Hamish Woodward


Remembering Tatanka’s Bizarre Return At Wrestlemania 32


Tatanka was one of the most popular WWE stars for a time in the 1990s. The Native American wrestler wowed fans with his native culture, including headdress, face paint and mannerisms that many had not seen before in a wrestling ring. He also had moves based off the native American culture, including the deadly Tomahawk Chop.

Tatanka wrestled in the WWE from 1991 to 1996 and made a big name for himself by failing to lose a match for two years. From his debut in 1991 to 1993, Tatanka had one of the most legendary winning streaks in wrestling. The prototypical Goldberg, the Native American star defeated everyone he came up against, racking up a year and half of undefeated matches which should have positioned him as the companies top babyface.

This is where he built his legend, until he was defeated by Ludvig Borger in a throwaway match on the October 30, 1993 edition of Superstars. He bounced around the midcard until his release in 1996, citing family and spiritual issues. He wouldn’t return until a brief run in 2006 where he teamed with Matt Hardy, although that would not last long and he would soon be released.

Tatanka’s Return at Wrestlemania 32

However, it was his return in 2016 which was perhaps the most memorable and most bizarre of all his WWE appearances. He had not been seen in the company for a decade at that point and nobody had any expectation to see the star of the 90s appear in the match.

And they didn’t see him. Well, except for the eagle-eyes viewers. Tatanka walked out alongside the bulk of the match, who entered the ring all together as the Wrestlemania theme played (there was not enough time to play everyone’s individual entrance music). Some stars like Big Show and surprise entrant Shaq both entered alone, but Tatanka scurried into the match without any fanfare. The only individual entrances at the Battle Royal were for Big Show, Kane, DDP, and Shaq. 

Allegedly, this was a mistake. It has been said that he was supposed to enter on his own for a big pop for the legend of the ring. However, he mistakenly entered with the rest of the pack, missing out on one final pop for Tatanka. He didn’t do much in the match, mainly brawling with fellow legend Diamond Dallas Page (also known as DDP) before being tossed out by eventual winner of the match Baron Corbin.

That was the last time fans saw Tatanka in the WWE. He has not been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and looks like he never will, although with recent inductees including the likes of Koko B. Ware and Queen Sharmell, quite literally anyone fits the criteria to being honoured by the WWE this way.

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