Tuesday, November 28

The Forgotten Samoan WWE Tag Team, Explained


  • 3 Minute Warning, a forgotten WWE tag team, consisted of Samoan cousins Eddie Fatu (Umaga) and Matt Anoa’i (Rosey), who had wrestling in their DNA.
  • The team was known for their intimidating size and power, often portrayed as savage Samoan warriors, and were hired mercenaries for Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff.
  • While Umaga went on to achieve success and become a feared competitor in WWE, both cousins tragically passed away, leaving behind untapped potential and a missed opportunity to be part of Roman Reigns’ Bloodline saga.

In the annals of WWE history, certain tag teams are etched into the memories of fans forever. Yet, there are others that remain somehow forgotten, like the powerhouse duo of 3 Minute Warning. Comprising two Samoan cousins who would end up leaving very different WWE legacies, 3 Minute Warning showcased their dominance in the ring during the early 2000s. Unfortunately, their potential was never fully realized, but if they were alive today, they could have undoubtedly been a part of the legendary Bloodline saga led by Roman Reigns considering the fact that one of them was his real brother and the other was his first cousin.

3 Minute Warning’s Samoan Roots And Real-Life Relation

The tale of 3 Minute Warning cannot be fully understood without delving into the rich wrestling lineage that runs through the veins of Eddie Fatu and Matt Anoa’i. The Samoan heritage has long been intertwined with professional wrestling, and the two cousins came from a family that had already left an indelible mark on the industry. Eddie Fatu was better known by his ring names Jamal, but much more famously as Umaga during his time in WWE. As a member of the renowned Anoa’i family, he was the brother of Solofa Fatu Jr., who wrestling fans would recognize as the flamboyant Rikishi. Following in the footsteps of his family, Eddie Fatu made his way into the world of wrestling with the determination to carve out his own legacy.

Matt Anoa’i, known as Rosey, was also a part of the legendary Anoa’i family. His father, Sika Anoa’i, was one half of the legendary Wild Samoans tag team, alongside Afa Anoa’i, who is his uncle. He was also Roman Reigns’ real elder brother. Raised in the wrestling culture, Matt Anoa’i had wrestling embedded in his DNA from an early age.


Throughout their formative years, their tutelage and mentorship came from seasoned veterans within their families. By the time they reached WWE, Eddie, and Matt were primed to make their mark on the grandest stage of them all. Together, they formed the imposing tag team known as 3 Minute Warning and were renamed Jamal (Eddie) and Rosey (Matt).

RELATED: Dynasty: 18 Best Samoan Wrestlers Of All Time

3 Minute Warning’s Time As A Tag Team In WWE

When 3 Minute Warning first emerged on the WWE scene, they were immediately thrust into the spotlight due to their intimidating size, power, and reputation as hired mercenaries. Under the directive of then-Raw General Manager, Eric Bischoff, they were unleashed as enforcers responsible for carrying out Bischoff’s dirty work and wreaking havoc on his adversaries. The idea was if Bischoff didn’t find a match or segment entertaining within 3 minutes, he would unleash his thugs, hence the name 3 Minute Warning. The duo’s initial gimmick played into the stereotype of being savage and uncontrollable Samoan warriors, a common trope in wrestling history. While this portrayal may not have aged well in terms of cultural sensitivity, it was typical of the era’s storytelling and character development in professional wrestling.


One of 3 Minute Warning’s most infamous moments took place on SmackDown in September 2002, when they infamously crashed the wedding of Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo. Bischoff was disguised as the priest and soon 3 Minute Warning stormed the ring, unleashing their fury upon the wedding party including Stephanie McMahon. On Bischoff’s orders, Rosey and Jamal crushed everyone, and the wedding venue was left in shambles. This shocking and chaotic incident became an iconic moment in WWE history, solidifying the team’s reputation as ruthless disrupters.

Another significant aspect of 3 Minute Warning’s time in WWE was their involvement in the “Hot Lesbian Action” (HLA) segment on an episode of RAW. The storyline involved two women engaging in a makeout session, which, in retrospect, was a tasteless and controversial attempt at shock value. 3 Minute Warning was tasked with interrupting this segment, and actually beating up the women, continuing their reputation as agents of chaos and destruction. Despite their penchant for causing mayhem, 3 Minute Warning did find themselves in some competitive matches during their tenure but never to any fruition as they didn’t win a single WWE title together. They were disbanded when Jamal was released by WWE in 2003 and Rosey went on to do a silly superhero gimmick.

RELATED: Every Samoan Anoa’i Family Stable & Tag Team, Ranked Worst To Best

The Contrasting WWE Paths Of Umaga’s Success And Rosey’s Struggles

After 3 Minute Warning’s untimely release from WWE, Eddie Fatu’s transformation into Umaga marked a turning point in his career. Embracing a savage Samoan warrior persona, he shed the comical elements of Jamal and instead became an unstoppable force of nature. Adopting the moniker “The Samoan Bulldozer,” Umaga showcased an unmatched ferocity in the ring that struck fear into the hearts of his opponents and helped him win the Intercontinental Championship twice. Umaga’s return to WWE in 2006 and his ascent to WWE’s top card was the same year when Rosey was fired by WWE, never to be seen again in the promotion for the rest of his life.


Tragically, in 2009, the wrestling world was shaken by the news of Eddie Fatu’s passing at the age of 36. His untimely death was a devastating loss to the wrestling community. Matt Anoa’i’s life was also cut short when he passed away in 2017 at the age of 47. His passing was another heartbreaking loss for the Anoa’i family. Considering their shared heritage and family bonds, it’s intriguing to imagine how 3 Minute Warning might have thrived had they remained in WWE and continued to develop their characters and in-ring skills. With their dominant personas, both wrestlers could have been central figures in Roman Reigns’ Bloodline saga had tragedies not struck, adding even more depth to the captivating storyline.

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