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Samu discusses teaming with Hulk Hogan in NJPW, winning WWF tag team titles and more (Exclusive)

Fatu and Samu with the WWF Tag Team Championship belts
Fatu and Samu with the WWF Tag Team Championship belts
Lee Walker
ANALYST
Modified 20 Sep 2020, 23:44 IST
Exclusive
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Samu is part of the legendary Anoai Family and the son of WWE Hall of Famer Afa Anoai, one half of The Wild Samoans. During his storied career, Samu worked for WWF, WCW, and ECW. 

Samu's career took off at the beginning of the 1980s when his uncle Sika was out with an injury. Samu came in to team up with his father Afa as a part of The Wild Samoans and helped defend the WWF Tag Team Championships.

In part one of our interview, Samu discussed how old he was when he started training, teaming with his father in WWF, and being just 21 when he faced Bob Backlund for the WWF Championship. You can read Part I of the interview with Samu here.

During this portion, Samu talks teaming with Hulk Hogan in NJPW, working in WCW, becoming WWF Tag Team champions, and having Captain Lou Albano as a manager, who also managed The Wild Samoans. Samu also talks about why they lost the titles at a house show versus Two Dudes with Attitudes, Shawn Micheals and Diesel, and working in ECW.

SK: How did it come about you teaming with Hulk Hogan in Japan, facing the legendary Antonio Inoki and Tatsumi Fujinami?

Samu: Lucky, the timing was right. I was able to be at the right place at the right time. Actually, I was just standing around in the hallway, watching a big battle royal going to Madison Square Garden. I'm standing there, and I didn't have no trunks or nothing, living the gimmick, and Vince goes, 'Do you want to go in there?' And I'm like, 'Oh, hell yeah.' He says, 'Well, go ahead.' I didn't want to tell him I didn't have any clothes on under this thing because I didn't want to miss that chance, and (Antonio) Inoki was in there. 

He (Antonio Inoki) ended up winning the thing, I ended up almost pulling his eye out, and I felt really bad about that. But after that match and him winning, I ended up going to Japan like very often, and I learned a lot over there. And the IWGP tournament at that time was a tag team tournament and representing from Madison Square Garden was Hulk Hogan and myself, and it was awesome.

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SK: Now, Hogan's style in America is different from what people have seen in Japan. When you wrestled with him in Japan, did he change his style to adapt to the Japanese style of wrestling?

Samu: Oh yeah! Hulk Hogan made a lot of money over in Japan. He was over there. He was really more like Thunder Lips over there. 

SK: Did you enjoy your time in WCW?

Samu: Yes, it was okay. It was a struggle to get what was deserved over there, but I mean, it was good. It was a learning experience.  

It was our first "big" contract. The only reason that that ended was because, at the end of the contract, we at least wanted a dollar more. Not a ton more, but it wasn't even close to what other guys were making. We were doing good business and having good matches against The Road Warriors. It was us and Paul E, and Road Warriors and Ellering.

It was a no brainer with our sizes, the cage matches. It was worth that dollar more I was asking.

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SK: You leave WCW with Fatu/Rikishi and sign with the WWF. What was it like being able to sign with the WWF again?

Samu: After we left there (WCW), I went to Japan. We did a lot over there. Yoko (Yokozuna) and I was supposed to be The Headshrinkers. 

Yoko had gone to Mexico and got an infection in his leg and couldn't make the debut, but Fatu and I already know each other like the back of our hand because we were in the [Samoan Swat Team] and everything. So we still knew that we had a package to offer, to put on the table, so we just asked him to give us a chance and let us show you we can do it and if we do, we'll talk business, and then we did. Went out there, everything was good.

It was a fun time. When Yoko healed up, he came in as Kokina at first, then the Japanese gimmick. So, all of us to be able to be there at the same time, one family with my dad, it was pretty awesome. 

SK: On the 26th of April, The Headshrinkers defeated The Quebecers for the (WWF) tag team belts. What was that day like for you and Fatu?

Samu: It was awesome! I mean, that was all that we were fighting for -- to fight and show we can hold the position. While we were doing that, showing we were championship material. We felt we could do that, and we told them that. So, they gave us the shot. We did good. I didn't like the fact that we were babyfaces at the time. I feel that we were more dominant and killer heels instead of rubbing elbows and kissing babies.

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SK: The Wild Samoans had Captain Lou Albano as their manager. Yourself and Fatu also had Captain Lou Albano as a manager. What was it like to have a manager like that stay within the family?

Samu: It felt more special having him be part of that. It intertwined us with history. We knew down the road today that was going to be a standout moment in our careers. I thought it was awesome to have him (Captain Lou Albano) there.

I've known Captain since I was young. It was good to make it up there and be with his stable.                       

SK: It was August when you dropped the titles to Shawn Michaels and Diesel, but it was on a non-televised event. Was there a reason it was a non-televised event? It was abrupt. WWF was advertising The Headshrinkers to face Money Inc's I.R.S and Bam Bam. 

Samu: There was a lot of things that we deserved, that we worked hard for, and when we didn't get what we were asking for, which is just what other people would get, then I would rebel a lot.

Finally, enough was enough. I didn't want to take away from the team or cost anybody work. I just wanted to back out.

SK: After, you go to ECW. Did you enjoy your time in ECW?

Samu: It was fun, I mean, it was not too much wrestling skills involved. It was more, you know, cans and canes and crutches and handcuffs, but it was right down our alley. We don't really care, you know. Paul [Heyman] was a good guy, always got along with Paul.

Published 20 Sep 2020, 23:44 IST
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