– Vale Anoa’i, the younger sister of former WWE Superstar Manu (Afa Anoa’i, Jr.), issued a statement to Mike Aldren of The Sun this past week concerning Randy Orton’s comments burying her brother in a recent interview with the very same news entity.
“(Randy) had no business trashing my brother in an interview, Anoa’i told Aldren. “Manu was released, that’s punishment enough. Randy doesn’t have to go and keep digging the thorns in even deeper after the fact.”
Although, it should be noted that the subject of Manu’s departure from Legacy was brought up by the person conducting the interview and considering he’s always been one to shoot from the hip, Orton simply gave his honest response.
In case you missed it, Orton said the following about Manu in an interview posted on The Sun website last week: “Manu had some respect issues. There are a lot of different reasons he wasn’t good for Legacy, but the reason he’s not with the company anymore had a lot to do with his backstage attitude. His father was the great Afa, of the Wild Samoans, and Manu had been in the ring since his early teens. Now, in his early 20s, technically he’s been in the ring for more than a decade – but not really. Really he’d only been in the business a month by the time I knew him. He carried himself like he had been in the business for 15 years. He thought he knew everything. He thought he deserved a first-class seat when we went overseas. He thought he didn’t have to pick up in the lockeroom after the show was over, like the new guys do. He didn’t feel like he had to pay his dues, because he’d already paid them. What he doesn’t understand is that wrestling once a week for 10 years doesn’t count. When wrestling is all you do, when everyone in the world knows who you are and you’ve held titles and main-evented PPVs – that’s when you start to get to the point where you might deserve a little something extra. I don’t think he applied himself in the gym or when it came to his diet. He just thought: “Hey, my dad is Afa, the Wild Samoan, so I get a job. I deserve to be here.” He just didn’t get it.”
He did however, bring up Manu during a recent interview with WWE Magazine, revealing why he was kicked out of Legacy when asked how the group is different from wrestling stables of the past.
“Respect, that’s something that Manu, who had a chance to be part of Legacy, didn’t have,” Orton told WWE Magazine. “He grew up in the business, and you would’ve thought he’d have that ingrained in his mind. He had been wrestling since his early teens, and he thought that he was already a veteran in his early 20s. That’s what got him fired from Legacy. But I think we’re looking to include another part man in the stable to make it all the more powerful. I’ll say no more.”
Cody Rhodes echoed similar feelings regarding Manu in an interview with Monday Night Mayhem earlier this month. Rhodes described how many people initially thought Manu would fit the bill in Legacy, but after all was said and done, he did not.
“Manu is a great example. He had a pedigree and a wrestling background, but he didn’t have what it takes on any level to be in the Legacy,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes added that the main difference between himself and Ted DiBiase vs. Manu was that they all acknowledged that their fathers did assist them to a degree with their wrestling careers, but that they are “doing their own stuff” since their fathers “opened their door” for them.
Behind the scenes, Orton reportedly suggested for Manu to be dumped from the group, feeling he wasn’t in the same league as the other members, and didn’t fit in as a result. WWE officials apparently sided with Orton as Manu was booted from the group in an angle that aired on the January 12, 2009 edition of Monday Night Raw. His departure from the group ultimately led to his release from World Wrestling Entertainment as the company didn’t have anything else for him once they opted against sending him back down to developmental.