Ahead of his upcoming showdown against longtime career rival A.J. Styles for the richest prize in the business, the WWE Championship, at one of WWE’s biggest annual events, WWE SummerSlam 2018, Samoa Joe spoke with the folks at Vulture Hound to promote next Sunday night’s pay-per-view.
During the interview, Joe looked back on his career and how everything built from his debut in 1999 to next Sunday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. While reflecting on his early days in the business, Joe spoke about some of his early career influences.
“I think a guy, especially after I really started in the business, was Arn Anderson,” said Joe. “He had a real good technical acumen, great timing, incredibly explosive, and was able to kind of project an air about himself despite his stature. He seemed like he was ten feet tall.”
Joe continued, “Bouncing back-and-forth, I caught a little bit of UWFI and I remember early Takada matches and seeing kind of the more shoot style of professional wrestling. It was a very mixed bag.”
From there, the conversation switched to topics outside of WWE. Among them was the success the independent wrestling scene seems to be having lately, with New Japan Pro Wrestling entering the U.S. market, promotions working together and the big ALL IN event coming up in September.
“I hope it’s a sustained strength,” said Joe of the strength of the independent wrestling scene right now. “I’ve thought of the independents as a stable industry for a little over two decades, and that’s because I stably worked in it, so I’ve understood it that way. I’m hoping that these companies are looking towards the future and also including their talent in their future plans.”
Joe added, “You know, understanding the value of them and taking care of them accordingly. I get people all the time that say, ‘Ah well, they’re an independent, they can’t afford to take care of the guys at this time,’ but at the same time you should still be making your best effort, because it’s those gentlemen that step through those ropes every night who created this industry with their efforts and their abilities.
“They’re the reason why you see this big flourishing, thriving independent scene. Around the world, in the UK, United States, Canada, Mexico…it’s a great thing to see, and I just hope that they manage this wave accordingly and they get something that’s lasting.”
Finally, the talk moved on to this Sunday’s big showdown against “The Phenomenal One,” an opponent Joe is overly familiar with after working with him hundreds of times over the past decade. While it may seem poetic to some, Joe feels things aren’t exactly what fans may seem due to the fact that the reigning WWE Champion, as well as himself, have changed a lot since climbing the ranks in WWE.
“I think this is a very different encounter,” said Joe. “A.J. is a very different athlete than when I last faced him, much more complete. Obviously, anywhere he goes he’s been able to soak up the best parts of that style and make it his own, and he’s done that.
“He’s gone abroad (to New Japan Pro Wrestling). Going into this, it’ll be a different feel. It’s been a while since we’ve been in something like this — sparks fly, and the fans benefit.”
WWE SummerSlam 2018, featuring Samoa Joe vs. A.J. Styles for the WWE Championship, goes down next Sunday, August 19th, from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Check out the complete Samoa Joe interview at VultureHound.co.uk, and remember to join us here at SEScoops.com this Sunday evening for live results coverage of this year’s WWE SummerSlam pay-per-view.