Major League Wrestling continues to be a hub for major names that plan on being the future of professional wrestling and Josef Samael is someone who gets to work with many potential-loaded prospects.
Speaking with Spencer Love, the mouthpiece of CONTRA discussed working with some of the major players in 2020’s MLW and how he is helping to build the future of wrestling.
Credit to Spencer Love for passing along the following quotes.
His role as a veteran in Major League Wrestling:
“Everything I've learned in professional wrestling, somebody's taught me, Indirectly directly, whatever. So, you know, it's my duty to do the same, whether they're receptive or not. MLW has a very respectful locker room, the younger guys really, really respect the old guard. And, unfortunately, I've found myself as one of the old guard today, it's weird, it happened in a blink of an eye, but I do like to take my knowledge and give it to these younger guys because I sit on - I see things from a completely different vantage point, and a lot of times what I say to a younger guy doesn't apply, and a lot of times it does. Sometimes, I can just tweak them a certain way. 'Hey, move right instead of left. Hey, when you do that, keep doing that, but do it this way.' You know, 'pull back on that, push forward on that.' Just these little things that - a lot of wisdom in professional wrestling isn't always-or-never. It's situational. It depends on the person.”
“So yeah, the younger guys are very receptive to me, and I have have found myself in that role quite often, agenting matches. That's one of my favorite things to do with MLW, and I've been very successful with my finishes. I fancy myself a 'finish' guy. I am really good at connecting the dots and making sense of this thing. And I think that's very important, is to not only make sense of it, but to have it be digestible to an audience. To do something, sometimes people do things just to let everybody know they're smart, and that's not always the route you should take in pro wrestling. Sometimes it should be spoon fed to an eight year old. Sometimes things should be obvious. Other times things should not be obvious. Sometimes when they think you're going right, you should go left. Sometimes you should give them what you want. Sometimes you should take it away. It's really, really important to understand the psychology of professional wrestling and to apply it in the right places. We're not always right, and we're not always wrong, but we we definitely try to have the best batting average as possible if that makes any sense.”
Working with Alexander Hammerstone:
“So, Hammerstone I met first. I was promoting shows in Arizona, by way of California. We were doing pretty well, and Hammerstone was a young guy and I look through the lens of an old school guy. I don't like to give anybody anything. I like to make sure that they want it. I like to make sure that the knowledge that I give is used properly. I don't - I make people work for it, and Hammerstone is one of the hardest workers I've ever met in professional wrestling, is one of the hardest workers I've ever met in life. He just is not scared to work. I tested him multiple times, I would say, 'Hey, you know, you want to spot here. I've got a Cruiserweight spot.' The guy shedded about 25 pounds and got shredded. I manipulated him in ways that were not malicious. I manipulated him in ways to see, you know, how mentally strong he is. A couple times, he wanted stuff a little too early, or he got frustrated, but I always kept beating the drum in the same way. Eventually, he would see on more than one occasion that I was truthful and I was trustworthy, and what I said was right, and it came to fruition. So I really, really took a lot of time with Hammerstone and, you know, learning him and understanding him and testing him. To be quite honest, he's hit the ball out of the park every single time. He's somebody that continues to get better. He continues to impress. He continues to shape up his body better, his mind, his psychology. He's just somebody that if you see, and then you see him six months later, he's better. He's also somebody that absorbs knowledge. If you tell him 'Hey, this....' he doesn't go 'yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.' He actually applies the knowledge, like, instantly and correctly. So, he's somebody that I have a lot of fun - he likes to say I'm his mentor. I don't like to take any credit for him. I'll always be there to help him, but he is certainly somebody that has helped himself and done the work. Yeah, I've given him knowledge. Yeah, here and there I've done this and that for him, but others did that for me, too. So I definitely transfer that.”
Working with MLW Heavyweight Champion Jacob Fatu:
“I saw and Fatu is somebody that when you see for the first time, it's like, he's a 300 pounder, and he's like a 300 pound six-foot-something pile of money. He's just absolutely phenomenal. I definitely had a few, I wouldn't say fights, but we didn't see eye-to-eye when we first met. He wanted something a certain way and I explained to him the way it really is. And he was very young. And then little by little, I earned his trust. He's just somebody that doesn't have to try. He's just incredibly, incredibly gifted. He has just probably one of the most naturally gifted guys I've ever seen. I mean, on his worst day, he can do better than 98% of the wrestlers out there. He's just, he's just incredibly gifted and he's natural. So Fatu is somebody that I've really enjoyed kind of just sanding the corners off of.”
“I think that's where my talent lies. I'm not somebody that can tell a guy - I could - but I'm not the type of guy that likes to take somebody from a seed. I like a trained guy that has got a little bit of momentum and then I like to show them how to get from the second rung of the ladder to the 10th rung of the ladder. I like to show them how to really, really exploit their talents, how to really, really shine the light on their gifts. A lot of times what hurts talent is they want to do something rather than - it's like if you're a duck, and you want to be a tiger, and it's like, 'hey, hey, you're not a tiger, you're a duck' or vice versa. 'Hey, you're, you're a tiger, don't quack anymore,' you know, and it's like you're trying to show these guys. And you really have to show them by them, gaining their trust, and then having them apply things. And then, when it works, live, some of the guys - not all of them, some of the guys and girls, not all of them - a light will come on when it works, and they'll go 'oh!' you know, and those are really the people, the coachable people, the teachable people are the ones that I like to be around because there's some guys that are just not coachable and they're incredibly frustrating to be around and (with) Hammerstone and Fatu it's almost like I got aces up my sleeve. I mean, those guys were gonna be good with or without me, you know what I mean? I just liked to give them a little bit extra so they can get to the finish line a little bit quicker. So, I don't take too much credit for those guys but I definitely enjoy being on the sidelines coaching them any way I can because they're amazing. They're incredible to watch and I am a fan of them.”
The psychology of surprising people:
“Oh, yeah! With Fatu, the first time I saw him do the running dive over the top, I said, 'Don't you ever do that again,' and he's like 'what are you talking about?!' I said, 'trust me, don't do that anywhere anymore'. Finally, for that match, he looked at me and he goes 'tonight?' We both knew exactly what we were talking about. And I was like 'tonight.' He knew when to do it, and he knew it was the right time, and he trusted me enough to hold off on it until - it's just one of those things of, not to whore yourself out, not to whore your moves out, just really, really to exploit and manipulate the people in a way that benefits you and your character to get you from one spot to another spot. That's a lost art. Everybody's like, 'I can do all this stuff, I'm gonna do all this stuff,' and it's like, 'well, you know, then you have nothing in your back pocket for tomorrow, you have nothing to build to.' Then you know, some guys can do crazy stuff and then they're like, 'don't worry, I got a bunch of it.' Well, you know, you need - there's I could go on and on and on about what's right and what's wrong, it would be way too involved, but that situation was something that was incredibly gratifying to me that he actually listened to me. He did it in the way - the lights went on of when to do it, and then when he did it, it actually worked exactly like we wanted it to. So it was very gratifying to have that experience with him. It's something - it's one of my favorite things that's happened for me, with me, or that I've been involved in, however you want to phrase it, in the last decade. It was just a tiny little moment that - it was everything to me.”
On working with Salina de la Renta:
“It's been very positive. She is somebody that - she's special. You have these pieces of talent, and, you know, there's just certain pieces of talent that are just special. She's incredibly gifted. She's very young. I believe she's 22, 23, I mean, maybe 24. I think she's 22 or (23). But to have not so much the knowledge of the business, but the wherewithal. Just - she does the right things without nobody teaching her, you know what I mean? She's just natural. She's very gifted. You know, there's this old saying in wrestling that you have to believe your own bullshit, excuse my language.
“She believes what she does, much like myself. There's something to be said about somebody that can talk in this business. A lot of your money is made with your mouth. Being able to talk in this business is something that - I like to think I can and a lot of people like to say that I can - and it's something that I think is one of the greatest tools. The matches are always whatever, you know, the finishes I think have to be extraordinary. But it's the build-up to a match, the talking to people into the arena that I think is just such (an) important tool in our business, and she's got it in spades. She is - and that comes with believing your own bullshit is the confidence. A lot of times you see people talking and you can see the gears turning. You could see the wheels turning, rather, you understand that they have memorized something. And it just really - for me, personally, it takes me completely out of the story. I like to have points and understand kind of where I'm going, and I like to speak as frankly and as naturally as possible. Salina's just somebody that delivers promos and lines in just a confident way that every single time I see it, I buy it, and I believe it and if I was a paying fan, I would definitely be paying to see her. Whether it's her getting beat, whether it's whatever it is, but she's somebody that definitely convinces me 10 out of 10 times. I have nothing but high praise for her. She's a wonderful piece of talent and I'm really excited to see where she goes from here. Not meaning other places! Not meaning other places, I mean how her character develops because she's so good now, we can only imagine her in her 30s and 40s and what type of a character she's going to be. It took me a lot longer to develop into something because I was more involved in the actual wrestling. I always had a good promo and this and that, but I never really had somebody put me through the paces and I never did the reps to where I had TV early on, I would cut promos, whatever, but she's got so much time put into her, just like I do now. So we're able to go through the reps now. I wasn't able to go through the reps as early as she has, so I'm really, really interested to see her in a decade from now. She's gonna be even more phenomenal.”
You can check out the full interview at this link.