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Samoa Joe Comments On Samoan Representation In Pro Wrestling

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Samoa Joe was a recent guest of The Sessions with Renee Paquette podcast. The “King of All Television” spoke about Samoan and Polynesian representation in pro wrestling, and how well The Bloodline carry that legacy forward. Joe also spoke about how wrestling improved his relationship with his own father.

You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:

What drew him to pro wrestling as a kid: “I think pro wrestling is probably the only sport-type thing that me and my father watched together. Everyone in my house kind of enjoyed it. And for a lot of Polynesians, pro wrestling is one of the few places, even before the NFL, where you saw actual Samoans on TV. Which is wild, we’re a small island on the South Pacific.”

How important performers like Afa and Sika were to young Samoans: “Afa and Sika were like Jordan to a lot of young Samoans growing up because it was crazy to see… like, wow. We’re maybe a small island, and everybody thought we were from Hawaii back in the day, to see that was always a big deal. I think that was the attraction initially, it was cool seeing Polynesians on television.”

Getting out of the family business and getting in to wrestling: “I got to a point where my relationship with my father really suffered because of the [Polynesian dance] show. The rest of my brothers and sisters exited. At the time, it was just me and him and cousins. It put a lot of stress and strain. Being my boss didn’t stop when we got done with the show. Imagine having a tyrant of a boss, and he’s living in the room down the hall, and he’s on you 24/7. Because of that, me and my dad’s relationship suffered tremendously. We had huge issues. I didn’t want to be part of the [dance] show anymore. I was sick of it, and I was sick of being the last guy left, and whatever issues he may have had with other family, he took out on me.”

How pro wrestling helped Joe and his dad reconnect: “When I made the transition to pro wrestling, and I explained to him — obviously, I paid my fair share into the family pot every time I got my paycheck — he totally understood. He got it. He knew I was passionate about it, he knew I was good at it, and he couldn’t have been more supportive. Our relationship completely did a 180. He became my biggest supporter, my biggest fan. He was driving me to LAX at five in the morning to catch flights to the east coast. Getting me up, ‘you gotta make this flight.’ That’s the biggest thing I’ll always appreciate about wrestling, was kind of a non-intentional side effect; it really rebuilt the relationship between me and my father.”

Polynesian pride in pro wrestling: “It is so overwhelming. Obviously, the stuff that the Bloodline are doing is great. The Usos are both really good friends of mine. Roman, he’s a good brother, they’re all good brothers. For them, it’s very much carrying on a legacy that their family started in years past, and really carrying that legacy better than even their forefathers would have hoped. For me, it’s very much in the same vein. Just letting Polynesians know we’re well-represented out here in the sporting space, and continuing to try to be like a good beacon of hope for a lot of kids across the South Pacific, that a lot of things are possible.”

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