Sika Anoaʻi

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Sika Anoa'i
Sika in 1986
Birth nameLeati Sika Amituana'i Anoa'i[1]
Born(1945-04-05)April 5, 1945
Leone, Tutuila, American Samoa
DiedJune 25, 2024(2024-06-25) (aged 79)
Spouse(s)Patricia Hooker[1]
Children5, including Rosey and Roman Reigns[2]
FamilyAnoa'i[2]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)The Samoan #2
Sika
Sika Samoa
Wild Samoan #2
Billed height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)[3][4]
Billed weight319 lb (145 kg)[4]
Billed from"The Isle of Samoa"[2][4]
Trained byAfa Anoa'i[2][1]
Kurt Von Steiger
Debut1973
Retired1991

Leati Sika Amituana'i Anoa'i (April 5, 1945 – June 25, 2024), better known by the ring name Sika, was an American-Samoan professional wrestler best known as one-half of the tag team the Wild Samoans with his brother Afa. They held the WWF World Tag Team Championship three times and were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2012. He was a member of the Anoaʻi family and the father of professional wrestlers Rosey and Roman Reigns.[1][4][5]

Early life[edit]

Sika Anoa'i was born in the village of Leone on the island of Tutuila in American Samoa on April 5, 1945, to Reverend Anoa'i Amituana'i and Tovaleomanaia Ripley, one of thirteen children.[1][6] In 1959, at the age of 14, he moved with his family to San Francisco, California in the United States, where his father became pastor of the First Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa. Shortly after,[when?] he enlisted in the United States Merchant Marine, working on ships sailing to the Philippines and Japan. He left in 1969 and worked, as a dockworker before leaving to join his brother Afa in pro wrestling.[1][3][7][8]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Sika (behind) with his brother Afa in 1983

Early career (1973–1980)[edit]

Anoaʻi was trained to wrestle by his brother Afa and Kurt Von Steiger, debuting in 1973 in Stampede Wrestling as "Sika". Calling themselves "the Wild Samoans", the brothers gained notoriety due to their large, wild afros, sarongs, and habit of wrestling barefoot and eating raw fish in the ring.[2][7][9] Throughout the 1970s, the Wild Samoans appeared with promotions including Big Time Wrestling, the Continental Wrestling Association, Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling, NWA All-Star Wrestling, NWA Mid-America, Stampede Wrestling, and the World Wrestling Council, winning multiple tag team championships.[10] From 1977 to 1979, the Samoans made repeated tours of Japan with International Wrestling Enterprise; in January 1978, they briefly held the IWA World Tag Team Championship.[11]

World Wrestling Federation (1980)[edit]

In January 1980, the Wild Samoans debuted in the World Wrestling Federation with Lou Albano as their manager, quickly establishing themselves as a force in the tag team division through a series of decisive victories. In addition to competing in the tag division, the brothers wrestled as singles, Sika unsuccessfully challenging Bob Backlund for the WWF Championship in March 1980.[12][7][9]

On April 12, 1980, the Wild Samoans defeated Ivan Putski and Tito Santana to win the WWF World Tag Team Championship. Their reign lasted until August 9, 1980, when they lost to Backlund and Pedro Morales at Showdown at Shea. As Backlund was the then-WWF Champion, he and Morales were forced to vacate the championship, and the Wild Samoans regained the championship on the September 9, 1980, episode of WWF Championship Wrestling, defeating Tony Garea and Rene Goulet in the finals of a tournament. Their second reign lasted until November 8, 1980, when they lost to Garea and Rick Martel.[12][13][14] They left the WWF in December 1980.

New Japan Pro-Wrestling (1981)[edit]

On November 22, 1981, the Wild Samoans were disqualified in a match against Animal Hamaguchi and Rusher Kimura.[15]

Mid-South Wrestling (1981–1982)[edit]

In April 1981, the Wild Samoans debuted in the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-based promotion Mid-South Wrestling. They were initially managed by Ernie Ladd before betraying him to align themselves with Skandor Akbar. They held the Mid-South Tag Team Championship on three occasions between June 1981 and May 1982, feuding with Junkyard Dog and his partners. They left the promotion in May 1982.[10]

Georgia Championship Wrestling (1982)[edit]

In March 1982, the Wild Samoans began competing for the Atlanta, Georgia-based promotion Georgia Championship Wrestling, where they were managed by Sonny King. In August 1982, they defeated The Fabulous Freebirds to win the NWA National Tag Team Championship. They held the championship for several months, vacating it in December 1982 upon leaving the promotion to return to the WWF.[10][5]

Return to WWF (1983–1985)[edit]

The Wild Samoans returned to the WWF in January 1983, once again adopting Lou Albano as their manager. They won the WWF World Tag Team Championship for a third and final time on March 8, 1983, defeating Chief Jay Strongbow and Jules Strongbow. During their reign, Sika was injured and his nephew Samu substituted for him in several title defences. On November 15, 1983, they lost the belts to Soul Patrol (Rocky Johnson and Tony Atlas) after Albano accidentally hit Afa with a chair.[13][5]

After splitting from Albano, the Wild Samoans challenged Soul Patrol on several occasions, but were unable to regain the championship. In April 1984, Sika unsuccessfully challenged Hogan for the WWF Championship in one of Hogan's earliest title defenses. In mid-1984, the Wild Samoans turned face and began a lengthy feud with the North-South Connection (Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch). They left the WWF once more in January 1985.[16]

Various promotions (1985–1986)[edit]

The Wild Samoans appeared with several promotions in 1985 and 1986, including Pro Wrestling USA, Lutte Internationale and International Championship Wrestling.[17][18][19]

Second return to WWF (1986–1988)[edit]

With Afa now semi-retired, Sika returned to the WWF in August 1986 as a singles wrestler. Managed by The Wizard, he went undefeated before dropping a countout to Ricky Steamboat, a pinfall to Pedro Morales and a disqualification to Hillbilly Jim in November 1986.[20]

In March 1987, Sika formed a tag team with Kamala, aligning himself with Kamala's manager, Mr. Fuji, and "handler", Kim Chee. The duo wrestled a series of matches against The Can-Am Connection and took part in several tournaments. The team was dissolved in August 1987 when Kamala left the WWF. In September 1987, he competed in the King of the Ring tournament, losing in the first round to S. D. Jones. On the October 3, 1987 Saturday Night's Main Event XII (recorded September 23, 1987), he unsuccessfully challenged WWF Champion Hulk Hogan in the main event. He wrestled a series of matches against Bam Bam Bigelow and then against Jake Roberts. At the Slammy Awards ceremony on December 16, 1987, the "Song of the Year" category ended with no winner after he ate the envelope containing the winner's name.[21]

In early 1988, Sika's regular opponents included Lanny Poffo, George Steele, and Hillbilly Jim. On March 27, 1988, he appeared on his first pay-per-view, competing in a battle royal at WrestleMania IV. He left the WWF once more following the bout.[22]

Retirement (1988)[edit]

After leaving the WWF, Sika wrestled several matches on the independent circuit. He formed a short-lived tag team with his nephew Kokina in the Continental Wrestling Federation, where they were managed by Alan Martin. He retired in 1988.[23]

Sporadic appearances (1997–2020)[edit]

On August 15, 1997, the Wild Samoans reunited for one night teaming with Disco Inferno, Gene Ligon and the Big Cheese as they defeated Ken Timbs, George Love, Jay Love, Gary Royal and Kane Adams at IWA Night of the Legends in Kannapolis, North Carolina.[24]

On March 31, 2007, the Wild Samoans were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Sika's son Rosey and Afa's son Samu.[2]

The Wild Samoans appeared at Hell in a Cell on October 25, 2020, to celebrate Roman Reigns' victory.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Anoaʻi was married to and separated from Patricia Hooker.[1] They had five children. Their oldest son, Matt (1970–2017), worked in WWE as Rosey and was a tag team champion.[26] Younger son Joseph played college football for Georgia Tech from 2003 to 2006 before beginning a professional wrestling career in 2010, winning the WWE Championship on multiple occasions as Roman Reigns.[2][27][28]

Death[edit]

Anoaʻi died due to a prolonged illness on June 25, 2024, at the age of 79.[29][30]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Frederic Koehler Sutter (1989). The Samoans: A Global Family. University of Hawaii Press. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-8248-1238-6.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The Wild Samoans". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Brian Solomon (June 15, 2010). WWE Legends. Simon & Schuster. p. 191. ISBN 978-1-4516-0450-4.
  4. ^ a b c d Steve Pantaleo (March 24, 2015). WWE Ultimate Superstar Guide. DK Publishing. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-241-23501-0.
  5. ^ a b c d Harris M. Lentz III (October 21, 2003). Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling, 2d ed. McFarland. pp. 318–319. ISBN 978-1-4766-0505-0.
  6. ^ Grasso, John (2014). Historical Dictionary of Wrestling. p. 28.
  7. ^ a b c Brian Solomon (June 15, 2010). WWE Legends. Simon & Schuster. pp. 192193–. ISBN 978-1-4516-0450-4.
  8. ^ "Pago Pago family bids farewell to Aeto Captain Va'amua". Samoa News. April 27, 2022. They were wed by the late Rev. Elder Amituana'i Anoa'i, leader of the First Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa in San Francisco, on April 21, 1973.
  9. ^ a b Bob Backlund; Robert H. Miller (September 15, 2015). Backlund: From All-American Boy to Professional Wrestling's World Champion. Sports Publishing. p. 340. ISBN 978-1-61321-696-5.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Harris M. Lentz III (October 21, 2003). Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling, 2d ed. McFarland. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-4766-0505-0.
  11. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip. "The Samoans – matches – International Wrestling Enterprise". Cagematch.net. Retrieved July 25, 2023.
  12. ^ a b c Brian Shields (June 15, 2010). Main Event: WWE in the Raging 80s. Simon & Schuster. p. 143. ISBN 978-1-4516-0467-2.
  13. ^ a b "History of the World Tag Team Championship". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  14. ^ Larry Zbyszko (December 15, 2010). Adventures in Larryland!. ECW Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-55490-322-1.
  15. ^ NJPW 2nd Madison Square Garden Tag League – Day 4, Cagematch.net
  16. ^ Matt Hunter (2013). Hulk Hogan. Infobase Learning. pp. 1, 972. ISBN 978-1-4381-4647-8.
  17. ^ Wild Samoans in Lutte Internationale, Cagematch.net
  18. ^ Wild Samoans in ICW, Cagematch.net
  19. ^ Wild Samoans in Pro Wrestling USA, Cagematch.net
  20. ^ Sika's 1986 WWF matches, Cagematch.net
  21. ^ James Guttman (December 15, 2010). World Wrestling Insanity Presents: Shoot First...Ask Questions Later. ECW Press. p. 136. ISBN 978-1-55490-328-3.
  22. ^ Sika's matches, from CageMatch.net
  23. ^ "Sika Anoa'i, WWE Hall of Famer, father of Roman Reigns and member of The Wild Samoans, dead at 79". CBSSports.com. June 25, 2024. Retrieved June 27, 2024.
  24. ^ IWA Night of the Legends, Cagematch.net
  25. ^ Garretson, Jordan (October 25, 2020). "Universal Champion Roman Reigns def. Jey Uso". WWE. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  26. ^ "Former WWE performer Matt 'Rosey' Anoa'i dies at 47". USA Today.
  27. ^ "Player Bio: Joe Anoai". Ramblin Wreck. Archived from the original on November 6, 2007. Retrieved October 12, 2007.
  28. ^ a b John Grasso (March 6, 2014). Historical Dictionary of Wrestling. Scarecrow Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-8108-7926-3.
  29. ^ Mendoza, Jordan (June 25, 2024). "WWE Hall of Famer Sika Anoa'i, of The Wild Samoans and father of Roman Reigns, dies at 79". USA Today. Retrieved June 25, 2024.
  30. ^ Lambert, Jeremy (June 25, 2024). "WWE Hall of Famer Sika Anoa'i Passes Away". Fightful. Retrieved June 25, 2024.
  31. ^ a b c d e Sika's title history, Cagematch.net
  32. ^ Duncan, Royal; Will, Gary (2006) [2000.]. "(Memphis, Nashville) Tennessee: Southern Tag Team Title [Roy Welsch & Nick Gulas, Jerry Jarrett from 1977]". Wrestling title histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Waterloo, Ontario: Archeus Communications. pp. 185–189. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  33. ^ "Southern Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  34. ^ Royal Duncan and Gary Will (2000). "Tennessee: U.S. Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 194. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  35. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2007.
  36. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 100 Tag Teams of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on September 21, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2007.
  37. ^ a b Dean Miller (March 30, 2017). The WWE Book of Top 10s. Dorling Kindersley Limited. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-241-31440-1.
  38. ^ Tim Hornbaker (January 3, 2017). Legends of Pro Wrestling: 150 Years of Headlocks, Body Slams, and Piledrivers. Skyhorse Publishing Company, Incorporated. p. 445. ISBN 978-1-61321-875-4.

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