Saturday, February 24

10 Things WWE Fans Should Know About Umaga

In the late 2000s, a ferocious Samoan competitor named Umaga struck fear into the hearts of WWE superstars. Equipped with a combination of agility, striking power, and absolute ruthlessness, Umaga ran roughshod over his opponents in terrorizing fashion.


Related

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Samoa might be a small Pacific island country, but it has produced some of the best pro wrestlers ever. These 25 are the best of Samoan heritage.

Though the Samoan Bulldozer is no longer with us today, he impeccably carved out a legacy that is worthy of being remembered by generations of wrestling fans. By taking a closer look into Umaga’s career, fans can pay tribute to the body of work that he left in the squared circle.


10 He Was A Member Of THAT Bloodline

One Current WWE Star Can Be Described As “Shades Of Umaga”

Samoan Superstar

No. of Matches in WWE

Wins

Losses

Draws

Rikishi

1,143

680

412

51

Tonga Kid

395

215

139

41

Edward “Eki” Fatu, the man who would be Umaga, was born into a family of Samoan wrestling royalty. His uncles included Afa and Sika, who comprised the legendary Wild Samoans tag team; and his brothers Solofa Jr. and Samuel would make waves in the WWE as Rikishi and Tonga Kid, respectively.

This, of course, is none other than the Bloodline that Roman Reigns boasts about on WWE TV today. Speaking of the Bloodline, there is no way that fans can look at the barefoot, combat-proficient Solo Sikoa and not think of his uncle Eki.

9 Had A Brief Stint In Japan

He Joined A Promotion That Epitomized Extreme

fmw-original-sheik-atsushi-onita

No. of Matches in FMW

Wins

Losses

Draws

60

29

24

7

Despite his rich heritage, Eki paid his dues just like any other aspiring wrestler. Before he got to the WWE, Eki—alongside his cousin Matt—spent some time refining his craft in Japan. The promotion he joined, however, was no typical mat-based wrestling company.

This promotion was Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW), which was infamous for barbed wire matches and other hardcore elements. As it turned out, Eki’s own hands and feet would be the weapons with which he would inflict catastrophic damage as his career progressed.

8 A Member Of 3-Minute Warning

This Gimmick Could Only Go So Far

No. of Main Roster Matches

Wins

Losses

75

33

42

Way before the Umaga character appeared on WWE programming, Eki made his first-ever appearance on the main roster as part of a tag team. Going by the name Jamal, he and cousin Matt (now Rosey) became known as 3-Minute Warning. They were thus named because they had the green light to attack wrestlers that failed to get on Eric Bischoff’s good side within a three-minute period.

RELATED: 10 Wrestlers Who Benefited From Their WWE Release

As a thug-for-hire, Jamal let the WWE fanbase know that he had a mean side, much like his Samoan predecessors. This gimmick, though, would barely have any legs after about a year. In 2003, 3-Minute Warning went their separate ways and Jamal was released from his WWE contract.

7 Umaga Debuted The Night After WrestleMania 22

Timing Is Everything

No. of WWE Matches in April 2006

Wins

Losses

13

12

1

After brief stints in TNA and AJPW, Eki returned to WWE TV in 2006. Gone was the street thug persona, and in its place was a throwback Samoan beast with even less regard for human welfare. To add to the mystique of this new character, Eki had the good fortune of making his debut on a very special night in the WWE calendar.

For several years, the Raw episode after WrestleMania has been fertile ground for new beginnings. Such was the case that night in Chicago when the savage Umaga mercilessly beat down the legendary Ric Flair. A few weeks later, the Samoan Bulldozer punctuated his triumphant debut (or, perhaps, redebut) by scoring a pinfall victory over the Nature Boy.

6 He Went Undefeated For Nine Months

The Way His Streak Ended Was A Bit Anticlimactic

Date of Cena-Umaga Match

Result

Notes

January 28, 2007

John Cena def. Umaga

Last Man Standing Match for WWE Title at Royal Rumble

January 21, 2007

John Cena def. Umaga

Cena won by DQ at a house show in Biloxi, MI

January 20, 2007

John Cena def. Umaga

Cena won by DQ at a house show in New Orleans, LA

January 13, 2007

John Cena def. Umaga

Cena won by DQ at a house show in Alexandria, LA

January 7, 2007

John Cena def. Umaga

WWE Title Match at New Year’s Revolution

Umaga’s winning ways went far beyond his conquest of Ric Flair at Backlash 2006. For the rest of that calendar year, no WWE superstar could pin or submit the Samoan Bulldozer in a televised singles match. This impressive streak would merit Umaga a shot at the WWE Championship, which was then held by John Cena.

The two squared off in the main event of New Year’s Revolution 2007. At the conclusion of that match, Cena dodged a running attack by Umaga, rolled up the Samoan, and got the pinfall victory. Though this was somewhat of a lackluster end to Umaga’s nine-month winning streak, their Last Man Standing match at Royal Rumble 2007—arguably the finest performance of Umaga’s career—did deliver the goods.

5 His Most High-Profile Match Involved Donald Trump

No Billionaires Were On The Receiving End Of A Samoan Spike, Though

If you had to pick the biggest match of Umaga’s career, the Battle of the Billionaires at WrestleMania 23 would be a no-brainer. The most heavily promoted match on that card was Bobby Lashley fighting on behalf of Donald Trump against Umaga, who had the backing of Vince McMahon.

During the match, Umaga lost his cool and attacked special referee Steve Austin. Despite ensuing shenanigans by replacement referee Shane McMahon, the WWE Chairman could only watch as Austin retaliated with a stunner on Umaga, who would then be Speared and pinned by Lashley.

4 He Had A Total Of Two Title Reigns

Umaga Definitely Deserved A WWE Title Run

Date of IC Title Win

Result

Notes

July 2, 2007

Umaga def. Santino Marella

Match held on Monday Night Raw

February 19, 2007

Umaga def. Jeff Hardy

Match held on Monday Night Raw

Between his Jamal gimmick and his time as Umaga, Eki Fatu had just two reigns as a champion in the WWE. Both times, it was the Intercontinental Championship that was in his possession.

RELATED: 5 WWE Intercontinental Champions Who Should Have Been Main Eventers (& 5 Who Shouldn’t Have)

On the one hand, Umaga isn’t the type of character that leans heavily into title wins to establish his credibility. On the other hand, his career would have certainly been on a higher plane had he gotten more opportunities to wear championship gold.

It Was A Rather Abrupt Development

Umaga’s Last Three Months in WWE

Matches

Wins

Losses

June 2009

3

1

2

May 2009

7

1

6

April 2009

2

1

1

The Umaga character was a pretty straightforward gimmick: a Samoan brute that destroyed everything in his way. As part of the character’s mystique, Umaga spoke zero words in English for the vast majority of his WWE stint.

It was quite jarring, then, to hear Umaga taunting CM Punk in English during their month-long feud in mid-2009. By that point, Umaga no longer had Armando Alejando Estrada as his manager, which meant that any promos against the opposition would have to come from his own mouth.

2 WWE Didn’t Air A Tribute After His Passing In 2009

The Company Could Have Handled This Better

Umaga’s Last Five Matches

Result

Notes

November 28, 2009

Mr. Anderson def. Uso Fatu

Match held in Sydney, Australia during the Hulkamania Let the Battle Begin Tour

November 26, 2009

Brutus Beefcake and Mr. Anderson def. Orlando Jordan and Uso Fatu

Match held in Brisbane, Australia during the Hulkamania Let the Battle Begin Tour

November 24, 2009

Uso Fatu def. Brutus Beefcake

Match held in Perth, Australia during the Hulkamania Let the Battle Begin Tour

November 21, 2009

Brian Christopher and Solofa Fatu, Jr. def. Orlando Jordan and Uso Fatu

Match held in Melbourne, Australia during the Hulkamania Let the Battle Begin Tour

November 7, 2009

Umaga def. Mr. Anderson

Match held at WWC 36th Aniversario

Sadly, on December 4, 2009, Eki Fatu passed away at the tender age of 36. According to the toxicology report, acute toxicity (brought about by his history of substance abuse) took its toll on Eki’s body, as did heart disease and failed liver.

In the immediate aftermath of Eki’s passing, WWE aired no tribute to the Samoan Bulldozer on any of its programs. The company posted a brief statement expressing condolences for Eki’s death, but this didn’t stop wrestling fans around the world from wondering why WWE didn’t do more to celebrate his career.

1 His Legacy Lives On In His Son

A New Addition To The Bloodline, Perhaps?

Date of Debut Match

Result

Notes

July 16, 2023

Zilla Fatu def. Jonny Lyons

Match ended via pinfall after 3 mins 28 secs

The WWE Universe can only speculate about the colorful storylines that could have unfolded if Umaga had crossed paths with Tribal Chief Roman Reigns. There’s still a chance, though, that the Head of the Table evokes the memory of the Samoan Bulldozer. How? By saving a seat for Umaga’s son.

In July 2023, Zilla Fatu made his pro wrestling debut in Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling promotion. Though Zilla would leave Reality of Wrestling just two months later, he has a tremendously high upside, given the heritage of his father and the rest of the Anoa’i clan. Perhaps Roman Reigns could use his own Samoan Bulldozer down the line?

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