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Sika Anoa’i, WWE Hall of Famer and Father of Roman Reigns, Is Dead

Sika Anoa’i, the Hall of Fame professional wrestler who was half of the 1980s superstar tag team the Wild Samoans and father of W.W.E.’s biggest current star, Roman Reigns, died on Tuesday. He was 79.

Anoa’i’s death was announced on Instagram by his nephew, Jahrus Anoa’i. Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment also confirmed Sika Anoa’i’s death in a statement. No cause or place of death was given.

Sika Anoa’i is part of a long line of grapplers known as the Samoan Dynasty that has been called the greatest wrestling family of all time. Not all of them are biologically related. The progenitor was High Chief Peter Maivia, grandfather of Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, who became a “blood brother” to the Anoa’i family. Sika and his brother, Afa “Arthur” Anoa’i, would form the Wild Samoans, considered one of the most influential duos in wrestling history.

Sika’s son Roman Reigns, born Leati Joseph Anoa’i, is the undisputed W.W.E. champion and has headlined WrestleMania a record seven times. Reigns and his cousins, Jonathan Solofa Fatu and Joshua Samuel Fatu, who perform as Jey and Jimmy Uso, captivated wrestling fans with a story line known as The Bloodline, that featured Reigns as the “Tribal Chief” and came to include the Rock.

Sika Anoa’i, who was born and raised in American Samoa but whose family eventually moved to San Francisco, was working as a longshore man when his brother Afa began coaching him in wrestling. Afa had been trained by Maivia.

Over 30 years, the Wild Samoans won 21 tag team titles across Canada and the U.S., according to a biographical video of their induction into the W.W.E. Hall of Fame in 2007. Their opponents included other powerhouse teams like Tony Garea and Rick Martel, Bob Backlund and Pedro Morales, the Strongbows and Rocky Johnson, father of the Rock, and his teammate Tony Atlas.

They got their start in Canada in Calgary’s Stampede Wrestling in the 1970s, where they won two Stampede International Tag Titles, and also performed in the National Wrestling Alliance and the International Wrestling Association of Japan, according to Crossbody of Work, a podcast about wrestlers’ careers.

They burst onto the W.W.F. scene at Madison Square Garden in January 1980, where they faced off against Tito Santana and Ivan Putski for the tag team championship.

But it wasn’t until April 1980 that the Wild Samoans won their first world tag team title. They went on to win two more world tag team championships, but their reign ended when they were defeated by the elder Johnson and Atlas in 1983.

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