Matthew "Matt" Anoaʻi (April 7, 1970 – April 17, 2017) was a professional wrestler best known for his time on the independent circuit under numerous ring names and in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), where he competed as Rosey. He was the real-life brother of former WWE Champion, Roman Reigns.
Anoaʻi is part of the Anoa'i family. He is the son of former Samoan professional wrestler Sika Anoaʻi, who competed as one half of the Wild Samoans. His younger brother, Joe Anoaʻi, was the starting defensive tackle for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team and is also a professional wrestler who works for the WWE under the name Roman Reigns. Anoaʻi inducted the Wild Samoans (his father Sika and his uncle Afa) into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007. He is a cousin of wrestler and movie star, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Other cousins include Rikishi, Tonga Kid, Yokozuna, Akane and Umaga.
Growing up, Anoaʻi played football alongside Emmitt Smith in highschool for Escambia in Pensacola Fl. He had hopes to play in the National Football League, he played college football for Hawaii. Although sustained a leg injury playing football and left Hawaii. He worked shortly in various nightclubs in New Orleans before deciding to train as a professional wrestler.
Training and early career
Anoaʻi trained with his cousin Eddie Fatu at the Wild Samoan professional wrestling school operated by members of their family. When their training was completed, they debuted in their uncle Afa's World Xtreme Wrestling (WXW) promotion. He later began teaming with Samu as the Samoan Gangsta Party, using the name Mack Daddy Kane. They had a brief stint in ECW in the summer of 1996, feuding with various tag teams, including The Gangstas, as well as the Eliminators and the Bruise Brothers, and wrestled against Axl Rotten and Hack Meyers at Hardcore Heaven in June 1996. He returned to WXW in 1997, where Anoaʻi held the WXW Tag Team Championship as one half of the Samoan Gangstas with his cousin L.A. Smooth on two occasions. They defeated the Love Connection to begin their first title reign on May 24, and the Mad Russian and the Russian Eliminator on September 17 to begin their second. He also competed in the World Wrestling Council (WWC) in Puerto Rico during 1997, winning the WWC World Tag Team Championship with Tahiti as The Islanders on June 22.
In June 2001, he travelled to Japan to wrestle for Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW) where, using the name Matty Samu, he teamed with Fatu to defeat Hideki Hosaka and Yoshinori Sasaki to win the FMW Hardcore Tag Team Championship. Anoaʻi, along with Fatu, signed developmental contracts with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and were assigned to Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA), adopting the tag team name The Island Boyz, and with Anoaʻi using the ring name Kimo. They won the HWA Tag Team Championship in November 2001, by defeating Evan Karagias and Shannon Moore. They also competed for Memphis Championship Wrestling (MCW), holding the MCW Southern Tag Team Championship on three occasions.
World Wrestling Entertainment
3-Minute Warning (2002–2003)
Anoaʻi (renamed to Rosey) and Ekmo (renamed to Jamal) made their WWE debut on the July 22, 2002 episode of Raw as 3-Minute Warning, a pair of heels. The name Rosey was inspired by Rosey Grier, an American football player. They were "hired" as Eric Bischoff's enforcers, attacking random wrestlers each week, after Bischoff either gave people three minutes to entertain him before they were attacked or decided that three minutes of a segment was enough before the team appeared to end it. They attacked numerous wrestlers at the orders of Bischoff, including D'Lo Brown and Shawn Stasiak. They also attacked non-wrestlers, including ring announcer Lilian Garcia and retired wrestlers Jimmy Snuka, Mae Young and The Fabulous Moolah. Their most notable event came when they attacked two lesbians, which Anoaʻi later cited as his favorite 3-Minute Warning run-in.
In September, 3-Minute Warning began a feud with Billy and Chuck, interfering in their storyline commitment ceremony, and defeating them at the Unforgiven pay-per-view event. Rico, Billy and Chuck's former manager, also began to manage 3-Minute Warning during this time. They competed regularly in Raw's tag team division until June 2003, when Jamal was released from his WWE contract.
Teaming with The Hurricane (2003–2006)
Later in 2003, The Hurricane "discovered" Rosey's potential as a superhero, and christened him as "Rosey, the Super Hero in Training" (the S.H.I.T.). Rosey was involved in numerous sketches involving him training to be a superhero, including helping an old lady to cross the street and attempting to get changed into his superhero costume in a phonebox. Rosey and The Hurricane teamed regularly together during this time, wrestling against teams including Chris Jericho & Christian and Evolution. On the July 19, 2004, episode of Raw, Rosey appeared with a new costume, seemingly graduated to a full superhero, officially turning him into a fan favorite.
On May 1, 2005, at the Backlash pay-per-view, Rosey and Hurricane defeated La Résistance in the finals of a Tag Team Turmoil match to win the World Tag Team Championship. They were joined for a short while by WWE Diva Stacy Keibler, who they referred to as Super Stacy. Stacy, however, was then drafted to the SmackDown! brand. On September 5, 2005, Rosey and The Hurricane were defeated by Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, during their debut match on Raw. This match earned the pair a tag team title shot at Unforgiven. During the title match, Murdoch delivered an elevated DDT on The Hurricane to the outside. The DDT caused Hurricane to suffer a storyline "stinger" and allowed Cade and Murdoch to beat the injured Hurricane later in the match to win the World Tag Team Title from him and Rosey.
The loss of the title eventually brought the team to an end, as they began a losing streak caused by Hurricane's injuries. During the October 17, 2005 episode of Raw, Hurricane was assaulted by Kurt Angle at the request of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. After the beating footage was shown, Hurricane ripped off his mask and struck Rosey (who had come to the ring to his aid). The following week, Hurricane did not show up for a World Tag Team Title match, leaving Rosey to face the champions Cade and Murdoch alone. During the match, The Hurricane (out of costume) appeared at the top of the entrance ramp, now going by the name Gregory Helms as he watched Rosey get double teamed and defeated. After the match, Helms announced that he was fed up of being funny for the crowd, and that he had been carrying Rosey as a tag team partner. On the November 7, 2005 episode, Helms defeated Rosey in their first encounter since teaming together.
Shortly after this turmoil, Jamal was rehired by WWE and he and Rosey were scheduled to reunite 3-Minute Warning. The duo wrestled as a tag team during a dark match before the January 9, 2006 episode of Raw.; however, on March 21, 2006, Rosey was released from his WWE contract, and the hinted return of 3-Minute Warning never made it to television.
Japan, independent circuit, and Epic Championship Wrestling (2006–2017)
Anoaʻi began competing for All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) in 2006, using the name RO-Z. He teamed up with Suwama to wrestle in the 2006 World's Strongest Tag Determination League, and they got to the final, where they were defeated by Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan. He continued to compete for AJPW throughout 2007, including in the 2007 January 4 Dome Show at the Tokyo Dome, where he teamed with Taru, Suwama, and Giant Bernard to defeat Riki Choshu, Manabu Nakanishi, Takashi Iizuka, and Naofumi Yamamoto. Anoaʻi participated in the AJPW 2007 Champion Carnival tournament as a member of Block B, but he finished with two points in the series, coming last in Block B. During 2006 and 2007, he also competed for a number of independent promotions, including Great Championship Wrestling, BAW Championship Wrestling, and the Appalachian Wrestling Federation.
He wrestled a dark match being billed under his real name for WWE on August 20, 2007, before an episode of Raw; he was defeated by Johnny Jeter. He returned the following day for the August 21 SmackDown! taping, where he was again defeated by Jeter. Anoaʻi began wrestling in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) in September 2007, WWE's developmental territory, although he was not under contract with WWE. He wrestled several tag team matches with Afa, Jr. as the Sons of Samoa, before leaving the promotion. He returned to wrestling on the independent circuit, competing for companies including EWF, where he competes regularly. On Saturday, October 31, 2009 Anoaʻi (wrestling as Rosie – Super Hero In Training) made his debut for the Dynamic Wrestling Alliance defeating "Sexy" Sean Casey at the DWA's Monster Ball event in Cincinnati, which became the promotion's first televised event.
Before his death, Rosey was running a wrestling promotion called Epic Championship Wrestling in Florida with his father, Sika.
Anoaʻi was a contestant in the ABC reality series, Fat March in 2007. The show saw 12 overweight people attempt to walk over 570 miles (920 km) through nine states, in order to lose weight and get fit, while competing for a prize pool of US$1.2 million. A press release for the show stated that Anoaʻi was participating because "it wasn't safe for him to compete" as a professional wrestler, and he needed to "lose weight to return to his career". Due to knee injuries, he quit during the fifth episode.
Anoaʻi's father is Samoan professional wrestler Sika Anoa'i. His brother is Leati Anoa'i, better known in the WWE as Roman Reigns. His ex-wife, Amanda Vandeberg Schall, is from Mason, Ohio. They have two sons, Jordan Iles and Koa Rodney Anoai, and a daughter Madison Alani Anoai. Outside of wrestling, Anoaʻi ran a restaurant called Island Boi BBQ. In January 2014, Anoaʻi was hospitalized due to congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation.
Anoaʻi passed away 10 days after turning 47, on April 17, 2017.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- "Super Hero In Training"
- Tag teams and stables
Championships and accomplishments
- Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling
- WEW Hardcore Tag Team Champion (1 time) - with Eddie Fatu
- Heartland Wrestling Association
- Memphis Championship Wrestling
- World Star Wrestling Federation
- WSWF Tag Team Champion (3 time) - with LA Smooth
- World Wrestling Council
- WWC Tag Team Champion (1 time) - with Tahiti
- World Wrestling Entertainment