Samoa Joe was a recent guest on the Wilde On podcast and spoke at length on his reputation for taking care of people backstage. He credits Cincinnati Red for setting that example for him as he was breaking into the business, and talked about how important it is to have someone that you know you can count on when unforeseen things happen. He also spoke about how his upbringing prepared him for life on the road as a professional wrestler.
“I was fortunate enough with the guys that broke me in,” Joe said. “He was the quintessential journeyman. His name was Cincinnati Red and he was really instrumental in getting me to work when I started, and he was just being cool about it. Obviously, it was awesome for him because I was a student and he can wrestle a student, put on this great show, but at the same time, it helped me build a lot of relationships when I was just kind of breaking into the business and just kind of got my foot in the door.
“Aside from that – growing up, my family ran a Polynesian dance troupe for part of my entire life and they still do run it,” Joe revealed. “My brother has taken it over now, and we lived on the road as children. I think I started actively performing and from that time, there wasn’t a time where we weren’t on the road, but we went as a family. My father wasn’t of it — didn’t believe in other people raising his kids, and babysitters are just unheard of. So, he put us to work instead. I got some good child labor going, and me and my older brothers and sisters performed in the show. And just being on the road, I already had a good idea of the rigors of the road, the mental stress, and the stuff that comes with being out there. And the time changes, the lack of sleep, the unusual hours, the craziness, and it was always so much better when there was somebody who was just being cool. It’s really not a real complicated concept.
“I try to just be cool,” Joe added. “It’s not about — I don’t think I ever bought you all coffee, but if there was coffee to be bought, everybody kind of took care of everybody. And if somebody broke down the road, you knew you could call and somebody would be coming up maybe 15 minutes ahead or 15 minutes behind. You knew they would be there to scoop you up, and these are all really important aspects to just working on the road together. It helps; it makes it just smoother, easier, and you get more done together. So, you’ve got to keep the wagon together.”
Joe’s WWE run has been plagued with various injuries, but he seems to have hit a stride with his role on commentary. He revealed that he is enjoying his time at the broadcast table and is not done with the in-ring portion of things, but noted he has been doing some voice acting during this time and has some projects with Warner Bros. that will be coming out soon. As previously noted, Joe will be voicing the character of King Shark in the upcoming Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League video game.
“Right now, I’ve been enjoying commentary on RAW. It’s been a fun challenge. It’s something very new and I’m enjoying that. Obviously, I’m not done in the ring by any means. I think right now, I’m just kind of exploring things and seeing how I feel about it. Aside from that, [I’ve been] doing a lot of voice acting lately. It’s kind of fun, cool, and that’s a very enjoyable thing. So, some projects on the rise and some projects coming out really soon with Warner Bros. It’s a cool thing. I’m really fortunate, and I’m happy that I’m doing the things that I’m doing right now.”
The conversation turned to embarrassing stories, and Joe revealed one of the most embarrassing things that happened to him was during his time in Japan, where he slipped while ribbing a colleague and ended up rolling down a few steps and getting a knot in his back before the match.
“At one time, when I was working at Zero 1 in Japan, one of our guys did this big Bruiser Brody-type entrance, and he was just trashing the venue and it was a TV,” Joe recalled. “At Kourken Hall, you would be a little more restrained. As we got on some of these real towns, he would get wild. As a gag, we would all try to follow behind his path of destruction and do a mini path of destruction, but nobody saw it. Everyone in the arena was watching big Sylvester Terkay, who was playing a King Kong Brody-type character, rampaging through.
“Either me, Michael Shane, or CW Anderson would follow behind, and I’m doing a very bad small King Kong impression. And I was tagging with Sylvester,” Joe continued. “He was coming down the bleachers, and he was throwing people, whipping the chain around, and everybody’s going crazy, and I remember I went to kind of jump up on a riser to look all cool and stuff and right when I got there, it was slippery. They saw me jump up, my head was there and then my feet were there, but I wasn’t there, and I think I hit and I rolled down two or three steps. And I think it was 6-man tag, and I tag in second and I was like, ‘Nah man, stay for a minute’. The guy who jumped off the apron is rubbing a knot that I got on my back.”
Joe later gave his thoughts on entrance music, and said he feels like Shinsuke Nakamura has the best track. He believes it fits his look and style. He recalled when he first got that music and how the crowd reacted to it, but joked that it of course had to take place right before his own entrance.
“I think [Shinsuke] Nakamura, especially in that additional run,” Joe said. “I remember when he got that music. I was like, ‘He’s a rockstar now – he’s got a brother playing a violin’. See, here’s the worst part – he came out before me to this amazing intro. I mean, just the violin, and he’s looking cool and just coming in there. And I remember just standing at the curtain, and I’m like, ‘Alright, well, here I go!’ The crowd’s on their feet, people crying, holding up their babies, and it’s like, ‘I’m going to get him! Hit my music!'”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Wilde On with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.