When Kevin Owens put John Cena in his place on RAW and reminded him that he’s been wrestling for just as long, some of us smiled and others gasped, but another NXT star has an even bigger home truth for the PG hero. Samoa Joe recently spoke with WWE.com and revealed that he was ahead of the 15 time Champion in the same training school at UPW.
I had the chance to work with John quite a bit in UPW and even beyond that. When John was just getting started, we hung out a lot. Being a trainer at the school, I taught the beginner course. John was the type of guy, who even though he was past the basics, he would come to the beginner class in the morning. I would see him at the advanced class at night, where I would go to train and improve.
Later on, along with Brett Wagner, we got a radio show, “Wrestling 101,” which was syndicated across the country. It was a weekend afternoon pro wrestling radio show. John, for extra money, would come in and be the call screener or a guest, or just sit in on the show. That was in addition to traveling to wrestling shows. There were many long road trips from Southern California to Northern California where John and I sat in the car together. Even back then, he was freestyling in the car, trying to battle rap. That was what we did to keep awake on the road.
Of course that’s not to say there’s any real animosity between Cena and the “indy darlings” but it’s refreshing to see WWE finally acknowledge the self made wrestling stars that they snubbed for so many years (even if it is just to create a corporate indy fed).
As much as developmental has hand-crafted new stars from the ground up, working the independents and travelling the world is absolutely still part of the puzzle.
I’ve had a great career up to this point. I’d pretty much wrestled everywhere in the world. The one place that eluded me was WWE. I had put out feelers to a few friends and confidants in WWE. They did some probing on my behalf. Slowly, but surely, a small glimmer of hope opened up. Talks progressed and the opportunity presented itself … I’m over the moon. It’s something I never really thought I would have the opportunity to do. To be here now, it’s an unreal feeling.
Check out this old training video of John Cena, Samoa Joe and Frankie Kazarian:
Speaking of Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins discussed his arrival with Digital Spy this week:
I was very thrilled for Joe. He’s a guy who was an idol of mine growing up, someone I watched when I was in my formative teenage years. He’s someone whose style I emulated when I first started. There’s definitely pieces of Samoa Joe in the Seth Rollins repertoire so it’s cool he’s part of the company now – something you thought you’d never see Like I say, it creates a lot of super-interesting match-ups, so it’s a great time to be a professional wrestling fan, a great time to be a WWE fan for sure.