He is the Destroyer, the man whose goal in WWE is to lay waste to everyone in his way. When he joined the Raw roster, it was clear whose side he was going to be on; he was aligned with the McMahons and would do the bidding of Triple H. In the process, he beats down the likes of Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn. While he wasn't a part of this year's WrestleMania, Joe has unquestionably made an immediate impact, and fans can be excited about what's to come in the coming year. However, they may not know some things about Joe that he either doesn't advertise or hasn't made much mention of.
Did you know that to this day he is the longest reigning champion in one promotion, or that he once appeared in the Summer Olympics? He has been all over the world and left behind a trail of names and bodies along the way to the top. Does that mean he has achieved all there is to achieve? That isn't likely. There are still so many things Joe could accomplish, including winning championships.
Here are 15 shocking things you didn't know about Samoa Joe. Did you know any or all of these things? Feel free to comment and share.
15 John Cena And Samoa Joe Have A Past History
John Cena has been the face of WWE for many years. However, what many may not know is that when John Cena was first learning his craft, prior to joining WWE or being trained at their Ohio Valley Wrestling developmental territory, he competed for independent promotion Ultimate Pro Wrestling. It was while with UPW that Cena befriended another trainee, and one of his earliest rivals, Samoa Joe. Their relationship with one another goes back a long time, with Joe and his family inviting Cena over several times for a BBQ dinner after shows were completed. Both men carved a different niche for themselves, but it would be great to see a feud develop between the two of them at some point now that they are reunited in WWE.
14 He Was A Performer At The 1984 Summer Olympic Games Opening
One of the most celebrated sporting events is the Olympic Games. For many years, the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association has had their talent participate in these games as a means to help raise the profile of their product and showcase the greatest athletes in the world. While WWE is unlikely to have their talent engage in an amateur wrestling or martial arts event that don't mean their talent haven't been a part of the games prior to their WWE career. Over thirty years ago, Samoa Joe, while still a child, performed with his family as part of the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Olympic Summer Games. This was just the first indication that Joe could be a focal point on a grand stage, though it would be another 30-plus years before he competed in the WWE.
13 Longest Reigning Ring Of Honor World Champion
Many are well aware of Joe's wrestling acumen, as he has faced some of the biggest and best wrestlers all over the world, and in his time had stiff battles with wrestlers both still active and retired. One of the most significant stretches of his career was when he was competing for Ring of Honor in the early part of the millennium. During that period, other notable names such as Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, and Nigel McGuinness were also cutting their teeth and establishing themselves. While many fans today will recall Jay Lethal's incredible 400-plus day run as champion, Joe that held the title from May 2003 until December 2004. That was an astounding twenty-one-month reign that totaled 645 days. It is an incredible feat that still stands today.
12 He Was A Mortgage Broker
For many wrestling fans, their day-to-day lives need the escape provided by professional wrestling. At one time, Samoa Joe's day to day life was no different from that of the (adult) fans that he spends his time entertaining today. Men and women who are in the need of important financial advice would be surprised to find out that this was part of the job responsibilities of Samoa Joe – mortgage broker! It is hard to believe that before committing his life to becoming a professional wrestler, Joe would advise those in need of housing what they could afford, and helped meet their individual needs. During this time Joe would spend his down time training in the art of Muay Thai, in a gymnasium specializing in mixed martial arts.
11 He Has Had His Share Of Skeptics
It is easy for experts to doubt someone's ability to succeed. Sometimes, people have only a first impression to determine if they sink or float. This was the case for Samoa Joe, as he faced many skeptics about whether he would make it at all. Sixteen years ago, Joe wasn't seen as being all that much by those in the know at the WWE offices. As Joe has recounted, both Jim Ross and former WWE agent Bruce Pritchard believed he really should rethink his career path. Thankfully, Joe's character and determination would speak louder than any criticism. He has continued to work to earn a name for himself, gaining not only the respect of his peers, but the admiration of the fans watching his matches. Much like time healing all wounds, Ross certainly feels differently about Joe and is pleased he ultimately did achieve.
10 His Family Has A Long-Standing History In Dance
As mentioned before, as a child, Joe danced with his family as part of the opening ceremonies for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. While that was his first time being in a major spotlight, that isn't to say the performance was a one-off occasion. In fact, Joe's family has had a long history in the field of dance. His family performed around the world as part of a dance group that was called Tiare Productions. Performing at the tender age of 5 could be too much for someone, but Joe was able to handle it despite feeling nervous during performances. There was never any expectation from his family for him to remain in the group as he became older. Joe's smooth nature in the ring today could probably be attributed to the mobility developed during his early upbringing with his family's dance troop.
9 He Was Trained By William Regal
With a wealth of wrestling knowledge behind him, it would seem that The Destroyer would know pretty much all there is to know about being in a wrestling ring. He has faced the biggest and best men that wrestling has to offer, and come out better for it. However, it wasn't always this way, and a young Samoa Joe needed to learn the ropes and work on his craft. While he received crucial training in Japan, one current NXT on-screen personality trained Joe as well. NXT General Manager William Regal ran a training facility and invited Joe to participate in his sessions. Joe attributes his knowledge of the business and how to successfully tell a story to his time spent under Regal's tutelage. Who would have known that when the two argued back in forth on NXT TV, it was teacher and student arguing?
8 He Competed In Japan For Two Years
To earn a name for yourself on one continent is one thing. To be able to earn a name for yourself where you don't know the language, customs and people are another. This was, however, what life was once like for Joe, who trained in Japan as part of Zero-One. Over the course of two years, Joe faced the likes of Masato Tanaka and current NXT trainer and former ECW World Champion Steve Corino. At the time he was just beginning to earn a name for himself, and in fact, became more successful while he was there. While there, he was billed as King Joe, apparently the head of a Samoan monarchy, and worked with various other wrestlers also of Samoan decent. It was a short time, but Joe's presence in Japan was impactful.
7 He Was Undefeated For 18 months Upon Entering TNA
One of the remarkable things about Samoa Joe is that, regardless of where he is, he has the ability to bounce back. When his near two-year Ring of Honor championship run ended, there really was nothing left for him to accomplish there anymore. A half a year later, in the summer of 2005, he joined TNA. Joe was elevated immediately; there was no one and nothing that could stop him. In fact, his path of destruction wasn't just one of broken bones and broken bodies, but an undefeated streak of a year and a half after entering the promotion. During this undefeated streak, he beat the likes of Scott Steiner and AJ Styles. His undefeated streak was something to be marveled at and really stands as a mark that should be remembered today.
6 He Is An Enthusiastic Gamer
Wrestlers need time to recharge their batteries and unwind, and while they unwind that they need an outlet. While some work out and others listen to music, other wrestlers enjoy playing video games. Xavier Woods, who is one-third of the tag team stable The New Day, has a popular video game channel, UpUpDownDown, that has over a million subscribers on YouTube. However, the popularity of video game-playing among wrestlers isn't more apparent than with one Samoa Joe. Joe has been so actively engaged in playing games that he had his own page on the streaming site known as Twitch. His twitch handle was SamoaJoeGames, which is unfortunately no longer accessible as it has been offline for some time. Joe's intense schedule more than likely doesn't allow him to play as often as he had, and thus his hobby is something that fans are generally not aware of.
5 He Competed In WWE Well Before Signing A Deal In 2015
Before a wrestler achieves popularity, they need to learn the ropes and establish themselves. As mentioned prior, Joe and John Cena both worked with each other while they were part of the UPW promotion. What some may not realize was that fourteen years before he joined the WWE's NXT brand, Samoa Joe competed on television for WWE. In what was Joe's only match before this year, he faced Essa Rios, a high flying luchador, on the WWE's now defunct Jakked program. Fans watching that match today would find him almost unrecognizable, with his sleeveless shirt and bleached blond hair. We all change as we age, and Joe is no different. Both in size and stature, he was very different from The Destroyer today.
4 He Is A Former Judo Champion
To see Joe in the ring, there is no denying his ability to strike or grapple with an opponent, either on the mat or standing up. Whether it is his various submissions, takedowns or strikes, it is very evident that he has a strong martial arts background. His strength and ability to do so came after a great deal of hard work and effort, as he was once a California state martial arts champion in the discipline of Judo. His championship was achieved prior to making the decision to pursue professional wrestling as a full-time career. This opportunity provided Joe with a foundation he is able to use today; regardless of who he is in the ring with, Joe can certainly handle himself. His arsenal of moves that have proven him to be the Samoan Submission Machine.
3 A WWE Hall Of Famer Once Lobbied To Have Him Join The Company In 2006
Samoa Joe's journey to WWE has been in the making for a very long time. He clearly knows his way in the ring, and is a capable face or heel, convincing in everything he does. Despite having a televised match for WWE many years earlier, it is his growth in the time since that has made people stand up and take notice. One such person was former Raw General Manager Mick Foley. At one time it was proposed that Joe be Foley's backup during a feud with Vince McMahon because Foley "didn't have the look of a WWE Superstar." That seems like something that at one time could easily have been applied to Joe as well. Even though he had all the qualities in the ring, it is his look that seemed to be the only factor that held him back.
2 He's Been Married Nearly A Decade
We know about Joe it is who he has faced in the ring, where he has competed, and how long he has been practicing his craft. However, he generally keeps his professional life separate from his private life. With The Destroyer, what we see in the ring is a tough, straight-ahead worker that can back up his words with his actions. One thing that many don't really think of when it comes to Joe is what happens when he goes home. Who does he go home to? Joe has been married to his wife Jessica for nearly ten years, and they have remained with each other through all the travels that tend to fill Joe's hectic schedule. She is rarely, if ever, seen with him, making their relationship very protected, as it should be. He should be respected for this quality.
1 It Wasn't A Wrestler That Turned Samoa Joe Onto Wrestling
As we mentioned previously, Joe has maintained very close ties to his family and has kept them generally out of the public eye. One of the most interesting revelations about Joe was that his interest in wrestling wasn't something he explored on his own, but was something his father introduced him to. Joe's father would take him to WWE house shows, his dad's awareness of and love for this form of entertainment was instilled in him. With age, Joe's interest in wrestling evolved from the PG product that we see in WWE to the much stiffer and grittier style that is employed in Japan. One has to wonder: if his father would have introduced him to strong style as a child, how much more ferocious would he be in the ring today?