The Samoan wrestlers require no formal introduction in the world of professional wrestling. If you are a wrestling fan, then it’s very likely that every time you hear the word ‘Samoan’, you involuntarily hear the Rock cutting an electrifying promo, see The Usos dropping everybody down with superkicks, feel the terrifying presence of Samoa Joe or maybe you see Roman Reigns hitting the Superman Punch. The Samoan wrestlers have contributed greatly to the pro wrestling world throughout the decades. Let us take a look at some of the most important Samoan wrestlers.
The Anoa’i family is the most popular Samoan family, comprising of Samoan wrestlers. They have imprinted their footprints on the pro wrestling world, chiefly in WWE and in the various NWA promotions around the world. Some of the most notable members of the Anoa’i family are Dwayne Johnson, Roman Reigns, The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso), Rikishi, Rosey, Umaga, Yokozuna, the Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika) and Peter Maivia. The members of the Anoa’i family (or as some people might call it – The Dwayne Johnson family) formed several tag teams and stables within a variety of promotions and have held numerous championships.
Some members of the Dwayne Johnson family have played a major role in the pro wrestling business, especially The Wild Samoans, Yokozuna, The Rock and Roman Reigns. The Wild Samoans were a decorated tag team. Yokozuna was the first Samoan wrestler to become WWF World Heavyweight Champion. The Rock helped in leading WWF into the Attitude Era and was one of the biggest draws of all-time. Roman Reigns has been established as the face of WWE since 2014. These Samoan wrestlers helped in revolutionizing and shaping pro wrestling as we see it today.
The Anoa’i family consists of numerous Samoan wrestlers who fought in several wrestling promotions all around the world. The Samoan wrestlers of this family are related to one another and it can get difficult sometimes to follow their lineage systematically. Here’s a chart focusing on the Dwayne Johnson family of Samoan wrestlers.
The Wild Samoans
The Samoan brothers Sika (Leati Sika Anoa’i Amituana’i) and Afa (Arthur Anoa’i Sr.) formed the tag team The Wild Samoans. They won 21 Tag Team Championships around the world throughout the span of their illustrious career, chiefly in Mid-South Wrestling, the NWA promotions and in WWE (WWF). The Wild Samoans made their WWF debut in January 1980 with Lou Albano as their manager. They held the WWF World Tag Team Championships thrice. They also wrestled for NJPW briefly after leaving WWF. Sika is the father of WWE superstar Roman Reigns. The Wild Samoans were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.
Rodney Agatupu Anoa’i was portrayed as a sumo wrestling champion representing Japan and wrestled under the name Yokozuna. Managed by Mr. Fuji, Yokozuna debuted on the October 31, 1992, episode of Superstars. Yokozuna was a 2-time WWF Tag Team Champion, 2-time WWF World Heavyweight Champion and the winner of the 1993 Royal Rumble. He was the first Samoan wrestler to hold the WWF World Heavyweight Championship and also the first Royal Rumble winner who received a World Championship match at the main event of WrestleMania as a result of a direct stipulation. Yokozuna headlined both WrestleMania IX and WrestleMania X against Bret Hart for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. Some of his notable feuds were with Bret Hart, Luger, Hulk Hogan, and Undertaker. Remembered as one of the greatest Samoan wrestlers of all time, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously in 2012.
Solofa F. Fatu Jr. wrestled under the name Rikishi, which was the Japanese term for a sumo wrestler, similar to his cousin’s name “Yokozuna.” Rikishi joined the WWF in 1992 as a part of the tag team The Headshrinkers, along with his cousin Samu (Samula Anoa’i). His infamous signature maneuver, The Stink Face, brought him a lot of notoriety during the Attitude Era. A member of the electrifying Dwayne Johnson Family of Samoan wrestlers, Rikishi was involved in multiple feuds throughout the Attitude Era, some of the notable ones of which were with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Undertaker and fellow Samoan wrestler The Rock. In WWE, he held the WWF Intercontinental Championship once and the tag team titles thrice. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015. Rikishi is also the father of The Usos.
Dwayne Douglas Johnson a.k.a The Rock is one of the greatest professional wrestlers in the history of the sport. He made his WWF debut on November 4, 1996, as Rocky Maivia on Monday Night Raw and after failing to win over the audience as a face, he turned heel, joining the stable The Nation of Domination in August 1997. Soon after that, Rocky Maivia became The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment – “The Rock” – and changed the landscape of professional wrestling forever. The Rock led the WWF into the Attitude Era and along with Stone Cold Steve Austin and their contemporaries, defeated WCW in the Monday Night Wars. The Attitude Era of WWE (WWF) was undoubtedly the best era in the history of the company and of pro wrestling as a whole. The mere presence of The Rock in the arena changed its composure and its aura. A 2-time Intercontinental Champion, 5-time World Tag Team champion, 10-time World champion and winner of the 2003 Royal Rumble, The Rock revolutionized WWF and caused a hike in the ticket sales and TV ratings. The Rock main-event the most-bought PPV worldwide in WWE history (WrestleMania XXVIII), the most bought PPV domestically in WWE history (WrestleMania X-Seven), the highest-rated Raw and SmackDown in history and was also a part of the highest-rated segment in WWE history. He is without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest Samoan wrestler of all time. Needless to say, there has never been, and will never be, another Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Edward Smith Fatu initially made his main roster debut as Jamal with his cousin Rosey in 2002 as the heel stable 3-Minute Warning. On April 3, 2006, episode of Raw, Fatu returned with a new gimmick and was renamed as “Umaga,” a ruthless and destructive Samoan wrestler. He had a winning streak against the majority of the Raw roster and he defeated the top superstars John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Kane during that period. Umaga was defeated 9 months later, by John Cena. Some his major feuds were with Kane, John Cena, Bobby Lashley, Batista and CM Punk. He was a 2-time Intercontinental Champion.
Jimmy (Jonathan Solofa Fatu) and Jey (Joshua Samuel Fatu) Uso are arguably the best tag team in the world right now. The Usos wrestled in WWE’s developmental brand FCW in 2009 and then joined the main-roster on May 24, 2010, along with their cousin Tamina Snuka. The 6-time WWE world tag team champions have marked their presence in the industry with their technical style, tag team abilities, and promo skills. One can always expect a classic when the Usos are involved in a match. Some of their most notable feuds have been with The New Day, The Bar and they are presently feuding with The O.C. The Usos are the son of Rikishi and also the first cousins once-removed of Yokozuna. The twin brothers of the Dwayne Johnson family are the nephews of Umaga. The Usos are also the cousins of Roman Reigns.
Sarona Moana-Marie Reiher Snuka-Polamalu is a second-generation pro-wrestler (daughter of Jimmy Snuka) who wrestles under the name Tamina Snuka. She made her WWE Raw debut in May 2010 alongside her cousins The Usos. She has feuded with Natalya, AJ Lee, and Kaitlyn. She formed an alliance with Nia Jax and pursued the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship.
Nia Jax (Savelina Fanene) made her presence felt in the WWE’s Women’s Division the moment she stepped into the ring. Jax made her NXT debut in May 2015 and joined the main roster in July 2016. She showcased her dominance and feuded with the top women wrestlers of the company - Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, and Ronda Rousey. Nia Jax is a former WWE Raw Women’s Champion. She is the first woman wrestler of the Anoa’i family to have won the WWE Women’s Championship.
Since 2014, Roman Reigns (Leati Joseph “Joe” Anoa’i) has been built up as the face of WWE and despite receiving some initial heat from the WWE Universe at the beginning of his push, he managed to win their favor and has been doing a great job as the Big Dog of the company. Reigns initially joined WWE’s developmental territory FCW in 2010 and later made his explosive main roster debut at the Survivor Series 2012 PPV, alongside fellow wrestlers Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose as a member of the faction The Shield. His popularity had suffered greatly after his Royal Rumble win in 2015 but he has actually been extremely entertaining and has always managed to provide the fans with interesting and engaging matches. He has rightfully earned his spot as one of the great Samoan wrestlers. Reigns is a 4-time WWE World Champion and have held all the championships in the WWE, making him the 17th Grand Slam Champion. A member of the Dwayne Johnson family, he is the cousin of Yokozuna, Rikishi, Umaga, The Tonga Kid (Sam Fatu) and the first cousin-once-removed to The Usos and The Rock.
“The Samoan Submission Machine” Samoa Joe (Nuufolau Joel Seanoa) is undoubtedly the best Samoan in-ring performer and belongs to the elite group of Samoan wrestlers. (It must be noted here that he is not a member of the Anoa’i family.) He established himself as a top-tier performer in ROH from the very onset of the company in 2002, where he held the ROH World Championship for a record 21 months. Joe’s extremely stiff and hard-hitting technical wrestling style brought him immense popularity and success in the wrestling world. Some of his notable feuds in ROH had been with CM Punk, Austin Aries and Bryan Danielson.
Samoa Joe had the honor of fighting Antonio Inoki when Joe was chosen by ROH to face the legend in a match which is still regarded as one of the greatest wrestling matches of all-time. After leaving ROH, Samoa Joe joined PWG where he feuded with Super Dragon. Samoa Joe maintained an undefeated streak when he joined TNA in June 2005 and there, he feuded with the likes of AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Kurt Angle, Christian Cage, and Magnus. In May 2015, Joe made his NXT debut where he became the co-winner of the inaugural Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic with Finn Bálor and also the first-ever 2-time NXT champion. He feuded with Finn Bálor and Shinsuke Nakamura in NXT and made his main roster debut in January 2017. Some of his major feuds in the main roster have been with Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn, Brock Lesnar, AJ Styles, and Rey Mysterio. He is currently feuding with Roman Reigns. Samoa Joe has won and held numerous championships throughout his career. He is a former ROH World Championship, TNA World Heavyweight Champion, 5-time TNA X-Division Champion, 2-time NXT Champion, and 2-time WWE United States Champion.
Roman Reigns and The Rock
WWE superstar Roman Reigns and The Rock belong to the same family tree and the two are cousins by relation. Their family has many notable wrestlers, including The Usos who are Roman Reigns cousins.
Roman Reigns and The Rock have been seen on WWE TV on a few occasions, most notably when The Rock helped Roman Reigns win the 2015 Royal Rumble match. Roman Reigns cousins The Usos have also been seen on WWE TV with The Rock when the latter helped The Usos to assault the New Day on Raw in 2016.
In 2019, Roman Reigns and The Rock also starred in Fast and Furious: Hobbs & Shaw which is a spin-off of the Fast and Furious franchise. The movie also casts Hollywood stars, Jason Statham and Idris Elba. Hobbs & Shaw also marks the Hollywood debut of Roman Reigns.