Tragedy has once again struck the pro-wrestling world, as Matt Anoa’i, the man once known as Rosey in the WWE, has passed away. The older brother of WWE’s Roman Reigns suffered an ‘untimely death.’ He was only 47 years old.
The WWE announced on April 18 that Mat Anoa’i, who wrestled for the company as Rosey, had tragically passed away. Matt’s family and the WWE have a long history together, as he was the son of WWE Hall of Famer Sika, 72, who won the WWF Tag Team Championships as part of The Wild Samoans with his brother, Afa, 74. Matt also was the older brother of current WWE Superstar, Roman Reigns, 31.
“The Anoa’i family is mourning the loss of Sika’s son, Mat aka Rosey, due to an untimely death,” Matt’s family told WWE.com in a statement. The sports entertainment company also shared its deepest condolences, adding that the tragic passing of Matt left behind “three beautiful young children and a heartbroken family.”
It seemed that Matt was destined to join the family business. Along with his brother, his father and his uncle, many of Matt’s cousins are wrestlers: Solofa Fatu Jr. (aka Rikishi, 51) Sam Fatu (aka Tonga Kid, 51) the late Rodney Anoa’i (aka Yokozuna) and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, 44. It seemed natural that Rosey and his other cousin, Edward Fatu would have their own turn in the ring. They trained under their uncle Afa before debuting in World Extreme Wrestling in the mid-1990s.
From there, as the Samoan Gansta Party, Matt would have appearances in Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico and Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling in Japan. In 2001, he and Eddie signed to the WWE (formerly WWF) to a developmental contract. They wrestled at Heartland Wrestling Association as The Island Boyz, before being called up to the main roster in 2002.
As part of 3-Minute Warning, Rosey and Jamal were enforcers for Eric Bischoff, 61. After Eric issued a “three minute warning” to random wrestlers, Rosey and Jamal would arrive to inflict destruction and chaos. The group was disbanded in 2003, after Jamal was released from his WWE contract.
Following the breakup, Rosey teamed with Greg Helms (aka The Hurricane, 42) as a Super Hero In Training. The comedic duo actually found success, as Rosey won his first ever WWE World Tag Team Championship with The Hurricane. Rosey stayed with the company until his release in 2006. From there, he toured the independent wrestling circuit, including noteworthy appearances with All Japan Pro Wrestling.
Sadly, Matt’s cousin Edward has also passed away. After his release in 2003, Edwards returned to the WWE in 2005 as Umaga. Edward won the WWE Intercontinental Championship twice, before his own untimely death. In 200, Edward was found unresponsive with blood coming from his nose. His passing has been attributed to a drug overdose. Edward Fatu was 36 at the time.
Our thoughts go out to Matt’s family and friends during this time of loss.