Former WWE Writer Recalls Creation Of Umaga Character
A former WWE writer has shared how the Umaga character started in WWE after Vince McMahon told his creative team that they needed opponents for John Cena.
The WWE Universe first got to know the late, great Umaga (real name Eddie Fatu) in the summer of 2002 when he was part of a tag team called Three Minute Warning. He was called Jamal while his cousin was Rosey, who has also passed away. Eddie was the younger brother of WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi.
After being released by WWE in 2003 after a bar fight, Eddie was re-hired and back on TV after WrestleMania 22 in 2006. That’s when we first got to see Umaga, who was managed by Armando Alejandro Estrada.
Umaga had a long undefeated streak in 2006 until he was pushed as an opponent of the WWE Champion John Cena. They would have several great matches together including a fantastic Last Man Standing Match at Royal Rumble 2007. A few months later, Umaga was part of the biggest match of his career at WrestleMania 23 as Vince McMahon’s chosen wrestler against Bobby Lashley, who was representing Donald Trump in the “Battle of the Billionaires” Hair vs. Hair that saw Lashley win, which led to Vince’s head being shaved.
Court Bauer currently owns Major League Wrestling (MLW), but in the mid-2000s he was a writer for WWE. Bauer talked to Chris Jericho on the Talk Is Jericho podcast about the best angle that Bauer ever pitched while in WWE.
“We’re getting ready to go to Chicago for WrestleMania 22. We had our last meeting going into there with Vince, he goes, ‘We gotta get some new heels for Cena. We got to keep feeding this guy. We need monsters.'”
“So Eckie [Umaga] and I [are] on the phone, and at the hotel [we] just came up with Umaga, and it was as a callback, throwback to his uncles doing the Wild Samoans gimmick, but with a modern twist with the grill piece. I pitched him the face paint. Originally I wanted it to be a temp tattoo. 72 hours later, he debuted on ‘Raw.’ That’s how fast he went from sitting out. Concept, sign off, now he’s making a big impact.”
Umaga would go on to become a two-time Intercontinental Champion in WWE while feuding with many of the company’s top stars like Cena, Triple H and Jeff Hardy to name a few.
While Eddie sadly passed away in 2009 at the age of 36, his legacy lives on in The Bloodline since he is the uncle of The Usos and Solo Sikoa. Roman Reigns is Rosey’s brother. In December 2022, Solo Sikoa started using the Samoan Spike as a signature move to pay tribute to Umaga, who made that move famous.
Umaga’s son Zilla Fatu has also started training to wrestle at Booker T’s wrestling school as he attempts to follow his father’s legacy.