In an appearance on Out of Character with Ryan Satin, WWE NXT enforcer Samoa Joe talked about his time feuding with Brock Lesnar. Joe talked about how his program with Brock pushed him to be a better performer and says Brock is the type of opponent all wrestlers should aspire to go up against.
“I think if you’re in this industry, Brock is the type of match you should be seeking out,” Joe said. “When you get into this industry, you should be gunning to work with the top, top guys. Brock was the top, top guy. When I was given the opportunity, I did my best to make the most of it every time I was in the ring with him. It’s important. You’ve got to have kind of a goal post and a bar of excellence that you maintain. It’s easy when you’ve got guys like Brock, guys like Kurt Angle, guys like Roman. You push yourself because they push.
“For me it’s a good symbiotic relationship, because they’re going to give as hard as they get and vice versa. Any time I get an opportunity to get in the ring with those type of performers, a Randy Orton, these are guys who are at the top of their game. They do their very best to push their opponents. And they’re not going to give you an inch, and you’ve got to push back and can’t give them an inch. When that happens, there’s a weird symbiosis because you start producing really great stuff, because t’s a struggle out there and and you’re getting after it.”
Joe went on to call the storyline and match with Brock one of the highlights of his career. He also confirmed that they tried to give fans a sense that things were truly personal between them, as if a real fight could break out at any moment.
“That’s the kind of energy you’ve got to have when you’re out there with Brock,” Joe said. “He probably won’t respect anything less than that. If you don’t show up saying you’re going to try and kick his teeth in and you’re coming after him, he ain’t trying to hear it. You’ve got to keep that energy with him. That’s kind of what I’m alluding to. You’ve got to match that intensity. You can’t walk into this kind of half assed and going ‘oh I hope this works out. How are you sir? Can’t wait to get out there and get after it.’ You’ve got to just go get it. Brock has no qualms about getting into it with anybody. It makes for a nice combination.”
Another one of Joe’s career highlights was his feud with longtime rival AJ Styles. The two worked together in both TNA and Ring of Honor prior to joining WWE before reigniting their feud on the Smackdown brand in 2018. Joe felt this version of their rivalry, which incorporated Styles’ wife Wendy, was allowed to go further in depth than they previously had.
“It’s probably one of my more favorite things that I’ve one in my career,” Joe said. “I think that feud was the best encapsulation of what the best of us is in WWE, in their style and what they do. They have the ability to produce something like that, because we can go a little bit more in depth. We can have me go out to the house and have me sit on the front porch with the camera crew and say horrible, somewhat threatening things. And just kind of giving me the license to kind of work with what I was saying and kind of let me be me.
“It was a lot of fun. Road Dogg was really instrumental in a lot of that at the time. We’d come up with some great stuff. Working with AJ was great, working with Wendy was great. I’ve known the man forever and he’s practically a brother to me. For me it was just very, very funny because I’ve known Wendy forever, and it was such a departure of how I view Wendy and how I’ve known Wendy my entire life. It was fun in that aspect too. AJ is as advertised, he’s phenomenal. Any time I step in the ring with him, it’s probably the easiest thing in the world because he can make anything or anybody look great. And being in the ring with him is always a pleasure. It’s never not awesome.”
Prior to his WWE release and NXT comeback, Joe had been working on the RAW brand as a color commentator. He revealed to Satin that his journey to the role was basically being asked one day to do it, followed by it turning into a regular gig.
“I think I had done a few spots on the pre-show that they enjoyed, and while I was out injured they asked me if I wanted to come do the color on RAW and I said sure,” Joe said. “I really wasn’t asked to. It was just kind of ‘hey, what are you doing on Monday? Come on in, do some color.’ And it kind of just evolved from there.”
Joe talked about how helpful both Byron Saxton and Tom Phillips were to his development in the booth and how much he learned about producing a wrestling show from the commentators desk. He also admitted, however, that the thought of transitioning to commentary after wrestling never crossed his mind till he took the job while injured.
“No,” Joe said. “No, never really thought about it in depth. Was it something I went ‘oh, that would be kind of cool?’ Yeah. But I never really thought of it as something that I was gunning for, that I would see myself transitioning to after my wrestling. But I had a lot of fun. It was a good time. It was cool seeing a different aspect of the business after being in it so long. Just being on the cans and hearing all the production mayhem and getting a handle for the tremendous effort that goes into producing live television. Even as us wrestlers, we don’t really get the full scope of everything going on behind the scenes and how much these two fall into place at the exact right time. My experience in commentary definitely gave me a greater appreciation of that.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Out of Character with Ryan Satin and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription