TNA Interview – Samoa Joe

CaptureIt’s hard to believe that TNA has been around since 2002. From the small starts with Jerry Jarrett through to today’s hugely successful worldwide touring company under Dixie Carter, TNA has cemented its place in the wrestling industry, giving us such stars as Bobby Roode and James Storm, alongside legends of the ring like Jeff Hardy and Kurt Angle, and taking the best of the indies and putting them on a grander scale. The most recent examples of this are probably Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards aka The Wolves, a highly successful tag team from Ring of Honor, but there’s one man that paved the way for such talent to come on board, and his name is Samoa Joe.

Exploding on to the TNA scene in 2005, the ‘Samoan Submission Machine‘ quickly became a fan favourite, not only with everyone in the Impact Zone but wherever he travelled. From the X-Division title to the World Heavyweight Title, with tag titles and the TV title in between, Joe can always be relied on delivering in the ring, whether it’s with long time rival Kurt Angle, or the more personal feud with ex-partner Magnus. We had a chance to catch up with Joe about his thoughts on his career, his position in TNA and why the UK fans are so loyal.

The first time I saw you live was in 2005 at my local sports hall in Orpington for IPW against Spud. How does it feel having both come so far and now working for the same company nearly ten years later on a grander scale?

Samoa: Well my first thought is that Spud is really old! It’s pretty cool as I knew him way back when, I think he was starting out back then and he was a tremendous talent. He worked way beyond his size and I loved visiting him. He works everywhere in the UK and I just remember that his name would be everywhere. He really works his ass off and pushes forward. I definitely respect him for keeping going all this time.

From IPW to Ring of Honor to TNA, UK fans have always had a special relationship with you. What do you think it is about Samoa Joe that UK audiences appreciate so much?

Samoa: I hope it’s because of the effort I put in when I come over. I’ve been lucky to have the opportunities and wanting to put on a stellar show and audiences are receptive to that. The UK culture is to be enthusiastic and love what we give them. You give them effort and they’ll give back.

Talking of Ring of Honor, guys like Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, CM Punk, yourself and the Wolves are all tearing it up at the top level these days. What do you think about the industry has changed to allow that to happen?

Samoa: I would say that the proof is in the pudding. If you give people the opportunity and the investment then hopefully they’ll pay you back. A lot of ROH guys shared that special IT factor and now you’re getting to see it on a bigger stage.

Obviously another British guy you have worked with a lot recently is Magnus. Your tag team together seemed to rejuvenate both of you somewhat. How did you find that experience?

Samoa: Knowing Magnus is a complicated relationship but he is a person who is self confident and that’s an understated characteristic. He believes in himself, he watches and learns from his mistakes and others, and it’s paid off over time. Capture

After winning so many championships in different companies, what drives you these days? Do you still have that same desire to be the top man in TNA you had when you entered the company?

Samoa: Absolutely. It means I can go around and enjoy myself and travel the world which is always a great experience. Really my motivation comes from the fans. As long as they enjoy it and there are avid supporters out there reacting to what you do then you can keep going. Social media also plays a huge part in things these days and allows that interaction and encouragement you need.

It’s debated year after year – what can TNA do to become better? Do you think there’s an answer or is it simply a learning experience as you go on?

Samoa: You’re always learning. That never stops. Right now there’s a collection of highly skilled individuals who haven’t had a chance yet who are stepping up and taking these opportunities. I looked at the roster the other day and was amazed at how quickly it has changed. For so many of them, their best is yet to come and it’s an exciting time for TNA.

You’ll be coming back to the UK in 2015. Where would you like to see yourself in the company in January?

Samoa: I’d love to win the championship again. One isn’t enough. Above and beyond that, I just want to go against some of the best opponents in the world. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what opportunities come up and where it leads me.

TNA return to the UK in January 2015 for MAXIMUM IMPACT 7. Full details are HERE.

Don’t forget to catch TNA Impact Wrestling every Sunday on Challenge at 9pm!

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