Best 8 Wrestlers in The Anoa'i Family | Smark Out Moment

Best 8 Wrestlers in The Anoa'i Family

Posted by Walker Stewart Sunday, May 30, 2021

Professional wrestling is an industry that is directly intertwined with a litany of cultures. In a celebration of culture (and to cap off Asian American / Pacific Islander Heritage Month), we are going to rank the top 8 professional wrestlers to come out of one of the most famous wrestling families in history - The Anoa'i Dynasty. From The Wild Samoans to WWE's Tribal Chief, who are the top eight Anoa'i wrestlers? Find out here!

Note: This list only consists of wrestlers with the birthname "Anoa'i." This means that wrestlers such as The Rock, The Usos, and Umaga will not appear on this list (despite being talented wrestlers of the extended family.) With that being said - let's get into the list!

#8. Black Pearl

Black Pearl (real name Reno Anoa'i) is a Pennsylvania-born professional wrestler. Throughout 2002, Reno would train under his uncle, Afa Anoa'i. On April 6, 2003, Reno would debut under the name "Black Pearl" at a World Xtreme Wrestling event, where he would pick up a victory over Josh Daniels. Later on, Pearl would follow his cousin Rikishi to Italy and join the mainstay promotion Nu-Wrestling Evolution.

Pearl would pick up his first and only championship in wrestling when he defeated Scott Steiner in the finals of a tournament for the NWE World Heavyweight Championship. Pearl would defend this title successfully against the likes of Christian Cage, Darksoul, Heidenreich, Vampiro, and Orlando Jordan. After 376 days, Black Pearl would lose the title to Vampiro. "The Count of California" would wrestle his final match on July 27, 2018, where he, Rikishi, and Vincenza Iosefa Parisi defeated Devin Danger, El Guerrero, and Kaka Meng.

Although not a huge name compared to his family members, Pearl has had a serviceable career in wrestling. Not everyone can claim to have been a champion in professional wrestling. At 6-foot-5-inches and 251 pounds, Pearl's massive frame brought him a dominant year-long reign as NWE World Heavyweight Champion. Despite having all of the necessary tools, Pearl was never brought into a major promotion for a match. His lack of career variety lands Black Pearl at the bottom of our count.

#7. Alofa

Lloyd Anoa'i is a Pennsylvanian professional wrestler and manager. Anoa'i has wrestled under a litany of names and companies. As a WWF performer, Lloyd wrestled as "Tahitian Savage," "Fred Williams," and "Lloyd Lanui." Lloyd also wrestled under the name "L.A. Smooth" during his stint in Extreme Championship Wrestling. Trained by his father Afa and his uncle Sika, Lloyd would make his wrestling debut in 1987. Despite this, his earliest recorded match would take place on March 3, 1991, when Ray Apollo would defeat Anoa'i in Connecticut.

Anoa'i would hold many championships in professional wrestling. Notably, The Tahitian Savage held the WWC Tag Team Championships nine times. Currently, Anoa'i is a double champion. On May 11, 2018, Anoa'i (under the ring "Alofa") would win the Wawan Wrestling Championship Tag Team Championships in a handicap match. Anoa'i is the only person to ever hold the championships and hasn't defended them since he won them. Under the Alofa moniker, Anoa'i would also win the QPW Championship in a four-way match involving Alberto Del Rio, Chris Raaber, and Rob Van Dam. Due to the pandemic (and with the promotion being based in Qatar), Anoa'i has not defended the title since winning it 434 days ago.

Lloyd Anoa'i is one of those individuals whose greatness isn't fully recognized. At 6-foot-2-inches and 363 pounds, Anoa'i's massive frame has brought him great success in Puerto Rican and Middle Eastern promotions. While his stints in WWF and ECW may have been brief, at least they happened. For that reason, Lloyd Anoa'i lands at number seven on this list.

#6. Afa Jr.

Afa Anoa'i, Jr. is a Connecticut-born professional wrestler. Currently contending under the name "Afa, Jr.", Anoa'i began his wrestling training under the tutelage of his father Afa, and his uncle Sika. He would train alongside his brothers Lloyd and Samuel, debuting on August 28, 1998. In his debut, Afa would be the last man standing in a battle royal in Vienna, Austria. He would go on to win a multitude of titles in his family's World Xtreme Wrestling promotion before being signed to a WWE development contract in 2006.

Afa would not amount to much in WWE. He would remain in WWE's Deep South Wrestling developmental territory, joining the stable "Urban Assault." This experiment wouldn't last too long, however, as he would soon move over to Ohio Valley Wrestling where he would form a tag team with cousin Matt Anoa'i. On November 19, 2007, Anoa'i would make his WWE debut on Sunday Night Heat in a losing effort against 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan. He would later align himself with Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Ted DiBiase - however, he would end up being the fall guy for the stables matches. Anoa'i would be released from his contract on February 23, 2009. Ever since then, Anoa'i has been wrestling on the independent circuit.

Overall, Afa Jr's wrestling career has been fairly lackluster. Anoa'i's placement on this list is due to the notability of his brief WWE run. However, besides winning titles of nepotism in World Xtreme Wrestling, Afa Jr.'s pro wrestling career lacks any other substance to it. While there is still time for Anoa'i to make an incredible comeback - we don't see that happening anytime soon.

#5. Samu

Samu (real named Samuel Anoa'i) is a California-born professional wrestler. Samu's career is a long and storied one. At the age of fourteen, Samu would wrestle his first professional wrestling match. However, he would not make his 'official' wrestling debut until 1981. Samu's earliest recorded match came as Sam The Samoan, where he would lose to Luke Graham on September 4, 1982. One year later, Samu would end up in WWF under the name "Samula." He would join forces with The Wild Samoans (his father and uncle, respectively) in tag team competition. Samula would leave WWF in early 1985.

After wrestling for various promotions (including NJPW, WCW, and UWA), Samu would wrestle for WWF again in 1992. He and Fatu (his real-life cousin) would wrestle as "The Headshrinkers." The duo would feud with a multitude of teams and would pick up the WWF Tag Team Championships along the way. On the April 26, 1994 edition of Raw, The Headshrinkers would defeat The Quebecers to win the WWF Tag Team Championships. Samu and Fatu would hold the titles for 124 days before losing them on a house show to Shawn Michaels and Diesel.

Samu's wrestling abilities have always been his greatest drawback. In fact, one Cagematch.net user even considers Samu "colorless and uninteresting, just the classic tag team wrestler." Ironically, one of the least technically gifted grapplers of The Anoa'i Family is the first name we've mentioned thus far to win championship gold in WWE. For that reason, we place Samu at this spot on our ranking.

#4. Rosey

Rosey (real name Matthew Anoa'i) was a California-born professional wrestler. As the son of Sika Anoa'i, Matthew trained alongside his cousin, Eddie Fatu (popularly known as Umaga.) Training under The Wild Samoans, Matt and Eddie would make their debut in the family-owned World Xtreme Wrestling promotion. Despite this, his earliest recorded match is from November 24, 1995, where he would face-off against Pulgarcito for the WWC Television Championship in a losing effort. After eight years of in-ring competition, Matt would make his debut alongside cousin Eddie on WWE's main roster.

After bouncing around different developmental territories, Matt and Eddie would debut under the ring-names "Rosey" and "Jamal" respectively. Serving as Eric Bischoff's hired guns, Rosey and Jamal would make their way to ringside and attack anyone standing in the way of their boss. Almost a year after forming the team, 3-Minute Warning would disband after Jamal was released from his WWE contract. Rosey would soon join forces with WWE's resident superhero, The Hurricane. As "Rosey, Superhero In Training" (S.H.I.T), Matt would explore the comedic side to his wrestling persona in backstage vignettes with The Hurricane. This angle would culminate at WWE Backlash 2005 when Rosey and Hurricane would defeat La Resistance to win the WWE World Tag Team Championships. After 140 days, Hurricane and Rosey would lose the championships to Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch.

Rosey would be released from WWE in 2006, inevitably returning to the independent circuit. Anoa'i would wrestle for different independent promotions until his death in 2017 from congestive heart failure. While Rosey may not have been a main event player, his impact on WWE was felt from the moment Eric Bischoff heard the words "three minutes." With a litany of entertaining segments and championship gold to his name, Rosey lands this spot on our ranking.

#3. The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika)

Afa and Sika Anoa'i are one of the top wrestling tag teams of the 1970s and 1980s. Trained by wrestling legend "High Chief" Peter Maivia, The Wild Samoans would make their debut in Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling with a victory over Dan McLellan and Randy Mountain. Afa and Sika would join the WWF in 1979, where they were originally referred to as "The Samoans." They would debut at Madison Square Garden on January 21, 1980, in contention for Tito Santana and Ivan Putski's WWF Tag Team Championships. While Putski and Santana would retain, The Samoans made quite the impact.

This duo would eventually defeat Putski and Santana three months after their debut to win the WWF Tag Team Championships for the first time. Now known as The Wild Samoans, Afa and Sika would hold the titles for 119 days. They would drop them to Bob Backlund and Pedro Morales at "Showdown at Shea." Backlund would go on to win the WWF Championship while holding the tag team titles, leading to Backlund and Morales vacating the belts. After a 16-man tournament, The Wild Samoans would be crowned the new WWF Tag Team Champions for a second time. However, they would only hold the belts for 60 days before dropping them to Tony Garea and Rick Martel. In 1983, the pair would win the titles for their third and final time.

Afa and Sika would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007, wrestling their finals matches in 2014 and 1997, respectively. Nowadays, Afa and Sika run their independent promotions. This pairing is responsible for much of pro wrestling's greatest talents today. For that (and their careers), The Wild Samoans land near the top of our ranking.

#2. Yokozuna

Yokozuna (real name Agatupu Rodney Anoa'i) was a California-born professional wrestler. Revered for his massive frame and intimidating character, Yokozuna is arguably one of the most massive performers in the industry. Trained by uncle Afa, Rodney debuted in 1984. However, his earliest match on record is in a battle royal loss for International Championship Wrestling one year later. In 1992, Anoa'i was offered a roster spot in the World Wrestling Federation (which Rodney would accept.) Originally debuting as "Kokina", Rodney would dominate his opponent for a quick victory. However, Anoa'i's character would soon undergo a drastic change that would alter his career for good.

On October 31, 1992, Rodney Anoa'i would debut on WWF Superstars as Yokozuna. Yokozuna was a 500-pound plus sumo wrestler from Japan (despite Anoa'i having little-to-no Japanese ancestry.) Yokozuna's big break would come with his victory in the 1993 Royal Rumble match. This victory would allow him to face-off against WWF Champion Bret Hart at WrestleMania IX. At the event, Yokozuna would defeat Bret Hart for the championship... but would lose it the same night to a returning Hulk Hogan. Yikes!

3 months later, Yokozuna would defeat Hulk Hogan to regain the WWF Championship. After 280 days, Yokozuna would lose the championship to Bret Hart at WrestleMania X. Yokozuna would also have two WWF Tag Team Championships reign alongside Owen Hart. After failing a physical conducted by the New York State Athletic Commission, Yokozuna was fired from the WWF. On October 23, 2000, Yokozuna would pass away at the age of 34 years old from pulmonary edema. Yokozuna's placement on this list is deserved due to his impressive world championship reigns and memorability as a performer.

#1. Roman Reigns

You knew it had to be him, right? Roman Reigns (real name Leati Joseph Anoa'i) is a Florida-born professional wrestler. After playing football for the Georgia Institute of Technology, Joseph decided to follow family tradition and pursue professional wrestling. Trained by The Wild Samoans, Joseph would sign to WWE's developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling. Joseph would debut as "Roman Leakee" in a battle royal, however, he would not win. Roman would find success in FCW, but nothing would compare to the success he would find on WWE's main roster.

At Survivor Series 2012, Roman Reigns (alongside Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins) would attack Ryback in his match for the WWE Championship. After his main roster debut, Roman Reigns would establish himself as the strong, silent mercenary amongst The Shield. He would win the WWE Tag Team Championships alongside stablemate Seth Rollins (who would eventually implode The Shield with chair shots to both Reigns and Ambrose.) After the implosion of The Shield, Roman would be pushed to the stratosphere as an underdog babyface. Unsurprisingly, the crowd rejected this instantly. For five years, Reigns would attempt to gain the adoration of fans who couldn't stand to see him. However, Reigns is currently the most dominant heel in the industry.

Why is Roman Reigns at number one on our countdown? Why wouldn't he be? Roman Reigns is a 3-time WWE Champion, 2-time (and current) WWE Universal Champion, 1-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, 1-time WWE United States Champion, 1-time WWE Tag Team Champion, and a Royal Rumble winner. The Tribal Chief is one the most winningest member of The Anoa'i Family. For his illustrious championship history, and his current status as WWE's Head of the Table - we acknowledge Roman Reigns as the number one member of The Anoa'i Family.

AUTHOR OF THIS POST: WALKER STEWART

Avid professional wrestling fan and self-proclaimed smark. Creative Media/Journalism and Vocal Performance student at the University of Oklahoma. Buried by TJP on Twitter.

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