Former local pro wrestler and WWE star Rosey dies at 47

Matt “Rosey” Anoa’i, in a photo posted by WWE twitter.

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Matt “Rosey” Anoa’i, in a photo posted by WWE twitter.

Matt “Rosey” Anoa’i, brother of current WWE star Roman Reigns and a cousin of former wrestler and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has died at age 47.

Anoa'i's death was noted in a statement by World Wrestling Entertainment , no cause was listed.

Before wrestling in WWE, Anoa’i wrestled for the Heartland Wrestling Association, a minor league training company for WWE. He wrestled in Dayton, regularly appearing at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds Coliseum, Splash Moraine, and other local venues weekly in Middletown, Hamilton and around Cincinnati.

Anoa’i and his late cousin Eddie Fatu, who would later wrestle as Umaga and was involved in WWE’s storyline with now President Donald Trump, were trained together as a tag team in the area known as “The Island Boys”. They debuted on WWE television as 3-Minute Warning and were managed by former WCW President Eric Bischoff.

Cincinnati-native and Anoa’i’s former instructor Les Thatcher noted his passing this morning on his Facebook account.

“Matt spent a year with me in WWE developmental,” Thatcher wrote. “(He) gave my wife Alice away at our wedding at her request 15 years ago. He was a part of our extended family, and will remain so in our thoughts and prayers. All of us were touched by his friendship and better for it. Go with God, my dear friend, and we will remember you.”

Anoa’i was a former WWE tag team champion with Shane Helms.

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