Ah, my dear Samoa Joe. What a long, strange path you’ve had in this wacky world of pro wrestling. Seemingly been everywhere, loved by almost everyone, yet things are never as simple as they should be. After all, you’re at your best when presented as a bad, bad man only a fool would mess with. When this is done, you always do well and the promotion wins.
If you think that sounds too complicated for the likes of TNA, well, you’d be right.
We roll it back today to the beginning of 2009, when a faction known as the Main Event Mafia was the top act in the company. Featuring the likes of Kevin Nash, Kurt Angle, Sting (as a bad guy???!!!), Scott Steiner and others, this group ran the show. But a heel stable is nothing without a great babyface to counter their moves and eventually they would cross paths with the wrong guy. Namely…
THE REAL SAMOA JOE!
(Who looked a lot like the old Samoa Joe, just with some wacky face paint.)
This real Joe showed up and put the Mafia on notice. But as you might expect, Scott Steiner, he ain’t having none of dat. And as he’s wont to do, Steiner goes off on a rant as only he can about how Joe isn’t anything special just because he got a new haircut and slapped on some face paint. See, Joe might think he’s a tough guy now but he ain’t at all – no no, he’s just a fat, out of shape, half bred Samoan! Pretty sure that wouldn’t fly in 2023.
But hey, on the plus side at least Steiner didn’t say the make up looked like Joe has painted a weiner on his face. Which was kinda what everyone online was saying at the time. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it, you know?
On the following Impact, Scotty would wrestle Maple Leaf Muscle Petey Williams in a HEADDRESS ON A POLE MATCH (just in case you needed a clue who was booking at the time) which Scott wins. Completely gassed at the six minute match, Steiner is furious when we get another Joe promo, saying virtually the exact same thing as the week before, complete with the slow head turn, lighting, weiner face paint and everything. There is one thing added though, with Joe warning Steiner that the Nation of Violence is coming.
Despite these threats, Steiner’s trash talk would continue telling anyone who would listen to him (but primarily backstage interviewer Lauren) that he had nothing to fear from Samoa Joe. In fact, the only way he’d be scared of Joe is if he found himself covered in twinkies or dressed up like a hamburger (because then Joe might try to eat him, you see). As if on cue, Joe comes in and interrupts Steiner’s workout, promising to crush his sternum for such statements.
Eh, Scotty kinda deserved it for only benching 40 pounds or so. (Please don’t tell him I said that.)
Despite nearly have chest caved in by a barbell that even I could lift, Steiner remained unfazed. In fact, he’d double down the following week, telling Lauren that she would be going down on him in his hotel room later that night, Also, he couldn’t help his sable mate Booker T that evening as he was too busy taking a dump. Really, he said this. Finally, he told us his intricate plan to take Joe down – he was going to set out a giant platter of donuts so Joe would gorge himself. Unfortunately, we were unable to see this scheme come to fruition, as instead we got Joe turning off the lights in the room then putting a giant knife on Steiner’s throat.
Let me repeat that – he didn’t grab him. He didn’t punch him. He didn’t attempt to muscle buster him. No no – SAMOA JOE LITERALLY PULLED A KNIFE ON SCOTT STEINER’S THROAT.
In the following weeks, we’d see more of the same – backstage, in the ring, you name it, Joe was threatening to behead Big Poppa Pump with a giant knife. Or maybe it’s a yard stick. On closer inspection it kinda resembles one. Regardless, all this threatened violence could only be resolved in one way – a pro rasslin’ match at Destination X.
You’d think with such a build this would be a completely out of control encounter, a grueling battle for the ages between two truly tough men. Instead, the match starts and goes approximately 45 seconds before Joe tosses the referee out of the ring. This would cause Joe to lose the match by disqualification, I should mind you. Joe’s nation may be violent, but it doesn’t appear to be very smart.
The following Impact, Scotty would be unable to show his face as it was apparently ‘scarred’ in the brawl following the bout. I mean, I could buy being embarrassed to show my face after that fiasco, but scarred? C’mon now. And hey wait a minute – he kinda looks like the old WCW MYSTERY MAN doesn’t he?
He sure does! And don’t forget, Scott Steiner was VERY involved with that whole mess too (which you can read about in this induction RIGHTCHERE!)
As for Joe, he would continue bitterly feuding with the Main Event Mafia for a few months…
…before turning heel for absolutely no logical reason and gifting Kurt Angle the TNA world title in the process. Yes, despite Joe attempting to end the life of these men, he simply wound up in the Main Event Mafia himself. Maybe he just really wanted a hug from Kurt Angle, who knows.
Now you may think that would be the stupidest thing that would happen to the poor guy, but instead let’s fast forward a few months, where we found poor Joseph looking up at the lights after eating a pin at the hands of Orlando Jordan. Yes, kids, Samoa Joe did a clean job to…
I…I don’t even know what to say to that. And ironically, in a backstage interview, Joe didn’t either, instead blowing off Jeremy Borash and heading straight to his car. But before he could say screw this stupid place and drive off into the night…
SAMOA JOE WAS KIDNAPPED BY NINJAS.
(Video remastered by yours truly.)
Yes, he was kidnapped by ninjas and thrown into a white van which sped off into the mean streets of Universal Studios Florida’s parking lot. One can only hope he ran into Claire Lynch on the way to her job at the Popeye ride. (You know, when I made that GIF, I accidentally sped it up. Seeing it now, I think I’ll keep it that way as it kinda accentuates just how absurd this era of his TNA run truly was. Put some yakety sax on in the background for added effect.)
Joe would of course return a few months later with no explanation ever given and then ninjas were never spoken of again. I know folks love to get the backstage dirt on dumb stuff like this, so there appear to be two stories as to what happened here. Joe has said that Russo wanted to keep him off TV and bring him back as a psycho path. Not sure how much more psychopathic you can be than putting a knife on a guy’s throat, but whatever. As a counter point, Russo has told me this wasn’t his call, but rather that Eric Bischoff wanted Joe to come back with “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka, who Bischoff wanted to bring in as he’d be talking to him. Neither of these explanations really make any sense whatsoever, which ironically makes all the sense in the world considering…