In the main event at WWE Clash of Champions, cousins Jey Uso and Roman Reigns have a moment similar to one in Martin Scorsese’s Casino–where Tommy begs for his brother’s life when the two are being beaten to death with baseball bats. At the end of the PPV match, Reigns is administering a beating that, if it were to happen in real life, would qualify as attempted murder. And finally, Jey’s brother Jimmy limps out from the locker room to throw in the towel and save his brother from permanent damage. Jimmy cradles Jey’s limp body, guarding his brother as he yells at Roman.
“We’re family!” Jimmy yells, his voice cracking with emotion. “What the hell is wrong with you? You’re the Chief. You’re the Tribal Chief. Just leave him alone!”
It was a heart-wrenching moment, primarily because the story of the Usos and Roman Reigns is really the story of the Samoan Anoa’i family, which has played a dominant part in WWE’s storylines for four decades. It began with family patriarchs Afa and Sika, who joined the WWE in 1979 as the Wild Samoans. And it’s continued through four generations of WWE Superstars, including Yokozuna, The Rock, Umaga, The Headshrinkers (Rikishi/Fatu and Samu), and Rosey. Everything involving this family is loaded with that added context–a reputation for toughness, determination, and familial solidarity.