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The Usos: Battle ready
Jey Uso had goosebumps. It was 2 p.m. on a Friday — seven hours before the Samoan Superstar and his twin brother, Jimmy, were set to challenge Michael McGillicutty & David Otunga for the WWE Tag Team Championships — and already he was pumped.
“I feel like we got sparked back up,” the third-generation competitor said from the empty bleachers of Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center.
“We’re starting to find ourselves now,” Jimmy added. “It took almost a year, but we’re breaking out of our shell.”
The Usos had reason to be energized. Throughout the past few months, the team has experienced the greatest success of their young careers thanks to an aggressive new ring entrance that has garnered praise from the likes of CM Punk and John Cena. Performing a traditional Samoan war dance known as the "siva tau" before walking down the aisle, Jimmy & Jey are finally commanding the attention of the WWE Universe.
“Our ancestors used to do it before battle to show strength and power,” Jey said of the tribal performance. “It’s the same thing going to battle in the ring. Once we hit the dance it’s like a mind switch. Now it’s on.”
Recently popularized by rugby teams throughout the South Pacific, island war dances serve as both an act of intimidation and a call to battle. The chanting and stomping of the performance is what’s getting the brothers noticed, but the siva tau itself is actually bringing out a spirit of competition in The Usos that they have been lacking since their 2010 debut.
“I really feel it,” Jimmy said. “We’re using our bodies to get in the zone and go to war, man.”
It's an edge WWE fans expected to see from the twins since the very beginning. Sons of former WWE Superstar Rikishi, The Usos are members of the storied Anoa'i wrestling family — a proud lineage of Samoan warriors that includes The Rock, The Wild Samoans, Umaga and many other ring legends. Growing up, their childhood home in Florida was a common meeting place for these relatives and other competitors who were passing through town on their way to the next show.
“We were young, running around, wrestling in the pool while they barbecued pigs,” Jey remembered. “Samu and The Tonga Kid would be there. Yokozuna would never leave the damn barbecue pit.”
Lifelong fans of WWE, the brothers marveled as Superstars like The Barbarian slept on their living room couch while they practiced tag maneuvers on the rug.
"We used to wear my dad’s Headshrinker gear," Jey remembered with a laugh. “It was cool, man.”
From that young age, The Usos knew their goal in life was to be the WWE Tag Team Champions. For Jimmy & Jey, it isn’t just a dream — it's a birthright.
“Our father and our family have won the titles," Jimmy said. "It’s been passed down."
That night in Philadelphia, the pair came up short in their WWE Tag Team Championship Match, but they were not deterred by the loss.
“The first one is always the hardest,” Jey said.
Still fresh faces in WWE, the brothers remain focused on getting another title opportunity and destroying any team to get there. It’s a blunt mindset Jey summed up by using a translation of the words he shouts during the siva tau.
"Our power is ready, our strength is ready, get out of our way."