Roman Reigns’ older brother, Matthew Anoa’i, was a WWE superstar a decade before his brother made his debut with The Shield. WWE fans will recognize him from a superhero gimmick as Rosey, the tag team partner of Gregory “Hurricane” Helms. The WWE announced today that Anoa’i passed away at the age of 47.
Exactly 10 years before Roman Reigns made his WWE main roster debut with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose in The Shield in 2012, Rosey made his debut in 2002 with his cousin Jamal as the group 3-Minute Warning. They were allied with evil general manager Eric Bischoff and came in to attack anyone he wanted them to take out.
Sadly, the death of Rosey marks the death of both members of 3-Minute Warning. Jamal went on to take on the character of Umaga and was a huge star in the WWE from 2006-2009. Umaga died in 2009 at the age of 36 from a heart attack.
According to USA Today, Rosey had been ill and was hospitalized back in 2014 with heart disease. The official cause of death for Rosey remains unknown, but his family – which includes Roman Reigns, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, The Usos, Rikishi, and more – released a statement to their fans.
“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.”
Rosey and Roman Reigns are the sons of the legendary Samoan Sika. Longtime WWE fans will remember Sika as one-half of the three-time WWE world tag team champions Wild Samoans tag team with his brother Afa. That tag team was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007, with Afa’s son Samu and Rosey inducting their dads into the Hall.
USA Today also reported that Rosey mentioned in a 2012 interview that he decided to get into the wrestling business while working as a bouncer and realizing that he needed to get out of his hometown and find a career. His family’s legacy in professional wrestling made that a perfect fit.
Rosey broke in as part of 3-Minute-Warning but he was most popular as the gimmick tag team of the superheroes with Hurricane Helms. It was part of that tag team that Rosey won his only WWE title, as they held the tag titles in 2005 and holding them for 140 days.
Gregory Helms took to Twitter to tell fans to always tell their loved ones that they love them and called the phone call “heartwrenching.” Helms, who is working now for Impact Wrestling, also posted a photo on Instagram of a smiling Rosey hugging him with the tag team titles in his hands and called him “My partner. My friend.”
William Regal, who was one-half of the tag team that Rosey and Hurricane Helms won the WWE tag titles from, alto took to Twitter to say he was sorry to hear of the passing of Rosey.
Before Rosey made his WWE debut, he wrestled in a promotion called World Xtreme Wrestling and teamed with his cousin Samu as the Samoan Gangsta Party. They also made an appearance in ECW where Tommy Dreamer got to know him. Dreamer also took to Twitter, where he called Rosey a “great human being” and said this was a “sad day.”
Former WWE announcer Mauro Ranallo sent his condolences on Twitter while also offering his prayers to Roman Reigns and the entire Anoa’i family.
Roman Reigns has been on television for the last week after a storyline attack by Braun Strowman. Strowman and Roman Reigns are scheduled to wrestle at Payback but there is no word on whether or not Roman Reigns will be left off television for longer due to the passing of his big brother.
[Featured Image by WWE]