For some competitors, the hill is a bit steeper to climb in order to reach popularity in the WWE. While some have that “it” factor that ascends them quickly to the top, like Goldberg and Kurt Angle, some compete for a number of years just to get a decent push in the company. For former WWE star Matt Anoa’i, he had to travel through many promotions, as well as don many different gimmicks, before tripping on a pile of gold.
Matt is a member of the legendary Anoa’i family, who have been affiliated with WWE for decades. Names such as WWE Hall of Famers Afa & Sika of the Wild Samoans, Yokozuna, and Rikishi, Umaga, and current U.S. Champion Roman Reigns have made this family arguably the most prestigious pedigree in WWE history. Just recently on an episode of WWE Raw, Lance Anoa’i was a security guard during the Brock Lesnar and Goldberg faceoff.
With such an amazing dynasty, Matt had some very big shoes to fill. He first received television exposure while teaming with his cousin, former WWE Tag Team Champion Samu of The Headshrinkers, in ECW.
He would reach even greater heights in 2002, as “Rosey,” when he and fellow Anoa’i sibling Eddie Fatu, then known as Jamal (who would eventually become Umaga) teamed as the 3 Minute Warning. While the tag team was short-lived, their alliances with Eric Bischoff and Rico Constantino made an indelible mark during the “Ruthless Aggression” era.
Matt would experience his biggest achievement, oddly, as a masked superhero. Filling the role of The Hurricane’s assistant, or “Super Hero in Training,” his character would become so popular with fans, especially children, that it earned him a WWE World Tag Team Championship after defeating La Resistance at Backlash in 2005.
On a recent episode of The Pancakes and Powerslams Show, Rosey explained how the gimmick originated.
“I sat down with Vince [McMahon] and we had a little meeting, and he let me know the idea that they had. That was the Super Hero in Training. At first, I didn’t dig it. I wasn’t grasping the idea. But then, when he looked at me, and he was like ‘Man. Can you image, Matty, if we got 10 thousand kids out there wearing S.H.I.T. shirts? As soon as I thought about the merchandise, I was like, ‘Okay.'”
Matt also shared a very interesting revelation.
In 2012, the faction of Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins, known as The Shield, would debut at the Survivor Series pay-per-view, costing Ryback an opportunity to win the WWE Championship. The trio would go on to have very successful solo careers, with each having a reign as both U.S. and World Champion.
Regarding the idea of The Shield, Matt talked about how this has been in the works for years and how he was supposed to be an original member.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but whenever me and my cousin, when Eddie [Fatu] came back, the original thought was, we were going to be The Shield. [Triple H] let us know, ‘Alright. Go out and buy you some black S.W.A.T Team stuff.’ And we did it. Either or, it didn’t work out. Obviously, Jamal moved on to do the Umaga thing and I went on to do my thing.”
Matt was released from WWE in 2006 and went on to compete in Japan and various independent promotions. He is currently spending most of his time co-facilitating Florida-based wrestling promotion Epic Championship Wrestling, along with his father, Sika.
As Rosey, Matt is a living example of how consistency while working in the business can turn out to be a successful career.
[Featured Image by WWE]