A Special OWW Fan Jam to Honor John Tenta
Paying Tribute To a Great Wrestler and a Wonderful Man
Remembering Earthquake -- by Scott Hurley
As we all found out on June 7th John "Earthquake" Tenta passed away after his near two year battle with blatter cancer. This to me was somewhat of a shock since he had been posting updates on the internet and I hadn't heard of any serious decline. Having grown up in the era of WWF in which he became a major player I feel like I owe him and his life a bit of gratitude.
Although this is my first column I'll only have a brief introduction due to the subject matter.I've been a wrestling fan since I was four years old. I absolutley love it and ever aspect of it. So I feel a denfinite loyalty to the early 90's wrestling product. And when one of them passes on it hits me harder than if it was just another athlete or celebrity. This is not a synopsis of Earthquakes career nor a story of how important he was to me as a fan, which in all honesty he really wasn't. But what Earthquake did due for me as a fan was make me believe. He made me believe that he could possibly destroy Hulk Hogan. He made me believe that he could(and one day would) leap through my television screen and squash me like he did jobbers week after week. He was one of the few that gave me that feeling. I sit hear and think why I felt that way for those years and I finally realized it..his intensity. His incredible intensity showed through in his size, his walk,his interviews, and what he did in the ring. He wasn't the Rock or Dusty Rhodes on the mic. He was a man of few words. He was angry, he bounced back and fourth, he drooled, and yelled directly into the camera. I still don't know how he got up that intensity like that everynight but how ever he did it, it worked.
Even as a face he scared me. But thats what he good character does they don't let you forget. They don't allow you to change your opinion of them unless they change themselves, John Tenta didn't change himself. To me he was the same Earthquake at Wresltemania X7 as he was when I was four years old.
John Tenta's battle with cancer wasn't just lengthy but and was also very trying on him. He didn't just have one sort of tumor he had multiple tumors in his lungs, his hip, he also had expanded lyphnodes in his heart. He tried everything possible to beat the cancer and dammit he was doing it for almost two years. If he's any inspiration to me it would be that giving up isn't an option. John Tenta is survived by his wife of 17 years and his three children.
Tribute To John Tenta -- by Joe L.
On Wednesday June 7th 2006, just 15-days short of his 43rd birthday John "Earthquake" Tenta passed away at the age of 42. John had a very long and difficult battle with bladder cancer, but in the end it was just too much for him to over come. John Tenta is survived by his wife and their three kids.
It's never an easy day for wrestling fans when they lose one of their heroes, someone they watched on TV every week. It is even harder when you get to know the person, you read their thoughts, know they are battling cancer and start to realize that they are nothing but a great person. That is what happened with John Tenta. People started to get to know him through his updates and postings at the WrestleCrap message board, and he grew a cult following of people that loved the person. Let's take a short look back on the career of John, what he accomplished and all the characters he will be remembered for, whether good or bad.
-John Tenta was a man's man. Despite countless gimmicks that ranged from inept to ridiculous, Tenta worked his ass to get them over and he always respected his fans and workers. His death is a sad tragedy, especially when he spent all these never ending years fighting against bladder cancer. And he was only 42. Very sad indeed.
Please Kirsty, post this heartbreaking news on the website. Tenta, thank you for the memories. God bless you, R.I.P.
Funk's Corner - Big John Tenta -- by Dory Funk Jr.
Big John Tenta - 6' 6" 400 pounds .
Aka Kototenzan - Japanese Sumo Name (Heavenly Mountain)
Terry and I were in Japan working the Real World Tag Team Tour in December of 1987. The show in Korakuen Hall was over and we were sitting in the dressing room cooling down. Sitting across from us was Big John Tenta. He seemed in a state of deep thought. Terry looked up at Big John and said, "What are you thinking John?" Big John replied, "I am just trying to figure out what Mr. Baba would like next."
I knew John Tenta's background. I had read a story in the paper back home about Big John an amateur wrestler/football player from LSU who was recruited to become a Sumo Wrestler in Japan. He was undefeated in Sumo however there were some problems because his hair was thinning at the top and it was difficult to fix in the Sumo hair style. To this day, Big John is the only non Samoan or Hawaiian ever to do so well in Sumo.
Even though Tenta was highly successful in Sumo competition, the highly restrictive life of a beginning Sumo wrestler was more than John could stick with so with an undefeated record in Sumo, John asked Giant Baba if he could become a professional wrestler.
As Terry and I were entering the showers, I saw Big John Tenta on his knees unlacing Giant Baba's wrestling shoes. (Living in Japan for a Japanese young boy this practice is not only accepted, but required) I thought it strange to see an LSU graduate, highly credible amateur wrestler and American football player doing this, but John was living in Japan, working in Japan and participating in the Japanese system of respect for his boss.
That evening at dinner, I asked Big John what he wanted to accomplish in professional wrestling. He said, "I want to work for the WWF." I told John, It is a long way from the "Young Boy System" in Japan to working for WWF but it is your dream, I believe you can do it.
Three years later back in America, not only had John Tenta made it to the WWF but in August '90 he wrestled Hulk Hogan in the main event at Summer Slam. At Wrestlemania 10 Big John Tenta beat Atom Bomb, Brian Clark in less than a minute. I am proud to say at the Funking Dojo I had the privilege of working with Big John Tenta in preparation for his role with WWF as a member of the Oddities. Big John Tenta lived his dream.
In May of 2004, Big John Tenta went public with the following release:
"I have been diagnosed with advanced bladder cancer. I have a large tumor on my bladder blocking my left kidney from functioning properly, This, of course will now be the biggest battle EVER in my life, but I am not afraid."
Marti and I are blessed to have known John Tenta. During his training time with me as his Coach at the WWF Funking Dojo in 1999, Big John would sit in meditation after practice. I asked him what he was up to that evening and he said he was just trying to think of what Mr. McMahon would like next? John was a good man and one of the most thoughtful people I have known.
Our condolences to his family.
A Tribute to John "Earthquake" Tenta -- by Brian L.
I was going to write a column on Tenta, because in this sport people tend to forget about some of the less popular legends, but I couldn't have done a better job. Thank you for the terrific column. I would like to put my two cents in however and state that it is my opinion that Tenta was one of the best big men in the sport, and was involved in some of the most memorable WWF moments (like the time he "squashed" Damian- Jake Roberts snake). A man like this should not be forgotten and deserves respect by any that would dare call themselves wrestling fans. Tonight John Tenta deserves a ten bell salute at the very least.
My best wishes and great sympathy go out to his wife and three kids during this time.
Rest in peace John.
Thoughts on the passing of John Tenta.. -- by WiseReborn
All of us who have followed wrestling over the past 20 years or so remember when this extraordinarily large fan was in an arena in Canada just enjoying the wrestling show and munching on some popcorn. In the ring, there was a test of power. The Ultimate Warrior was to do some push-ups with someone on his back. The heels were to choose this person from the crowd, and they saw Tenta near the top of the arena. They call him into the ring, and The Warrior gets a couple of push-ups to the crowds delight. Then out of nowhere, The Earthquake used his mass to crush Warrior, and an instant heel was born.
Hogan felt the wrath, of what was at the time the most devastating move in wrestling and was out of commission for months. Concerned fans were persuaded to send in cards to show their support, making him one of the biggest heels of the time. He reminds us of days when there were no "tweeners."
Speaking of heels, one of the greatest heels of all-time, Jake Roberts even felt the wrath of Earthquake. WWE had some memorable pets in the 80's and early 90's. Jake Roberts had a pet snake called Damien who would adorn all of Robert's defeated opponents. On a Saturday Night's Main Event (this is all on memory so I could be wrong) Earthquake did the ultimate heel move at the time by using his Earthquake squash on the Damien while his was in his patented green bag. The death of the snake continued a very memorable feud with Roberts, while cementing his new face status in the WWF. I even believe that the attack on Damien probably made Robert's face turn irreversible, even though I think Roberts tried his best.
Tenta also held his own on the tag team scene, as well as having a feud with the late Yokozuna. Tenta was a menacing heel throughout his whole career up to his return to WWF (see below), even while in Taskmaster Kevin Sullivan's Dungeon Of Doom in WCW. You would say that his time in WCW was a low-point in his career, but his return to WWF was even less memorable. For those who didn't know, he was the masked Golga in the Juggalo induced Oddities group in a low point in WWF history.
He was underrated as a talent and was the victim of horrible booking and character development. He was seen as a Super Heavyweight who always lost after dominating the top guys for the whole match. He used a dropkick a few times in his career, which shows that he genuinely wanted to add more to his repertoire.
Tenta never got credit for his contributions to this business, so I'm more than happy to acknowledge them. John Tenta lost his war with cancer just days before his 43rd birthday. This is always tough for me to do, and I really dread having to it, but I want to say Goodbye to Mr. Tenta, and I'll always remember his impact on the business of Professional Wrestling. He is part of the reason that I still follow wrestling to this day, and will continue to.
RIP John Tenta -- by Jason "XtremeFalls" Simmons
John Tenta to me was someone went out there and did his job. You never heard stories about him holding wrestlers down. You never heard stories about him refusing to job he just went out there and did his job and seem to have fun. No matter where he was John would get a good reaction so rip John and thanks for the memories
John Tenta R.I.P -- by Anthony Ventrice
I always enjoyed the Competitiveness of John (Earthquake) Tenta he was truly a wrestlers wrestler he had a great run with Avalanche won the tag team titles. I also have a fond memory of Earthquake against Hulk Hogan that was truly a great match they had and I will never forget the memories.
Remembering John Tenta -- by Dave B.
I couldn't agree anymore than with the comments that have alreadt been posted by the different writers regarding John Tenta. I had wished, despite the slim odds, he'd defeat his ultimate enemy - bladder cancer. Unfortunately, he lost that battle, but the memories of him as a performer, and a man, will always remain.
He played a monster heel during his prime in the WWE in the early 90s, but that didn't stop me from being a fan of his. However, he seemed to be a far better human being. His battle with bladder cancer was public. He posted updates about his condition on another website - wrestlecrap.com. Doing this allowed him to be open about something which is usually private. Reading his posts showed how much he respected his fans, and I grew to know more about John Tenta the man.
It takes courage to be open about a disease such as cancer to strangers. He was more than up to the task, and handled his ordeal as a true gentleman. He is a true champion, and always will be in my book. I wish John's family the best during this difficult time.
John Tenta -- by Michael Sierra.
When I think of the WWF in the 80s a bunch of names come to mind. Names like Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Andre The Giant, but one other name always place a key role in my mind Earthquake. Because when I think of the 80s and the style gimmicks they had the "Earthquake" gimmick fits it perfectly.
When thinking of key roles Earthquake had during the 80s I would say that his "Killing" of Jake Roberts snake would be one of his greatest impacts. Along with him being in the Natural Disasters with fellow big man Typhoon. Earthquake was defiantly the main man in the team though.
Evan though John Tenta only had three month tag title reign. Earthquake seemed to be a reoccurring threat to the likes of Hulk Hogan. Some may think that the reaction from the internet for Tenta's is a little extreme, but I believe that John Tenta is truley a legend.
*BONG* -- by Jeff Sugg.
Big John Tenta sadly lost his battle with Bladder Cancer, and I must say that his passing has hit me hard. As a boy Big John scared the bejesus out of me and I just knew that he was the end of Hulkamania. The scene ending that particular edition of The Brother Love Show with Hogan clutching his chest and his Cross sits in my mind today. And of course I sent my get well wishes to the Hulkster in the ultimate act of markdom.
Looking back now I see through the intensity laced promos from Earthquake and think about how much fun John Tenta was having. Keeping up with him over on the Wrestlecrap board was a true joy for me having been so into Tenta's character as a child.
John Tenta was a true professional, and more importantly he was a terrific human being. Pro wrestling has lost one of its greatest ambassadors as Big John was always willing to share his time with fans even as he was battling the ultimate battle, but even more sadly a family has lost their loving husband and terrific father.
Thank you for all the memories big guy, you will be missed incredibly.
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