Leati Joseph "Joe" Anoa'i (May 25, 1985) is an American professional wrestler and former Canadian football defensive tackle of Samoan-Italian descent. He is signed to WWE, where he works under the ring name Roman Reigns and is a former WWE Intercontinental Champion, a three-time WWE Champion, a one-time WWE United States Champion and a one-time WWE Tag Team Champion. He is a member of the Anoa'i family, a renowned Samoan-American wrestling dynasty. His father is former tag team champion and WWE Hall of Famer Sika Anoa'i (one half of the Wild Samoans), and his older brother is the late Matthew Anoa'i, better known by his ring name Rosey.
Anoa'i is a former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket, and was named first-team All-ACC his senior year. After going undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft, he was signed by the Minnesota Vikings. Upon being waived by the Vikings, he was added to the Jacksonville Jaguars roster to provide depth at defensive tackle. In 2008, Anoa'i was signed by the Edmonton Eskimos and accepted a spot on the team's practice roster.
Professional wrestling career
World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE
Florida Championship Wrestling / NXT Wrestling (2010–2012)
In July 2010, Anoa'i signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and was later assigned to their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). He debuted on September 9, 2010, using the ring name Roman Leakee, in a loss to Richie Steamboat in a singles match. Further losses to Idol Stevens and Wes Brisco ensued, before he gained his first win on September 21 over Fahd Rakman. He continued competing in FCW throughout the remainder of the year, wrestling mainly in tag team matches. On the January 16, 2011 episode of FCW television, Leakee was a competitor in a 30-man Grand Royal, but was eliminated. Later in 2011, Leakee formed an alliance with Donny Marlow and the pair unsuccessfully challenged Calvin Raines and Big E Langston for the Florida Tag Team Championship on July 8.
In 2012, Leakee became a main eventer in singles competition, and he pinned Florida Heavyweight Champion Leo Kruger during a tag team match on the 8 episode of FCW television. On the February 5 episode of FCW television, he defeated Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins in a triple threat match to become the number one contender to the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship. He failed to win the championship when he lost to Kruger in a singles match the following week. He would later go on to win the Florida Tag Team Championship alongside Mike Dalton before dropping it to CJ Parker and Jason Jordan. Anoa'i made his NXT debut on the October 31 tapings under the name Roman Reigns by defeating CJ Parker.
The Shield (2012–2014)
Reigns made his main roster television debut on November 18, 2012, at the Survivor Series pay-per-view alongside Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, assaulting Ryback during the triple threat main event for the WWE Championship, allowing CM Punk to retain the title. The trio declared themselves "The Shield" and vowed to rally against "injustice". They denied working for Punk, but routinely emerged from the crowd to attack Punk's adversaries, including Ryback and WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan). This led to a six-man Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view, in which Reigns, Ambrose, and Rollins defeated Team Hell No and Ryback in their debut match. The Shield continued to aid Punk after TLC, attacking both Ryback and The Rock during match in January 2013. On Raw on January 28, it was revealed that Punk and his manager Paul Heyman had been paying the Shield and Brad Maddox to work for them all along.
The Shield then quietly ended their association with Punk while beginning a feud with John Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus that led to a six-man tag match on February 17 at Elimination Chamber, which the Shield won. The Shield had their first Raw match the following night, where they defeated Ryback, Sheamus, and Chris Jericho. Sheamus then formed an alliance with Randy Orton and Big Show to face the Shield at WrestleMania 29, but the Shield emerged victorious in their first WrestleMania match. The following night on Raw, The Shield attempted to attack the Undertaker but were stopped by Team Hell No. This set up a six-man tag team match on the April 22 episode of Raw, which The Shield won. On the May 13 episode of Raw, The Shield's undefeated streak in televised six-man tag team matches ended in a disqualification loss in an elimination match against Cena, Kane and Bryan.
On May 19 at Extreme Rules, Rollins and Reigns defeated Team Hell No in a tag team tornado match to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. Rollins and Reigns made their first televised title defense on the May 27 episode of Raw, defeating Team Hell No in a rematch. On the June 14 episode of SmackDown, the Shield's unpinned/unsubmitted streak in televised six-man tag team matches came to an end at the hands of Team Hell No and Randy Orton, when Daniel Bryan submitted Rollins. Reigns and Rollins defeated Bryan and Orton at WWE Payback to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship. Further successful title defenses followed against The Usos on July 14 during the Money in the Bank pre-show and The Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O'Neil) at Night of Champions. On the September 23 episode of Raw, Reigns was pinned for the first time while on the main roster courtesy of The Usos when the Shield participated in and lost an eleven-on-three handicap elimination match.
On the October 14 episode of Raw, Reigns and Rollins lost the WWE Tag Team Championship to Cody Rhodes and Goldust in a No Disqualification match, following interference from Big Show. At Hell in a Cell, Reigns and Rollins failed to regain the tag team title in a triple threat match. At Survivor Series, Reigns was the sole survivor for his team in the traditional five-on-five elimination tag team match after eliminating four opponents. After losing to Punk in a handicap match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Reigns defeated Punk in a singles match after a distraction from Ambrose on January 6, 2014, making him the only member of the Shield to have beaten Punk. At the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Reigns entered the Rumble match at #15, and set the record for most eliminations in a single Rumble with 12. He eliminated both his Shield teammates, and was the runner-up in the match after being eliminated by Batista. The next night on Raw, The Shield competed in a six-man tag team match against Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, and John Cena with all three members of the winning team qualifying to compete in the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The Shield lost the match via disqualification after The Wyatt Family interfered and attacked Cena, Bryan, and Sheamus. The Shield wanted revenge and a six-man tag for The Shield against The Wyatt Family at the Elimination Chamber pay-per view was arranged, in which The Shield lost.
On the March 14 airing of SmackDown, Reigns and the other members of The Shield defied Kane backstage, and again during Kane's match with Big Show, costing Kane the win, turning all members of The Shield faces in the process. Over the next few weeks, The Shield continued exchanging assaults with Kane, who was joined by the New Age Outlaws, leading to a match between the two teams at WrestleMania XXX, which The Shield won. On the April 7 episode of Raw, The Shield officially severed ties with The Authority when Kane revealed that Triple H had coordinated the attack on them several weeks prior. As a result, The Shield attacked the entire Authority, protecting new WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan. Over the next few weeks, The Shield competed were heavily outumbered in handicap matches at the order of Triple H. The Shield defeated Evolution at both Extreme Rules and Payback. The next night on Raw, Batista left Evolution, prompting Triple H to initiate "Plan B"; this involved Rollins turning on the Shield and aligning himself with Triple H.
The New Face of the WWE (2014-present)
Reigns and Ambrose subsequently quietly disbanded, with Reigns using new entrance music and later, modified tactical vest. On the June 16 episode of Raw, Reigns goaded Vickie Guerrero into adding him to the battle royal to qualify for a spot for the Money in the Bank ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank; he won by eliminating Rusev. At Money in the Bank, Reigns failed to win the title. At Battleground, Reigns participated in the fatal four-way match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which Cena won to retain the title. The following night on Raw, Triple H had planned on announcing Randy Orton as the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but Reigns attacked Orton, causing Triple H to lose faith in him and replace him in the title match. This prompted a feud between Reigns and Orton which culminated with Reigns defeating Orton at SummerSlam.
On September 20, 2014, Reigns underwent emergency surgery on an incarcerated hernia. WWE subsequently stated that Reigns was expected to recover in six weeks. During his recovery period, he appeared in televised interview segments; his speech delivery was criticised as "forced" by James Caldwell of the Pro Wrestling Torch in November 2014. Reigns returned to television on the December 8 episode of Raw when WWE awarded him the 2014 "Superstar of the Year" Slammy Award. Reigns made his official return six days later at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, where he prevented Big Show from attacking John Cena during the latter's match with Seth Rollins, as well as attacking Rollins which allowed Cena to win the match.
At Royal Rumble 2015, Roman Reigns first eliminated Kane and Big Show and then later had to eliminate Rusev to win the Royal Rumble Match. Roman then later got goaded by Daniel Bryan to put his WrestleMania 31 Title shot that he earned at Royal Rumble 2015 on the line at WWE Fastlane. Reigns won the match to go onto the main event of WrestleMania to face Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Both Lesnar and Reigns were laying motionless on the ground and Seth Rollins decided to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase and become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
The next night on Raw, Reigns was a part of the triple threat No. 1 contender's match Big Show interfered and cost Reigns his chance at redemption. which transformed into a Last Man Standing Match at Extreme Rules a match that Reigns walked out victorious from. Then Director of Operations Kane let the WWE Universe decide Rollins next title defence at Payback on the WWE App the WWE Universe voted for it to be a triple threat match Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns. Which later became a fatal four-way match with Dean Ambrose picking up a Raw victory over Seth Rollins. Reigns came up short.
Reigns did not have to wait long before getting another opportunity for the title in the form of the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Reigns was alone in the ring fingertips away from that guaranteed title shot and the lights went out only to come back on and Bray Wyatt at the bottom of the ladder costing Reigns the match. Later that night it was revealed that Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt would clash at Battleground. Leading up to that Reigns was the target of a tyrade from Wyatt "anyone but you Roman. Anyone but you Roman. Anyone but you." Reigns was closing in on the victory until a hooded Luke Harper Superkicked him leaving him wide open for a Sister Abigail. Reigns later reunited with Dean Ambrose to rebel against Wyatt and Harper. Reigns and Ambrose defeated the Wyatts at Summerslam, but the next night during a rematch, a man gave Reigns and Ambrose bear hugs until they lose consciousness. He was named Braun Strowman by Wyatt to take out Reigns and Ambrose. Reigns and Ambrose announced that they have a mystery partner against the Wyatts at Night of Champions. The mystery partner was revealed as Chris Jericho, but they lost against Wyatt's stable at Night of Champions. Reigns would have one last battle with Bray at Hell in a Cell, inside the structure of the same name. Reigns defeated Wyatt at the pay-per-view, then subsequently won a Fatal Four Way match against Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, and Kevin Owens for a title shot against Seth Rollins at Survivor Series. When Rollins suffered a knee injury, a tournament took place to determine the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Triple H offered Reigns a place in the finals, if he shook Triple H's hand. Reigns refuses, claiming he would enter the tournament himself. Reigns would defeat Big Show in the first round, Cesaro in the quarterfinals, Alberto Del Rio in the semi-finals, and finally Dean Ambrose to win the WWE Championship. The reign only lasted 5 minutes and 15 seconds, as Sheamus cashed in the Money in the Bank contract to win the title from Reigns. Roman would then battle Sheamus in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match at TLC. Due to interference from Sheamus's new stable " The League of Nations" , Reigns would ultimately lose, and took out his frustration on Triple H after the match. On December 14, 2015, Reigns was slapped multiple times by Stephanie on Tonight's Raw after attacking Triple H in frustration. He later faces Sheamus for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and despite the distractions made by Stephanie's father Vince McMahon, Reigns defeats Sheamus with the Spear and wins the title for the second time. He was congratulated by Dean Ambrose and his real-life cousins The Usos for winning the championship and Reigns made a speech for his win off-air.
In January 24 2016, Reigns enters the Royal Rumble but was eliminated by Triple H and loses the title to him.
Reigns later had a feud with Rusev for the United States Championship and he is also behind for crashing the wedding between Rusev and Lana on August 5, 2016 which he wants to challenge Rusev for the United States Championship at SummerSlam but he refuses and he soon mocks them while drinking their champaigne for a toast between a Bulgarian Sasquatch and a Millwooden Bride's marriage. His mockery also causes Rusev to lose his temper leading both of them into a brawl until Reigns knocks Rusev to bump into his wife Lana with the wedding cake as Reigns happily giggles to see Lana getting humiliated as he left the ring. After leaving the ring, Raw's General Manager Mick Foley issues an angered Rusev to a match against Reigns on SummerSlam much to his disappointment. But on August 12, Reigns later apologized to Rusev for ruining their wedding in the previous night leading both to have a match at the main event in which Reigns won. Reigns' battle with Rusev on SummerSlam later ended in a no contest which resulted at Rusev gained a cracked injury on his ribs during their brawl.
Reigns would defeat Rusev at Clash of Champions on September 25 to win the United States Championship, and after weeks of brawling he successfully retained the title against Rusev in a Hell in a Cell match at the titular event on October 30 to end their feud. Reigns was later announced as a member for Team Raw in the traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team match on November 20 alongside Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, former Shield brother Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman which Team Raw lost after Reigns was the last man to be eliminated by Bray Wyatt. On the November 28 episode of Raw, Reigns challenged WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens to a non-title match which Reigns won and per the pre-match stipulation, Reigns faced Owens for the WWE Universal Championship at Roadblock: End of the Line on December 18, but lost via disqualification when Chris Jericho attacked Owens to prevent Reigns from winning the title. On the January 9, 2017 episode of Raw, Reigns lost the United States Championship to Jericho in a handicap match also involving Owens. This led to a no disqualification rematch with Owens at the Royal Rumble on January 29 that saw Jericho being suspended above the ring in a shark cage, where Reigns lost after Braun Strowman interfered. Later on the event, Reigns entered at number 30 in the Royal Rumble match, eliminating Bray Wyatt, Chris Jericho and The Undertaker before being last eliminated by Randy Orton. At Fastlane on March 5, Reigns defeated Strowman, becoming the first person to pin Strowman since joining the main roster.
The following night on Raw, Reigns was called out to the ring by Strowman, but instead was answered by The Undertaker, who attacked Reigns (who came out to confront Undertaker after Strowman left the ring) with a chokeslam. This led to a No Holds Barred match between Reigns and Undertaker at WrestleMania 33 on April 2, which Reigns won in his third consecutive WrestleMania 33 main event and Undertaker's final match. This win also made Reigns only one of two wrestlers to defeat Undertaker at WrestleMania, the other being Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XXX. The next night on Raw, Reigns opened the show to ten minutes of severe boos and chants from the crowd, attempting to stop him from speaking, before simply stating "This is my yard now" and leaving the ring. Reigns then resumed his feud with Strowman, who attacked him in front of Michael Cole and, after medical personnel put him inside an ambulance, Strowman pushed it over. An "injured" Reigns returned to face Strowman at Payback on April 30, but was defeated and afterwards further assaulted with steel steps by Strowman.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion (2015–2016)
On the December 17 episode of Raw, Reigns would challenge Sheamus one more time for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which Mr. McMahon put Roman's career on the line. Reigns would beat Sheamus, winning his second world title. On the January 4 episode, after weeks of mind games against Mr. McMahon, McMahon announced that Reigns would defend the title in the Royal Rumble match. Reigns was also given the #1 spot by Vince and Stephanie McMahon.
At the Royal Rumble, Reigns would enter the Rumble, but, under the order of Mr. McMahon, The League of Nations attacked Roman, with Rusev landing the final blow by dropping Reigns through the announce table. Reigns would reenter the match, but was eliminated by #30 and eventual winner, Triple H. Reigns would take part in a Triple Threat match to determine the #1 Contender for Triple H's title at Wrestlemania, against Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar. Reigns would win the match at Fastlane, setting up Triple H vs Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 32. Reigns predictably beat Triple H for his third title at Mania, provoking boos from the audience.
AJ Styles, after beating Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens and Cesaro, would be the next contender for Reigns's WWE Championship. Over the next few weeks, Reigns, along with the Usos (now called the Bloodline), feuded with Styles and his Bullet Club stablemates Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (called the Club). Reigns defeated Styles at Payback, and at Extreme Rules in an Extreme Rules match. After the match, Seth Rollins made his return, planting the champ with a Pedigree. Reigns would defend the title against Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank, which he loses, in which Seth would lose it to Dean Ambrose minutes later. Shane McMahon then announced on the next night, all three members of the Shield would clash at Battleground for the WWE Championship.
Reigns would lose the match, although he was drafted to Raw five days earlier, on the night of the Draft. Reigns started a feud with Rusev for the United States Championship. That match, originally scheduled for SummerSlam, never happened as Rusev suffered an injury. It was moved to Clash of Champions, which Reigns won, completing the fact that all three members of the Shield would hold the WWE Title and the US Title. Reigns would accept a rematch at Hell in a Cell, inside the Cell itself.
Intercontinental Champion (2017–2018)
On the November 20th edition of Monday Night Raw, Reigns won the Intercontinental Championship after defeating The Miz. The following week on the November 27th edition of Raw, Reigns' first title defense was successful against Elias. After the match, Samoa Joe attacked Reigns and applied the Coquina Clutch on the entrance ramp before Joe was removed by backstage officials. The following week on the December 4th edition of Raw, Samoa Joe sat on the entrance ramp to observe Reigns' second title defense against his newest challenger Jason Jordan. After Reigns defeated Jordan to retain the title, Samoa Joe attempted to attack Reigns with another Coquina Cluth, but was driven away by Jason Jordan. Afterwards, Reigns attacked Jordan with a Superman Punch in retaliation for an earlier attack from his challenger prior to their title match. On the December 11th edition of Raw, after Reigns and his fellow Shield teammates were attacked by Samoa Joe and the Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus and Cesaro, all three men wrestled in singles matches against each other. Reigns' third title defense was against Cesaro, whom he defeated.
Reigns' feud with Samoa Joe continued into the following year, ending on the New Years edition of Monday Night Raw, where Reigns faced Joe in a title match where if Reigns was disqualified he would forfeit the title to Joe. In the end, Reigns successfully defeated Joe and retained the title.
On January 12, Reigns resumed his previous rivalry with The Miz, after defeating him in a three-on-one handicap tag match, teaming with fellow Shield member Seth Rollins. Throughout mid-January, Reigns and Rollins defeated The Miz and The Miztourage in several house shows in a series of handicap tag matches. On the 25th Anniversary Raw Show on January 22, Reigns was defeated by The Miz after considerable interference by The Miztourage at ringside and then falling victim to two Skull-Crushing Finales from the Miz; the second after Reigns' head struck an exposed middle turnbuckle, allowing for the Miz to secure a pin-fall and winning the Intercontinental Championship for the eighth time.
Anoa'i is the son of Sika of the Wild Samoans and the brother of Matt "Rosey" Anoa'i, who are both professional wrestlers. As a member of the Anoa'i family, he is also related to fellow professional wrestlers, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Yokozuna, Rikishi Fatu, Umaga and The Usos.
At the Georgia Institute of Technology, Anoa'i studied management.
Anoa'i got married in early December 2014. He has a daughter, with whom he appeared in a public service announcement in June 2014 and unnamed twin sons, which he announced in an interview with Access Hollywood.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Superman punch, with theatrics
- Back elbow
- Corner clothesline
- Leaping clothesline
- Corner high knee - FCW
- Elbow drop - FCW
- European uppercut
- Leaping clothesline
- Jawbreaker - FCW
- Knee lift
- Running forearm smash
- Running crossbody - FCW
- Palm strike
- Samoan drop
- Scoop powerslam
- Niagara Driver (Sitout crucifix powerbomb)
- Short arm lariat
- Single arm DDT
- Springboard chop - FCW
- Swinging gutwrench slam
- Tilt-a-whirl slam
- Fireman's carry dropped into a flapjack
- Drive-By (Running front dropkick from the floor to the head of an opponent draped over the bottom rope)
- "The Muscle of The Shield"
- "The Juggernaut"
- "The Powerhouse"
- "The Big Dog"
- Tag teams and stables
- Entrance themes
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- World Wrestling Entertainment
- WWE Championship (3 times)
- WWE Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Seth Rollins
- WWE United States Championship (1 time)
- WWE Intercontinental Championship (1 time)
- Slammy Award for Breakout Star of the Year (2013) – with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as The Shield
- Slammy Award for Faction of the Year (2013, 2014) – with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as The Shield
- Slammy Award for Trending Now (Hashtag) of the Year (2013) – #BelieveInTheShield – with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as The Shield
- Slammy Award for "What a Maneuver" of the Year (2013) – Spear
- Slammy Award for Superstar of the Year (2014)
- Royal Rumble (2015)
- Grand Slam Championship
- Triple Crown Championship