ESPN.com is featuring an interview with TNA star Samoa Joe. Here are some highlights.
On what it was like to wrestle in high school gyms:
“Not even high school gyms. I’m talking about warehouse spaces in the back of industrial parks with 15-20 people at the most & on a good day. It was horrible, but I just kept at it. For me, it was just something to do on the weekends. It got me out of the house and it was pretty fun and wacky at the same time. Next thing you know, a scout came over from Japan and they had me tryout. I signed a contract, moved to Japan, then I was out there for about three years going back and forth between Japan and the States. At that point, I started making pretty good money, so I decided to call it a career.”
If bigger crowds make for better matches:
“Absolutely. When you’re wrestling somewhere like an armory and there’s only a few fans, you can actually hear their conversations. That’s the worst part. You’re in the ring and you can hear two people talking, and they’re not even talking loud, but you can hear them talking about where the nearest Denny’s is. That’s far different from 20,000 screaming fans going nuts and chanting your name.”
On his new look in TNA:
“You know what, it’s really just an extension of the character. That’s the great thing about pro wrestling as you can take a persona you have and really keep pushing and pushing it as there really are no boundaries, no lines. It’s just a continuation of my character. Where people knew me as a really aggressive person, now I’m over-the-top aggressive. We’ll see how far I can push it.
On playing a prank on Consequences Creed:
“We have this guy Consequences Creed. He’s a young guy who I consider one of the best athletes in the world. This cat, if someone would teach him to play ball, he’d be playing for a D-1 school right now. He’s just amazingly athletic and gifted & but he’s new, so that means we have to mess with him a little bit. On his first day, he was a little bit reckless where he put his stuff, so we ended up stealing all of his underwear out of his bag and sent him on a scavenger hunt across the studio in order to get it back. This included him singing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song to all of the hot girls in the company. We didn’t even tell him which girl was the right one, so he had to sing it to all of them until he found the right girl who would give him his next clue. Then he had to go to catering and order the right things to get his next clue, then he had to run down and sing the Notre Dame fight song to one of our former agents who was the biggest Notre Dame fan. First he had to learn the song, then he had to sing it marching band style. It took him about four or five hours to get his pants back, so he was sweating it a little bit, but you have to get the rookies.”
On his disappointment with the first TNA video game:
“Honestly, it just didn’t turn out the way we wanted. It was a good start, but basically you need to realize that game making is a financial process and the time for the game’s development really got cut. Two or three months got cut out of the time frame just because Midway needed to get the game out. It had already been delayed a couple of times and they were working with brand new technology and it was the first next-gen wrestling game that they had ever done at Midway. I’m happy to report, though, that we just got done doing another motion-capture session and another brainstorming session and we saw a mockup of “TNA 2″ and it really looks fantastic. They put a lot of the features that fans wanted to see in the game, and a lot of things that the first game was really missing. I think fans are going to be pleasantly surprised.”
To check out the full interview, click here.