The Anoa’i family have a very long history in the wrestling business, particularly with the WWE. Today we take a look at a pair from the family who competed with the WWE in the early 200s as we ask ‘Whatever Happened to‘ 3-Minute Warning’s Rosey and Jamal.
3-Minute Warning was a professional wrestling tag team consisting of cousins Matt ‘Rosey’ Anoa’i and Eddie ‘Jamal’ Fatu. Anoa’i is the younger brother of Roman Reigns whilst Fata is the younger sibling of both Rikishi and the Tonga Kid.
Fatu and his cousin Matt were brought into the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) initially in 1996 to take part in an angle with Solafa Fatu, Jr., then competing as ‘Make a Difference Fatu’ but the angle was quickly dropped.
Much of the next six years was spent competing in the WWE’s development territories before they were called up, once again, to the main roster. The returned to our screens as enforcers for Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff. Now known as Jamal (Eddie) and Rosey (Matt), the team was used to squash any activity in the ring which was deemed boring by Bischoff.
Their debut came during the episode of Raw broadcast on 22 July 2002 when the 3-minute time limit allocated to a bout between D’Lo Brown and Shawn Stasiak expired.
Rosey and Jamal entered through the crowd and laid out both men, to the delight of Bischoff watching on from the top of the ramp.
The gimmick continued over the following weeks with superstars attacked after 3 minutes if Bischoff felt the segment wasn’t entertaining enough. Because of the time limit stipulation, the team became known as ‘Three Minute Warning’.
During the September 12 episode of SmackDown! Three Minute Warning and Eric Bischoff crashed the “commitment ceremony” being held for the Billy and Chuck tag team. Afterwards, Rico, Billy and Chuck’s manager, started managing Three Minute Warning full-time. With Rico by their side, the trio engaged in a feud with the Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and Spike) and Jeff Hardy which resulted in their highest-profile match as a team — an Elimination Tables match at the November Survivor Series, which they lost with Rico the last member of the team to be eliminated.
The team stayed on the low- and mid-card until June 2003, when Jamal was released from WWE, reportedly after his involvement in a bar fight. Rosey then went to form a superhero tag-team with The Hurricane, while Jamal did a short stint in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling under his “Ekmo Fatu” name before returning to WWE.
He and Rosey were scheduled to reunite 3-Minute Warning. The duo even wrestled a dark match before the January 9, 2006 episode of Raw, which they won. However, on March 21, 2006, Rosey was released from his WWE contract, and the return of 3-Minute Warning never made it to television.
Jamal was repackaged and would compete for a period as Umaga, name given to the final part of the Samoan tattooing process, meaning “the end”. During this run, his most high-profile programme was when he was named Vince McMahon’s “representative” for the WrestleMania 23 “Battle of the Billionaires” with Donald Trump. This saw the Intercontinental champion lock-up with ECW Champion Bobby Lashley, with a loss resulting in said superstar’s billionaire representative having their head shaved. Lashley won following a Stunner from guest referee Stone Cold Steve Austin and a spear. After the match, Trump and Lashley shaved McMahon’s head bald, followed by Austin executing a Stunner on the now President-elect.
Eddie Fatu was eventually released in 2009. It was revealed that his termination was due to a violation of the WWE’s Wellness Policy. Although it was his second failure, his refusal to enter rehabilitation forced the WWE’s hand. On December 4, 2009, Fatu was found unresponsive with blood coming from his nose and was rushed to the hospital. He had suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead at the hospital. He was just 36 years of age.
As for Rosey, he spent most of his time wrestling in the independent scene although would return to the WWE for a dark match loss against former spirit squad member Johnny Jeter. He would then spend some time on Ohio Valley Wrestling, where he teamed with Afa Anoaʻi Jr. as the Sons of Samoans. Matt was let go soon after while Afa jr. joined the main roster as Manu. Matt now runs a wrestling promotion called Epic Championship Wrestling in Florida with his father, Sika.
On Tuesday 18 April 2017, the WWE announced Tuesday that Matt “Rosey” Anoa’i died. He was only 47.
You can read all previous ‘Whatever Happened to’ pieces here.