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10 Things You Might Not Know About Samoa Joe

There's more to the SmackDown Live Superstar than meets the eye...

Samoa Joe will be WWE Champion before the end of the year. Somebody take a screenshot of this and tweet it at me when he eventually does so I feel good about myself for a minute or two.

Before his move to SmackDown Live, I always felt that Samoa Joe was the complete performer on Monday Night Raw. While his work inside the ropes speaks for itself, his promos are what set him apart from the rest of the pack. He was the only Superstar on the show who spoke like it came from the heart rather than from the mind of a hipster with glasses and a horrible thin moustache backstage.

He feels legitimate in everything that he does. Nothing feels forced, he's a throwback to a different time and I love it, Maggle. Joe needs to be thrown into the championship picture once the AJ Styles and Nakamura feud has come to an end at SummerSlam - I can't emphasise enough how important a step this is for SmackDown Live. The reasons for this happening are plentiful, but most importantly of all, SmackDown will be the owner of the better Samoan named Joe. That Joe will be booked correctly and accepted by the overwhelming majority of fans - that's something Raw and their BIG DOG, who is also a Samoan named Joe, can only dream of at this stage.

Of course, you know that Samoa Joe is a TNA great and that his journey to WWE took a lot longer than most others in the company today. You might not have known the following 10 things about the Samoan Submission Machine...

(I hope you don't, otherwise, all of this has been a waste of time.)

10. He Voiced The Beast In Telltale's Game Of Thrones


Telltale


Upon hearing this for the first time, if I had to pick a professional wrestler whose voice was being used here I would have picked Bad News Barrett. However, a little birdy has told me it's Joe, and by the time you get towards the end of his little speech, it's very clear that it is.

He even laughs like a classic English movie villain - this man's talents know no bounds!

Having never played the game, I'm not too sure whether Joe's role in the Game Of Thrones game goes any further than this cutscene - during which he swears, by the way. He actually says the 'F' word. My precious ears are still bleeding.

This isn't the only video game role Joe has played, as he is also the voice actor of Juggernaut’s "The Call of the Bladeform Legacy" announcer pack, introduced with the Dueling Fates update (whatever that means).


9. He Was Told He Would Never Make It In The Professional Wrestling Business


WWE


"I remember Bruce Prichard once told me to my face, 'You aren't cut out for this business'. Jim Ross once told me 'Guys like Nathan Jones and Jon Heidenreich are what we are here for. You are a great worker and I'm sure you understand that. These are the guys we are here for and honestly, this business is probably not going to work out for you."

I think we all know the story of how Samoa Joe wasn't given any guarantees upon his arrival to NXT. Triple H told Joe not to expect anything other than a run in WWE's 'developmental' brand, with no plans to see him on the main roster in the offing.

This isn't the only time he's been told not to expect too much from the world of professional wrestling. Way back in the day, Joe was training at UPW in the same class as John Cena, of all people. WWE higher-ups Jim Ross and Bruce 'Brother Love' Prichard were in town and allegedly told Joe that he would never make it in the professional wrestling business.

What we see today from WWE is a lot different from what was expected back in the early 2000s. Being a 'body guy' was more of a requirement, and people like Joe were shown the door after a first glance - obviously, talent comes in all shapes and sizes and the way things are done today is a lot better.

Imagine, people like Nathan Jones - too green for a WrestleMania match after being announced for one - were being picked up instead of performers like Joe. It's absolutely baffling, isn't it?

Just to round this point off, Vince McMahon famously reduced Samoa Joe to nothing more than a "big, fat Samoan." Let that sink in...

8. He's From A Family Of Dancers


WWE


I think the dance Paul Heyman and Joe are doing there is called the Rumba... I could be wrong.

I think Samoa Joe has to be the only Samoan who doesn't belong to the Anoaʻi family tree. Goodness knows what that means for his parents - presumably, they're nothing more than kickboxing pads and a guidebook to submissions.

Whatever his parents are, they sure enjoyed their dancing as they formed a Polynesian dance troupe known all over the world as Tiare Productions - apparently, this is the largest group of its kind in America. Joe would also sing and play the drums as part of the group, apparently - although I'm not too sure either of those skills helped his wrestling career at all.

Joe would perform with the group in his younger years, which I guess explains why he is one of the most proficient technical wrestlers on the planet today, owning skills associated with footwork and all of that stuff the 'experts' salivate over.

Go and watch TNA Bound For Glory 2005 and you'll see Joe display his dancing shoes in all their glory. He's bloody great during an entrance that I really, really hope makes it onto a WrestleMania one day (even though it's too lighthearted and upbeat for his current character).

Another urban myth from Joe's time as part of his family's troupe is that he appeared in the opening ceremony for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles... it's a little factoid that has appeared in so many places that it must be true.

7. He's A California State Judo Champion


Wikipedia, Impact Wrestling


If you watch any Samoa Joe match the influence of Judo is all too clear to see. Whether it be takedowns, joint locks, or the use of certain chokes, it's abundantly clear his skillset is very much different from your normal WWE Superstar.

In his youth, Joe became a Junior Judo Champion, using the experiences in a legitimate combat environment to make his brand of professional wrestling feel more real compared to most of his compadres.

These days, it's said that Joe likes to train in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay-Thai, while also keeping his considerable fingers in MMA-flavoured pies.

Essentially, Samoa Joe is a really hard man who can kill you in a number of ways. Stay clear at all costs.


6. He Was A Mortgage Broker Before He Was A Professional Wrestler


WWE


We all know what it's like to be young with bills that need to be paid. It doesn't matter what it is, you do it, because it pays money. A young Samoa Joe is no different to us mere mortals in that respect, doing many jobs you wouldn't expect a world-travelled Superstar such as he to have done.

Bouncing - outside of clubs and whatnot, rather than just jumping on the spot - and a party rental warehouse manager are a couple of ways he earned money in his younger years, as well as working for his family's dance troupe. However, Samoa Joe was a mortgage broker once upon a time - massive, sweaty, scary Samoa Joe had a sensible office job.

My mind boggles...

Joe would practice Judo while working in the office, telling the South Carolina Post and Courier: “I just wanted to do something physical in the afternoon.” Joe's Judo instructor told him that if he was looking for a sweat then he should give professional wrestling a try. The rest, as they say, is history.

5. He Appeared On Distraction


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And so did Frankie Kazarian and Curry Man.

Distraction was a game show on Channel 4 in the UK hosted by Jimmy Carr - who claimed the three wrestlers "looked ridiculous," by the way. Curry Man I get, but Joe and Frankie?! They should have kicked him in the teeth!

The show had a simple concept whereby the contestants had to answer questions while being distracted by something. Of course, the wrestlers' round saw them throw the contestants around while they tried to answer relatively simple questions.

4. The Time He Went Into Business For Himself


Impact Wrestling


It's the Turning Point 2007 promo - you've either seen it or you haven't.

This is a kind of half-worked shoot, half-shoot shoot, with the likes of Kevin Nash feeling the full force of Joe's wonderfully sharp tongue. The story goes that Joe, understandably pissed off, was given the mic and told to go out in front of the crowd and explain how Scott Hall no-showed the event - the main event was set to be Hall, Nash and Joe vs. Kurt Angle, AJ Styles and Tomoko.

What was supposed to be a quickie from the Samoan Submission Machine turned into a full five-minute rant about supposed "Superstars" coming into the company to merely fill their pockets, while the hard-working TNA diehards suffered as a result.

During the promo, Joe looks down to the front row on the hard cam side of the arena and says "go ahead, fire me." This was allegedly towards Dixie Carter, who was said to be suitably angered by what she was hearing.

Speaking about the incident, Nash said: “What he did was basically take, kind of, what they gave him in a nutshell and embellished it.” He later claimed to have smacked Joe in the face twice for not respecting he or Hall, with the pipebomber of the piece apologising for the promo a day later.


3. Mick Foley Tried To Take Him & CM Punk To WWE In 2005


WWE


This one came straight from the horses' mouths during one of those shoot interviews in front of a dodgy background.

Basically, Vince McMahon wanted Mick to wrestle Ric Flair. However, Mick was having none of it, and in an attempt to come up with a compromise, approached Joe first saying that he was sick of all the muscleheads in WWE and that he wanted to bring him in, along with Punk, as his enforcer types. During a promo war between Vince and Mick, Mrs Foley's Baby Boy would claim that he thought that when he wrestled Randy Orton, he was facing the youngest, most talented, most well put together Superstar out there. That was until, however, he met Punk and Joe. Out they would come, and all hell would break loose.

The crux of the story would be the fact that Joe and Punk were in the same position Mick was before he arrived in WWE. Normally, back then of course, Vince wouldn't allow people that looked like Mick to appear on his show. Despite not being the proverbial musclehead, Mick made Vince a hell of a lot of money, with Punk and Joe seen as being the second coming of the non-traditional WWE Superstar.

Looking back now, it's funny to see how the pair both say it'll never happen for them in WWE just down to the way they looked and nothing more. If they only knew...

2. He Wrestled For WWE Earlier Than You Think


WWE


In all fairness, you probably do know this one. The YouTube clip has 245,000 views and that's a lot.

Back in the year 2001 Samoa, Joe wrestled on an episode of Jakked against Essa Rios. I never really like Essa. I got the high flying and the bright hair, but the rest of that man in WWE was all kinds of meh.

Joe turned up looking like the lovechild of Haku and... Essa Rios - what's going on with that hair of his?! He lost, obviously.

Joe has actually been a professional wrestler for the best part of 20 years now, making his professional bow in late 1999. Even though some may argue that he's nowhere near the performer we saw in ROH and TNA, he's still close to the top of the game in the landscape of WWE - a marvellous achievement after so many years inside the ropes.

1. He Has A Gaming Rival In AJ Styles


UpUpDownDown/YouTube


Samoa Joes really likes games and there's not too much else to say here. Samoa Joe once had a Twitch channel called Samoajoegames, didn't you know? That's how much he likes games.

Have I convinced you that he really likes games yet?

Joe's long-term colleague, WWE Champion AJ Styles, is also a massive gamer and the pair have butted heads down the years with controller in hand. During this episode of Superstar Savepoint, Joe revealed The Phenominal One almost ended his marriage because he wouldn't leave a Tommy's Hamburgers with a Tekken machine because he couldn't beat his score. Tongue in cheek in terms of The Phenomenal One's marriage actually ending? Of course, but you can just imagine how intense the pair must get when they're playing, right?

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Ross Tweddell

Written by Ross Tweddell

Presenter over on the Cultaholic Wrestling YouTube channel. Email: [email protected]