Samu Shoot Interview

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RF Video sat down with a member of the biggest Samoan wrestling family in the sport today. He is a true journey man who has worked all of the major territories from Florida, Memphis, Texas, WWF, NWA, WCW, Mexico and New Japan. He was one half of the Samoan Swat Team, Samoan Gangsta Party and one half of the Headshrinkers, SAMU!

Samu has been around the business all of his life just like the rest of his bloodline.  Could you imagine what it was like growing up with one half of the Wild Samoans being your father.  You will hear all of the road stories as a child and he talks about breaking into the business at a young age.  You will hear how Andre the Giant took him under his wing and how he got to work his first WWF show at the garden as a surprise.  This story is amazing as Afa told him he had to stay home but find out how he made it into NYC on his own and what Vince said to him at the curtain before he hit the ring.  

Samu was around all of the big names from the 80’s and 90’s including when the WWF started their expansion in 1983 with the Hulkster. You will hear tons of locker room stories with his family and so many other major names like Roddy Piper, Rocky Johnson, Jimmy Snuka, Bob Backlund, Tito Santana amongst others.

Samu learned his craft by going on the road as he worked in Pensacola, Texas, Memphis, New Japan, Montreal, and all over the states.  You will hear how he got his first big break working in Dallas when Gary Hart was the booker.  Want some great Von Erich Stories well you got it.  What was it like tagging with his Uncle when he father was injured, how crazy was Captain Lou Albano?  What was it like working in Texas with Michael Hayes and Buddy Jack Roberts.  How did the SST come together and get over so quick.  

We talk about their entire NWA and WCW run and their bigger matches with Roadwarriors Hawk and Animal. Were there any issues working with them since they hardly sold for anyone.  What it was like being in the ring with the Steiners. Why did they leave WCW after a brief run?  Of course you know we talk about Paul Heyman a lot since he was around them dating back to the garden when they were both kids.

Hear how he ended up in the WWE with Fatu and who he replaced to be the other half of the Headshrinkers!  We cover all of their major programs including matches with Owen Hart and so many more names.  We talk all about ribs, favorite matches, ECW, life on the indy scene, running his own promotion, the bloodline and so much more.

Runtime: 1 hour, 38 minutes.

We knew you were a pro wrestling fan growing up, so let’s start with this - what are your first memories of professional wrestling?

When you did you first realize your father and Uncle had a completely different line of work vs. other families?

What was it like growing up in a pro wrestling family?

How early did they explain the business to you - or did they kayfabe you initially?

How did people react when they learned what your family did for a living?

Did you have to fight to defend the business as a kid?

Other than your family, did you have any other favorite pro wrestlers as a kid?

What were your favorite places to live as your family traveled?

What are your favorite memories of The Wild Samoans before you got into the business?

Any memories of Lou Albano as a kid?

You entered the business pretty young - when did you decide you wanted to get into pro wrestling?

What was your family’s reaction?

What was the training like?  

Do you feel your family was harder on you than they would have been to someone outside the family getting into the business?

What was the easiest and hardest part of learning the business for you?

It's been said you debuted in both 1981 and 1982, so let's clear the air - when did you actually debut in the ring?

Memories of your first match?

What feedback did you get from Sika and Afa after the match?

Memories of working World Class early in your career as The Wild Samoan?

Memories of working the Sportatorium?

First impressions of the Von Erich family?

Coming from a wrestling family yourself, did the Von Erichs seem similar to your family in how they lived and approached the business?

Were there any veterans there who went out of their way to help you as you learned?

Memories of:
Gary Hart
Frank Dusek
Greak Kabuki
Bill Irwin
Tim Brooks
The Spoiler
A young King Kong Bundy

You go to the WWWF as the third Wild Samoan, Samula.  What was your reaction to being brought to the territory so young?

How intimidating was it at the time?

Initial thoughts on Vince McMahon Sr.?

Did you have any dealings with Vince Jr at the time?

Gorilla Monsoon?

How were Afa and Sika as tag team partners and mentors when you were in the ring tagging with them?

What was the key to making the Wild Samoans gimmick work at the time?

Any strange interactions with fans while in character at the time?

Memories of the first time you wrestled in Madison Square Garden?

You challenged Bob Backlund for the WWWF titles several times in 1983 - what's the pressure like to be in thos ematches, even as a challenger, that young?

Why do you think the company put that level of faith in you so early?

Memories of wrestling Dusty Rhodes in MSG?

What made Ag Hall such a great place for WWF TV tapings?

How did Hamburg, PA compare to Allentown?

Any memories of the Nancy Argentina-Jimmy Snuka incident and how WWF and the lockr room reacted?

Memories of the following, in the ring or in the locker room:

Andre the Giant
SD Jones
Don Muraco
Jimmy Snuka
Big John Studd
Chief Jay and Jules Strongbow
Eddie Gilbert
Tony Garea
Johnny Rodz
Swede Hansen
Victor Rivera
Sal Bellomo
Pat Patteron
Rocky Johnson
Tonga Kid
Tito Santana
Ivan Koloff
Ivan Putski
Butcher Vachon
George Steele
Sgt. Slaughter
Tony Atlas

First memories of Hulk Hogan coming into the territory?

In 1984, you toured New Japan for the first time as The Wild Samoan.  How did the tour get set up?

How different was the Japanese style vs. WWF and the States at that point?

What type of learning experience was it for you at the time?

Memories of wrestling against Antonio Inoki?

Memories of teaming with Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch on that tour?

In 1984, WWF starts to stock the roster for the nationali expansion.  What was your first thoughts on Vince expanding at the time?

What did your family think of him going after the other territories?

Memories of challenging Tito Santana for the WWF Intercontinental title?

Bobo Brazil came into the territory - memories of working with such a legend at that stage of his career?

Roddy Piper
Ken Patera
Nikolai Volkoff
Iron Sheik
David Schultz
Brutus Beefcake
B Brian Blair
Steve Lombardi
Terry Daniels

What leads to you exiting WWF in the mid-80s?

Memories of teaming with Hulk Hogan in New Japan in the MSG Tag League in 1984

Memories of working for Polynesian Pro Wrestling?

Memories of Lia Maivia?

A young Dwayne Johnson?

In Young Rock, they present Polynesian Pro as a massive hub for the business - what’s your memory of the promotion when you spent time there?

How did you end up in Montreal working for International Wrestling?

Samula gets dropped for Samu when you started working there, why the name change?

What was the Montreal territory loop like at that time?

Memories of the following in the territory:

Jos LeDuc
The Rougeaus
Dino Bravo
Rick Martel
Nick Bockwinkel

Memories of teaming with Andre the Giant in Japan?

Memories of teaming with Kerry Von Erich?

Memories of wrestling Akira Maeda?

He had such a tough guy reputation - do you think it was legit?

Speaking of tough guy reps, what is it about the Samoan lineage that breeds so many dangerous legitimate fighters?

Everyone talks about Haku being the toughest guy in the locker room, but what would have happened if he crossed paths with someone from the Anaoa’i family in a legit fight?

Had you and Fatu been part of the Brawl 4 All when WWF held it, how well do you think you each would have done?

What was the worst locker room fight you ever saw?

Any crazy bar fight stories while out in the bars?

What’s the best way to protect yourself from an attacking fan?

How about in a bar fight?

Memories of working Florida as The Tahitian Prince?

Who was running the territory at the time?

Memories of the following there:

Mike Graham
Scott Hall
Brady Boone
Ron Simmons
Stan Lane
Shaska Whatley Jr.
Barry and Kendall Windham
Ed the Bull Gantler
Jimmy Garvin
Steve Keirn
Teijo Khan
Dr. Death Steve Williams.

Memories of teaming with Kevin Sullivan

Wrestling The Road Warriors in Tampa for the first time

How were Hawk and Animal to deal with at the time

Memories of teaming with a young Yokozuna (Great Kokina)  in Memphis?

How do you compare the atmosphere of the Mid-South Coliseum to MSG or The Sportatorium?

What led to you moving on to World Class Championship Wrestling?

Who came up with the idea of teaming you and Fatu together?

Where did the Samoan SWAT Team name come from?

How has the promotion changed since the last time you were there?

Memories of being managed by Buddy Roberts?  Any good Buddy stories?

You beat Kerry and Kevin Von Erich for the WCCW Tag Team titles - what did it mean to beat The Von Erichs inside the Sportatorium?

How has the Von Erichs changed since you were last there?

Thoughts on why the family endured so many tragedies?

You feuded with Michael Hayes and Steve Cox - memories of that run?

Memories of working the AWA Superclash 3 PPV?

Did you get paid - there were lots of stories about talents getting stiffed on that show?

Memories of competing inside the Triple Cage Tower of Doom?   

First thoughts of working in such a weird structure?   

How do you protect yourself and others in such a cage?

Memories of
Eric Embry
Matt Borne
Jimmy Jack Funk
Iceman Parsons
Terry Gordy
Mick Foley as Cactus Jack
Brickhouse Brown
Gary Young
Muta working as Super Black Ninja
Chris Adams
Jeff Jarrett

Who opened the door for the Samoan Swat team to jump to WCW?

Who was booking the company at the time?

1989 is remembered as a glory period for WCW, but what was it like behind the scenes?  

Who made the call to put you with Paul Heyman?

Obviously he knew your family for a long time from his photography days - what are your early memories of Paul?

What did you think of him as a manager?

Memories of being in the locker room for all those amazing Flair vs. Steamboat matches?

Working with The Midnight Express - memories of Bobby and Stan and Cornette?

Memories of wrestling The Dynamic Dudes at Wrestlewar 89

Memories of the night on NWA TV when you handcuffed Hawk to the steel cage and beat the Road Warriors down?

Given the Warriors never ever sold for heels like that, why do you think they were willing to do this to get you over?

Was it hard to get them to agree to the angle?

What sorts of reaction did they have after?

How were Hawk and Animal to work with?

Memories of Tonga Kid coming in as The Samoan Savage?

How come Yokozuna didn't come in to WCW or World Class?

Memories of
Lex Luger
Rick Steiner
Eddie Gilbert
Butch Reed
Ranger Ross
Mike Rotunda
The Rock N’ Roll Express

Why did you finish up with WCW?

You went back to New Japan in 1990 with Kokina/Yoko.  How come Fatu didn't come to do that tour?

Memories of working with the following:

Shinya Hashimoto
Masa Chono
Riki Choshu
Hiroshi Hase
Scott Norton
Kensuke Sasaki

Memories of teaming with Vader in Japan?

Favorite memories in Japan socially while out on the town with the boys?

You, Yoko and Fatu work for the UWA in Mexico - how does that come about?

Did you change your style up for Mexico?  

Memories of working with The Villanos in Mexico?

How were the fans there vs Japan and the States?

Who sets the stage for the WWF return?

Thoughts on the Headshrinkers gimmick when it was presented to you?

How had Vince changed from the last time you worked for him?

Memories of working with Owen Hart and Koko B. Ware?

The Natural Disasters?

Smoking Gunns?

Men on A Mission?

The Quebecers?

How did WWF change once they started doing Raw live?

Memories of the early Manhattan Center tapings?

One of the things that got the Head Shrinkers over so well were squash matches where it looked like you were murdering the enhancement guys?  How important was looking so rough to getting over yourself and Fatu?  Was there ever worry about going too far and actually hurting someone?

Memories of the early WWF tours of the UK?

Memories of making your Wrestlemania debut at Mania IX in Las Vegas in 1993 vs. The Steiners?

Why do you think you guys clicked so well with Rick and Scott?

Any idea why the Wild Samoans never worked those early Wrestlemanias?

Memories of
The Undertaker
The Bushwhackers
Shawn Michaels
Bret Hart
Nasty Boys
Ted DiBiase
Papa Shango
Lex Luger in WWF
Ric Flair in WWF
Curt Hennig
Barry Darsow
Jim Powers
1-2-3 Kid

Memories of your first Survivor Series -  Men On A Mission (Mabel & Mo) & The Bushwhackers (Butch & Luke) defeat Bam Bam Bigelow, Bastion Booger & The Headshrinkers (Fatu & Samu)

How disappointing was it to have your 10 Man tag pulled from Wrestlemania X the day of the show?

Did you still get the payday?

Memories of winning the tag belts from the Quebecers?

Did you pay go up with the belts?

Were you disappointed the run with the titles was only four months?

Why do you think they went with Diesel and Shawn Michaels?

What led to you exiting WWF?

How did you feel about them continuing the Headshrinkers gimmick with Fatu and Sionne (Barbarian)

How did you land in ECW as part of the Samoan Gangsta Party?

What did you make of the ECW audience?

How had Paul Heyman changed since he was managing you?

What did you think of him as a booker?

Memories of wrestling The Dudleys in Ag Hall?

Memories on The Gangstas?

Thoughts on New Jack?

The Bruise Brothers?

The Eliminators?

Why was the ECW run just the summer of 1996?

In the Post WWE and ECW days, you worked a lot of independents, including your own promotion.  What makes a good indy show in your mind?

You promote WXW C4 in PA - how has promoting independent wrestling changed over the years?

How hard has it been to keep attention on the promotion locally as new national companies emerge?

What’s the key to building a relationship with a city the way your family has in Allentown, PA over the years?

What are the mistakes promoters make the most on that level?

You've had the chance to train a lot of talents who have come through the Wild Samoan Training Center in Allentown - who are the students you knew would make it immediately when they started training and which ones surprised you?

How different do you approach training talents compared to how your father and uncle trained you?

What’s the key to training talents the right way?

Memories of going back to Japan in 2018 for Muta to work Liger and Fujinami in the six man tag?  Jushin Thunder Liger, Takuma Sano & Tatsumi Fujinami defeat Black Tiger, Hisakatsu Oya & Wild Samoan

Let’s talk about your health - how are you feeling these days after the liver transplant?

Obviously, you have dealt with injuries over the years.  How do you compare the recovery from the transplant to recovering from injuries?

Thoughts on Court Bauer's MLW?  I know he goes back a long way with the Anao'i family.

How has Bauer changed and grown since the early days?  Why do you think your family welcomed him into the fold?

Your last match, as of today, was teaming with Lance against the NOW for New Jersey's ISPW.  If that was the final time for Samu in the ring, how do you feel about that closing the chapter?

Thoughts on your son Lance utilizing The Samoan SWAT Team name?

Thoughts on his run with MLW so far?

Thoughts on the run Fatu had as Rikishi?

How would you like fans to remember Yokozuna?


Rosey aka Matt Anoai?

Thoughts on the entire Roman Reigns/Bloodline storyline and their run in WWE?

Thoughts on the Usos as performers?

Do you enjoy seeing Paul Heyman working with this latest generation of the Anao’i family?

Why do you think Afa Jr. hasn't been given another shot in WWE?

Would you want to get involved in it in?

Would you ever want to write a book about your time in the business?

You recently signed a WWE Legends contract.  What was your reaction when they offered you the deal?

Thoughts on seeing your Dad and Uncle Afa featured on Young Rock?

What do you think of the show?

Thoughts on a future WWE Hall of Fame induction for Samu?

Who would you like to induct you?

Favorite cities to compete in?

Favorite country you had a chance to tour in?

What was your worst travel day in pro wrestling?

Favorite ribs on the road?

Final words for everyone who has supported your career?