Current MLW star Josef Samael has been thrilling and shocking audiences worldwide for the better part Whether it be as the Almighty Sheik, NASDAQ, or in his current incarnation as the head of CONTRA Unit, Samael has become one of the most respected names in the business today.
However, despite a loaded resume and the overwhelming respect of his peers, Samael only signed his first contract in professional wrestling a little over two years ago.
Samael recently joined me to discuss his role in Major League Wrestling, as well as signing his first-ever contract in professional wrestling with the promotion.
His role as a veteran in Major League Wrestling:
SL: “You sort of answered the question for me, but I was gonna ask you: how vital is it to have someone like yourself in a Major League Wrestling where you’re one of the deepest rosters in pro wrestling, period, but perhaps there are some individuals there who haven’t been in the ring or haven’t had the experience that someone like yourself has had in professional wrestling? Do you see that as a bit of your role as one of the veterans of the promotion?”
JS: “Absolutely. Everything I’ve learned in professional wrestling, somebody’s taught me, Indirectly directly, whatever. So, you know, it’s my duty to do the same, whether they’re receptive or not. MLW has a very respectful locker room, the younger guys really, really respect the old guard. And, unfortunately, I’ve found myself as one of the old guard today, it’s weird, it happened in a blink of an eye, but I do like to take my knowledge and give it to these younger guys because I sit on – I see things from a completely different vantage point, and a lot of times what I say to a younger guy doesn’t apply, and a lot of times it does. Sometimes, I can just tweak them a certain way. ‘Hey, move right instead of left. Hey, when you do that, keep doing that, but do it this way.’ You know, ‘pull back on that, push forward on that.’ Just these little things that – a lot of wisdom in professional wrestling isn’t always-or-never. It’s situational. It depends on the person.”
“So yeah, the younger guys are very receptive to me, and I have found myself in that role quite often, agenting matches. That’s one of my favorite things to do with MLW, and I’ve been very successful with my finishes. I fancy myself a ‘finish’ guy. I am really good at connecting the dots and making sense of this thing. And I think that’s very important, is to not only make sense of it, but to have it be digestible to an audience. To do something, sometimes people do things just to let everybody know they’re smart, and that’s not always the route you should take in pro wrestling. Sometimes it should be spoon-fed to an eight-year-old. Sometimes things should be obvious. Other times things should not be obvious. Sometimes when they think you’re going right, you should go left. Sometimes you should give them what you want. Sometimes you should take it away. It’s really, really important to understand the psychology of professional wrestling and to apply it in the right places. We’re not always right, and we’re not always wrong, but we definitely try to have the best batting average as possible if that makes any sense.”
Signing his first-ever wrestling contracts with Major League Wrestling:
SL: “We mentioned right off the hop on this interview that you’re a very well-traveled guy. You’ve wrestled for a number of different promotions, but I believe I’m correct in saying that this is your first professional wrestling contract, or, I guess contracts now by this point. What is it about the promotion that inspired you to make the jump and make a formal commitment to them?”
JS: “Well, first of all, yes, it is. It is my first professional wrestling contract, and that’s completely by design. It’s not that I was never offered or it’s not anything like that. I just always kind of travelled that Bruiser Brody route. He was somebody that was a great inspiration to me and I just felt like I felt like the business was an outlaw business, and when I broke in there was still crazies in it and it was like a place where crazies could go to work. That’s kind of what I like to do. I’d like to travel. I like to globetrot. I like to do stuff. As I started to get older, I was always concerned with keeping one foot in front of the other having something to look forward to it. You know, as far as work goes, I don’t have a retirement. I don’t – entertainment and professional wrestling is my life. It is my livelihood. If you’re a smart performer, you’re always trying to figure out how to have something else in the future. This way you never run out of work as long as you can. So I’ve always been somebody that learned every part of the business. I’ve always been in the back office booking and I’ve always been creating digital art and T-shirt designs. Everything. I’ve done every aspect of professional wrestling from top to bottom, besides editing. That’s the only thing I’ve never done which I’ll hopefully learn one day. But, as I grow older and I started to think as offers came in, I was kind of scared to do that because it felt very final to me, like somebody would own me or somebody. MLW was just the right fit for me. The people that are within the business are people that I respect. I know that they respect the professional wrestling that I like to present and I’m not saying that ours is better than anybody else’s but MLW’s product reminds me of World Class. It reminds me of the Florida Championship Wrestling of Eddie Graham, the Dory Funk Sr’s, it reminds me of All Japan, it reminds me of the professional wrestling business that I grew up to love. I certainly wouldn’t sign on with any company that I didn’t respect, and there’s plenty that I don’t but without naming any names, but when I definitely wanted to be with a group that I felt part of the family. I felt at home and MLW is certainly that for me.”
JS: “So yeah, it was a bit nerve-wracking, but I had friends in there so I felt like I went you know what I didn’t feel out of sorts. I knew after speaking to them that I was wanted for more than just my in-ring, and that’s something that’s very attractive to me because I do have a lot of knowledge. I have a lot of knowledge from just my experience on the road, and from – I’m not trying to name drop, but I talked to Terry Funk often. I talk to Kevin Sullivan almost daily. I talk to Jake Roberts whenever I can. I talk to these guys that are, to me, the Einsteins of the business and I do have that knowledge to give these young guys, and not only do I have it, but I love to give it. It’s a passion of mine to be surrounded in the art and the history and the mechanics of professional wrestling. So MLW is just a great fit, I know it’s a long answer, but it’s just a great fit for me and, and a place that I feel at home, and I honestly don’t feel like -unless something absolutely crazy happened and they didn’t want me anymore – I feel like I’ll have a long history with MLW and most likely close out my career there.”
Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any transcriptions used.