WWE Hall of Famer Sika Anoa'i, of The Wild Samoans and father of Roman Reigns, dies at 79

Sika Anoa'i
Sika Anoa'i

Sika Anoa'i, WWE Hall of Famer and father of Roman Reigns, died on Tuesday, his nephew Jahrus Anoa'i announced. He was 79.

"It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the passing of Former Hall of Famer, Polaivao Leati Sika Anoa’i," Jahrus posted on Instagram Tuesday. "He passed away peacefully on June 25th. Sika was a celebrated figure whose contributions and legacy have left an indelible mark. His memory will live on through his achievements and the many lives he touched."

Part of the legendary Anoa'i family and known professionally as Sika, Anoa'i rose to prominence in the late 1970s with his brother, Afa, to form the tag team The Wild Samoans. Afa was trained by his uncle Peter Maivia and cousin Rocky Johnson, who then then trained his brother.

The duo arrived in WWE, then known as World Wrestling Federation, in 1979 and became a dominant force off the bat. They won their first World Tag Team Championship in April 1980 and after their reign lasted four months, they won the title again in September. The pair left the company that same year but returned in 1983 and won the World Tag Team Championship for a third time.

Sika Anoa'i also participated in the WrestleMania 4 battle royal in 1988. He retired from competition in the late 1980s, but he became a trainer and continued to influence the profession for decades, training stars like Yokozuna, Rikishi and Batista.

Roman Reigns celebrates his victory at Hell in a Cell 2020 with his uncle Afa Anoa'i (left) and father Sika Anoa'i (right).
Roman Reigns celebrates his victory at Hell in a Cell 2020 with his uncle Afa Anoa'i (left) and father Sika Anoa'i (right).

"The Wild Samoans' impact in the ring as performers was immense, and they have continued to have a huge impact on the world of wrestling since their in-ring escapades ended," WWE said. "They no longer have the unorthodox behavior that made them so dangerous in the ‘70s, but they have over 30 years of wrestling knowledge to share with their students at The Wild Samoan Training Center."

Anoa'i was the father to two sons, Matthew and Joe, who went on to wrestle. Matthew performed under the name Rosey and spent time with WWE early in his career before he died in 2017. Joseph is known as Roman Reigns, who has been a dominant force in WWE since his debut in 2012. Reigns was Undisputed WWE Universal Champion for 1,316 days until he lost the title at WrestleMania 40.

The Wild Samoans were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007. Anoa'i last appeared in WWE in 2020, when he joined his brother to celebrate Reigns' win at Hell in a Cell.

Roman Reigns honors father

Reigns thanked people for the "outpouring of support" for his father.

"My father had a profound impact on my entire family and we are forever grateful for the foundation he built for us. There’s no way to fill the void left by his passing but my sisters and I will do our best to represent him and his legacy," he said. "Rest in Power, Dad. We love you."

Wrestling world, WWE Hall of Famers pay tribute to Sika Anoa'i

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: WWE Hall of Famer Sika Anoa'i of The Wild Samoans dies at 79