Samoa Joe

Prior to facing Roman Reigns in Belfast last Thursday, Samoa Joe sat down to talk about the WWE-style, his grueling schedule and his hopes for any upcoming matches with his old adversary, AJ Styles.

Joe had just come off the back of a tour of South Africa, Saudi Arabia and was about to embark on a tour of Europe. He commented that this was up there with the most taxing of schedules he’d ever undertaken.

“I think it’s definitely in contention for the most grueling schedule. This past month and a half has been challenging… but I have a great time when I’m here [Ireland].”

“Going out to these newer markers [is a highlight of mine], it’s interesting to see how they consume the content and they have a lot more mobile devices than they used to. It’s a lot of fun interacting with the fans. I think, right now in Europe, we have this major groundswell. They have a cult-like following and there is so much talent coming from Ireland and the rest of Europe that it’s hard not to be enamored.”

Joe’s previous match with Roman Reigns at Backlash wasn’t well-received and Joe went on to state that how the fans perceive a match can greatly differ from how it’s envisioned or how the two (or more) superstars in the ring feel their honing their craft and telling their story.

“The fans are gonna feel how they feel. If they want to voice their displeasure, they’re going to voice their displeasure. It doesn’t change things for me, if you buy your ticket and want to voice your displeasure, that’s your choice.”

Joe was then asked about the poor reception received for his match, where a large section of the crowd booed his and Reigns’ match.

“What we see in the ring, and what the fans see, can sometimes differ. I feel there may be some agenda manipulation because people have very strong opinions about matches. People are going to amplify situations, sure, there was some people voicing their displeasure but it’s not uncommon and is going to happen from time-to-time. Right now, I’m here on the ‘Red Tour’ but I’m a Smackdown guy and I’m just finishing commitments.”

Joe also commented on the notion of a ‘WWE-style’:

“Yeah, it’s different (from Ring of Honor and TNA), you make a lot more money!” Joe said with a chuckle. “There’s a much broader audience and you get in perform in front of much more people. It makes it tough for other companies to expand when they are mainly catering to a core audience. It’s hard to bring in fans who aren’t hardcore fans or wrestling fanatics. I don’t think we wrestle a safer style, I don’t think there is a WWE-style. I think it’s a notion that’s been constructed that’s put out there but isn’t necessarily true. There are some things that are different from say New Japan but the reason we have that is we work more days than other company. At the same time, I do take umbrage with experts who say we wrestle a ‘safer style’.”

Asked about his time in NXT, Joe had this to say:

“I’m definitely not the best spokesperson for the developmental system, as Hunter said ‘I’m not going to pay you to train’, I think there’s a major development in the style of many of the guys of down in NXT, hats off to Regal, and Bloom and Corino. I’m excited about the next wave of NXT guys coming through.”

With Joe now on Smackdown, it seems inevitable that he and WWE Heavyweight Champion, AJ Styles will cross paths.

“It’s something I know is going to happen, and it’s going to be produced. It’s rare that you already have in your mind, what is already going to happen. I think I’ve wrestled A.J. m ore than anyone else in my career. I think when A.J. and I get in the ring, it’s like clockwork. We’ve been doing it for a while and we haven’t messed it up yet.”

Having come through the Indies, Joe was full of respect and admiration for the circuit and feels the business is the most populated with talent it ever has been. He also stated that he was severely misquoted.

“My biggest hope now is not for the talent, it’s for the companies. I hope they’re making good business decisions and taking care of their talent. Somebody said ‘I approve of the WWE gutting the Indies’ which is click bait bullsh*t. It’s disgusting when you hear that, what I said was, these guys should be getting paid instead of working two or three jobs to service their career. I feel there’s been a massive change over the last few years, with so much talent around and if I’ve been a catalyst for that, it’s awesome.”

Joe may have been unsuccessful in his attempt to defeat Roman Reigns later that night, but the match was well received in addition to the main event where Seth Rollins defended his Intercontinental Championship against Bobby Roode, Elias and Finn Balor.

Joe will be wrestling for Smackdown following the WWE’s Tour of Europe and is live on Tuesday nights.

Gary Kevany