Umaga was a good WWE wrestler
He was an opponent of US President Donald Trump in his legendary appearance at WrestleMania.
He was one of the best big men of his time, a worthy representative of the legendary Samoan wrestling dynasty, which also resulted in his cousin Roman Reigns and his nephews Jimmy and Jey Uso (and with whom also superstar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson via a blood brotherhood connected is).
He immortalized himself with great and remarkable matches against top stars like John Cena and Jeff Hardy - before his WWE career and then his life ended in sad circumstances in 2009.
Edward Smith Fatu, the man who was Umaga, passed away on December 4, 2009, a few months after his WWE release, at the age of only 36.
Umaga was part of the legendary Anoa'i wrestling family
Eddie Fatu, born March 28, 1973 in San Francisco, was part of the large show-fighting family Anoa'i. His mother Vera was the sister of Afa and Sika, who had made a Hall of Fame career in the former WWF as "Wild Samoans".
In 1995 he followed them into the industry and finally ended up at WWE - just like his older brothers Sam (Tama / Tonga Kid), Solofa (Rikishi) and his cousin Rodney (Yokozuna) before him.
In 2002 Eddie Fatu made his debut under the name Jamal at the side of his cousin Rosey (the older brother of Roman Reigns who also died early in 2017) as the destructive tag team "Three Minute Warning". WWE fired him a year later, allegedly for involvement in a nightclub brawl.
WWE breakthrough comes in 2006
Via detours through the TNA and AJPW leagues in Japan, he found his way back to the market leader at the end of 2005 - and became a surprise hit with a new character.
In the RAW episode after WrestleMania 22 in 2006, Fatu introduced his new character Umaga with an attack on legend Ric Flair, ultimately a return to the image of the Wild Samoans and the headshrinkers in the nineties.
Umaga gave the "Samoan Bulldozer", the unpredictable native who embarked on a campaign of devastation by the WWE darlings - led by manager Armando Alejandro Estrada, an alleged Cuban businessman who had "Uuuuuuumaga" under control for some unknown reason.
Outstanding matches against John Cena and Jeff Hardy
As clichéd as it was, Umaga was: The idea worked because Fatu brought it to life with strong ringwork and rousing intensity.
A winning streak of several months culminated in a feud with top star Cena, which Umaga then lost. Her Last Man Standing Match at the Royal Rumble 2007 was one of the best matches not only in Umaga, but also in Cena's career.
Umaga did his job so well that he got a leading role in the most important WrestleMania feud of the year: In the "Battle of the Billionaires" between WWE boss Vince McMahon and his business friend Trump, Umaga acted as McMahon's enforcer against Trump's protégé Bobby Lashley - and pocketed the defeat that cost McMahon the head of hair he had risked against Trump.
In the following year and a half, Umaga's duels with Jeff Hardy, with whom he had a special ring chemistry, stood out. There were other larger matches for the two-time Intercontinental Champion against Triple H, Batista and the up-and-coming CM Punk - before Umaga's WWE involvement ended abruptly in June 2009.
Sad concatenation leads to early death in 2009
The league fired Eddie Fatu, according to media reports that he had been caught violating the league's drug policy for the second time and had refused to seek therapy.
Fatu tried again a new start in smaller leagues, competed in Puerto Rico and on a legend tour through Australia organized by Hulk Hogan.
On December 4, 2009, six months after his WWE exit, he was found by his wife L.T. lifeless in their shared house in Houston, Texas.
Fatu had suffered a heart attack, brought about by a fateful combination of several factors: the doctors found several drugs in his blood - a painkiller, a sleep aid and a muscle relaxant - and discovered previous damage to the heart and liver.
Umaga persuades Usos to pursue a wrestling career
Fate's fate is an extreme, but not an isolated case: drug abuse and addiction problems have already shortened many wrestlers' lives in an industry characterized by tour stress and physical overexploitation.
It was not until 2019 that Umaga's two companions, with two arrests each for alcohol incidents, caused concern: his rival Jeff Hardy and his nephew Jimmy Uso - shortly before his death, the uncle had convinced him and brother Jey to give up their previous jobs as craftsmen and the family history in the ring to continue.
Her uncle Eddie left four children in his early death.
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