Photos courtesy of TNA
By James Viscardi with Ben Morse
When it comes to the Marvel Universe, Hulk may be the strongest one there is, but in TNA’s
A former World champion—and avid Marvel fan—“The Samoan Submission Machine” will look to work his way back into title contention this Sunday at the Hardcore
Joe took time out of getting ready for Sunday to chat with us about his favorite Marvel characters, where he takes inspiration for his persona, his strategy for ladder matches and more.
Marvel.com: So first things first, what got you into comics?
Samoa Joe: I think when I really started reading heavily was during the early 90’s in the explosion of comics. I think initially it was the art and then slowly but surely I started reading a lot of the books and seeing a lot of the story arcs. I had a really good local comic store. The guys that worked there were always “Oh, you should read this, you should read this,” and always recommending me stuff. [That’s] what eventually got me into comics and reading books.
Marvel.com: Do you have any favorite Marvel characters?
Samoa Joe: A lot. I’ve never really subscribed to one title necessarily. Every time there’s a big story arc somehow, some way I’ll end up getting hooked on another book and then I’ll go on that one and there’ll be another big crossover event and that’ll lead to another book. But X-Men. I was always a big X-Men fan. Anything X really. I always loved the X-Force stuff.
Usually it was Cable, especially around that time anything that was really huge in the Marvel Universe he had a hand in.
Marvel.com: Are there any Marvel super heroes that you tend to emulate in the ring?
Samoa Joe: Definitely The Hulk. I think there is just that transformation and outward expression of unbridled rage. I mean he kind of just embodies that so I think that’s the most obvious one. Other than that it would be Spider-Man. He’s fast and has a little of [the] general super hero swagger.
Marvel.com: So let’s talk about Hardcore
Samoa Joe: They’re pretty high. A.J. and Chris are two of the best high-flying wrestlers in the world. Dare I say A.J.’s probably the best A-list in professional wrestling ever? For Kurt, I think the prerequisites speak for themselves. I mean he’s a gold medalist, multiple time heavyweight champion and a great competitor. They’re fierce. I think with all of us in the ring it makes for something naturally fantastic to have. I look forward to it. It’s going to be a ladder match, [which can] add an extra layer of danger to everything, so it’ll be fun trying to find ways to win.
|Samoa Joe hits a Muscle Buster|
Marvel.com: Do you have a lot of experience in ladder matches?
Samoa Joe: I probably have the least amount of experience [of the four of us]. It’s dangerous from [that] aspect. Not only just toppling on top of that ladder, which is the most apparent danger, but also just what happens with that ladder. I mean it just starts bouncing off those ropes and flips back, bashing you in the face. It’s real dangerous, pretty radical in a lot of ways. But once again, it’ll be interesting to see how it all ends.
Marvel.com: Who would you say is probably your biggest threat going into the match?
Samoa Joe: It’s a toss-up between all three. Kurt’s definitely my most dangerous opponent in that ring. I’ve just recently beat him and he’s still smarting from that. I think he’ll want revenge. A little more motivation for him to try to do something which he won’t be able to accomplish because of how great I am, comparatively speaking to me. But for a normal guy he’s pretty good.
Marvel.com: You’ve been near the top of Bound for Glory series since it started. Is there anything that you credit to that? You know, aside from your awesomeness?
Samoa Joe: I mean, that’s the primary thing: my awesomeness. That pretty much encapsulates my success in general. I go big, man. That’s the mission. I’m trying to get people out, I’m trying to score 10 points every time, and I’m battling for a good win. I want the best win in the tournament bracket. That’s my mission.
Marvel.com: Do you see anyone as a threat to your standing in the series?
|Samoa Joe takes to the air|
Samoa Joe: James
Marvel.com: Now there is someone that you haven’t faced in the series yet: Magnus. Someone you’ve won a tag title with. How do you feel about that eventual showdown?
Samoa Joe: I think it’s unfortunate. You know Magnus is a good guy—we’re actually tag team champions [currently] in Japan. It’s a shame that we have to wrestle each other, but he’s a tremendous competitor and we’ll do everything we can to fight with as much honor as we can. And once we reach that point we’ll probably stab each other in the back and do whatever we can to win. It’s a shot at the heavyweight championship man, you’ve got to go big or go home. Cliché.
Marvel.com: Talking about tag teams, and bringing this back around to the Marvel Universe, if you had the opportunity to tag with any Marvel hero or villain, who are you bringing down into the ring with you?
Samoa Joe: Ooh, see this is kind of like the superpower question. It’s a spin on it, but it’s essentially the same thing. Who do I bring down with me? Well for coolness factor I’d pick Juggernaut, because I mean he’s an awesome villain. But I’d also need somebody who teleports just so we can get into the building way late and not really have to worry about it. That’s the guy I’m looking to tag with me. It would be awesome.
Marvel.com There you go. Nightcrawler would have been the one.
Samoa Joe: Yeah, shame he’s not around anymore though. Well, right now I’m taking applications because there isn’t always going to be someone who reaches my requirements. It’s a real shame, a real shame.
Marvel.com: Y’know, if you wanted a manager who teleported, we could pair you up with Magik.
Samoa Joe: There we go! I’m just saying it’s the grea