102.5 The Bone's Drew Garabo Live out of Tampa Bay, Florida, recently had WWE RAW Superstar Samoa Joe on as a guest. During the interview, Joe discussed giving John Cena the match that landed him his WWE job and what then-head of WWE Talent Relations Jim Ross had to say to Joe after the match. Also, Joe talked about Triple H being instrumental in his WWE signing. Last, Joe weighed in on the importance of merchandise in WWE.
During the show, Samoa Joe talked about giving Cena the match that got him his job at WWE in the process of explaining that JR told him WWE would not be interested in him when he was only two years into the business of professional wrestling. 'The Right Hand Of Destruction' explained that finding out that WWE was not an option enabled him to focus on getting to Japan.
"Actually, John Cena's match with me, the one that kind of got him hired with WWE, I remember they were there to look at John, obviously. He looked great, he was like the blue-chipper, and John was a good friend of mine, so I had no problem whatsoever helping him kind of highlight and do his thing. Hey man, he was a hard worker, man. He got it done, so after the match, I remember Jim Ross, head of Talent Relations at the time, I went up to him and I was like, 'is there any interest over here?' 'Ah, no, son. I don't think you're quite going to work out here.' Two years in, but it was cool because I was like, 'well, if I can't go there, I'm going to focus on all this other stuff. Where else can you make money? Oh, Japan!' So I focused on Japan, I got a contract over there, and the rest is history."
According to Samoa Joe, Triple H was instrumental in bringing 'The Samoan Submission Machine' to WWE; however, many people put in a good word.
"Yeah, [Triple H] made the call, so I give him a ton of credit for me being with WWE because he was my contact point. Really, it was a bunch of dudes. It was Paul Heyman; it was Road Dogg; it was Joey Mercury. Really, it was a laundry list of people who were with the company who worked with me throughout my [pro wrestling] career."
Notably, Joe claimed that he was originally offered an NXT deal only and got the main roster deal less than two weeks later.
"The initial deal on the table, it was a little bit of a low offer, but it was a foot in the door. No, financially, it was actually great, but as far as opportunity, it was a lowball offer. He did take care of me in that aspect, which is much appreciated. He told me from the get that, 'we're probably only going to be used in NXT. You're in your 30s. Vince [McMahon] really isn't interested in bringing those guys up right now.' And that was the edict at the time, 'if you're over this certain age, we're not interested in bringing you to RAW or SmackDown. We're trying to build new talent.' But to me, I already had a pretty good career. It was just kind of an opportunity to stay going. It was a merch deal, which they do so much distribution I was with, and I said, 'yeah, sure.' And within I believe a week-and-a-half, I was offered a main roster contract and continued to work in NXT with later moving onto RAW after we build the brand up."
When asked whether merch numbers influence pushes, Joe answered in the affirmative and shared that after his NXT merch sold out, he was put on an exclusive deal.
"It definitely does. I know after that happened, the phone call was, 'yeah, we need you to be signed exclusively immediately.' Obviously, it plays a big part and if there's a fanbase there, especially, if you want to vote, it's the economy. You vote with your dollars. People were excited I was there. It makes a big difference."
Click here to check out the interview. If you use any of the quotes that appear in this article, please credit Drew Garabo Live with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.
Source: Drew Garabo Live