Taz Discusses Samoa Joe Comparisons, Lockdown, More


Taz recently spoke with The Miami Herald, here are the highlights…

On The Lockdown PPV: “Lockdown is definitely one of our biggest pay-per-views of the year, and coming to a major city like Miami and the South Florida area — always a hotbed for pro wrestling — our locker room, production crew and creative staff are very excited. It’s a big deal. Wrestling fans are coming from not just Florida but throughout the South and the United States and part of the world. When we do our bigger shows, our bigger pay-per-views, prototypical what I’ve seen the past five years in the company, you get a lot of fans from all over the world coming to these events. There will be some really high intense, high impact matches with many championships on the line, and it’s a steel cage spectacular. Everything’s in a cage, so that in itself, it’s like main event after main event after main event, and I think it’s a pretty cool concept.”

On TNA’s Growth: “Even before I was there, TNA kind of carved its own niche, initially starting off with the six-sided ring where it was total nonstop action,” said Taz, who debuted with TNA in 2009, “and then it kind of morphed into a more traditional type pro wrestling ring. Some would say they were bad changes. Some would say they’re good changes. I’m privy to what happens behind the scenes a lot, and I know that was done for a good reason. That’s just an example. “There’s always a good motivation. There’s always a positive step. There are reasons why they went with six sides to four sides. Who knows. Maybe one day it’s back to six sides, the original TNA look. I also think that bringing in different talent from all over the world including people who leave WWE or people coming from Japan or the UK and different wrestlers — guys and gals — it’s a big deal. That gives it more of an international flavor than other companies. I also believe the homegrown talent, the pioneers of TNA, the original guys, for example Cowboys James Storm, Samoa Joe, Jeremy Borash as an announce talent, Mike Tenay as the voice of TNA, Abyss, Eric Young, Bobby Roode, Bad Influence [Christopher Daniels and Kazarian], keeps the foundation strong, where other guys like myself, who came in from WWE, add to the company. “A guy like Jeff Jarrett, who’s no longer part of TNA, built that foundation for wrestlers. That’s a big deal in our industry. I’m forever grateful to a guy like that for doing something like that.”

On Samoa Joe: “A lot of people say Samoa Joe is a modern day Taz. They compare him to me, and I’m very flattered, and it’s nice to hear it,” Taz said. “I’m a fan of Samoa Joe. I was a fan of Samoa Joe, before I got to know Samoa Joe. Now, Samoa Joe’s a personal friend, and we joke about it, but I do think there are a ton of similarities in our in-ring style — submission wrestling and suplexing and Japanese strong style and intensity level — and Joe has his own style, too. Here’s a guy who’s a big, nasty, mean Samoan, Polynesian guy. I was this nasty, street kid from Brooklyn. So there’s a different character trait. I think Samoa Joe, the wrestler, is special in itself, and he would still be a successful pro wrestler, if Taz never existed. It’s meant to be that Joe is as successful as he is because he’s real. He’s as real as it gets.”

On Transitioning to Commentary: “Michael Cole and JR while I was in WWE, both those guys helped me a ton. Michael Cole, obviously a lot, because we were a team. Vince McMahon, I learned a ton from him and Kevin Dunn [WWE’s Executive Vice President, Television Production],” Taz said. “Vince McMahon really helped me a lot. He really did. He would explain his vision and where he thought I should be as an announcer and what I could bring to the table, and he helped me get there, and I’m thankful for that. They wanted to have two separate announce teams, and I didn’t know that at the time,” he explained. They wanted to keep JR and King, the Hall of Fame team together on Raw. Michael Cole, the play-by-play commentator for SmackDown, was a little bit younger, a little bit hipper, a little more energy type guy. They wanted to put someone new, fresher with him. Insert me. “That’s what was happening behind the scenes before I morphed into a commentator. I didn’t realize that, but that was the concept.”

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