Maivia in 1977
|Birth name||Fanene Pita Anderson|
|Born||April 6, 1937|
|Died||June 12, 1982 (aged 45)|
|Cause of death||Cancer|
|Relatives||Dwayne Johnson (grandson)|
Nia Jax (granddaughter)
Rocky Johnson (son-in-law)
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Peter Anderson|
|Billed height||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
|Billed weight||275 lb (125 kg)|
|Billed from||"The Isle of Samoa"|
|Trained by||Steve Rickard|
Fanene Leifi Pita Maivia (born Fanene Pita Anderson; April 6, 1937 – June 12, 1982) was a Samoan-American professional wrestler better known as Peter Maivia. Through adoption, he is the maternal grandfather of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He was also part of the famous Anoa'i family and was a promoter for the National Wrestling Alliance in Hawaii.
New Zealand and Australia (1964–68)
After spending his first twenty years in American Samoa, Maivia moved to New Zealand.
He began his wrestling career, wrestling not as The High Chief, but as Prince Peter Maivia. Athletic, naturally talented and a quick study, Maivia received his original ring training in New Zealand, under the watchful eye of local wrestler/promoter Steve Rickard.
Both in and out of the ring, Rickard taught the young Samoan a great deal about his new profession, and under his guidance, Maivia developed at an amazing rate. On August 3, 1964, after less than a year in the business, the popular rookie sensation stunned New Zealand's wrestling fanbase by toppling the rugged, experienced Rickard to win the prestigious New Zealand Heavyweight title in Auckland. The title victory was impressive, indeed, however Maivia's reign turned out to be extremely short, and he held the coveted New Zealand title for just three days, dropping the championship back to Steve Rickard in Wellington on August 6, 1964. The point had been made though, and from that period forward, Maivia enjoyed main-event status in the NWA's New Zealand territory.
Later in 1964, Maivia followed up his previous success by winning another very prestigious championship, the NWA Australasian Heavyweight title. Maivia became the new Australasian champion by defeating Kangaroo Kennedy in Auckland, and he would go on to carry the belt for four consecutive years before finally losing his title to Steve Rickard in 1968.
After developing his repertoire and ring skills in New Zealand, Maivia slowly began to branch out and take bookings in other (and often larger) promotions, with success invariably following the popular islander.
World Wide Wrestling Federation
During his stay in the then called World Wide Wrestling Federation, he was one of its most prominent stars, making numerous appearances on Championship Wrestling. He worked matches with many well known wrestlers who would go on to be WWE Hall of Famers, such as Superstar Billy Graham, Ivan Putski and Bob Backlund.
Maivia, also known as the Flying Hawaiian, was of the Ali'i lineage of Malietoa. Maivia's traditional Samoan tattoos, which covered his abdomen and legs, were a symbol of his High Chief status. According to Superstar Billy Graham, they were completed in three days. Maivia's grandson Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson revealed that they were done with traditional Samoan instrumentation: a small hammer, a needle, and ink. His wife Ofelia Fuataga, who became known as Lia Maivia, was regarded as one of the first female wrestling promoters. He also adopted Lia's daughter Ata.
Maivia disapproved of his daughter's relationship with Rocky Johnson because he was a wrestler. The duo married despite Maivia's objections. His son, Peter Jr., also wrestled in Hawaii and the West Coast after the passing of Peter Sr. sometimes under the name "Prince Peter Maivia".
Maivia was considered a "blood brother" by Amituanai Anoa'i, the father of the Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika), thus the Anoa'i family regard the Maivia line from him on forward as an extension of their own clan.
Maivia was also in the fifth James Bond film, You Only Live Twice, where he plays a driver who transports a disguised Bond to Osato headquarters. His character also fights Bond, is hit with a sofa, wields a katana, and is put down when a statue is broken on his head. He was the (uncredited) stunt fight co-ordinator for the film.
In 1981, Maivia was diagnosed with cancer. He died on June 12, 1982. Maivia was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, along with his son-in-law Rocky Johnson, in 2008 by his grandson Dwayne Johnson. The award was accepted on his behalf by his daughter Ata Maivia-Johnson. During his tribute video, WWE chairman Vince McMahon refers to him as a 'tough S.O.B.' and somebody 'you didn't want to mess with' outside the ring, but added he was 'a real wonderful, likable guy'. On October 19, 2008, Maivia's wife, Lia Maivia, died.
In the 2016 Disney animated film, Moana, the character design of Maui was derived from photographs of Peter Maivia, according to interviews with his grandson, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who voices Maui in the film.
- You Only Live Twice (1967) - Car driver
Championships and accomplishments
- 50th State Big Time Wrestling
- NWA All-Star Pro Wrestling
- NWA Big Time Wrestling
- NWA Hollywood Wrestling
- NWA New Zealand
- NWA San Francisco
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2016
- World Wrestling Entertainment
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- Most Washed Up Wrestler (1981)
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- Ahching, Leiataua Ahching. Polynesian Interconnections (p.19)
- Funk, Terry. More Than Just Hardcore (p.197)
- Oliver, Greg. "Lia Maivia was a pioneering woman promoter". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
- Grasso, John (2014). Historical Dictionary of Wrestling. Scarecrow Press. p. 29. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
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- Brecher, Elinor J. (2008-10-25). "Grandmother of 'The Rock,' promoter". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2008-11-17.[dead link]
- "Dwayne Johnson Shed 'Manly Tears' Making Disney's 'Moana'". ABC News. 2016-11-24. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
- Will, Gary; Duncan, Royal (2000). "Texas: NWA Texas Heavyweight Title [Von Erich]". Wrestling Title Histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Pennsylvania: Archeus Communications. pp. 268–269. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "NWA Texas Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
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- The Rock and Joe Layden (2000). The Rock Says.... HarperEntertainment. ISBN 978-0-06-039298-7.
- Ric Flair and Keith Elliot Greenberg (2004). Ric Flair: To Be the Man. Pocket Books. ISBN 978-0-7434-5691-3.
- Classy Freddie Blassie and Keith Elliot Greenberg (2003). The Legends of Wrestling - "Classy" Freddie Blassie. World Wrestling Entertainment. ISBN 978-0-7434-6316-4.