Saturday, December 5, 2009

Edward Fatu (aka Umaga)(1973-2009)

Just one week ago, the wrestler formerly known as Umaga was in Australia on Hulk Hogan's Hulkamania tour, wrestling on the undercard vs. fellow WWE alumnus Ken Anderson (formerly Mr. Kennedy). Using the name Uso, Ed Fatu won his last match with his signature finisher, the Samoan Spike.

Just 5 days later, Fatu was rushed to a Houston hospital after his wife found him in his chair, bleeding from the nose and unable to breathe. Fatu was pronounced dead Friday evening after suffering two heart attacks in the space of 24 hours. He was 36.

Just 7 months ago, Umaga was feuding with CM Punk on WWE Friday Night Smackdown, and cut his first-ever promo. Fatu had essayed the role of Umaga as a silent, savage Samoan who let his actions do his talking for him. His former manager, Armando Estrada, had been shipped off to ECW before being released earlier this year, leaving Umaga without a mouthpiece to cut his promos for him, so the WWE creative team decided to experiment with the "Samoan Bulldozer". While it seemed to work, any chance Fatu had of challenging for the WWE World title evaporated when he was released in June after being cited for his second violation of the company's Wellness Policy. Rumors had Fatu heading to TNA, but he instead signed on for Hogan's Australia tour, which ended November 28.

A cousin to wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson (currently heard in "Planet 51"), Fatu had 2 tours of duty with WWE, first as Jamal, 1/2 of 3:00 Warning (2002-03), then as Umaga (2006-09), winning just the two Intercontinental titles in 2006 as Umaga. Fatu had also wrestled in the original ECW among his other stops during his career.

In an eerie coincidence, Anderson was also the last man to wrestle Eddie Guerrero before Guerrero passed away 4 years ago. Don't think that won't be played up in some corners of the wrestling media. It won't surprise anyone, either, if Phil Mushnick regurgitates his usual anti-WWE blather in writing about Fatu's passing. The sad irony is, it may not have been the usual suspect (drugs) that ultimately did in Fatu. Given that he was billed as weighing 350 pounds, one must consider that his weight may have also played a part in his passing, but that is something we can only speculate on at the moment.

Rest in peace, Edward. We'll all miss you.


Samuel Wilson said...

Right, blame it on his weight. That's why NFL lineman and linebackers are dropping like flies in similar numbers -- oh, you mean they aren't? Oops.

hobbyfan said...

Seems I'm not the only one guessing that weight was an issue. A poster on one of the newsboards I frequent said he'd read that weight was one of the unstated reasons WWE cut Umaga back in June.