Afa Anoa'i, Jr. (October 6, 1984) is an American professional wrestler of Samoan descent. He is best known for his work in World Wrestling Entertainment, where he competed on its Raw brand under the ring name Manu.
Professional wrestling career
World Xtreme Wrestling
Anoa'i began training as a wrestler under his father, Afa, and brothers, Lloyd and Samula, at the age of 13. He made his debut on August 28, 1998 at the age of 14, winning a battle royal in Austria. He attended Freedom High School, in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania.
World Wrestling Entertainment (2006–2009)
Developmental territories (2006–2007)
In October 2006, Anoa'i received a try-out with World Wrestling Entertainment, held at the Deep South Wrestling development territory. Later that month, Anoa'i officially signed with WWE, going under his father's ring name, "Afa". He went on to wrestle for Deep South Wrestling. Initially performing as part of the Urban Assault stable, which dissolved when Afa and leader Sonny Siaki abandoned their partner Eric Perez during a match against Freakin' Deacon and former Urban Assault member G-Rilla. Siaki and Afa rechristened themselves The Samoan Fight Club.
Anoa'i then wrestled for WWE's new developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, where he continued teaming with Siaki under their Samoan Fight Club name. Their team was disbanded, however, when Siaki was released from his contract due to family issues on September 15, 2007. In September, Afa Jr. began to work matches in Ohio Valley Wrestling, forming a tag team with fellow Samoan family member Matt Anoa'i and their team was dubbed the Sons of Samoa; which is also a stable that Afa Jr. formed while he still wrestled in World Xtreme Wrestling. In October 2007, Afa Jr. defeated Harry Smith by countout (he was touring in the UK at the time), to become the new FCW Heavyweight Champion.
Raw, The Legacy and departure (2007, 2008–2009)
On November 19, 2007, Anoa'i made his debut on WWE television under the name Mai Tai Anoa'i in a losing effort against Jim Duggan at the Heat tapings. Anoa'i was later suspended by WWE for 30 days, on March 20, 2008, for violating WWE's Wellness Policy. At Unforgiven, Anoa'i made his debut on the full-time roster under the name "Manu". He aligned himself with Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, by attacking Cryme Tyme after their World Tag Team Championship match. Later that night, the three of them helped Randy Orton attack the World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk and Kofi Kingston. On the September 8 edition of Raw Manu, Rhodes and DiBiase defeated Cryme Tyme and Kofi Kingston in a six-man tag team match. On the November 17 episode of Raw, he made his singles debut in a losing effort against Batista. During this time, Rhodes, DiBiase and Manu entered a storyline with Randy Orton where Orton constantly criticized and insulted them, and attacked DiBiase on November 3, on Raw. Manu and Rhodes accepted Orton's offer for an alliance in the following weeks, and the trio dubbed themselves "The Legacy".
After Orton grew tired of The Legacy losing matches, he scheduled a test for each member on the December 29 episode of Raw; however, Manu failed to pass his test after he lost to the ECW Champion, Matt Hardy, and was kicked out as his former companions Rhodes and Sim Snuka turned their backs on him. Later Snuka also got kicked out of the group, and the two quickly reunited. They planned to get their revenge on Orton and Rhodes on the January 12, 2009 episode of Raw, with the aid of the returning Ted DiBiase, but DiBiase betrayed them, and joined The Legacy with Orton and Rhodes.
Anoa'i was released from his WWE contract on February 23, 2009. Randy Orton later said that the reason Anoa'i had been released "had a lot to do with his backstage attitude", and stated that Anoa'i "didn’t feel like he had to pay his dues".
Independent scene (2009-present)
On April 18, 2009, Anoa'i returned to the independent circuit at a World Xtreme Wrestling (WXW) show. He reformed the Sons of Samoa tag team with Samu, and the pair competed as a tag team throughout the rest of 2009. In late 2010, Anoa'i also competed for the Belgian Catch Wrestling Federation and NWA Dawg Pound.
Anoa'i is a member of the Anoa'i family, a Samoan family of wrestlers. He is the son of Afa Anoa'i and the younger brother of Samula Anoa'i and Lloyd Anoa'i. He is also the cousin of Umaga and Rikishi. He has Samoan tattoos on his arms.
Anoa'i attended Freedom High School, where Coach Jim Morgans described him as "the best defensive lineman I've coached." As a senior, Anoa'i was named one of the 100 best football players in the United States by analyst Tom Lemming. Upon graduation from Freedom, Anoa'i attended Fork Union Military Academy as a post-graduate to study and play football. He played in the 2003 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Upon graduating, Anoa'i played football with the University of Connecticut Huskies for a year.
In August 2003, Anoa'i was implicated as the getaway driver of a duo who committed an armed robbery in Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania, stealing money and jewelry worth over $150,000 and stabbing the elderly female resident. Anoa'i pleaded no contest to the charge of receipt of stolen property and was given two years probation.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- "The Samoan Storm"
Championships and accomplishments
- Defiant Pro Wrestling
- DPW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Independent Superstars of Professional Wrestling
- ISPW Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Jersey Championship Wrestling
- JCW Television Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #368 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2008
- World Xtreme Wrestling