Heated Conversations with Booker T
Episode 174: Interview with Samoa Joe and Xavier Woods, Hell in the Cell talk and more
Recap by: James Hayes
Booker T and Co-host Brad Gilmore welcome you to the show. They are live from the Toyota Center! WWE stars are in town for Hell in a Cell.
First up is Xavier!
Booker: Lord Xavier The Wise.
Xavier: King Booker.
Booker: Have a seat. I know you are the Host the Creator of Up Up Down Down. Talk to me about that.
Xavier: We are at 1.6 million subscribers right now.
Brad: You just set a record, right?
Xavier: We are a Guinness World Record.
Brad: What’s the record?
Xavier: Celebrity with a YouTube Game Channel.
Booker: Talk to me about the thought process behind it.
Xavier: Video games were my safe place. If I am sad, or happy, that’s where I go. I wanted to do a travel channel for the network. At the time they were not feeling it.
Booker: Like Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.
Xavier: There was a guy in the office who wanted to make a Youtube Channel for the talent, so we kind of just merged it. Three and a half years later we are going overseas doing gaming conventions. I just spoke at NYU.
Booker: You are like a spokesman for the video gaming world now.
Xavier: I talked to parents to let them know it’s okay for their kids to play games. I play them a ton but I’m still successful, have my dream job, and friends. Make sure they are still going out and doing stuff. Video games are not the enemy.
Booker: Is it just competition based? Give me the gist of it.
Xavier: It is a wide spectrum of things. Let’s say a new video game comes out. They are called Letsplays. I play that by myself. When we have tournaments we play fighting games and kind of the other side of it. There is a Smackdown vs. Raw game from 2006 and when you play GM Mode you can control the roster. Breeze and I are doing that right now. Everybody on the roster has been on it now. Like you said everyone plays now. I remember you said not a lot of people were doing it before.
Booker: No one.
Brad: He was the trailblazer.
Booker: Back in the day when in I was in WCW, I won the World Title every guy that won got their own locker room. I said “No. I’m not doing that. I’m dressing with the boys, but what you can do is get me a 55-inch television. to take on the road and to play my Playstation.” And what they did was to set it up in the locker room. Everywhere I went I played video games. When I got to WWE, just a little story, I was sitting down and playing Madden one day and D’Lo Lo Brown showed up and wanted a round. I said, “Yeah.” He sits down then Michael Hayes walks by and asks if we are playing video games, I said, “Yeah”, he walks off and D’Lo turns white. He goes, “Man, I gotta go.”, he gets up and walks away. I wonder what just happened. There was a rule that guys could not play video games back then. Times have changed. I saw you playing the UFC game. You were pretty tough.
Xavier: I was alright. E and Jack Gallagher hold the crown. Technically our champion is Buddy Murphy off 205. Everyone plays. My argument is if we can’t have video games, then we can’t have books or cards. That’s not being on your job. Or cell phones. That’s a distraction. We got two controllers. Guys are all around. We are bonding.
Booker: Especially on those long overseas tours.
Xavier: Yeah man.
Booker: You need something to do. I use to entertain the boys back in the day with my commentary, you heard about that?
Booker: Talk to me about The New Day. So many people thought, including myself, this is not gonna work.
Brad: Because we didn’t really know where it was going at first.
Booker: No one knew.
Brad: You had the glasses. Then the Malcolm-X thing.
Booker: The Gospel Choir.
Brad: I like how you said that!
Booker: Gospel Choir.
Xavier: At the time… The way that it started initially is I had been getting destroyed by Rusev in NXT, right? I get called up and so does Rusev. The same thing happened.
Booker: Because Rusev went through a lot of brothas.
Xavier: They even brought Kofi to NXT to lose to him.
Brad: They ran out of brothas.
Xavier: Bring someone from the main roster!
Xavier: I debuted the way I did in TNA I came out as Truth’s friend. So if he gets a new job I’m like, “You got me Truth.”.
Booker: He’s doing a lot of rapping now.
Brad: You could be Flava Flav.
Xavier: Yeah. I need a huge clock.
Xavier: Anyway, we had a handicap match with Rusev and he knocked me out, and just wrestled Truth. I was like…
Xavier: I knew I needed to do something. I was mentally gone. I’d rather throw my own punches and get knocked out. That’s the measure of a man. I talked to E. I knew we needed a third. It would not work as a tag-team. He said maybe talk to Kofi. I was like “Kofi was doing his thing.” He said, “Let’s try.” We weren’t super close to him. I asked and he said, “Yeah, I’d love to do something different.” He had been doing well, but…
Booker: Kofi needed something new.
Brad: He’d been doing the same thing ever since he came in.
Xavier: We went to Vince and said we feel there is an archetype of black wrestlers. You are either the foreign black wrestler, the big strong black wrestler, or the dancing black wrestler. We want to do something different. He said ok. We cut promos and pre-tapes for months and kept going back to Vince. He let us start working on house shows together to get our chemistry down. Then one day he sits us in his office and he’s like, ‘I got it. You’ll have a gospel choir behind you and you’ll come out clapping making people feel good. We were like, “Remember when we talked about archetypes?”
Booker: We just talked about this.
Xavier: He was like, “I think this can really work.” I told him I think people will boo that. They don’t like white meat… dark meat babyfaces.
Laughter all around.
Xavier: He gave us some theme music and it was like 1920’s gospel. He asks what we have in mind. We gave him Kirk Franklin’s “Stomp!” We told him this is the vibe we want. He loved it. We got our music. We debuted on Black Friday.
Xavier: They saw the vignettes and it was different. So people were trying to figure it out. We debuted and 90% of people were like, “No. We hate this.” But to a credit of what was going on at the time, they were not silent.
Booker: Yeah. Silence is bad, You got a response.
Xavier: Yeah, We expected that. And every time we came out the boos got louder. We just had to convince him to let us turn. It went like that for a few months. Then we started the “New Day Rocks” stuff, and they changed it to, “New Day Sucks”. At the time we were working Cessaro and Tyson, and so we were overseas and that’s when it blew up! In mid-match, we just switched up. We told Vince and he said, “I don’t think they will ever boo Kofi.” So, I told him that if he gave me a mic I could get him booed. Vince says, “And if you’re wrong?” I told him then that I should not be here and you got 70 other guys that can replace me, He says” You believe in it that much?’ I said, “one hundred percent.” Three weeks later they booed Kofi. He gave me the nod.
Booker: You know that’s how you have to do it sometimes. People told me not to do the spinerooni, or touch people on the way out, don’t look into the camera. Don’t do the things that got me to the dance. I ask for a meeting with Vince and told him I got people telling me different things, I know I’m gonna get fired their way. I’d rather go out my way, If I don’t put butts in seats just fire me. He said, “Do your stuff.” Since then it’s been caviar dreams and champagne wishes.
Xavier: People ask me for a Vince McMahon horror story. I have none. He’s a grown man.
Booker: He is a businessman.
Booker. On my first day, Vince gave me his personal cell phone. I never used it. I told him if I need to talk to him I’ll call him at the office.
Booker: We got Lord Xavier “The Wise” here. Thanks for coming on.
New Day debuts!
Samoa Joe stops by to chat about his career, and how his life has changed since his TNA days.
Booker: Everything is big in Texas. We got a special guest on the line. No. He’s right in front of me. What’s up, Joe?
Samoa: We just touched down and now we are ready for Hell in a Cell.
Booker: Tell me have you gotten any water burgers yet?
Samoa: No. I save that until after. Keep me awake until San Antonio.
Booker: Last time I was across from you was at a pay per view. It was about 10 years ago.
Brad: The main event. Ten years ago.
Booker: Time goes by fast.
Samoa: Too fast.
Booker: It doesn’t feel like that, but it must be, since my kid is eight.
Samoa: It’s hard for me to think of those matches they were so long ago. We still look so young.
Joe laughs at his own joke.
Brad: Because you guys have aged so gracefully.
Booker: We went out and rocked it that night. A lot of people don’t remember. It’s not a top 5 match. It was one of my best. I went out and got choked out. Winning is one thing, but I like to lose even better. I always like to win, but I like losing even better. My loses are better than my wins. The matches had to be dynamic. So, Joseph let’s talk about it. You come a long way since TNA. Every kid’s dream is to headline WrestleMania. What has this ride been like?
Samoa: I’d be happy with the career I have. When I got here it was like the cherry on top. I am wise enough now to handle it. I’m enjoying my time here.
Samoa: It’s a grind. You will spend 70 to 80% of your life on the road. When you’re out so much You try to make your road life more like being home.
Booker: I remember watching “The Resurrection of Jake The Snake”, he said when you sign the contact you have to wrestle every day. You got to do the work, but now I enjoy the fruits of my labor. One of my best feuds was with Kurt. You are now in a blood feud with A.J., someone who you love. You broke bread with him.
Samoa: We have definitely been a support system for each other. But he is also very competitive. He wants to be the best every night. We have a good understanding of each other. Doing this now just feels natural.
Brad: You feel more comfortable making it personal in this feud because you know him so well?
Booker: When you are best friends it makes it a better match.
Samoa: Definitely. It’s the strangest thing.
Booker: After it’s all over what is the ultimate goal for Samoa Joe as far as the wrestling business? For me, it was getting in The Hall of Fame.
Samoa: Pretty close to yours. The Hall of Fame that is a tremendous thing. You know what gets me is that people still speak of Jimmy Snuka coming off the cage? People still look at it with fondness. If 20 years later people are still bringing up my matches… that’s the goal.
Booker: That’s the beauty of it. The word Samoa Joe has rang out for years and you deserve to be here. I heard about you way before I ever met you.
Samoa: You have always been helpful to me. Not everyone is your position was.
Samoa Joe vs. A.J. in TNA
Joe vs Booker in TNA
Before the Final Bell:
For more of the Samoa Joe interview as well as an interesting interview with Devon Dudley discussing his induction into The Hall of Fame as well as working behind the scenes at WWE.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
This was another short and sweet episode boasting an interview with two of Smackdown Live’s top stars. Good stuff!