WWE star Samoa Joe will be in Wildwood this weekend, and said fans from the Northeast are some of his favorites.
A lot has changed for Samoa Joe.
Now he’s a global superstar.
Samoa Joe, born Nuufolau Joel Seanoa, has been starring for World Wrestling Entertainment early 2015, first competing in the promotion’s NXT brand and moving on to the main roster beginning early last year. Since he got the call up, he’s main-evented big events, including last year’s Summerslam, and he’s even gone one on one with Brock Lesnar on pay per view and the WWE Network.
If you’re a wrestling fan, you know Samoa Joe.
But when his career was just getting started, he made a name for himself while wrestling for independents in Philadelphia.
In fact, he was one of the top stars in Ring of Honor when it first started in 2001.
His resume has grown, and his fan base has expanded, but despite being a bad guy, he is one of this area’s favorites.
“Northeast fans are very special, and it’s special for me,” Joe said. “They have been with me since the beginning. I don’t change what I do, I think a lot of people would like to do what I do. The fans of Northeast are very strong and opinionated and I think they’re a lot like me. I think that’s why they continue to support me.”
Fans in this area will have a chance to throw their support behind Samoa Joe when he comes to Wildwood on Saturday, July 28, at 7:30 p.m with fellow SmackDown superstars. Also coming to town will be WWE champion AJ Styles, U.S. champion Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev, The New Day and woman’s champion Carmella.
The WWE has been a staple of the Wildwood boardwalk every year going back to the 1970s. But most of the time it came to town, Samoa Joe was wrestling for other outlets and racking up championship wins.
Now he’s among the elite in WWE.
“It’s what I expected,” he said. “I expect that when I’m given an opportunity, I’m going to prove myself. I really expected it.”
Samoa Joe loves competing at the highest level because of how much he loves wrestling. But he also uses his notoriety to help people.
Especially sick kids.
That’s one of the main reasons he got involved with POPS for Patients, a group that collects and donates child-friendly toys and gives them to Children’s hospitals. The mission and goal is to bring happiness and joy to the lives of hospitalized kids during their extended stays.
“This was something that my friend was very passionate about because he had a child going through a tough time,” Samoa Joe said. “So I wanted to get involved to help him, but more because I wanted to help sick children who needed it.
“When you give them a toy, it cheers them up when they’re going through a tough time. It’s very special because they’ve given away thousands of toys to people who really needed it.”
Samoa Joe proudly talks about his passion for helping sick children, which might surprise some people considering his character on TV is a guy who loves to inflict pain on his opponents.
A strong submission-style wrestler, Samoa Joe’s signature move is choking his foes until they lose consciousness.
He also is known for giving good guys a hard time, which normally makes a guy quite unpopular. But no matter how many stars he chokes out, he still often finds himself as a fan favorite.
“I think a lot of people wish they could do what I do to solve conflicts,” he said. “I think I represent how the fans feel, and they would like to handle things that way.”
It also helps that he’s built up a lot of goodwill from his fans, who are also referred to as the WWE Universe.
Throughout his career, Samoa Joe has been known to give fans everything he has. The California native weighs 282 pounds, but he flies around the ring like a guy half his size. He also mixes in a lot of judo and mixed martial arts into his matches, which always seems to excite the crowd.
He’s been wrestling this style his entire career and wherever he goes, the fans love it.
“I think wrestling fans are very loyal and they follow us everywhere,” Joe said. “They follow us in WWE, they watch us on TV and they remember me from the (independent promotions). They’re very loyal.”
Joe hopes to put on a great match for the Philly faithful who check out the show on the boardwalk.
And while he’s there, he’ll probably get some fun in, too.
Samoa Joe is an avid video game player. He even has done some voiceover work on some games. But if he gets the chance, there will be time for some games on the boardwalk.
“If I get a chance, I’ll work out early and then try and play some games,” he said.
So who is the best gamer in WWE?
“Me, without a doubt,” said Joe, then turned his attention to fellow video game junkies, the New Day. “They’ll say them, but they’re not the smartest guys, either. I’m the best by far.”
Tickets to the event start at $15 and will be available at the door or on the website.