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Rosey (1970-2017)


The Anoa'i wrestling family is one of the cornerstones of professional wrestling: from the Wild Samoans to Rikishi, from The Rock to Roman Reigns, it's hard to dispute the impact of the dynasty's contributions to the spectacle, both in and out of the ring. And when it came to the ring, few—even from the Anoa'i family itself—delivered impact as strong as Matt Anoa'i, known to many of us as Rosey.

At a young age, Rosey seemed to be destined for a role in the family's storied legacy in arenas all over the world. The son of Sika—one half of the legendary Wild Samoans—and the brother of current WWE Superstar Roman Reigns, the 400 pound Rosey was an agile competitor who, at first, aimed for a career in the National Football League. After sustaining a leg injury, he shifted his focus to professional wrestling, and made his debut in 1995. Like many wrestlers in the Anoa'i family, Rosey began his career in World Xtreme Wrestling, first tagging with his brother, Samu.

His stint in wXw set the pace for a long career in tag team wrestling, where he appeared in various promotions like ECW, Puerto Rico's WWC, and a stint in Japan's FMW alongside his future long-time tag team partner, Eddie Fatu (whom we all now know as Jamal/Umaga, who himself passed away in 2009).

After years in the independents, the team—first known as The Island Boyz—made their way to the WWE in 2002, playing the role of Eric Bischoff's insurance policy known as "3 Minute Warning." Rosey and Jamal were heavy hitters who impressed the crowd with their surprising athletic prowess, not to mention their no-remorse attitude when it came to carrying out Bischoff's orders. Bringing speed and size into the ring like only the Anoa'i family can deliver, 3 Minute Warning did not win any titles, but intimidated even the most established tag teams of the time.

It was not until a year later when Rosey came into his own, and became the beloved Super Hero In Training. The character allowed the audience to explore a more playful side to the once-hard-hitting authority henchman: now The Hurricane's sidekick, the superhero completed his mantle of wrestling championships by adding the World Tag Team Championship to his list.

Shortly after The Hurricane's heel turn, Rosey was released from his WWE contract, and started to share his experience and knowledge across the independents and the world. His highest profile angle came a few months after his release in AJPW, until his career eventually slowed down. After more appearances and a short stint in reality television, Rosey ultimately ended up outside the ring, teaching a new generation of wrestlers through a small Florida-based promotion, and running some businesses on the side.

Just a few days after turning 47, after struggling with heart issues, Matt Anoa'i has passed away.

Whether he was a no-nonsense hired gun who decimated his opponents with his sheer size and amazing agility, or a big-hearted superhero who helps ladies cross the street and lays beatings in the squared circle, Rosey has taken his ride off into the sunset. He has cemented his place not only as a vanguard of the Anoa'i dynasty, but as one of the most exciting and versatile big-man wrestlers to hit the ropes in recent memory. Our condolences go out to his family and friends: rest in power, Rosey.

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