santana,[4][5] and feuded with WWF World Tag Team Champions Demolition (Ax and Smash), who had defeated Strike Force (Santana and Rick Martel) for the titles and then injured Martel (kayfabe). The Powers of Pain were introduced as mercenaries to help Martel and Santana gain revenge on Demolition for both the title loss and the injury to Martel. Later, they were managed by The Baron. They soon dumped the Baron and took Demolition's manager Mr. Fuji, in a double turn which made them heels and the increasingly popular Demolition faces.

After a long feud in which they failed to win the titles, the Powers of Pain were demoted to feuds with teams such as The Bushwhackers and The Rockers. In early 1990, they split up and The Barbarian went under the management of Bobby Heenan. He would have his image tweaked, changing from his Road Warrior-like mohawk and face paint to growing out his hair, dressing in fur, and wearing a helmet with reindeer-like antlers and a skull to the ring. He briefly wrestled in singles competition, defeating Tito Santana at Wrestlemania VI and facing the Big Bossman at Royal Rumble 1991, as part of the Heenan Family's feud with the "correctional officer". Shortly after, he wrestled in tag team matches—notably with fellow Family member Haku. Following an appearance in the 1992 Royal Rumble match, Vailahi left the WWF in February 1992.[2]

World Championship Wrestling (1992-1993)[edit]

After signing with WCW in early 1992, Barbarian teamed with Dick Slater to defeat The Freebirds to win the WCW United States Tag Team Championship on June 25 in Kansas City, Missouri (match aired on July 1 on WCW Main Event). However the title was retired a month later. Barbarian remained undefeated, defeating Brian Pillman, Tom Zenk, Marcus Bagwell, Barry Windham, and others in what was a substantial push that summer. He soon formed a heel stable with Tony Atlas and Cactus Jack. Atlas quickly left the promotion, and the group was joined briefly by Jake Roberts and Butch Reed. They feuded with then-World Champion Ron Simmons, whom Barbarian unsuccessfully challenged at Halloween Havoc 1992.[6] For the remainder of the fall Barbarian would face Ron Simmons in main events on house shows across the country, and also competed against Sting.[7]

In early 1993 Barbarian became embroiled in the face-turn of Cactus Jack. Harley Race fired Barbarian on Clash of the Champions XXII for continuing to associate with him. Barbarian then entered a house show series with the rising Eric Watts and 2 Cold Scorpio, both whom upset him on multiple occasions.[8] Later that spring he would face Steve Regal, Robbie V (Rob Van Dam), and Paul Orndorff while continuing to team with Cactus Jack. After a short series of matches against Davey Boy Smith, Barbarian ended his tenure on June 6, 1993 in Kings Mountain, North Carolina by defeating Johnny Gunn.

Return to WWF (1994-1995)[edit]

On June 6, 1994, he returned to WWF at a house show in Fitchburg, Massachusetts to face Razor Ramon as a substitute for Diesel. Vailahi would wrestle multiple times that month, filling in for Diesel and later Tom Pritchard. He faced Lex Luger, Tatanka, and Typhoon in matches later that summer. On September 1, The Barbarian replaced Samu and partnered with Fatu against Shawn Michaels and Diesel at a house show in Manitoba, Canada.[9] Later that month he became a permanent member of the team and was renamed Sione, one half of the new version of The Headshrinkers alongside original Headshrinker Fatu. The new combination made only one pay-per-view appearance as a team which was at the 1994 Survivor Series where they were quickly eliminated.[10] The only other notable appearance of Fatu and Sione was as part of the tournament to crown new WWF tag team champions in late 1994, early 1995. The Headshrinkers lost to Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka in the Semi Finals.[11] By July, the Headshrinkers dissolved, as Sione left the WWF for WCW.

Return to WCW[edit]

The Super Assassins and Faces of Fear (1995–1998)[edit]

In late 1995, Vailahi returned to WCW, wearing a mask and teaming with his former Powers of Pain tag team partner, The Warlord. They were known as the masked "Super Assassins", managed by Col. Robert Parker. Super Assassins made their televised debut on the November 27 episode of Prime, with a win over The American Males. No mention was ever made on television of their former identities, and the team did not last long as Warlord left WCW in early 1996. Later on, he was added into Kevin Sullivan's Dungeon of Doom. Vailahi reunited with Haku (now known as Meng) as part of the Dungeon and formed a tag team called Faces of Fear. They teamed on a semi-regular basis for the remainder of their time in WCW, though they broke up and feuded briefly in 1998 and 1999. They challenged several times for the WCW World Tag Team Title, but were never able to win the belts.

After The Barbarian's brief feud with Meng, Jimmy Hart formed a new heel stable in the summer of 1999 called The First Family. The stable consisted of Barbarian, Hugh Morrus, Brian Knobs, and Jerry Flynn. The stable dissolved after only two months . Barbarian was released from his WCW contract in April 2000 in an effort to cut costs by new WCW Senior Vice President, Bill Busch.

Independent circuit (2001-present)[edit]

Barbarian with Buz at an independent event in 2013.

In March 2004, The Barbarian won the NWA Virginia Heavyweight Championship, and feuded with David Flair for the title, until he was ruled ineligible to compete due to a lack of a valid Virginia wrestling license. In 2005, The Barbarian again teamed with The Warlord in Gladiator Championship Wrestling, and renewed his feud with Road Warrior Animal. In 2007, at the Annual Championship Wrestling/IRW Fun Fest Slam in Kingsport, Tennessee, The Barbarian wrestled 'Big' Steve Fury, the CW Heavyweight Champion, in front of 1,100 people. He also made an appearance in IWA Mid South, at the April Bloodshowers 2007 event, where he wrestled Jimmy Jacobs. In 2008, The Barbarian teamed with Demolition Ax (Bill Eadie), and managed by Ted DiBiase, in Seagrove North Carolina, defeating Cowboy Willie Watts and Leroy Greene. In 2009, The Barbarian teamed with the Iron Chief in the Ivan Koloff's tag team tournament in the Allied Independent Wrestling Federation (AIWF). In August 2012, Chikara announced that The Barbarian would be making his debut for the promotion in the following month's 2012 King of Trios tournament, where he will reunite with The Warlord and Meng as The Faces of Pain in reference to their previous team names Faces of Fear and Powers of Pain.[12] On September 14, the team was eliminated from the tournament in the first round by Team ROH (Mike Bennett, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson).[13][14] Two days later, on the final day of the tournament, The Barbarian and The Warlord took part in a tag team gauntlet match, from which they eliminated their old WWF rivals, Demolition, before being eliminated themselves by 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Sione has seven children with his wife, Seini Tonga. His youngest son, Peter, is a standout college football player, who signed with Brigham Young University in February 2005. However, in the early stages of his BYU contract, Peter withdrew in order to play closer to his home in Charlotte, North Carolina. Peter signed to attend Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina.

Sione's family is related to WCAU sportscaster Vai Sikahema, Philadelphia Eagles running back Reno Mahe, and Rock Star: INXS finalist Jordis Unga[citation needed]. He is the uncle and trainer of Lei'D Tapa who was a winner of the TNA Gut Check and wrestled in TNA for much of the following year.

When he is not wrestling, he runs a small construction business in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.

In July 2016, Sione was named part of a class action lawsuit filed against WWE which alleged that wrestlers incurred traumatic brain injuries during their tenure and that the company concealed the risks of injury. The suit is litigated by attorney Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in a number of other lawsuits against WWE.[15]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


  1. ^ Vailahi, Sione. "Been Verified Results". 
  2. ^ a b c d e Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Barbarian profile". Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  4. ^ Warlord and Barbarian - Demolition's Nightmare - Pro Wrestling Illustrated November 1988
  5. ^ PWI Poll - The Powers Of Pain - Pro Wrestling Illustrated December 1988
  6. ^ a b Foley, Mick (1999). Have A Nice Day! A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. ReganBooks. p. 228. ISBN 978-0-0603-9299-4. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "WWF Survivor Series Results (1994)". Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  11. ^ "WWF Tag-Team Title Tournament 1995". Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  12. ^ "Chikara". 
  13. ^ a b "Past results". Chikara. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  14. ^ Namako, Jason (2012-09-15). "9/14 Chikara "King of Trios: Night 1" Results: Easton, PA". WrestleView. Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  15. ^ "WWE sued in wrestler class action lawsuit featuring Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka, Paul 'Mr Wonderful' Orndorff". Fox Entertainment Group (21st Century Fox). July 18, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2016. 
  16. ^ a b c d e CageMatch. "Barbarian Profile". Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  17. ^ a b World Championship Wrestling, TNT (1997-09-29). "The Barbarian vs Goldberg". WCW Monday Nitro. 
  18. ^ Inside wrestling magazine, November 1992 issue, article: Warlord and Barbarian vs Bushwhackers, giving each other a beatin' - of the beatin path.
  19. ^ "Jimmy Hart profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 

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