“Myself and Magnus are going on all cylinders. We’re a formidable duo and I fully expect to dominate, wreck, destroy the opposition,” says Samoa Joe. He and his tag partner are facing champions Matt Morgan and Crimson at this Sunday’s TNA Impact Against All Odds pay-per-view, and they are confident about their chances of victory.
Their tactics, however, are slightly less clear. “You can’t hit them in the head, because they’re so stupid it doesn’t really matter. They’re tall dudes, I gotta go low on them. Keep inflicting punishment on them till they pass out. That’s our plan.”
Official Friend Of TOWIS Magnus and Joe were thrown together in one of TNA’s random tag pairings (“‘Let’s put the troublemakers together and hopefully they’ll self-destruct, maybe they’ll kill each other,'” Joe mutters, “we’ve proved the critics wrong”) and so far it seems to be going pretty well.
“There’s definitely a natural timing between Magnus and myself. It’s not practised. We discuss things we’d like to accomplish, but it’s a testament to him that he can get into the ring and read what I’m doing. There’s a weird, innate, natural timing between the two of us.
“When I got in there with Magnus, he wanted to win, he wanted to put on a great show, he wanted it to work,” he says. “Magnus can wrestle and dominate and entertain and bring a crowd to its feet: if I’m a catalyst for that I’m very happy to do that. I’ve seen his potential, and to be able to bring that to the forefront is a nice thing for me. He’s hitting a stride, he’s starting to loosen up and understand what he’s capable of.”
Joe and Magnus got a huge reception during the UK tour, and it wasn’t even necessarily because of the British wrestler – the chants of “Joe’s gonna kill you!” at Wembley were testament to that.
“I’m pretty awesome. It’s testament to very great taste,” he explains. I assume he’s half-joking. “They’re ready and willing to see me murder somebody – it’s a great confidence boost.
“It’s funny. There are certain pockets of fans in the US who are very, very critical of what they look for. The UK fans really have a great respect for the art of professional wrestling. I’m not the most likeable character in the world when it comes to what I do, like some others on television, but talent is undeniable and the UK fans recognise that and respond to it. It was an amazing experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
“I thought the UK shows were a smash hit success all the way across the board. They show that appreciation and they’re very much into what we do. Being able to take Impact overseas was one of the best calls the company has made in a very long time.”
TNA’s India programme Ring Ka King seems to be a huge hit so far – would Joe consider being part of a similar project based in the UK?
“I’ve had a pretty long history throughout my career wrestling in the UK, and the fans have always been fantastic and very, very receptive to what I do in the ring, so I would very much welcome the opportunity to be part of a hypothetical UK promotion. The UK is a hotbed, and I’m surprised there hasn’t been a major promotion in the country thus far.”
TNA’s outreach across to India is indicative of the way they’re considering the potential worldwide audience for pro wrestling, which, as Joe explains, ” is something the world wants to watch, they’re just limited to what access they have to it.
“I think TNA in general has progressed – it’s starting to recognise what it has, a lot of talent and characters are coming into their own. Unlocking the potential of your roster is a complicated process. Guys are being thrust into a spotlight they well deserve.”
Joe’s been in that spotlight for a number of years now. How does he think he’ll be remembered in wrestling? “I hope my legacy will be that people had an experience, and they saw something amazing – that’s my goal. I work to deliver that.”