Activities Sports & Athletics Roman Reigns Biography Like His Father, Leati Joseph Anoa'i is Forging a Hall of Fame Career. Share PINTEREST Email Print Lukas Schulze/Getty Images Sports & Athletics Professional Wrestling Famous Wrestlers Baseball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Extreme Sports Football Golf Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Eric Cohen Eric Cohen Eric Cohen is a sports writer focused on pro wrestling. He is a featured guest in wrestling discussions on BBC Radio and Sirius Hardcore Sports Radio. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 03/02/19 Roman Reigns -- whose real name is Leati Joseph Anoa'i -- was born on May 25, 1989, and is the son of WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Sika. He is a part of the famous Anoa'i wrestling family which includes six members of the WWE Hall of Fame as well as The Rock. Football Career Anoa'i played defensive tackle for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. In 2006, he was named first-team All-for the Atlantic Coast Conference. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings and was later signed to the practice squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 2008, he played for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. Family Business After leaving football, Anoa'i was trained to become a wrestler by his father and uncle. In 2010, he signed a developmental deal with WWE and wrestled for its developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, under the name of Roman Leakee. Around the time, the group was renamed NXT and Anoa'i was also given a new moniker, Roman Reigns. The Shield A few weeks after being given his new name, Anoa'i made his WWE television debut at "Survivor Series 2012" as one-third of The Shield alongside Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Dubbed the Hounds of Justice, the three ran roughshod over the company and seemingly always had a numbers advantage. For close to five months, Anoa'i held the world tag team championship title with Rollins. By the spring of 2014, the group became a threat to The Authority and started to be cheered by the fans. When it appeared that The Shield had won the war against The Authority, Rollins betrayed his teammates and joined forces with their one-time enemy. Main Event and WrestleMania When The Shield broke up, Anoa'i set his sites on the WWE World heavyweight championship. At both the "Money in the Bank 2014" and "Battleground 2014" events, Anoa'i found himself in multi-man matches where the title was on the line. His momentum was temporarily derailed when he had emergency surgery for a hernia. However, Anoa'i returned a few months later and won The Royal Rumble shortly thereafter. As a result of that victory, he earned a title shot against WWE world heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar at "WrestleMania 31," which Anoa'i won. Top of the Mountain Anoa'i became world champion after beating Dean Ambrose in the tournament final for the vacant title at "Survivor Series 2015." However, his time at the top of the mountain was short-lived as Stephen Farrelly -- known as Sheamus -- came out and took the title belt from Anoa'i. The following month, Anoa'i lost a rematch to Sheamus but beat up WWE COO Triple H following the match. That earned him the wrath of Vince McMahon, who made him put his career on the line for another title shot. Sheamus won that match to regain the title. Anoa'i had the last laugh, though: he went on to win two more WrestleMania events in 2016 and 2017, becoming a three-time champ of the big event.