Samoa Joe Speaks On His New Look, MMA/Wrestling, More

Matt Boone

Samoa JoeThe following are highlights from a recent ESPN.com interview with TNA star Samoa Joe:

On the Nation of Violence: “Honestly, like any job in America, I’m paid to translate what is given to me and do it to the best of my ability. I think that is something that a lot of pro wrestling fans don’t realize. They get so caught up thinking that these big pro wrestlers, we walk in and tell people what we want to do, but the best pro wrestlers in the world, they went in and were given something and they took it and made it their own. That’s where my input comes in. Once I’m given something, it’s my responsibility to take it and translate it and make it work in the ring. That’s the mindset I’ve always taken with this business — I’m paid very well to go out there and do the best I can do with what I’m given. Nation of Violence, that name was my idea. They had a couple of other ideas, and I can’t even remember the names, but most of them I was just like, no. But at the same time, if that’s really what they wanted, we would’ve just had to go with it. Fortunately enough, they came to me for ideas and I came up with Nation of Violence. People don’t know what it means yet, but as the show goes on, the explanation of Nation of Violence will become very clear.”

On Getting Into Wrestling: “I was always involved in various athletics. Whether it was football or judo, I was always involved in sports and physical activity. But after I got done with school and college, I had that job as a mortgage banker, working in a windowless office all day long. The money was pretty good, but I needed something more. So I went down to a judo studio and started working out again and while I was there they told me about this pro wrestling school and told me I should give it a shot. I didn’t know if it was my thing, but I gave it a shot and it was pretty cool. That’s when I started wrestling part time on the weekends, then next thing you know, I’m moving to Japan and working for a company out there. It all kind of snowballed from there.”

On MMA Influencing Wrestling: “I think more aspects of MMA are going to infiltrate pro wrestling, but at the end of the day, pro wrestling is pro wrestling. In my opinion, people tune in to see these over the top fight scenarios with these fantastic moves that you will never see in MMA unless some mixed martial artist is half-assed crazy. And while a lot of people see that match as MMA, I see it more as a throwback to what pro wrestling used to be. It used to be a real gritty, mat-based, beat ‘em up type of sport and we wanted to bring that back.”

On His New Look: “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.”

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