Umaga was the ring name of the American professional wrestler, Eddie Fatu, who was best known for wrestling with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). He also wrestled under the ring name Jamal during his tenure at All Japan Pro Wrestling.

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Age, Early Life, and Education Background

Edward Smith ‘Umaga’ Fatu hailed from American Samoa, and was born under the Aries zodiac sign on 28 March 1973. He was the youngest son of Vera Fatu, who sadly succumbed to cancer in April 2008, and the wrestler Solofa Fatu Sr., who was a member of the Anoa’i wrestling family –which also comprised of Yokozuna, Roman Reigns, Solo Sikoa, and the Wild Samoans. The latter was made up of Umaga’s mother’s elder brothers, Afa and Sika. Fatu’s brothers are professional wrestlers, Sam aka The Tonga Kid, and Solofa Jr. aka Rikishi. Umaga was raised in a family of professional wrestlers, so he became interested in the sport at a very young age. After noticing his strong passion for wrestling, Umaga’s parents enrolled him at Wild Samoans Wrestling School, where he began training under his late cousin, Matthew Tapunu’u Anoa’i (best known as Matt Anoa’i), when he was 12 years old.

Umaga attended a local high school in American Samoa, where he wrestled for the school’s team in addition to playing football. He matriculated in late 1991.

Career Beginnings and World Wrestling Federation (WWF)

After he completed his wrestling training in 1995, Fatu began his professional wrestling career under World Xtreme Wrestling (WXW) independent promotion, which was run by his uncle, Afa. He thereafter signed with Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, which is based in Japan, and  wrestled there for one year (1999 and 2000).

In 2001, Fatu and his cousin, Matt Anoa’i, signed with WWF (currently World Wrestling Entertainment), which assigned them to the Cincinnati, Ohio-based Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA) – he adopted the ring name ‘Ekmo.’ In November of that year, his team, The Island Boyz, won the Tag Team Championship after they defeated Shannon Moore and Evan Karagias. In July 2002, Fatu changed his ring name to Jamal, and his cousin changed his to Rosey and they debuted as the 3-Minute Warning in an episode of WWE Raw. Initially, the duo was hired to work as Eric Bischoff’s enforcers, and were tasked with attacking random wrestlers. The team lasted for just a year because Fatu was released from his contract after he apparently became involved in a bar brawl.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) and All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) (2003-2005)

Fatu made his TNA debut under the name Ekmo Fatu, and he soon afterward helped Sonny Siaki beat D’Lo Brown in a match that took place on 10 September 2003. Ekmo Fatu made his final TNA appearance on 11 August 2004. Before his stint at TNA ended, Fatu signed with AJPW in November 2003 – under the ring name Jamal – and joined the Roughly Obsess & Destroy tag team, which was formed by Takao Yoshida. He thereafter teamed up with the wrestlers Barry Buchanan and Taiyo Kea, and with the latter won the Real World Tag League tournament on 1 December 2004. On 16 January 2005, Kea and Fatu won their first World Tag Team Championship after they beat the New Japan Pro-Wrestling representatives, Yutaka Yoshie and Hiroshi Tanahashi. During his stint at AJPW, Fatu participated in several championships, including Champion Carnival – he left the promotion in December 2005.

Return to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)

Fatu re-signed a contract with WWE under the ring name ‘Umaga’ in December 2005 and was widely known as a fierce savage who could only be controlled by his Palestinian-American manager, Armando Estrada. He wrestled numerous established WWE champions including John Cena, Tripple H, and Shawn Michaels and even defeated some of them. In late 2006, Umaga was deemed the top contender for the World Heavyweight Championship, which saw him qualify to wrestle the then-heavyweight champion, John Cena, who retained his title after defeating him.

In a 19 March 2007 episode of Raw, Umaga was chosen to represent Vince McMahon in the “Battle for Billionaires” and was granted a match with Jeff Hardy, in which he scooped the Intercontinental Championship title. He was involved in various feuds with numerous famous wrestlers, including Bobby Lashley and Santino Marella, but won his second Intercontinental Championship after defeating the latter in July 2007. In June 2008, Umaga was drafted to WWE’s SmackDown bran, but was later released from WWE on 8 June 2009 after violating their ‘Wellness Program.’ During his stint in WWE, Umaga was well known for his signature sledgehammer move.

Independent Circuit

In July 2009, Umaga participated in the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico, where he defeated Mr. Anderson. Thereafter, he adopted the ring name Uso Fatu, and appeared on the Hulkamania Tour of Australia together with the likes of Hulk Hogan. Umaga wrestled his last match on 28 November 2009, where he lost to Mr. Anderson. It’s reported that he had re-signed a contract with WWE, and would wrestle in the 2010 Royal Rumble before his untimely death.

Personal Life

Umaga walked the aisle with L.T. Fatu in 2001 – the couple welcomed four children together including Zilla Fatu, who is training to become a wrestler at the WWE Hall of Famer, Booker T. Huffman Jr.’s Houston-based independent wrestling promotion, Reality of Wrestling (ROW).

Rumors and Controversy

On 30 August 2007, the magazines “The Washington Post,” “New York Daily News,” and “Sports Illustrated” posted articles listing Umaga as one of the superstars who bought pharmaceuticals from online pharmacies, which was against WWE’s ‘Talent Wellness’ program. It was said the Umaga had procured and used the growth hormone somatotropin in late 2006. In June 2009, he allegedly violated the ‘Wellness Program’ again, and after he refused to go for rehabilitation, WWE revoked his contract.

Umaga’s Death

On 4 December 2009, Umaga’s wife found him lying on the couch in their Houston home, unresponsive, with blood oozing from his nose. Paramedics established that the wrestler was suffering from a heart attack, and he was rushed to hospital. Although Umaga didn’t show any sign of brain activity, the doctors successfully restarted his heart and put him on life support. Unfortunately, he suffered another serious heart attack, which resulted in his death. According to the autopsy reports, Umaga had the drugs carisoprodol – a muscle relaxant, – the painkiller hydrocodone, and valium in his blood system. Moreover, he was found to have both liver and heart diseases, and it was ruled that his repeated drug use and bad heart had resulted in his death. Umaga died at 5:00 PM CST on 4 December 2009 aged 36 and was thereafter laid to rest at Davis Memorial Park in Las Vegas, Nevada, where his mother was also buried.

Height, Weight, and Physical Appearance

Umaga, aka The Samoan Bulldozer, was of White ethnicity and had a set of brown eyes and braided dark brown hair. He was 6ft 4ins (1.93m) tall and weighed around 350lbs (159kgs). He had inked numerous tattoos on his body.

Net Worth

Fatu was a famous wrestler who had accumulated a decent sum from his career. He earned an annual salary of $300,000 during his stint in WWE; he was worth close to $2 million at the time of his death.

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