Source: Talk Is Jericho
Recently on Talk Is Jericho, former WWE United States Champion Chris Jericho spoke with recent NXT call-up Samoa Joe. Among other things, Joe talked about being told to not get his hopes up about the main roster before signing with NXT, how he got on WWE's radar, owning his ring name, and having input with his WWE entrance music.
"I think the initial idea was, 'let's just bring him in for NXT' and we got such a good response with everything that it kind of really blew up even beyond that and here I am on the main roster." Joe said, "and really to the company's credit, it wasn't something that was set in stone. Like, the scenario that was laid out before me was like, 'listen, we can use you here in NXT, but we don't really think that it'll go much beyond that.'"
Joe suggested that he was happy to treat the opportunity to go to work for NXT as a "foot-in-the-door".
"I really wasn't worried. It was kind of a foot-in-the-door deal and I had a lot of good people rooting for me at the time."
Joe indicated that he was sent to NXT as a cultural matter insofar as he could help build the brand.
"I think it was a cultural thing here in WWE. I think that for a long time, past TNA projects that they had brought in hadn't done well. And I think there was a major push within the company that says, 'we're going to build guys from scratch on our own.' They had put a tremendous amount of money into the PC and the Performance Center, which is producing great talent. So it was kind of like, 'hey, this is a guy who can help us build NXT into a brand.'"
When Joe was a free agent, he reached out to Paul Heyman on Twitter to pick his brain and Joey Mercury called to inquire as to 'The Destroyer''s work status and enough people put in a word with HHH for him to meet with him about signing with NXT.
"Road Dogg and a bunch of other guys and I think enough people got in Hunter's ear where he was just like, 'well, let's have a meeting and talk about it.' We set up a meeting and we sat down and talked about it, and it went from there."
Joe recalled that at the time, WWE did not want to use performers who made their names elsewhere.
"In a way it was kind of like new ground for the company and for me and nobody really, who was in my position had made overtures to the company and really they kind of written a lot of us off. And I don't think it was out of malice or spite. I just think they had an edict that they had to follow and I get that, but it wasn't something that they thought was a possibility. I think Hunter kind of saw the possibility that a lot of people didn't and it kind of started from there." Joe continued, "they didn't want to sit there and rely on people that had done things in other places. They wanted people to be built and made in the realm of WWE. Like I said, I can understand it. I may not have necessarily agreed with it, but I could get where they were coming from."
'The Samoan Submission Machine' divulged that he was always going to be Samoa Joe in WWE. In Joe's view, owning his own ring name makes it easy to deal with other companies.
"No, no, never [was Joe going to have a bogus name like 'Dax Phoenix' in WWE]. It was always the case [that he was going to be Samoa Joe]. I mean, well, and I tell guys too, I had made the effort before I came here to like trademark my name and everything, which makes the process easier because it's like if I own it, then it's easier for me to lease to WWE or let them use it, so guys who don't own their names, I don't care how long you've been under it, if you don't own your name, it's not you."
On the subject of his entrance music, Joe acknowledged that he had a hand in providing some ideas and feedback.
"So the original music, I kind of threw out some samples and some ideas and they came back with this original music. I remember, it was Hunter that kind of called me like, 'can you give me some ideas, some genres and stuff you dig and we'll work from there?' So I kind of told him some of my past themes. One of them was Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., 'Another Body Murdered' from some soundtrack and another one was 'Mama Said Knock You Out' by LL Cool J. And I kind of gave them all these things and said, 'work with that.'" Joe added, "when I first heard the music, I was like 'meh, I don't really dig it. I don't really dig it.' And I remember Hunter came up to me, 'you don't really dig your music?' and I went, 'no, I don't.' Then he goes, 'okay, give me a sample of what you want.' So I gave him a few samples and one of them was Pharoahe Monch's… this Pharoahe Monch track that I had. Pharoahe Monch, it's called 'Simon Says' and it's really heavy and I used to use the intro all the time. It was basically the old Toho Godzilla intro slowed down. And then, they looped it in this, so I kind of gave them that and I remember CFO$ within a couple of days had 'oh, this is perfect!' and they had the new track done."
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