Having been all around the world and competing in some of the biggest pro wrestling companies known to man, Samoa Joe admits that when he made his semi-debut at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable back in 2015 to confront Kevin Owens, it was a significant moment that he’ll never forget in his WWE career.
“I think my first thought when I walked through the curtain, was just how in the scheme of people who probably knew me and my career – previous to WWE – how absolutely absurd the notion of me walking through the curtain at a WWE show was,” Joe stated in his interview on WWE’s The Bump. “For a long time, I’ve worked with every single competitor prior to WWE. It was nice to come around and make a full circle. For NXT, you couldn’t ask for a better avenue to approach WWE. It was a very cool moment; it was a lot of fun.”
Beginning last year, Joe made several appearances on the RAW commentary table, before he permanently replaced WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler’s spot. He mentioned that after some trial and errors, he finds his new role on the announce team to be a good fit for him.
“I’ve had zero media aspirations,” Joe admitted. “I just drift through life, and things just hit me as they come. I got on the commentary table – it was funny when the light shined on me, I started to hear the angels sing, I said to myself, ‘You know, this might be a good fit.’ I then put my headset on, and Vince [McMahon] came through and said, ‘You know, this feels right.’ I was like, ‘I know!’
“It’s been a weird journey, but I’m still on it. It’s an odyssey and a quest. I’m just trying to take the world along with me. I have a very descriptive mind, you know, when I see things, my observations are quick to come right out of my mouth. So yeah, it’s been working out very well.”
Though Joe might be out of the ring going forward, looking back at his in-ring work, nothing can compare to his Coquina Clutch submission hold. Back when he was trying to figure out his new in-ring move set, Joe stated that after watching a judo match, where the fighter put his opponent in a rear-naked chokehold, it dawned on him that maybe that move could be effective towards his wrestling career, and it certainly was.
“I remember I was watching this one dude in a judo match. He got his opponent in a rear-naked chokehold. The dude started going to sleep, and I said to myself, ‘I need to learn how to do that,'” Joe replied. “It’s been very effective and good for me.”
You can watch Samoa Joe’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.