Backstage Update on Manu’s Release from WWE

– As announced earlier, WWE has parted ways with Raw Superstar Manu (real name Afa Anoa’i, Jr.). Regarding his release from the company – which was said to not be much of a surprise – officials were unhappy with his ring work, as well as his overall appearance, which led to his removal from Legacy. Manu had not been seen in several weeks, although the beginning of the end actually started on the last episode of Raw in 2008.

After Randy Orton grew tired of Legacy losing matches, he scheduled a test for each member on the December 29, 2008 episode of Raw; however, Manu failed to pass his test after he lost to the ECW Champion, Matt Hardy, and was kicked out as his former companions Rhodes and Sim Snuka turned their backs on him. Later, Snuka also got kicked out of the group, and the two quickly reunited. They planned to get their revenge on Orton and Rhodes on the January 12, 2009 episode of Raw, with the aid of the returning Ted DiBiase, but DiBiase betrayed them, and joined Legacy with Orton and Rhodes. Manu never appeared in a WWE ring again.

Following a tryout at Deep South Wrestling, WWE signed Anoa’i to a developmental contract in October 2006. Under the name Afa Jr., Anoa’i spent nearly two years in developmental. His stay in developmental was highlighted by a FCW Heavyweight Championship win on October 16, 2007. Afa Jr. defeated Harry “DH” Smith by countout (he was touring with WWE in UK at the time), to become the new FCW Heavyweight Champion. Afa Jr. would lose the belt to TJ Wilson on December 1, 2007 in a ladder match.

Anoa’i actually made his WWE television debut on November 19, 2007 at a Heat taping. Under the name Mai Tai Anoa’i, he lost to “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan.

On March 20, 2008, Anoa’i was suspended by WWE for violating the company’s Wellness Policy. Reportedly, he attempted to cheat on a WWE drug test through the aid of a prosthetic penis. He was caught and as a result, suspended. Soon after, company officials adopted a policy for all talent to drop their pants to their ankles in front of the assigned doctor when taking a urine sample.

At last year’s Unforgiven pay-per-view, Anoa’i made his debut on the full-time roster under the name “Manu”. He aligned himself with Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, by attacking Cryme Tyme after their World Tag Team Championship match. Later that night, the three of them helped Randy Orton attack the World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk and Kofi Kingston.

Anoa’i, Jr. is a member of the legendary Anoa’i wrestling family. He is the son of WWE Hall of Famer Afa and brother of former Headshrinkers member Samu. Umaga’s mother is the sister of Afa, which explains his relation to the SmackDown star.

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  • Emily

    I wanted to comment and thank the author, good stuff

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