By Nate Grist, Anchor Contributor, Ashley Goldberg, Anchor Editor
World Wrestling Entertainment has been a leader in the sports entertainment industry for over 50 years. During the past five decades the Guerrero, Funk, Von Erich, McMahon, Rhodes, DiBiase and Orton families have produced second and third generation wrestlers, but no other family may be more influential in the industry than the Anoa’i (pronounced an-uh-Why-ee) family.
WWE superstar Jimmy Uso is one of the most recent in the long list of Anoa’i to enter the squared circle. He and his brother Jey form the tag team The Usos, who have been wrestling with WWE since 2009, starting with Florida Championship Wrestling, a developmental territory of WWE, and now traveling full time and appearing on their television programs “Raw” and “Smackdown.” He also appears on the E! Network reality show “Total Divas,” along with his fiancée and current WWE Diva, Naomi.
Jimmy never really thought about joining the family business, though. He grew up watching and being around wrestling because his dad was well known WWE superstar Rikishi, but never wanted to wrestle. He originally played football at the University of West Alabama until an injury cut his career short.
“I loved sports and I came home from college after the injury and just wanted to try something different and wrestling has always been there. I picked it up really easy and I was a natural at it,” Jimmy said.
The one difference Uso noted between playing football and wrestling is the how the fans are literally right in the athletes’ faces, which allows the the two to hear exactly what one another have to say. It was something that he had to get used to as time went on.
As a performer for the WWE, the cameras are always on. But recently he has been on the show “Total Divas” with Naomi.
“It’s different when you come home and you got cameras in your face, but it’s easier. I am way more nervous when the WWE cameras are on, but working with Naomi…is cool…because when I am frustrated she will be there to calm me down or put my head back on straight. We also got to travel overseas together, which is nice.”
The Anoa’i family has produced many professional wrestlers such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Yokozuna, Samu, Rikishi, Umaga, the Wild Samoans and many others. Jimmy knows he has big shoes to fill, but both he and his brother hope to carry on the tradition and honor what their families did to pave the way for them.
“It’s a good pressure because I like being on my heels and it’s frustrating sometimes because you are not to where your family is…it will take time to get there, but we will get there and it’s a good pressure,” Jimmy said.
One of the highlights of Jimmy’s career was being in the ring with his dad and his brother dancing on Monday Night Raw. He says it was a cool and epic moment because this was the first time they were all in the ring together.
“Growing up watching my dad do it and now me and my brother dancing with my dad in front of millions of people is something I hold close to my heart,” he said.
Jimmy also spoke about how tag team wrestling is coming back in popularity not seen since the ’80s and The Usos are really glad it is happening. When asked about who they would like to take on, Jimmy was quick to share his thoughts.
“The Hardy Boyz in a TLC (Tables, Ladders & Chairs) match.”
If you’d like to see the Anoa’i family tradition live on, The Usos will be at the Dunkin Donus Center on Oct. 12 when they team with Kofi Kingston to take on the Wyatt Family. It is going to be a great show.