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Matt Anoa’i – April 7, 1970 – April 17, 2017
- Updated: April 18, 2017
Matt Anoa’i – April 7, 1970 – April 17, 2017
Former WWE tag team champion Matt (Rosey) Anoa’i, older brother of Roman Reigns, passed away tragically Monday night. He was 47 years old. The former “Super Hero In Training” and 3-Minute Warning member’s death sent shock waves through out the wrestling world, as fans, friends and family took part in remembering the gentle giant.
A part of the legendary Anoa’i wrestling family, he followed in the footsteps of his father Sika and uncle Afa, the Wild Samoans, and cousins Yokozuna (Rodney Anoa’i), Rikishi (Solofa Anoa’i), and the Tonga Kid (Sam Fatu).
“We want to let his fans know that he loved them and the wrestling world so much. In his passing, he left three beautiful young children and a heartbroken family. Please respect the privacy of his children and family as they mourn the loss of this kind, loving, gentle man, who was a father, son, brother and a superhero to us all.” – The Anoa’i Family, in a statement released by WWE.com
Matt Anoa’i made his debut in July of 2002, along with his cousin Eddie (Jamal/Umaga) Fatu, as part of the tag team 3-Minute Warning, under the name of “Rosey”.
A part of the RAW roster, they would be then WWE RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff’s enforcers/hitmen for hire, he would sick them on anyone who he felt like disposing, using the calling of “Did you say ‘3 minutes’?”
Shortly after cousin Jamal was released, Rosey would be paired with “The Hurricane” Shane Helms later on in the year, as the “Super Hero In Training”, but would eventually be considered a full fledged hero after.
The team would go onto win tag team gold in 2005, after defeating La Resistance, but would later drop the titles to Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch in September of that year.
Matt Anoa’i was later on released by the company in March of 2006, and would go on to wrestle for All Japan Pro Wrestling, winning the 2006 World’s Strongest Tag Determination League with Suwama. He wrestled under the name RO-Z.
“I sat there one night and was looking at the bartender. He was probably in his 60s. It just dawned on me that I needed to get out of this town and pursue a career. Wrestling became the glove that fit.” – Matt Anoa’i – WWE.com, 2012
He wrestled for several independent promotions across the country, using the names of RO-Z, Rosie, and Rosie – Superhero in Training; he would then help to run the Pensacola, Florida based Epic Championship Wrestling along with his father Sika.
Anoa’i was hospitalized in 2014, due to complications from heart disease, but it did not stop him from pursuing his dreams.
The Anoa’i family released a collective statement on Tuesday morning to WWE.com:
“The Anoa’i family is mourning the loss of Sika’s son, Matt aka Rosey, due to an untimely death.
We want to let his fans know that he loved them and the wrestling world so much. In his passing, he left three beautiful young children and a heartbroken family. Please respect the privacy of his children and family as they mourn the loss of this kind, loving, gentle man, who was a father, son, brother and a superhero to us all.
Our family appreciates your prayers and continued support during this very difficult time.”
During his youth, Anoa’i played football in high school in Florida, earning scholarships to the University of Hawaii; however, after his football career ended, he worked as a bouncer in New Orleans, where he decided to take his chances in the ring.
In an interview with WWE.com in 2012, he spoke of what led to his decision to become a professional wrestler, saying:
“I sat there one night and was looking at the bartender. He was probably in his 60s. It just dawned on me that I needed to get out of this town and pursue a career. Wrestling became the glove that fit.”
He is survived by his wife and three children. We here at TSJSports would like to extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
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