According to Rosey, the original concept for The Shield came together during his run with Jamal as the Three Minute Warning tag team.
Rosey, whose real name is Matt Ano'ai, discussed the concept while appearing on the Pancakes and Powerslams podcast. After their original run as a tag team, Rosey and Jamal went their separate ways after Jamal was released in 2003 but re-signed with WWE at the end of 2005.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but whenever me and my cousin, when Eddie [Fatu] came back, the original thought was, we were going to be The Shield,” Anoa’i said. “[Triple H] let us know, ‘Alright. Go out and buy you some black S.W.A.T Team stuff.' And we did it. Either or, it didn’t work out. Obviously, Jamaal moved on to do the Umaga thing and I went on to do my thing.”
Jamal did not return to WWE television until April of 2006, using the Umaga gimmick that propelled him to main events for a time and rivalries with the likes of John Cena and Jeff Hardy. Just a few weeks before the Umaga character made its debut, however, Rosey was released by WWE.
Coincidentally, Rosey's younger brother, Roman Reigns, was part of The Shield when the stable actually formed in 2013. Their father is Sika, one half of the Wild Samoans, who were enshrined into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.
Umaga, who was the brother of WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi and the uncle of The Usos, died in December of 2009 due to a drug overdose.