Someone once told me that he’s “shoot afraid of Samoa Joe,” and I can see why.
But while Joe could certainly kill you inside the ring, some of the details about his life outside the ring might surprise you. Here are five fast facts about the Samoan Submission Specialist.
1. He Performed At the 1984 Summer Olympics… As a Dancer
Samoa Joe is one of the toughest, hardest-hitting wrestlers around, so it might be hard to believe that he comes from a family of dancers.
In 1965, Joe’s parents, Pete and Portia Seanoa (pictured above) formed Tiare Productions, a Polynesian dance company. Joe became involved in the family business at a young age, and when he was just five years old he performed with the dance troupe at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. So even though he’s not a member of that other noted Samoan family, it’s clear that Joe was born to perform.
2. He Used To Be a Mortgage Broker
Speaking of unusual beginnings, before he became a wrestler Joe worked as a mortgage broker. Can you imagine hiring the Samoan Submission Specialist to help you buy a house? I wouldn’t doubt he helped clients get a good deal via sheer intimidation alone.
3. He’s The Longest Reigning Ring of Honor World Champion
Like many pro wrestlers, Joe’s path to success went through Ring of Honor. In March 2003, Joe defeated Xavier to become the third ROH World Champion, and to this day he remains the title’s longest reigning champion at 645 days. His record will likely never be broken; the second longest reigning champion is Nigel McGuinness – who now does color commentary for NXT – at 545 days.
4. He Was Friends With John Cena Long Before WWE
Long before either Samoa Joe or John Cena wrestled in WWE, they both trained at Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW) in Southern California in the early 2000’s. At the time, UPW was a WWE-affiliated training promotion, and according to Joe, WWE based their decision to hire Cena off of a match he wrestled against Joe.
5. Jim Ross Told Him He’d Never Make It In WWE
Joe made his WWE main roster debut in January 2017, but he wrestled on WWE TV for the first time more than a decade before. In March 2001, Joe wrestled a squash match against Essa Rios on an episode of Jakked. Weeks later, WWE talent head Jim Ross reportedly told Joe, “We know what we’re looking for [at WWE] in terms of talent, and you’re not it.”
The joke’s on Ross, though. Joe went on to become a huge star in TNA and Japan, and now WWE.
What do you think about Samoa Joe? Did you learn anything new about him here? Share your comments below!