Samoa Joe isn't your prototypical WWE main eventer, and he knows that's cost him in the eyes of many.
Overcoming preconceived notions isn't new to Samoa Joe. He's been doing it his entire career, from the early Ring of Honor days, all the way to modern WWE. When it continued in WWE even after over 15 years of proving himself across various stages, he wasn't exactly surprised.
"I expected it, but that’s just more personal motivation type stuff," Joe told Fightful in an exclusive interview. "But in reality, it’s been par for the course for me. Everywhere that I’ve gone—ROH I remember walking into and Gabe Sapolsky telling me, “listen, we can’t afford to fly you in from California, you’ll never work here again, but thanks for coming tonight,” and shortly afterwards “hey, you’re working every show from here until forever.” TNA was very much the same thing, “Hey you’re an internet guy. We don’t have television. We’re gonna bring you in and I don’t know what we’ll use for you afterwards.” Then obviously that went well. And it was the same thing here. I’ve never had a nice entry into a company, nobody’s ever said “oh, man, we can’t wait to have you here.” It’s like I show up and they’re like “Oh, why didn’t we hire you sooner?” And, I mean, there’s some satisfaction in that. But that’s been par for the course my entire career."
One of those naysayers was Vince McMahon himself, who didn't really know anything about Samoa Joe. However, now that he and Vince McMahon know one another, they get along swimmingly, and Joe said that there were many people who went to bat for him to get him into the company.
"Oh, there were tons here for years. Years. Vince vehemently opposed me being in WWE. He didn’t know me, wasn’t familiar with me. And now we have a great relationship, everything’s working fine.I think he just realize he already bought it, so he might as well use it. No, like I said, with every partner I’ve ever worked with it’s about time and understanding. And we’ve had some time and we’ve had some understanding. It’s working out pretty well," Joe told us.
You can see our full conversation with Samoa Joe above, and check out our interviews section for hundreds of talks with pro wrestlers.