Leati Joseph “Joe” Anoaʻi, popularly known as Roman Reigns, The Shield’s Enforcer, The Muscle of the Shield, The Juggernaut, The Big Dog or The Thoroughbred, is one of the fastest rising stars in WWE. He joined WWE in 2010 and quickly made his main roster debut in 2012 as part of The Shield. The Shield was composed of Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. His reception was mixed with the superstar describing it as “kind of getting like a mixed vibe from time-to-time, with a lot of love and hate in the middle of it.”
Despite the mixed reception, Roman Reigns has accomplished great feats throughout his FCW and WWE career. He has won the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship once with his team mate Mike Dalton, the Pro Wrestling Illustrated and Wrestling Observer Newsletter Tag Team of the Year in 2013 with Seth Rollins, and five Slammy Awards. Despite losing the 2014 Royal Rumble Match to Batista, Roman Reigns won the 2015 Royal Rumble match.
Here are 10 interesting things you probably do not know about WWE’s Roman Reigns:
10. He is Born into the Legendary Samoan-American Anoaʻi Wrestling Family
Leati Joseph “Joe” Anoaʻi was born in May 25, 1985 into the legendary Samoan-American wrestling dynasty of the same name. His father is Leati “Sika” Anoaʻi, a member of the Wild Samoans team together with his brother Afa. The team held the WWF Tag Team Championship on three occasions. He is also a first cousin to The Usos, which consists of the two real-life twin brothers Jimmy and Jey Uso, and is related to Yokozuna, Umaga, and Rikishi. Matthew “Matt” Anoaʻi, popularly known as Rosey across wrestling circles, is also Reigns’ brother.
9. He Played for Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Before enrolling at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Roman Reigns played football his entire time in high school. During this time, Pensacola News Journal named him the Defensive Player of the Year. After enrolling at the institute, Reigns joined the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team. He became its team captain, and made twenty-nine tackles for loss, including twelve sacks during this time. This is the 13th best record at the institute. Like another popular WWE superstar, Reigns made the jump from football to professional wrestling and has not looked back since. Speaking of that man…
8. He is The Rock’s Cousin
There is one thing that The Rock and Roman Reigns share and that is their refreshing ‘celebrity’ look. However, what you probably didn’t know is that both are related. Being a member of one of the largest pro wrestling families in history, The Rock and Roman Reigns are distant cousins since their grandfathers – Peter Maivia and Amituana Anoa’i – were blood brothers. Light was shed on their relationship when The Rock came to Reigns’ side after he won the 2015 Royal Rumble.
7. He Did What Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and The Rock Couldn’t on His Debut Match
Roman Reigns achieved something that no other superstar, including legends such as Shawn Michaels, The Rock, and The Undertaker, ever achieved. Renowned wrestling expert Dave Meltzer awarded the star (together with his Shield counterparts Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins) a 4.5 rating at his debut TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs match. This notorious author of The Wrestling Observer never gave The Rock that high a rating during his 1996 Raw debut match.
6. He Jumped Right into WWE Developmental
It’s common knowledge that most WWE stars go through smaller organizations and independent training before they ever get a big show. Stars such as Daniel Bryan and CM Punk took years to sharpen their skills before signing up at WWE. However, that wasn’t the case with Roman Reigns. He signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment shortly after retiring from football. WWE then transferred him to their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). He then made his first appearance in September 9, 2010 as Roman Leakee.
5. His Win Loss WWE Record is Impressive
Roman Reigns’ record at WWE is impressive. Bleacher Report states that Roman has won 76% of the matches he has been engaged in throughout his career, a number that is higher if you exclude his FCW matches. During the Night of Champions in 2013, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins beat The Prime Time Players, and at WrestleMania XXX, The Shield beat Kane and The New Age Outlaws. During the 2014 SummerSlam, He defeated Randy Orton. In 2013, at WrestleMania XXIX, Roman Reigns’ team The Shield beat Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show, showing that even when it comes to pay-per-view events, Reigns wins a lot more than he loses.
4. He Holds the Record for the Most Eliminations in a Single Royal Rumble
Roman Reigns broke Kane‘s long-standing record of the most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble. In 2014, Roman Reigns eliminated a record 12 opponents compared to Kane’s 11, a number that had been the record for 13 straight years. Despite tossing so many buff guys over the top rope, Roman Reigns lost the Rumble match to Batista. The record has been held previously by Steve Austin when he eliminated 10 opponents in 1996 and Hulk Hogan when he eliminated 9 opponents in 1989.
3. His Brother Appeared on the Reality TV Show Fat March
Roman Reigns’ older brother Matt Anoaʻi was released from WWE in 2006. A year later, Matt starred in the TV reality show Fat March. The show, having 12 participants and a prize of $1.2 million US, required overweight participants to walk 550 miles from the starting line of the Boston Marathon to Washington, D.C. Matt, who was released from WWE because officials felt he was too heavy and that it was therefore not safe for him to compete, never completed the march. He quit citing knee problems during Stage 5 in Pennsylvania.
2. He’s Married and Has a Kid
He may destroy mean-spirited opponents in the ring, but he has a soft side, too. Roman Reigns is married with one child. In 2014, he tied the knot with Galina Joelle Becker. The couple first met at the Georgia Institute of Technology where they started darting and the two have been together ever since. They also have a daughter called Joelle who was born in 2008. Reigns also doesn’t shy away from showing off his college sweetheart. During the WrestleMania XXX Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, he introduced her to the public.
1. He is the Youngest Star to Win a Slammy Award for The Superstar of the Year
Roman Reigns became the youngest WWE superstar to scoop the Superstar of the Year Slammy Award in 2014. At the time, he was just 28 years old. In 2014 Reigns trounced opponents such as John Cena, Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins. The Superstar has also clinched other Slammy Awards over the years, such as the 2013 Breakout Star of the Year Award and the 2013 and 2014 Faction of the Year Award. In 2013, his signature Spear move also scooped the “What a Maneuver” of the Year Award.
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