Eurogamer: What is the career path from mortgage salesman through to professional wrestler, exactly?
Samoa Joe: The career path is basically that I was tired of working in a windowless office - and I actually did get tired of interrupting everybody's dinner with my offers of financial stability, freedom and...
Eurogamer: You actually remember the pitch!
Samoa Joe: Of course! I had a great one! Basically, I'd always done something physical in my life. I'd played American Football growing up and going through high-school, I'd done judo before that - I was the California State Junior Judo Champion. Even after I was done playing football, I was playing rugby for club teams around California. I needed something to be an outlet. I was working out in the judo studio one day and someone said I should try out for the Pro Wrestling course. I tried it, and I did it, and I took to it - I had an aptitude for it. Within a year I was working in Japan on a regular gig, and then I moved back to the States and worked with companies throughout the US. Finally I was signed by TNA, and here I am.
Eurogamer: We saw some clips earlier of you guys doing the motion capture. Normally we'd ask about wearing the fetching lycra body-suits, but I guess that's not so unusual for a wrestler...
Samoa Joe: Well... Yeah.
Eurogamer: All the same, how did you feel about going in to do the motion-capture? Did you find it enjoyable, challenging?
Samoa Joe: Our reaction... Initially, there's this really big cool factor - it's like, wow, we're about to capture this in 3D! Then, about six hours into the session, your back is starting to hurt and your head's starting to rattle, and all you can think is, "when are we ever going to get this done?" It's funny though, because when we saw the end product at the end of the day, it kind of made it all worth it - because all of a sudden you see this virtual representation of yourself, that looks fantastically like yourself, doing your moves. Yeah, it was worth it.
Eurogamer: In the videos, it looked like you captured two wrestlers at once, doing their moves together.
Samoa Joe: Honestly, in order to capture moves properly, we needed two guys in there at one time. We needed a guy to give the move, we needed a guy to take the move and sell it - to give it the realism that it would have if it was an actual match. Basically, every time you see anyone taking a throw or taking a punch in the face in the videogame, just know that somewhere along the line there was some poor soul in a spandex lycra bodysuit getting punched in the face or slammed to the mat for real! We definitely wanted to make it look as real as possible.
Eurogamer: You're obviously something of a gamer yourself - are you going to be playing your own game, once it comes out?
Samoa Joe: Absolutely. I mean, how could you not? It's you! I think anybody in the world, if you had a videogame that was based on you, and you starred in it... I doubt that you'd play much else either!
Eurogamer: So people playing online could come up against you, playing you...
Samoa Joe: Oh yeah! And they will lose unmercifully! It'll be a horrible tragedy; I'll have no problem telling you about the whole massacre as it occurs.
Eurogamer: But you're not going to share your Gamertag with us, are you.
Samoa Joe: Uhhh.... You know... I would normally, if it didn't result in, like, everyone in the world instant-messaging me while I'm trying to play a game.
Samoa Joe: It actually happened! I gave out one of my Gamertags thinking, oh, you know, it's no big deal - and then you're in the middle of a Call of Duty game and you keep getting "bloop! Message from so-and-so! Bloop! Message from so-and-so! Bloop! So-and-so wants to be your friend!" It just gets real annoying after a while.
Eurogamer: And it's convenient that now we won't be able to check up on you and see whether you're actually on top of the table.
Samoa Joe: Oh, it won't be a problem. If you fight me, you'll know. Instantaneously.
TNA iMPACT! is due out worldwide for PS3, 360, PS2 and Wii on 5th September.