Roman Reigns

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Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns in Lafayette.jpg
Reigns in April 2014
Birth name Leati Joseph Anoa'i[1]
Born (1985-05-25) May 25, 1985 (age 29)[1]
Pensacola, Florida, United States[2]
Spouse(s) Gelina Becker (m. 2014)
Family Anoa'i family
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Joe Anoa'i[2]
Roman Leakee[2]
Roman Reigns[2]
Billed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)[3]
Billed weight 265 lb (120 kg)[3]
Billed from Pensacola, Florida[3]
Trained by Afa Anoa'i[4]
Sika Anoa'i[4]
Florida Championship Wrestling[2]
Debut 2010[2]

Leati Joseph "Joe" Anoa'i (born May 25, 1985) is an American professional wrestler and former Canadian football defensive tackle. Anoa'i is signed to WWE, where he performs under the ring name Roman Reigns.

A member of the Anoa'i family, a renowned Samoan-American wrestling dynasty, Anoa'i initially forged a career in American football. Following stints with the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars, he played for the Edmonton Eskimos. He then trained for a career in professional wrestling and debuted in 2010. As part of The Shield, he held the WWE Tag Team Championship once with Seth Rollins. In addition, he jointly the record for most eliminations at the annual Survivor Series match with four at the 2013 event, and two months later broke the record for most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble at the 2014 event by eliminating 12 wrestlers.

Football career[edit]

Joe Anoa'i
No. 35435
Joe Anoai.jpg
Photo by Jamie Howell
Date of birth: (1985-05-25) May 25, 1985 (age 29)
Place of birth: Pensacola, Florida, United States
Career information
Status: Retired
CFL status: International
Position(s): DT
Weight: 280 lb (130 kg)
College: Georgia Tech
Organizations
As player:
2007
2007
2008

Minnesota Vikings*
Jacksonville Jaguars*
Edmonton Eskimos

*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career stats
Tackles 9
Knockdowns 0
Sacks 0
*CFL statistics only

Anoa'i played football throughout high school, three years at Pensacola Catholic High School and one year at Escambia High School. During this time, he was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Pensacola News Journal.[1] He then attended Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was a member of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team. He was a three-year starter beginning in his sophomore year and team captain, and in 2006 was named first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference as a senior.[1] He made twenty-nine tackles for loss, including twelve sacks, the thirteenth best record in Georgia Tech's history.[5] After going undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft, he was signed by the Minnesota Vikings.[6] Upon being released by the Vikings, he was added to the Jacksonville Jaguars roster to provide depth at defensive end. In 2008, Anoa'i was signed by the Edmonton Eskimos and accepted a spot on the team's practice roster.[2][7] Wearing the number 99, Anoa'i played five games with the Eskimos, of which he started three.[7][8] He played just a single season, before being released in November.[7]

World Wrestling Entertainmment/WWE[edit]

Developmental territories (2010–2012)[edit]

In July 2010, Anoa'i signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and was later assigned to their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW).[2] He debuted on September 9, 2010, using the ring name Roman Leakee, in a loss to Richie Steamboat in a singles match. Further losses to Idol Stevens and Wes Brisco ensued, before he gained his first win on September 21 over Fahd Rakman. He continued competing in FCW throughout the remainder of the year, wrestling mainly in tag team matches.[9] On the January 16, 2011, episode of FCW television, Leakee was a competitor in a 30-man Grand Royal, but was eliminated.[10] Later in 2011, Leakee formed an alliance with Donny Marlow and the pair unsuccessfully challenged Calvin Raines and Big E Langston for the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship on July 8.[11]

In 2012, Leakee became a main eventer in singles competition, and he pinned Florida Heavyweight Champion Leo Kruger during a tag team match on the January 8 episode of FCW television.[12] On the February 5 episode of FCW television, he defeated Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins in a triple threat match to become the number one contender to the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship.[13] He failed to win the championship when he lost to champion Kruger the following week.[14] Leakee later won the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship with Mike Dalton, before dropping it to CJ Parker and Jason Jordan.

When WWE rebranded FCW as NXT Wrestling,[15] Anoa'i, with the new ring name of Roman Reigns, made his WWE NXT debut on the October 31, 2012, episode, defeating CJ Parker.[16]

The Shield (2012–2014)[edit]

Reigns made his main roster television debut on November 18, 2012, at the Survivor Series pay-per-view alongside Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, assaulting Ryback during the triple threat main event for the WWE Championship, allowing CM Punk to retain the title.[17] The trio declared themselves "The Shield" and vowed to rally against "injustice". They denied working for Punk, but routinely emerged from the crowd to attack Punk's adversaries, including Ryback and WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan).[18][19][20][21] This led to a six-man Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view, in which Reigns, Ambrose, and Rollins defeated Team Hell No and Ryback in their debut match.[22] The Shield continued to aid Punk in January 2013, attacking both Ryback and The Rock.[23][24] On Raw on January 28, it was revealed that Punk and his manager Paul Heyman had been paying The Shield and Brad Maddox to work for them.[25]

Reigns (left) with former tag team partner Seth Rollins

The Shield then quietly ended their association with Punk while beginning a feud with John Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus that led to a six-man tag match on February 17 at Elimination Chamber, which The Shield won.[26][27][28] The Shield had their first Raw match the following night, where they defeated Ryback, Sheamus, and Chris Jericho.[29] Sheamus then formed an alliance with Randy Orton and Big Show to face The Shield at WrestleMania 29, but The Shield emerged victorious in their first WrestleMania match.[30][31] The following night on Raw, The Shield attempted to attack The Undertaker but were stopped by Team Hell No.[32] This set up a six-man tag team match on the April 22 episode of Raw, which The Shield won.[33] On the May 13 episode of Raw, The Shield's undefeated streak in televised six-man tag team matches ended in a disqualification loss in an elimination match against Cena, Kane and Bryan.[34]

On May 19 at Extreme Rules, Reigns and Rollins defeated Team Hell No in a tag team tornado match to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.[35] They made their first televised title defense on the May 27 episode of Raw, defeating Team Hell No in a rematch.[36] On the June 14 episode of SmackDown, The Shield's unpinned/unsubmitted streak in televised six-man tag team matches came to an end at the hands of Team Hell No and Randy Orton, when Daniel Bryan submitted Rollins.[37][38] Reigns and Rollins defeated Bryan and Orton at Payback to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.[39] Further successful title defenses followed against The Usos on July 14 during the Money in the Bank pre-show and The Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O'Neil) at Night of Champions.[40][41] On the September 23 episode of Raw, Reigns was pinned for the first time while on the main roster courtesy of The Usos when the Shield participated in and lost an eleven-on-three handicap elimination match.[42]

Reigns in November 2013

In August, The Shield began working for chief operating officer Triple H and The Authority.[43][44] On the October 14 episode of Raw, Reigns and Rollins lost the WWE Tag Team Championship to Cody Rhodes and Goldust in a No Disqualification match, following interference from Big Show.[45] At Hell in a Cell, Reigns and Rollins failed to regain the tag team title in a triple threat match.[46] Tension began to appear within The Shield, especially between Reigns and Ambrose, as Ambrose was the only member left with a championship.[47] At Survivor Series, Reigns was the sole survivor for his team in the traditional five-on-five elimination tag team match after eliminating four opponents.[48] After losing to Punk in a handicap match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Reigns defeated Punk in a singles match after a distraction from Ambrose on January 6, 2014, making him the only member of The Shield to have beaten Punk.[49] After Punk left WWE, he recalled that he was constantly reminded to make Reigns look "really, really strong" in the match at TLC despite the Shield being scripted to lose.[50] At the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Reigns entered the Rumble match at #15, and set the record for most eliminations in a single Rumble with 12. He eliminated both his Shield teammates, and was the runner-up in the match after being eliminated by Batista.[51] The next night on Raw, The Shield competed in a six-man tag team match against Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, and John Cena, with all three members of the winning team qualifying for the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The Shield lost the match via disqualification after The Wyatt Family interfered and attacked Cena, Bryan, and Sheamus. The Shield wanted revenge and a six-man tag for The Shield against The Wyatt Family at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view was arranged, in which The Shield lost.[52] Despite more tension,[53] The Shield reconciled in March.[54]

In March, The Shield began feuding with Kane, which turned all members of The Shield into faces (fan favorite characters).[55] Over the next few weeks, The Shield continued exchanging assaults with Kane, who was joined by the New Age Outlaws, leading to a match between the two teams at WrestleMania XXX, which The Shield won.[56] The feud with Kane also prompted The Shield to sever ties with Triple H, who reformed Evolution to counter them. The Shield defeated Evolution at both Extreme Rules and Payback.[57][58] When Batista left Evolution in June, Triple H initiated "Plan B"; this involved Rollins turning on The Shield and aligning himself with Triple H.[59]

Singles competition (2014–present)[edit]

Reigns posing for the Superman punch

Reigns and Ambrose subsequently quietly disbanded, with Reigns using new entrance music and later, modified tactical vest.[60] On the June 16 episode of Raw, Reigns goaded Vickie Guerrero into adding him to the battle royal to qualify for a spot for the Money in the Bank ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank; he won by eliminating Rusev.[61] At Money in the Bank, Reigns failed to win the title.[62] At Battleground, Reigns participated in the fatal four-way match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which Cena won to retain the title. The following night on Raw, Triple H had planned on announcing Randy Orton as the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but Reigns attacked Orton, causing Triple H to lose faith in him and replace him in the title match. This prompted a feud between Reigns and Orton which culminated with Reigns defeating Orton at SummerSlam.

On September 20, 2014, Reigns underwent emergency surgery on an incarcerated hernia.[63] WWE subsequently stated that Reigns was expected to recover in six weeks.[64] During his recovery period, he appeared in televised interview segments; his speech delivery was criticised as "forced" by James Caldwell of the Pro Wrestling Torch in November 2014.[65] Reigns returned to television on the December 8 episode of Raw when WWE awarded him the 2014 "Superstar of the Year" Slammy Award.[66] Reigns made his official return six days later at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, where he prevented Big Show from attacking John Cena during the latter's match with Seth Rollins, as well as attacking Rollins which allowed Cena to win the match.[67] Reigns would return to Raw a day later to attack Fandango and Big Show. He would return to Smackdown a day later to compete in his first match in his return, defeating Fandango.

Personal life[edit]

Anoa'i is half-Samoan and half-Italian.[68] Both his father, Sika, and his brother, Matt, are professional wrestlers. As a member of the Anoa'i family, he is a cousin to fellow professional wrestlers Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Yokozuna, Rikishi Fatu, Umaga, and the Usos.[8][69]

At the Georgia Institute of Technology, Anoa'i studied management.[1]

Anoa'i got married in early December 2014.[70] He has a daughter, with whom he appeared in a public service announcement in June 2014.[71][72]

In wrestling[edit]

The Shield prepare to perform their triple powerbomb on Kane.
Roman Reigns executing the Superman punch on Kane.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Reigns as one-half of the WWE Tag Team Champions in 2013
  • WWE
    • WWE Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Seth Rollins[91]
    • Slammy Award for Breakout Star of the Year (2013) – with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as The Shield
    • Slammy Award for Faction of the Year (2013, 2014) – with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as The Shield[92]
    • Slammy Award for Superstar of the Year (2014)[66]
    • Slammy Award for Trending Now (Hashtag) of the Year (2013) – #BelieveInTheShield – with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as The Shield
    • Slammy Award for "What a Maneuver" of the Year (2013) – Spear

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External links[edit]