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John Cena Tags: greatest wrestler all time john cena word life production new quality entertainment

Professional wrestler John Cena took home the United States WWE Championship, defeating The Big Show in March 2004 in Wrestlemania XX.

John Cena was born April 23, 1977, in West Newbury, Massachusetts. Calling himself "The Prototype," he captured the UPW title in 2000. In 2001 he signed a contract to work at Ohio Valley Wrestling. He captured the OVW heavyweight title in February 2002, then made his WWE debut that June. Two years later, he took the United States Championship. Since then he has notched many wins and titles.

At an early age, Cena showed a passion for sports and working out. By the time he was 15 he was a regular gym rat and, after graduating high school, Cena headed off to Springfield College in Massachusetts to study exercise physiology and prove his worth on the football field. At Springfield, Cena turned himself into a Division III All-American offensive lineman and team captain.

In 2000, the new college graduate left the Bay State despite his father's wishes, seeking a new life in California as a body builder. It wasn't an easy transition for the 6-foot 1-inch aspiring star. He had just $500 in his pocket to make it across country and get settled. To make ends meet, he folded towels and cleaned toilets at a Gold's Gym in Venice Beach. And because he couldn't afford an apartment, he shacked up in his 1991 Lincoln Continental.

But the turning point came in early 2000, during a casual conversation Cena had with a wrestler at Gold's who encouraged the gym employee to take classes at Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW), a former World Wrestling Entertainment developmental company.

For Cena, the suggestion of making a go of it as a wrestler wasn't an entirely outlandish idea. His father, John, Sr. (a.k.a. Johnny Fabulous) made a living as a wrestling announcer and businessman. As a kid growing up in suburban Massachusetts, the younger Cena spent many hours glued to the television set as he watched his wrestling heroes such as Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and Shawn Michaels go at it in the ring.

As a wrestler himself, Cena's ascension was rapid. Calling himself "The Prototype," the ambitious Cena captured the UPW title on April 27, 2000, in San Diego, California. Over the course of the next year, Cena drew the attention of WWE executives, and in 2001 the young enterntainer signed a developmental contract with the company to work at Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW).

WWE Debut

Cena captured the OVW heavyweight title in February 2002, then made his WWE debut that June when he signed up with the Smackdown roster. Just two years later, Cena took home the United States Championship, defeating The Big Show in March 2004 in Wrestlemania XX.

In the years since, Cena has notched many wins and titles. In 2007, he became the first wrestler to ever come up victorious against Edward "Umaga" Fatu.

Along the way Cena, whose good looks and sculpted body have earned him the title "The Marky Mark of Wrestling", has greatly increased his celebrity. Like Hogan, Cena has proven that his showmanship in the ring crosses over into venues outside of it.

Ventures Outside Wrestling

Through the production wing of WWE, Cena has starred in two action films, The Marine (2006) and 12 Rounds (2009), the latter featuring the wrestler trying to save his girlfriend from a gang of terrorists in New Orleans.

In addition, Cena, who has long had an affinity for hip-hop culture, became a recording artist when his rap album, You Can't See Me, hit record stores in 2005. The recording debuted on the U.S. Billboard chart at No. 15. His credits also include appearances on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice.

In 2015, Cena received critical praise for his acting skills in the hit comedy Trainwreck, directed by Judd Apatow and written by the film's star Amy Schumer. Cena played Schumer's sensitive muscle-bound boyfriend. “I got my chance to throw my sense of humor out into the world, and at the same time play this hulky guy who’s a softy, which in real life I’m a very emotional guy,” Cena told Business Insider.

In his personal life, Cena married his girlfriend, Elizabeth Huberdeau, in July 2009. In May 2012, Cena filed for divorce, allegedly shocking Huberdeau. Their messy separation played out in the media, but they eventually settled in July of that year.

Source: Biography.com

Evander Holyfield - One of the greatest boxers of all time! Tags: evander holyfield greatest boxer all time word life production new quality sports entertainment

Evander Holyfield was born in 1962 in the small town of Atmore, Alabama. He was the youngest of nine children and raised by Annie Laura, a single mother who worked for hours cooking meals at a local restaurant. At the age of 12, Holyfield and his family relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, where he grew up.

Holyfield’s Amateur Career

In the early 1980s, Holyfield participated in the Golden Gloves competitions as an amateur and won. After winning the competition, he qualified to compete in the Junior Olympics in Los Angeles. During the match, Holyfield experienced a huge setback in the ring. The match officials disqualified him during a semi-final match against his opponent – New Zealand-born Kevin Barry – for hitting him after the break. Despite this disappointment, he managed to take home a bronze medal.

Boxing as a Professional

Soon after the 1984 Junior Olympics, Evander Holyfield became a professional boxer. He made his first appearance as a professional fighter when he fought against Lionel Byram in the televised match in November of 1984. From 1986, he went on to beat big names in boxing such as Jessy Shelby, Chisanda Mutti, Mike Brothers, Terry Mims to name a few.

He won the world champion title from the WBA Cruiserweight Champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi. In 1988, Holyfield expressed his desire to compete at the heavyweight level so as to take the title from legendary boxer Mike Tyson. He trained hard to become strong enough to compete as a heavyweight boxer.

Fighting as a Heavyweight

As a heavyweight fighter, he fought against and defeated boxing champions like Michael Dokes, James Tillis, Adilson Rodrigues, Alex Stewart and Pinklon Thomas. Ultimately, Holyfield successfully won the heavyweight title, but not from Tyson.

Mike Tyson lost the title to James Douglas in Tokyo, leaving Holyfield with no choice but to fight against Douglas, whom he beat after seven minutes. Prior to the defeat, James Douglas was the WBA, IBF, and WBC champion. During Holyfield’s attempt to defend the crown, he faced legends such as Bert Cooper, Foreman George, Riddick Bowe and Larry Holmes.

Rivalries

Holyfield began a rivalry with Riddick Bowe that started in the early 1990s. He was defeated by Riddick Bowe in 1992, which resulted in Holyfield losing his title. It was his very first loss in 29 fights. In 1993, he was back in action and ready to reclaim his championship title. Holyfield did exactly that when he got his rematch with Riddick Bowe, winning the match by decision.

However, he did not hold on to the title for long. In 1994, he was defeated by challenger Michael Moorer. After going to the hospital following the match to have his shoulder examined, it was discovered that he had a heart condition that required him to retire from boxing.

Making a Comeback

HolyfieldAt first, Holyfield planned to hang up his gloves and retire, but televangelist Benny Hinn convinced him otherwise. After passing a health test, Holyfield was back in action. His first match was against Olympic gold medalist Ray Mercer, whom Holyfield knocked out. In 1996, Holyfield ultimately got the chance to face a legendary and controversial fighter – Mike Tyson – and their first encounter ended in favor of Evander Holyfield.

Holyfield granted Tyson a rematch and the second bout became the most talked about boxing match in history. Tyson was disqualified after biting off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear. It was an image which was seen across the world and it essentially ruined Tyson’s reputation. The incident led to a public outcry around the world.

Holyfield’s Greatest Achievement

Evander Holyfield is renowned for his heavyweight fights. Despite the challenges in his career, he has been able to solidify himself as one of the world’s best boxers of the last three decades. Holyfield’s record stands at 38 wins, including 25 knockouts, eight losses, and two draws.

Personal life

Away from the boxing world, Evander Holyfield is a pastor whose heroes are Martin Luther King, Jr. and South Africa’s Nelson Mandela. Aside from contributing financially to evangelical causes, he began a college fund for students who come from poor families. In 1996, he published his autobiography entitled Holyfield: The Humble Warrior. In 2003, he married for the third time.

Source: Totally History

Bill Withers is an artist to be remembered Tags: bill withers music hall fame word life production new quality entertainment

Bill Withers was simply not born to play the record industry game. His oft-repeated descriptor for A&R men is “antagonistic and redundant.” Not surprisingly, most A&R men at Columbia Records, the label he recorded for beginning in 1975, considered him “difficult.” Yet when given the freedom to follow his muse, Withers wrote, sang and in many cases produced some of our most enduring classics, including “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean on Me,” “Use Me,” “Lovely Day,” “Grandma’s Hands” and “Who Is He (and What Is He to You).”

“Not a lot of people got me,” Withers recently mused. “Here I was, this black guy playing an acoustic guitar, and I wasn’t playing the gut-bucket blues. People had a certain slot that they expected you to fit in to.”

Withers’ story is about as improbable as it could get. His first hit, “Ain’t No Sunshine,” recorded in 1971 when he was 33, broke nearly every pop music rule. Instead of writing words for a bridge, Withers audaciously repeated “I know” 26 times in a row. Moreover, the two-minute song had no introduction and was released as a throwaway B-side. Produced by Stax alumni Booker T. Jones for Sussex Records, the single’s structure, sound, and sentiment were completely unprecedented and possessed a melody and lyric that tapped into the zeitgeist of the era. Like much of Withers’ work, it would ultimately prove to be timeless. Reaching Number Three pop and Number Six R&B, “Ain’t No Sunshine” would go on to win the Grammy for Best R&B Song of the year. The song has since been covered more than 250 times, sampled by a bevy of rappers, and is routinely featured in movies and TV shows.

Born in 1938 in Slab Fork, West Virginia, one of 13 children (only six survived past infancy), Withers spent much of his childhood shuttling between his mother’s home in nearby Beckley and his father’s home in Slab Fork. For African-American males growing up in that part of West Virginia, working in the coal mines was about the only option available. In fact, Withers was the first male in his family not to work in the mines, opting instead to join the navy at the age of 17. Slowly learning to overcome a debilitating stammer under the employ of Uncle Sam, Withers elected to stay in the navy for nine years.

While serving overseas, Withers arranged for his mother to move from West Virginia to San Jose, California, where he joined her upon being decommissioned in 1965. For the next two years, Withers worked a variety of jobs, while cruising the local music clubs most evenings. Whenever the opportunity presented itself, he would sit in, singing blues standards with such West Coast stalwarts as Clifford Coulter and Johnny Heartsman.

His then-girlfriend bought him a plane ticket to New York, where he stayed with his sister, whose landlord happened to be Clarence “C. B.” Bullard, Atlantic A&R man and manager of Harlem’s legendary Record Shack. Bullard arranged for Withers to record a single for a short-lived West Coast label owned by Hy and Sam Weiss and Mort Garson.

Chasing the dream, in 1967, Withers moved to Los Angeles to work with Garson, who produced and arranged Withers’ first single, “Three Nights and a Morning,” the only release on the obscure Lotus Records. When “Three Nights and a Morning” sank without a trace, Garson introduced Withers to jazz pianist Mike Melvoin, who then recommended him to Charles Wright (“Express Yourself”); Wright, in turn, connected Withers with keyboardist Ray Jackson, then a member of Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. Withers was working for McDonnell Douglas, and then Weber Aircraft, assembling washrooms and air stairs; he used his earnings to record demos with Jackson of “Justified” (later recorded by Esther Phillips), “The Same Love That Made Me Laugh” (subsequently cut by Diana Ross), and a couple of other songs.

After being rejected by several labels and industry moguls, the tape eventually landed in the hands of Clarence Avant, founder of Sussex Records. Liking what he heard, Avant wanted Bones Howe, who’d just produced several Fifth Dimension hits, to produce Withers’ first record. Avant’s friend, Stax VP Al Bell, had a stroke of genius and suggested that Booker T. Jones produce the record. Jones opted for a stripped-down ensemble, employing Booker T. & the MG’s bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn and drummer Al Jackson, with Jones himself handling keyboards and guitar. Stephen Stills sat in on piano on a couple of tracks, including “Grandma’s Hands.”

During a third session, held six months later, Chris Ethridge and Jim Keltner replaced Dunn and Jackson. Jones crafted the ethereal string arrangement for “Ain’t No Sunshine” and suggested that Withers bring his carpet-covered drafting board to the studio – it was the same board Withers used at home to stomp out the beat while playing acoustic guitar. It was also Jones who convinced Withers that repeating “I know” over and over again would increase the tension in the song exponentially.

In 1972, by the time Withers was ready to record his second album, Still Bill, Jones had relocated to Northern California. Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band had recently split up, and Ray Jackson, drummer James Gadson, guitarist Benorce Blackmon, and bass player Melvin Dunlap had joined forces with Withers, creating one of the greatest unsung ensembles in R&B history. Rehearsing the new material in Gadson’s garage, Withers – with the help of Al Bell – persuaded Avant to let him produce himself.

“Al Bell is my guardian angel,” asserts Withers. “Clarence is a business guy. Al Bell is a music guy who did business. Al Bell got me!”

The result was an extraordinary sophomore effort that includes both “Use Me” (Number Two pop and R&B) and “Lean on Me” (Number One pop and R&B). Heavily in demand, Withers then wrote songs for both José Feliciano and Gladys Knight, while turning down opportunities to write soundtracks for what he considered to be degrading blaxploitation flicks. Bill Withers Live at Carnegie Hall and +’Justments followed, the latter producing three R&B hits, before Sussex Records went bankrupt in 1975. Columbia bought the company’s tapes at auction and, in a separate deal, signed Withers to a long-term contract.

Four albums, Making Music, Naked and Warm, Menagerie and ’Bout Love appeared on Columbia in 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1979, each album getting further and further away from the funky, sparse sound that had originally made Withers such a success. When Withers blanched at a Columbia A&R man’s suggestion that he record a cover of “In the Ghetto,” his career was placed on hold.

“I couldn’t get into the studio from 1979 to 1985,” he says.

Unable to record for his own label, Withers cut “Soul Shadows” with the Crusaders in 1980 and then the Top Five hit “Just the Two of Us” with Grover Washington Jr. in 1981. The latter appeared on Washington’s label, Elektra, and won Withers his second Grammy for Best R&B Song. Staying on the jazz-pop tip that had worked so well with the Crusaders and Grover Washington Jr., Withers recorded a Number 13 R&B hit with Ralph MacDonald, “In the Name of Love,” released on Polydor in 1984, and in 1985 recorded – under his own name – a final album for Columbia, Watching You, Watching Me.

“I didn’t navigate that corporate thing well,” explains Withers. “They would have some A&R guy that had nothing to do [with me] culturally, didn’t understand at all where I was from, or what I was doing or why. . . . That’s when it ended for me.”

Since 1985, withers has spent his time raising a family, living off his considerable songwriting royalties, and enjoying life out of the spotlight. On occasion, he will write a song at the request of a friend, contributing two such compositions to Jimmy Buffett’s 2004 album License to Chill, one to George Benson’s 2009 CD Songs and Stories, and most recently, in 2013, penning “I Am My Father’s Son” for the unveiling of a statue of basketball great and Withers’ friend Bill Russell.

Withers’ gifts are many and varied. His ability to address fundamental aspects of the human condition not commonly considered in popular music, such as friendship (“Lean on Me”), the importance of one’s grandparents (“Grandma’s Hands”), and male vulnerability (“Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Let Me in Your Life,” “I Hope She’ll Be Happier” and “Better Off Dead”) sets him squarely apart from most rock and R&B artists. His knack for simple, memorable, yet poignant turns-of-phrase is equally remarkable, and his melodic gifts are extraordinary.

Alongside Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway and Gil Scott-Heron, Withers was the leading figure in the nascent black singer-songwriter movement of the early 1970s. In addition to his quintessential ballads, he also crafted funky groove-based songs such as “Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?,” “Use Me” and “Railroad Man,” situating himself squarely within current and past African-American traditions. He penned a number of songs addressing social issues specific to black culture, history, and living conditions, including “Harlem,” “Cold Baloney” and “I Can’t Write Left Handed,” all featured on the superb 1973 set, Bill Withers Live at Carnegie Hall. The latter track may be his finest moment on record, with Withers masterfully articulating the incredibly moving lyric with a variety of blues and gospel vocal devices.

Withers’ songs have proved to have a life of their own. In 1987, Club Nouveau cut a dance version of “Lean on Me” that topped the pop charts, settled at Number Two R&B, and garnered Withers his third Grammy for Best R&B Song. Originally a Number Six R&B hit for Withers in 1977, a 1988 remix of “Lovely Day” by Dutch DJ Ben Liebrand reached the UK Top 10. Eight years later, Meshell Ndegeocello had a Number One dance hit with a cover of “Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?” That same year, Blackstreet, featuring Dr. Dre, hit the top of the charts with “No Diggity,” featuring a prominent sample from “Grandma’s Hands.”

Other artists who have sampled Withers’ recordings include DMX, Jay Z, Akon, Kanye West, Tupac Shakur, Fatboy Slim, and R. Kelly. In addition, Withers’ songs have been covered by a staggeringly diverse array of artists, ranging from Michael Jackson, The Temptations, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Isaac Hayes, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, and Gil Scott-Heron to Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Maroon 5, Brian Eno, Michael Stipe, Alt-j and the cast of Glee.

In 2005, Withers was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Two years later, “Lean on Me” was enshrined in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Source: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame  

- See more at: https://rockhall.com/inductees/bill-withers/bio/#sthash.RkukWftA.dpuf

 

Planet Rock - By Reginald C. Dennis Tags: planet rock roll hall fame orgins music word life production new quality entertainment

When the surviving members of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five assembled in the grand ballroom of New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and triumphantly accepted the honor of becoming the first hip-hop group ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it was the ultimate endorsement of this unlikely and often maligned genre’s rugged march towards parity, respectability and acceptance.

It might have taken nearly 35 years for the hip-hop’s standard to navigate the nine or so miles from 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx — the movement’s ancestral home and headquarters of DJ Kool Herc and his famed Herculoids sound system — to midtown Manhattan, but on that night in 2007, when it finally took its place alongside the others, the circle of rock and roll edged that much closer to completion.

Unfortunately, not everyone saw it that way.  And in some circles, even after the 2009 induction of Run-D.M.C — the group credited with establishing the rap/rock hybrid as a genre of its own — questions regarding hip-hop’s overall merit and legitimacy still persisted.

Hip-Hop — a sub-culture created by and for a segment of the population that had little in the way of formal artistic training or access to the reigns of institutional power— might have blossomed from a local underground youth movement into a global lifestyle with enough street smarts to change the course of most aspects of entertainment, fashion, sports and commerce, but was it really rock and roll? Most would agree that hip-hop music was a state of mind held mostly aloft by endless tales of dangerous women, fast cars, narrow escapes, and the ongoing triumph of the outlaw, but was it truly art?  Its seductive appeal might have fueled the international sales of hundreds of millions of records and introduced scores of devastatingly compelling sounds, tones and production techniques to the world at large, but was it truly music?

The answer to all of these questions and concerns is a resounding yes.

As its supporters have always known and understood, hip-hop is but the latest iteration of a conversation America has been having with itself for the past 400 years. It is a conversation that began with African slaves brought to toil on foreign shores, where traditions were lost and remembered and recreated.  Languages were lost, but the drums remained. Banjos, soul claps and raw husking ditties informed joyful noises of praise, struggle and faraway triumph. And out of this hardship, a portion of American song was forged.  The volume of this conversation — mostly one-sided but always passionate — escalated throughout the 20th century and with the advent of population migrations, new technologies and a restless desire to be heard, wondrous innovations like jazz and the blues soon accompanied a nation’s slow crawl to maturity.

Rock and Roll, what rough living blacks euphemistically called sex, was born during this modern struggle.  World-weary badmen celebrated the improbable mythology of a people who would not be silenced or contained.  Men and women who, though they dwelled in a world that was an arm’s length away from fairness and justice, still heroically fought to be counted.

Not long after helping to create a safe harbor where those charged with safeguarding America’s future could meet, influence and collaborate, did rock and roll change and evolve.  The “Bo Diddley Beat” gave way to a British Invasion and the native sounds — often labeled “devil’s music”— of young America spun off into soul, folk, rock, funk and the early stages of an unfortunate self-segregation. Though infinitely enjoyable, the music of this new era seemed to lack something. Yes, there were grand theatrical displays and men and women still sang songs turbocharged with the hubris and swagger of entitlement, but where was the danger?  Where was the shock of the new?

As it happens, it was already being created, forged and honed for the battle ahead.

By the mid-1970s, the generational alliance between black and white teenage America had eroded and broken apart. Institutions of learning, though desegregated, became hotbeds of racial conflict as students — emboldened by the strict formats of their local radio stations — refused to dance to each other’s music. Separate but equal proms became workable solutions and what little racial harmony there was could easily come undone around the question of whether or not disco sucked. Young black faces no longer felt welcome within the halls of rock and roll and young whites no longer sought blacks to guide them through their turbulent adolescences.  Marginalized, disappointed and culturally estranged, the tastemakers of America needed a reason to come together.

Hip-hop and punk gave both tribes the opportunity to bring something to the table.

If “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugar Hill Gang — the “Rock Around the Clock” of 1979 — spread the rap gospel to the world beyond the five boroughs of New York, then “Rapture” — Blondie’s unexpected 1980 homage to the still evolving genre — quickly made real the notion that young whites searching for new thrills might once again find something worthwhile on the bleeding edge of black culture.  This cultural mingling worked both ways as men like as Afrika Bambaataa — long known for his eclectic musical tastes — incorporated the best parts of NYC’s other revolution — the outré sounds of punk, electronica and new wave  — into his DJ sets and studio recordings.  In fact, many of the kids who flocked to Bambaataa’s Bronx River parties did so to escape the increasingly formulaic, toothless and watered -down direction that black music had stumbled into and embraced a menu of breaks and beats that skated effortlessly through the funkiest moments of James Brown, Bob James, Sly Stone and the Meters.  With the advent of the rhythmic scratch — courtesy of Grand Wizard DJ Theodore — hip-hop suddenly had its signature sound, a defiant corruption of technology that was strikingly innovative and undeniably urgent. And when the masters of ceremony took to the stage, audiences were treated to an endless barrage of cleverly rhymed boasts, intoxicated harmonies and outrageous volleys of shouted call and response. Topical, magnetic and capable of traveling at the speed of thought, this was the genesis of a new American dialog, one sorely needed and long overdue.  And if rock and roll has a purpose, it is to get people in a position, either intellectually or geographically, to communicate with one another.  Hip-Hop merely achieved that mandate on a grander scale and in half the time.

In 2010 cultural diversity is the fulcrum that turns the world of culture. Today’s generation has never known a world without the cross pollinating effects of BET and MTV. Their musical heroes are just as likely to rap as sing and many are proficient at both as a matter of course. Rappers perform with live bands and DJs often accompany rock groups. Samplers and drum machines are legitimate means to an end and the sales of turntables nearly equal those of guitars. The 21st century is the age of the cultural mash-up, a digital age where all things are welcome, equal and accepted.  It’s what Afrika Bambaataa called “Planet Rock.”

To deny hip-hop an honored place in rock’s narrative is to take a tremendous leap backwards and disregard a near century’s worth of shared cultural markers. In the tradition of rock and roll hip-hop was born from the everyday struggles of black life. Locked away from upward mobility, its marginalized creators celebrated the earthy pleasures of the moment.  Championed by influential DJs, its innovative sounds, topics and rhythms were propelled to national prominence.  Imitated, maligned and feared, it quickly achieved supremacy over its era and became institution unto itself. And it is the enduring power of that institution that we recognize.

Source: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc.

Roman Reigns - One of the greatest wrestlers of all time! Tags: roman reigns greatest wrestlers all time word life production new quality entertainment

Leati Joseph "Joe" Anoaʻi (born May 25, 1985) is an American professional wrestler, former professional Canadian football player, and a member of the Anoaʻi family. He is signed to WWE, where he performs under the ring name Roman Reigns, and he is the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion in his third reign.

After playing collegiate football for Georgia Tech,[1] Anoaʻi started his professional football career with brief off-season stints with the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL) in 2007. He then played a full season for the Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos in 2008 before his release and retirement from football.

Anoaʻi then pursued a career in professional wrestling and was signed by WWE in 2010, reporting to their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). Using the ring name Roman Reigns, he made his main roster debut in November 2012 alongside Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose as The Shield. The trio teamed together until June 2014, after which Reigns started both headlining pay-per-views in singles competition and contending for world title that month. In his WWE career, Reigns is a three-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, a one-time WWE Tag Team Champion (with Rollins), and was the 2015 Royal Rumble winner and the 2014 Superstar of the Year. He also tied the WWE record for most eliminations in a Survivor Series elimination match with four in the 2013 event, and set the record for most eliminations in a Royal Rumble match with 12 in the 2014 event.

Despite being pencilled in as WWE's future "face of the company" and being placed in the main event of numerous major pay-per-views (including WrestleManias 31 and 32), Reigns' ascendency as a world title-chasing heroic character has been marked by critics' disapproval and hostile crowd reactions; in April 2016, ESPN writer David Shoemaker described Reigns as "the most despised wrestler WWE has had since it turned Sgt. Slaughter into an Iraq-sympathizing traitor in 1990."

Anoaʻi played football for three years at Pensacola Catholic High School and one year at Escambia High School. In his senior year, he was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Pensacola News Journal. He then attended Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was a member of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team along with Calvin Johnson, who later became a wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL). Anoa'i was a three-year starter beginning in his sophomore year and was also one of the team captains as a senior. Anoa'i was named to the first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) after recording twenty-nine tackles for loss and twelve sacks in 2006.

After going undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft, Anoa'i was signed by the Minnesota Vikings in May 2007, but was released later that month. The Jacksonville Jaguars signed him in August 2007, only to release Anoa'i less than a week later before the start of the 2007 NFL season.

In 2008, Anoaʻi was signed by the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League (CFL).Wearing the number 99, Anoaʻi played for one season with the Eskimos, featuring in five games, of which he started three. Anoaʻi's most notable game came against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in September, where he tied for the team lead with five tackles and had a forced fumble. Anoa'i was released by the Eskimos on November 10, 2008, and proceeded to retire from football.

Anoa'i made his first venture into wrestling in July 2010, when he signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and was later assigned to their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). He debuted on September 9, 2010, using the ring name Roman Leakee (often shortened to Leakee), in a loss to Richie Steamboat in a singles match. Further losses to Idol Stevens and Wes Brisco ensued, before he gained his first win on September 21 over Fahd Rakman. He continued competing in FCW throughout the remainder of the year, wrestling mainly in tag team matches. On the January 16, 2011, episode of FCW television, Leakee was a competitor in a 30-man Grand Royal, but was eliminated. Later in 2011, Leakee formed a tag team with Donny Marlow and the pair unsuccessfully challenged Calvin Raines and Big E Langston for the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship on July 8.

In 2012, Leakee pinned FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion Leo Kruger during a tag team match on the January 8 episode of FCW television. On the February 5 episode of FCW television, he defeated Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins in a triple threat match to become the number one contender to the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship. He failed to win the championship when he lost to then champion Kruger the following week. Leakee later won the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship with Mike Dalton and would drop the titles to CJ Parker and Jason Jordan shortly after.

After WWE rebranded FCW to NXT, Anoaʻi, with the new ring name of Roman Reigns, made his debut on the October 31, 2012 episode of NXT by defeating CJ Parker. After defeating Chase Donovan two weeks later, Reigns wrestled his last match on the December 5 episode of NXT by defeating Gavin Reids.

Reigns made his main roster television debut on November 18, 2012, at the Survivor Series pay-per-view alongside Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, assaulting Ryback during the triple threat main event for the WWE Championship, allowing CM Punk to retain the title. The trio declared themselves "The Shield" and vowed to rally against "injustice". They denied working for Punk, but routinely emerged from the crowd to attack Punk's adversaries, including Ryback and WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan).This led to a six-man tag team Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match at the TLC pay-per-view, in which Reigns, Ambrose, and Rollins defeated Team Hell No and Ryback in their debut match. The Shield continued to aid Punk in January 2013, attacking both Ryback and The Rock. On the January 28 episode of Raw, it was revealed that Punk and his manager Paul Heyman had been paying The Shield and Brad Maddox to work for them.

The Shield then indistinctly ended their association with Punk while beginning a feud with John Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus that directed to a six-man tag match on February 17 at Elimination Chamber, which The Shield won. The Shield had their first Raw match the following night, where they gained success against Ryback, Sheamus, and Chris Jericho. Sheamus then formed an alliance with Randy Orton and Big Show to face the trio at WrestleMania 29, where The Shield emerged victorious in their first WrestleMania match. The following night on Raw, The Shield attempted to attack The Undertaker, but were stopped by Team Hell No. This set up a six-man tag team match on the April 22 episode of Raw, which The Shield won. On the May 13 episode of Raw, The Shield's undefeated streak in televised six-man tag team matches ended in a disqualification loss in an elimination tag team match against Cena, Kane and Bryan.

On May 19 at Extreme Rules, Reigns and Rollins defeated Team Hell No in a tornado tag team match to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. They made their first televised title defense on the May 27 episode of Raw, defeating Team Hell No in a rematch. On the June 14 episode of SmackDown, The Shield's unpinned/unsubmitted streak in televised six-man tag team matches came to an end at the hands of Team Hell No and Randy Orton, when Bryan submitted Rollins. Reigns and Rollins defeated Bryan and Orton at Payback to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship. Further successful title defenses followed against The Usos on July 14 during the Money in the Bank pre-show and The Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O'Neil) at Night of Champions.[55][56] On the September 23 episode of Raw, Reigns was pinned for the first time while on the main roster courtesy of The Usos when The Shield participated in and lost an eleven-on-three handicap elimination match.

In August, The Shield began working for chief operating officer Triple H and The Authority. On the October 14 episode of Raw, Reigns and Rollins lost the WWE Tag Team Championship to Cody Rhodes and Goldust in a no disqualification match, following interference from Big Show. At Hell in a Cell, Reigns and Rollins failed to regain the tag team title in a triple threat tag team match.The first seeds of dissension were sown in The Shield (especially between Ambrose and Reigns) with Ambrose's boasting of being the only member left with a championship. At Survivor Series, Reigns was the sole survivor for his team in the traditional five-on-five elimination tag team match after eliminating four opponents. After losing to Punk in a handicap match at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, Reigns defeated Punk in a singles match following a distraction from Ambrose on the January 6, 2014 special episode of Raw Old School, making him the only member of The Shield to have beaten Punk. At the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Reigns entered the Royal Rumble match at number 15, and set the record for most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble with 12, as he eliminated both his Shield teammates, and was the runner-up in the match after being eliminated by Batista. The next night on Raw, The Shield competed in a six-man tag team match against Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, and John Cena, with all three members of the winning team qualifying for the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which The Shield lost via disqualification after The Wyatt Family interfered and attacked Cena, Bryan, and Sheamus. The Shield wanted revenge and a six-man tag team match for The Shield against The Wyatt Family at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view was arranged, in which The Shield lost. Despite more dispute, The Shield reconciled in March.

In March, The Shield began feuding with Kane, which turned all members of The Shield into fan favorites in the process. Over the next few weeks, The Shield continued exchanging assaults with Kane, who was joined by The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn), leading to a match between the two teams at WrestleMania XXX, which The Shield won. The feud with Kane also prompted The Shield to sever ties with Triple H, who reformed Evolution to counter them. The Shield defeated Evolution at both Extreme Rules and Payback. After Batista "quit" WWE the following night on Raw, Triple H initiated his "plan B" which involved Rollins turning on The Shield and aligning himself with Triple H and The Authority.

After the dissolution of The Shield in June 2014, Reigns (now a singles wrestler) was quickly inserted into world title contention that month, and he headlined the next two pay-per-views; the first when, two weeks after Rollins' betrayal, Reigns won a battle royal on the June 16, 2014, episode of Raw to gain a spot in the vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship ladder match at Money in the Bank, but failed to win the title during the main event match. The second pay-per-view was July 20's Battleground, where Reigns again unsuccessfully challenged for the world title, this time in a fatal four-way main event match (also involving Kane, Randy Orton and defending champion John Cena). The following night on Raw, Reigns started a feud with Randy Orton, which led to a match between the two, on August 17, at SummerSlam, where Reigns defeated Orton. Meanwhile, Reigns' former team-mates Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins had been feuding over Rollins' betrayal; with Rollins beating Ambrose in five matches, and ultimately injuring Ambrose in the storyline. This led to a feud between Rollins and Reigns, where a singles match was set up for Night of Champions. However, six days before the pay-per-view, Reigns cleanly defeated Rollins in a singles match on Raw. Then, Reigns developed a legitimate incarcerated hernia which required surgery a day or two prior to Night of Champions, and as a result, Rollins was declared the winner via forfeit, while Reigns was ruled out of action indefinitely.

Reigns returned to WWE television on the December 8 episode of Raw, accepting the 2014 "Superstar of the Year" Slammy Award. Six days later at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, when Big Show interfered in John Cena's match against Seth Rollins, Reigns attacked both Big Show and Rollins, helping Cena win. This started a feud between Reigns and Big Show, in which Reigns defeated him multiple times by countout and disqualification.[88] On January 25, 2015, Reigns, entering at number 19, won the 2015 Royal Rumble match by eliminating the other entrants in the final four: Big Show, Kane and lastly Rusev. The following night on Raw, Reigns acknowledged being part of the Anoaʻi family for the first time on WWE television. On the February 2 episode of Raw, Reigns suffered his first pinfall loss in a singles match on the main roster when Big Show defeated him after interference from Rollins. Reigns was then forced to defend his WrestleMania title shot against Daniel Bryan at Fastlane and succeeded in doing so after beating him via pinfall. Post-Fastlane, Bryan and Paul Heyman endorsed Reigns with "two shockingly transparent promos... attempting to illustrate Reigns' greatness". On March 29, at WrestleMania 31, Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank contract while Reigns' match with Brock Lesnar was in progress, turning it into a triple threat, which Reigns lost when he was pinned by Rollins.

In April, Reigns re-ignited his feud with Big Show, which culminated in a Last Man Standing match at Extreme Rules, where Reigns defeated Show. In May, at Payback, Reigns once again failed to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Rollins in a fatal four-way match that also involved Orton and Ambrose. On June 14, at Money in the Bank, Reigns competed in the Money in the Bank ladder match, which he failed to win after Bray Wyatt interfered and attacked Reigns while he was trying to retrieve the briefcase. Month later, Wyatt defeated Reigns at Battleground, after former Wyatt Family member Luke Harper attacked Reigns. On the August 6 episode of SmackDown, Wyatt accepted Reigns' challenge to a tag team match at SummerSlam, with Reigns and Ambrose facing Wyatt and Harper. Reigns pinned Wyatt at the event,[103] and the following night on Raw, in a rematch, the two would be attacked by the debuting Braun Strowman. In September, at Night of Champions, Reigns and Ambrose teamed with Chris Jericho and were defeated by Wyatt and his teammates.[105] The feud between Reigns and Wyatt ended after their Hell in a Cell match at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on October 25, in which Reigns was victorious.

On the October 26 episode of Raw, Reigns won a fatal four-way match (also involving Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens) to become the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. However, on November 4, then champion Seth Rollins legitimately injured his knee and vacated the title, which led to a tournament to crown a new champion. Following this, Triple H attempted to persuade Reigns into joining The Authority by offering him a bye into the tournament finals which Reigns declined. He then defeated Big Show in the first round,  Cesaro in the quarterfinals, Alberto Del Rio in the semifinals and Dean Ambrose in the finals at Survivor Series, to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the first time. Triple H attempted to offer congratulations, but Reigns hit him with a spear and Sheamus then cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and pinned Reigns, thus ending Reigns' reign at only 5 minutes. Reigns then failed to regain the title from Sheamus in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match at TLC, after being helped by his fellow League of Nations members Alberto Del Rio and Rusev; subsequently, Reigns would attack the trio and also Triple H, who came out to stop him.

The next night on the December 14 episode of Raw, Mr. McMahon granted Reigns a title rematch against Sheamus, with Reigns' career on the line, and after overcoming McMahon, Del Rio and Rusev's interferences, Reigns defeated Sheamus and regained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. On the January 4, 2016 episiode of Raw, Reigns successfully defended his title against Sheamus, despite McMahon acting as the special guest referee. Reigns was then slated to defend his title in the Royal Rumble match at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, where Reigns scored a total of five eliminations after entering first, heading backstage for much of the match after an attack by The League of Nations, and was eliminated upon his return by eventual winner Triple H. At Fastlane, Reigns pinned Dean Ambrose in a triple threat match also involving Brock Lesnar, to receive a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match against Triple H at WrestleMania 32, where he defeated Triple H in the main event to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion for a third time.

While in NXT in 2012, Roman Reigns' character was a "businessman" who was "always dressed to impress" and viewed himself as "the most valuable commodity in WWE". After transferring to WWE's main roster, his character was changed to the "powerhouse" and "heavy hitter" of The Shield, as well as an "exceptional athlete". Noted as the least talkative of The Shield members, in mid-2013, Reigns' character was tweaked from "the quiet muscle" to being an "ultra-confident" source of leadership with "quiet strength" and only needing "a few words to make his point". CM Punk revealed that he was constantly reminded to make Reigns look "really, really strong" during his match with The Shield at the December 2013 TLC event, despite The Shield being scripted to lose. Reigns was voted the 2013 "Most Improved" by Wrestling Observer Newsletter. At the 2014 Royal Rumble match, Reigns broke the record for most eliminations and finished as the runner-up. The live crowd cheered for Reigns over eventual winner Batista, despite Reigns being a heel. Anoa'i later acknowledged the positive crowd reaction as a "cool situation" and a "surreal moment". In mid-2014, Stone Cold Steve Austin said that he saw great potential in Reigns, while David Shoemaker of Grantland wrote that Reigns had "mystery and intensity", as well as "superstar written all over him".

After The Shield disbanded, Reigns (unlike the other former Shield members) retained much of The Shield's aesthetic including ring attire, theme music and ring entrance. It was noted in July 2014 that Reigns was receiving a "vocal seal of approval" from live audiences, but suffered "continually fading reactions" each week by September. Reigns' win of WWE's 2014 Superstar of the Year Slammy Award garnered surprise to the point of accusations of vote-rigging, but both PWInsider and Dave Meltzer stated that the fan vote was legitimate. Reigns then finished in second place for Wrestling Observer Newsletter's "Most Overrated" award in 2014, a feat repeated in 2015. Writers from the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter criticized Reigns in 2014 and 2015, for a "very limited" in-ring moveset, "forced promo delivery" and a "petulant and annoyed" attitude ill-befitting of a top babyface. Fellow pro wrestler Mikey Whipwreck said Reigns was "trying to be like John Cena", who was "very polarizing".

From late 2014 to early 2015, various critics raised concerns that Reigns, despite being "not fully ready", was "being pushed too hard, too soon" while WWE tried to make him their next "flagship star", "no matter how fans reacted”. Dave Meltzer was asked if there had been anyone less over than Reigns while main-eventing WrestleMania: Meltzer answered, "No, there has never been". Several WWE personnel defended Reigns; Triple H said that no one could be really ready to be thrust into the company's top spot, while Paul Heyman said that the "talented" Reigns "has adapted to this business as fast as anyone I've ever seen".

At the 2015 Royal Rumble, Reigns was booed heavily after his victory despite portraying a heroic character and being endorsed by The Rock. Going into WrestleMania in 2015, A'noai declared to the media that WWE "is my ship now, I'm the captain here". Saying that all his critics "weren't wrestlers", A'noai stated that "it really does pop me" when non-wrestlers who cannot "lock up" critique wrestlers. On another occasion, A'noai ignored dissatisfaction based on him not doing "what Daniel Bryan or your other favorite wrestlers did", and told crowds that "when I'm talkin', shut the hell up and let me talk". Lastly, A'noai reminded "smarter fans" to "think about the kids, think about what kind of example you're setting", since WWE is rated PG and targeting families.

At WrestleMania 31, Pro Wrestling Torch described Reigns as needing security for his entrance while receiving "universal boos" and middle fingers. Reigns was also booed on the post-WrestleMania Raw. WWE reportedly confiscated a number of anti-Reigns fan signs both pre and post-WrestleMania 31. Despite the fan backlash in early 2015, Reigns' performances at Fastlane, WrestleMania and Extreme Rules were widely praised by reviewers as having "delivered" and "exceeded all expectations", including "a star-making performance" at WrestleMania. Yet, Reigns continued to face negative crowd reactions at 2015 PPVs such as Money in the Bank and SummerSlam.

In November 2015, Forbes wrote that "WWE continues to manufacture Reigns as a hard-luck underdog" chasing the world title. At the 2015 Survivor Series event, Reigns received mixed reactions from the crowd on his way to winning and losing his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship. In December, a Rolling Stone writer argued that WWE writers "spent an overwhelming amount of time" on Reigns "at the expense of almost everyone else on the roster... basically bending over backwards to create new obstacles for him to overcome". However, at the Raw after TLC, Reigns got a pop after winning his second WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The Wrestling Observer then complimented WWE's booking of TLC and the following Raw, saying they "pressed the right buttons" with Reigns when he "beat up two of [fans'] biggest targets: Vince [McMahon] and HHH". Yet, a Wrestleview writer reflected in March 2016, "From that one December night when finally everything went right for [Reigns], it's been do During the 2016 Royal Rumble match, Reigns was booed again, over eventual winner Triple H; with a similar negative reaction at Fastlane. Dean Ambrose being cheered over Reigns not only happened at Fastlane, but also during two previous world title matches (Payback and Survivor Series in 2015). Even a prolonged, bloody attack on Reigns on the post-Fastlane Raw led to Reigns' adversary Triple H being cheered, including "Yes!" chants. CNET described a "fan rebellion" against WWE "moving heaven and earth" to make Reigns "the face of the company... for the next decade"; as despite Reigns being the storyline "ultimate underdog... forced (and routinely able) to overcome increasingly insurmountable odds", "many fans are aware" that Dean Ambrose "is the true dark horse, both on camera and behind the scenes". On March 29, pro wrestling journalist Wade Keller concluded that Reigns has been an "utter failure" in his top babyface role. Around March 2016, Reigns changed his ring entrance from through the crowd to the (default) entrance ramp, due to WWE wanting him to "get to that ring as fast as possible". wnhill ever since... Reigns got to the mountaintop once and immediately lost all of his steam".

WrestleMania 32 ended with a chorus of boos when Reigns won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the third time. Leading up to that event, Anoa'i gave several interviews due to his starring role; acknowledging fan backlash, but still claiming "a lot of supporters". Declaring that WWE is a "kids show"; Anoa'i said he was "in this business for the families" and "not really" for "grown men" who boo him. Then, Anoa'i defiantly taunted his critics: "There's nothing that anybody can say negatively to me that will make me believe you are correct. It's just your opinions... If you’re going against me, we're sorry for what's going to happen next". He went on to advise detractors to "continue to be ready to boo. You're going to be mad a long time. I'm not going away". ESPN reported that WWE muted the WrestleMania crowd's negative reaction to Reigns, and described that "WWE started building Roman Reigns as the next great hero of the company about 18 months ago", but Reigns instead became the "most despised wrestler WWE has had since" 1990's Sgt. Slaughter.

On the Raw after WrestleMania, Reigns declared that he was now not a "good guy" nor a "bad guy", but "the guy"; while this supposedly indicated a morally ambiguous tweener character turn, The A.V. Club reported Reigns lacked heroic attributes with a condescending attitude. Also in April, Pro Wrestling Dot Net reported that WWE "went out of their way to use [the charity] Make A Wish in hopes of getting [Reigns] over as a good guy".

Source: Wikipedia

 

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