Samoa Joe recently spoke with ESPN to promote tonight's WWE Backlash 2018 pay-per-view at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Featured below are some of the highlights from the interview.
On facing off against A.J. Styles: "I think at this point it's beyond potential, and it's something that's gonna happen. People talk about the Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn relationship and how they'll be fighting forever, but in reality when it comes to me and AJ Styles, I defy anybody to find two guys who have been battling against each other longer than us. ... AJ, his moniker speaks for itself. He's a phenomenal athlete, he's been a fantastic champion and a superstar for WWE. A lot of the wider WWE universe hasn't been able to experience what Samoa Joe-AJ Styles is, and if there's one thing that we've always known about each other it's that whenever we get in the ring, things get a little bit more intense. There's just a little bit extra 'oomph' with everything that happens. That rivalry was started over a decade ago, and rest assured it will continue in WWE."
On great rivalries and the best wrestlers staying around over time: "I think that's another hallmark of what that great rival is. No matter where you go and as you succeed in your career, you're going to look across that locker room and you're going to see them sitting right there next to you. It starts out [with being] natural rivals and then it builds into something greater than that. I think that is the best way to describe the process of finding that grand rival, is that it happens naturally. Its almost Darwinistic in nature. All the bad opponents, you'll see them start to drop off shows. As you continue to ascend in your career, then what's left -- the cream of the crop, and the guys that you know are worthy opponents."
On expectations he had before joining WWE: "My expectations of the WWE before I entered the company [compared to] now, I think those expectations and those preconceptions are vastly different. For the majority of my career I worked everywhere but the WWE. You come into contact with people who had worked there formerly and people that work there currently, and you kind of base your ideas on what it's like there off of their experiences -- what they share with you. At the same time, I've always been a firm believer in [that]... I judge and I deal with people, companies, based on our business -- and honestly the WWE has been extremely professional in all my dealings with me, astonishingly so."
Check out the complete Samoa Joe interview at ESPN.com.