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Wrestling / Samoan Dynasty

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The Samoan Dynasty (also called the Anoa'i family, the Anoa'i clan, the Anoa'i Dynasty, the Uso Family, and The Bloodline) is an extended family of professional wrestlers whose roots primarily hail from American Samoa. While prominently known through their most famous members' exposure in WWE, many members of the family have wrestled in other promotions as well before touching grounds in Vince McMahon's universe.

It all started when the Reverend Amituana'i Anoa'i became "blood brothers" with Peter Maivia, a High Chief of the Mālietoa lineage (one of Samoa's four great state dynasties) and one of the men who in a roundabout way trained two of the Reverend's sons to be professional wrestlers. Maivia had become a main event mainstay of the NWA New Zealand territory almost overnight and remained a steadfast and highly respected name in the business, while Amituana'i's sons, Afanote  and Sikanote , would become a highly acclaimed and successful tag team known most commonly as The Wild Samoans. (Yes, the original Wild Samoans—as in, the ones who made that whole "uncultured and dangerous savage islanders" character archetype famous in pro wrestling as well as gave it its name.) Their history in pro wrestling, however, would become well-defined not just by their own success, but that of their progeny.

Peter Maivia's wife Ofelia became one of the first notable female pro wrestling promoters, while Ata, Lia's daughter from her first marriage who Peter adopted as his own, would enter a relationship and later marriage with Rocky Johnson, an occasional tag team partner of the High Chief. Speaking of Reverend Anoa'i, another of his "blood brothers" had a daughter named Sharon who became Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka's second wife, bringing the Fijian high flying pioneer and all four of their children into the family tree as well. The Reverend's children (Afa and Sika, at least two other brothers, and especially their sister Vera) would all go to have children within their individual marriages who became pro wrestlers as well, sometimes after trying out other athletic careers such as American football. This example was similar to Rocky and Ata's own son Dwayne. Rodney, a nephew of both Wild Samoans, became successful in the early 1990s under The Gimmick of Japanese sumo-wrestling transplant Yokozuna, while Vera's sons with Solofa Fatu (particularly Solofa Jr., Eki, and Sam), Afa's son Samu, and Sika's son Matt, all went through various gimmicks and team-ups over the years, mostly centered around military, street life, or Wild Samoan motifs. In fact, Sam was brought into the WWF specifically to team with Snuka as his cousin The Tonga Kid, acknowledging Superfly's ties to the family.

Eventually Dwayne Johnson and Fatu Jr. became mainstays of the WWF during the mid-to-late '90s period which the company would coin as the "Attitude Era". Dwayne became known as The Rock, the most electrifying man in sports entertainment and multi-time WWF Champion, before pivoting to an arguably even more successful acting career and transcending pro wrestling like no one else before him, while Junior Fatu earned his greatest fame when he combined hip hop and sumo under the moniker of Rikishi. The Rock and Rikishi's family connections were brought up during a brief feud in 2000-2001 centered around the Mystery Fiction Excuse Plot for "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's absence through much of the preceding year, spawning Rikishi's infamous "I did it for The Rock" confession promo. Eki was the last to play the Wild Samoan gimmick straight on global television through his run as Umaga in the mid-to-late 2000s, though his life would tragically come to an end soon afterward.

It was in the generation that came of age in The New '10s that the family's seeds would sprout to the point of being marketable as a dynasty. That generation's wrestling bonafides included Afa's son Afa Jr. (briefly known as Manu in WWE) and Lloyd AKA "LA Smooth", who would come to team up as The Sons of Samoa; Fatu Jr.'s twin sons Jonathan and Joshua, who would become the elite Tag Team Twins known as Jimmy and Jey Uso, as well as Jonathan's wife Trinity (AKA dancer-turned-wrestler Naomi) and Junior's youngest son Joseph AKA Sefa (currently known as Solo Sikoa); Samu's son Lance Anoa'i and Tonga Kid's son Jacob Fatu, two of the most prominent free agents in the latter parts of the decade; Superfly and Sharon's children Jimmy Jr. and Sarona, better known by their WWE names Deuce and Tamina; Afa's nephew Sean Maluta; Peter's niece Savelina, the infamous Nia Jax; The Rock's daughter Simone; and especially Sika's son Leati Joseph Anoa'i, who became Roman Reigns, successor to John Cena as the ultra-polarizing top man in the industry. The family on the independent circuit has explicitly taken the brand of The Samoan Dynasty under the guidance of Rikishi, while in WWE their lineage has earned the moniker of The Bloodline, especially when centered around the tandem of Roman Reigns, The Usos and the aforemention Solo Sikoa.

Oddly enough the most famous wrestler to have the word "Samoa" in his name, Samoa Joe, is not related to the family.

They also share friendly ties with Tongan wrestler Tonga Fifita AKA Haku, a former tag partner of both Samu and Junior Fatu. Haku's sons and distant nephew are all wrestlers as well, all having spent time as part of the Bullet Club, primarily in New Japan Pro-Wrestling (with Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale being founding members).

"Make no mistake about these tropes!:"

  • Acrofatic: Many members of this dynasty are either super heavyweights or otherwise possess rather stout physiques. This does not stop any of themnote  from being incredibly agile athletes in their primes, capable of throwing out moves such as superkicks, splashes, or jumping/diving attacks with the greatest of ease. The Rock, Brock Lesnar, and John Cena have personally seen the 425-pound Rikishi sell a clothesline like he was being carried by a tornado.
    • Jacob Fatu is perhaps the best example in the modern era, being over 300 pounds and can pull of suicide dives, handstring moonsaults, Christopher Daniels BME style moonsaults, Coast-to-Coast dropkicks, Fosbury Flops, Jeff Hardy's Whisper in The Wind (corkscrew body press), Senton Bombs, etc.
  • Arc Number: The number 1, in the case of The Bloodline and especially The Usos. Starting with The Usos' claims to be "down since day one", the entire group has adopted the catchphrase "We the ones", along with all members posing with a single finger raised to the sky. The Usos adopted the 3D finisher from The Dudley Boys and renamed it the "1D" (as in "One And Done"), and Solo Sikoa is known as "The One Problem".
  • Artistic License – Geography: Most pre-2010s members were billed from the "Isle Of Samoa". As WrestleCrap points out, Samoa is an archipelago made up of 10 islands that is split between a U.S. government and an independent government. This is obviously a far cry from a singular island filled with mystical and primitive Samoan warriors.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Roman Reigns is the most successful wrestler out of any of these guys since The Rock. As such, Afa and Sika would fully approve his appointment as Tribal Chief, adorning him with the red luau following his 2020 Hell in a Cell "I Quit" victory over Jey, and his threats to excommunicate The Usos from the family entirely if they don't follow his lead in the aftermath of that match are treated as deadly serious.
  • Bash Brothers: The Wild Samoans and The Usos are the best literal examples of the bunch, although any of the myriad tag teams this family has cycled through may count as this.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Roman stepping away from WWE for the sake of his family at the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic was a step taken for both his immediate family and the Anoa'i family as a whole. His anger at being treated to minimal mentions in his absence and heavy sense of responsibility for providing for the family in this time was a large catalyst to his offscreen Face–Heel Turn.
  • The Clan: In comparison to the McMahons, the Ortons and the Guerreros, the Anoa'i lean more to this trope rather than Badass Family, being more of a dynasty with many cadet branches rather than one straight lineage.
  • The Corrupter: When Paul Heyman, who's known The Bloodline for a long time, first appeared sitting next to Roman Reigns in his return in 2020, it was EASY to think Paul had become the devil in Roman's ear, to the point that notion was the whole reason Paul's presence with Roman signaled the dial of a heel turn. However, this was strongly defied when it became apparent Roman's vicious rage goes far beyond anything Paul can control, often leaving the slick-talker to recoil in terror. In fact, given the ceremonious congratulations Roman received from The Wild Samoans upon beating Jey at Hell in a Cell (said beating being one of those moments which horrified Heyman), as well as the fact Rikishi (who let's keep in mind is the leader of The Samoan Dynasty in its 2019 heel turn) hasn't confronted Reigns once about the treatment of his sons despite appearing in the same WWE preview interview with Afa and Sika, it makes far more sense to presume that the elders of The Dynasty itself have some part to play in Roman's actions as Tribal Chief, while Heyman was rescued from obscurity and brought along for the ride as a favor. Paul Heyman heavily implies that this is the case during the September 23, 2022 edition of Smackdown, claiming that Solo Sikoa was sent by the elders of the Samoan Dynasty as Roman's enforcer.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: During the Bloodline storyline, while the elders of the clan may the ultimate authority in the family, anyone who’s on the active WWE roster must recognize Roman Reigns as the Tribal Chief. Even when Solo was explicitly “sent” by the elders to operate as Roman’s enforcer, Roman made clear he was unequivocally the leader for those in the ring to which Solo conceded without question.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: If a member of this dynasty is billed from "The Isle of Samoa" at a time preceding the arrival of HD television, chances are they'll be speaking a lot more Samoan than English. This is a largely fictional trope, as most denizens of the Samoan Islands (especially American Samoa where the Anoa'i family comes from) are easily fluent in both Samoan and English.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Both the independent and WWE incarnations went through this to establish their dominance, to the point that there are going implications the two events might be related:
    • After being largely received as babyfaces especially whenever they teamed up, the entire non-televised collective of The Samoan Dynasty came to join Jacob Fatu in an all-out assault raid on All Pro Wrestling's main event scene in late 2019. Looming large in command of the entire scene was Rikishi, who proclaimed that his family were done playing nice and intended to take their due respect by force across the industry.
    • Following Reigns' acknowledgement of his family ties in 2015, The Usos would often back him in his feuds against The League of Nations, The Authority, and The OC, eventually coining the name of The Bloodline. They never came at odds with Roman even after becoming more vile and streetwise in their approach to the tag team division, or even when competing on opposite Survivor Series teams. Upon Roman's return from pandemic-induced exile in 2020, however, he adopted a brutal opportunistic philosophy centered around fear, respect, and the family's headship, tormenting his cousins into acknowledging him as Tribal Chief and following his new way of doing things straight to the top of the industry.
  • Facial Markings: The Headshrinkers, The Usos, and Umaga have all rocked Tribal Face Paint on occasion.
  • Family of Choice:
    • Paul Heyman is an old family friend of the Dynasty (having known Roman since he was a little boy), and treats the rest of the Bloodline like family.
    • In Kayfabe, Sami Zayn has achieved this status in the Bloodline as an “honorary uce”. The only member of the family in the stable that hasn’t accepted, Jey Uso— has been told in no uncertain terms to either get on board or Roman’s just going to make Sami a fully official member of the family.
    • Within Samoan culture, one can literally graft entire families together by combining this trope with Blood Brothers. The Rock and Superfly, along with Rocky Johnson, Ava Raine, Nia Jax, Tamina, and Deuce, are all considered part of the family due to the Reverend's blood oaths with Rock's maternal grandfather (High Chief Peter Maivia) and another powerful tribal chief whose daughter is Snuka's second wife. Given that, Roman literally actually could make Sami a full blown Uce, and Jey damn well knows it.
  • Foreshadowing: The Bloodline initially debutednote  in WWE as a nominally Face stable, with The Usos and Roman Reigns joining forces after several years of working parallel to (and sometimes even against) each other, in response to the Villain Team-Up of Baron Corbin and several allies. "Nominally" is the operative word here because this was at the peak of WWE's attempt to force Reigns over as the top company babyface and the Hype Backlash that came with it, which rubbed off on The Usos themselves. But it underscored Jey and Jimmy's "family over everything" mantra and the three working together as an effective, sometimes even ruthless alliance. That was in the beginning of 2020 and lasted about a month. The following year, Roman was WWE champion and had essentially subjugated the Usos, creating the best-known incarnation of the group.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The elders of the Samoan Dynasty, despite their absence on WWE programming, are heavily implied to be responsible for the Bloodline's formation and Roman's brutal actions as Tribal Chief. They are also to blame for Drew McIntyre's near-victory over Roman Reigns at Clash At The Castle being stopped by Solo Sikoa, who they explicitly sent for that purpose.
  • Hard Head: You do not headbutt these people. They headbutt you. No, seriously. Even when you're the one trying to headbutt them, they headbutt you.
  • In the Blood: As richly elaborated above, professional wrestling has been passed down from Reverend Amituana'i's children and blood brothers through multiple generations of their combined Samoan lineage.
  • It Runs in the Family: So much so that if not for the constant surnames of Anoa'i and Fatu among most of the lot, it might be more accurate to call them all a clan rather than a family. Of course, going by dynasty or bloodline instead allows them to combine this with their history of dominance to make them fearsome and badass.
  • The Leader: While Rikishi captains the HD-era Samoan Dynasty as a Supporting Leader and The Mentor, Roman Reigns is the one who Afa and Sika have appointed as their generational leader, especially after forcing the issue of being The Bloodline's Tribal Chief in 2020.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Peter Maivia -> Afa -> Sika. Yes, the very beginning of the dynasty started with this.
    • The Wild Samoans -> Rikishi. Afa and Sika opened a wrestling school and trained many of their younger counterparts, one of which, Rikishi, would go on to do the same.
  • Parts Unknown: Played with. Most members pre-2010s were billed from The Isle of Samoa, which is treated more as a mysterious island of foreign tribal warriors than a real-life archipelago containing both an independent government on the west side and a US territory on the east side.
  • Posthumous Character:
    • The Dynasty posthumously treats Eki Fatu as a composite of his Wild Samoan "Umaga" gimmick and his prior gimmicks in which he often aligned with family members. To wit, their "Ultimate Uce" apparel line uses his face painted as Umaga as an icon, and the "U" is shaped like his tusk necklace flipped upside down.
    • Yokozuna when active was identified with Japan despite being occasionally billed from the Polynesian Islands, but Fatu Jr.'s gimmick of Rikishi was sumo-influenced as a Call-Back to Yokozuna. His family ties would be explicitly acknowledged after his death as well.
  • Power Stable: Firmly established both on the independent circuit, and through a WWE version as The Bloodline. While the Tongans served as the teeth of their stable, relating to Bullet Club before G.o.D. got kicked out, the Samoans ARE their stable to the point that it's considered high privilege when they let others in.
  • Power Trio: The Bloodline name originally comes from Roman's team-up with The Usos. The Sons of Samoa will periodically team up with another of their fellow kinsmen in a representation of The Samoan Dynasty, especially Lance or Jacob. Rikishi will occasionally back up his sons in WWE, if he's not tagging up with other younger-generation members on the indies.
    • To mention the Tongans, Guerrillas of Destiny will most likely be found pairing up with Haku, Fale, or Big Little Brother Hikuleo.
  • One-Steve Limit: While both Rikishi and Sika's youngest sons are named Joseph, they both use different shorthands for the name (Rikishi's kid is called Sefa instead of Joe) and Sika's kid is, of course, much more famous as Roman Reigns.
  • Prefers Going Barefoot: The Wild Samoans and their Spiritual Successors, as well as Superfly and Yokozuna, would all wrestle barefoot, usually wearing ankle wraps or foot tape instead though the likes of Rikishi, the Usos, Manu (Afa Jr.), Rosey, Soko Sikoa and of course, Roman Reigns wore boots when they wrestled.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Knowing that Paul Heyman is a longtime family friend of The Dynasty, combined with Heyman becoming Reigns' "Special Counsel" in his 2020 Face–Heel Turn, puts all of Heyman's Baddie Flattery towards "The Samoan Badass" in his longtime championship feud with Brock Lesnar in a whole new light.
  • Supporting Leader: Rikishi has become this for the younger-generation Samoan Dynasty who came of age after Umaga's death.
  • Tag Team: OH SO MANY.
    • The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika).
    • The Islanders (Haku [the first Tama Tonga/King Tonga] and Sam [Tama Samoa/The Tongan Kid]).
    • The Samoan SWAT Team/The Samoans/ The Headshrinkers (Fatu and Samu, Rodney [Kokina Maximus] would join them on in the independents).
    • The New Wild Samoans (Fatu and Sam [The Samoan Savage])
    • The Samoan Gangstas/The Samoan Gangsta Party/The Samoan Gangsta Tribe/Gangstas in Paradise (Matt [Matt E Smalls] and Samu [Sammy Silk], then later Matt and Lyold [LA Smooth]).
    • Los Samoanos (Sam [Samoano I] and Samu [Samoano II])
    • Rikishi and Haku in 2000.
    • The Island Boyz/3 Minute Warning (Edward [Ekmo/Jamal] and Matt [Kimo/Rosey] respectively).
    • The Samoan Island Tribe (Samu and Mana The Polynesian Warrior, later joined by Ekmo in MLW)
    • The New Samoan Island Tribe (Samu and Lance Anoa’i)
    • The Sons of Samoa (Afa Jr. and LA Smooth).
    • The Fatus (Jacob and Journey Fatu, with Tongan wrestler Juicy Finau they form The South Pacific Savages)
    • The New Samoan SWAT Team (Lance Anoa'i and Jacob Fatu, with Juicy Finau).
    • The Samoan Soldiers/The Usos (Jonathan/Jimmy and Joshua/Jey).
    • "Tribal Chief" Roman Reigns and Jey Uso in 2020, joined by Jimmy in 2021 to form the Bloodline and a year later adding Solo Sikoa.
    • On the female side, Team BAD (Trinity/Naomi and Sarona/Tamina).
    • The Samoan Slaughterhouse (Tamina and Nia Jax).
    • And we're not even counting the teams in which only one Polynesian was a member, such as Legacy, The Shield, Hurricane and Rosey, or The Funkadactyls.
  • Unrelated Brothers: Averted. The Maivia and Snuka lines may not be direct biological relatives to the Anoa'i/Fatu, but they are considered a part of the family in real life due to covenants with Afa and Sika's father. So seeing The Tonga Kid be called Superfly's cousin, or Tamina and Nia Jax refer to each other and The Usos as their cousins (and vice versa), or Rikishi reference both The High Chief and his own brothers in his confession speech to The Rock, is not some corporate tactic by promoters to associate random Polynesians to one another, but a reflection of how they all truly see each other in reality. Case and point: in a posthumous Instagram post reflecting on Snuka's final days, Rock calls Superfly "uncle".
  • Wild Samoan: The trope earns its name from the tag team of Afa and Sika, and they came off as perhaps the truest example of the stereotype, given that their mannerisms included picking their noses, biting opponents, and eating raw fish during interviews. Many of their successors in the 1990s adopted their own takes on the trope as a transitional gimmick. The last to play it relatively straight is Eki as "The Samoan Bulldozer" Umaga, though he came off as more of a dangerous predator than savage Dumb Muscle, as the only "uncultured" aspect he retained up until 2009 was not speaking English—and that's just because he preferred to do 99% of his on-screen Trash Talk in his native Samoan tongue. Most members from the more reality-centric era of The New '10s will sometimes include tattoos, face paint, war dances, or tropical-based attire as part of a subtle "ferocious warrior" motif with values informed by their urban islander background, but are perfectly capable of speaking English (and Japanese in the Tongans' case) and properly existing in civilized society.
  • Wrestling Family: One of the most well-established at that, next to the Guerrero, Hart, Von Erich, and McMahon lineages.

Alternative Title(s): Anoai Family, Anoai Clan, Anoai Dynasty, Uso Family, The Bloodline