WWE Hall of Famer Sika Anoa’i, tag team star, father of Roman Reigns, dead at 79

Sika Anoa’i

Former professional wrestling star Sika Anoa’i, the father of WWE headliner Roman Reigns and part of The Wild Samoans tag team with his brother Afa, died Tuesday. He was 79.

The news was announced by the WWE Hall of Famer’s nephew, Jahrus Anoa’i, in an

" target="_blank">Instagram post. No cause of death was provided.

“It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the passing of Former Hall of Famer, Polaivao Leati Sika Anoa’i,” Jahrus wrote. “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.”

Anoa’i rose to fame as one half of the tag team The Wild Samoans with his older brother, who also served as his trainer, CBS Sports reported.

The pair debuted in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now known as WWE) in 1980, managed by Captain Lou Albano, according to the news outlet. In April 1980 the wildly unpredictable brothers defeated Tito Santana and Ivan Putski for the federation’s tag team title.

The team was a big draw in WWE and also in the Mid-South and National Wrestling Alliance territories, including Georgia Championship Wrestling.

Afa was trained by his uncle, Peter Maivia, and cousin Rocky Johnson -- the father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson -- USA Today reported. Afa then trained his younger brother.

Sika Anoa’i’s son, Leati Joseph Anoaʻi -- known professionally as Roman Reigns -- is a four-time WWE heavyweight champion.

Sika Anoa’i competed in WrestleMania IV’s battle royal in 1988, according to USA Today. He retired from competition in the late 1980s to become a trainer and worked with stars like Yokozuna, Rikishi and Batista, the newspaper reported.

The Wild Samoans were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007, CBS Sports reported.

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