WWE's No. 1 contender for Universal Championship - Samoa Joe - heads to Beaumont for SummerSlam Heatwave Tour at Ford Arena

Samoa Joe

Samoa Joe is a mere month away before facing the biggest test of his storied career plus he get’s his first chance at WWE gold as the No. 1 contender collides with Universal Champion Brock Lesnar on July 9 at “Great Balls of Fire” pay-per-view, which can be seen on the WWE Network.

But before that can happen, Samoa Joe and many Raw superstars will be in Beaumont at Ford Arena this Sunday, June 11 for WWE SummerSlam Heatwave Tour at 5 p.m.

Subject to change, the card includes Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins, plus “The Big Dawg” Roman Reigns vs. Bray Waytt, the new Intercontinental champion The Miz defends the title against Dean Ambrose, as well as the WWE tag team titles on the line with newly crowned champions Sheamus & Cesaro take on The Hardy Boyz, Enzo & Big Cass and The Club.

Also scheduled is a 6-woman tag team match with Raw women’s champion Alexa Bliss alongside Emma & Nia Jax facing off against Sasha Banks, Mickie James & Dana Brooke plus much more.

Tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com and the Ford Park box office starting at $25.

I spoke with Samoa Joe over the phone about becoming the No. 1 contender, his thoughts on Lesnar and more.

You earned the No. 1 contender spot at “Extreme Rules” in a Fatal 5 Way against Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Finn Bálorand Bray Wyatt. Was there a “game plan” for that type of match?

Absolutely. A lot of people will tell you ‘it’s chaotic, it’s too crazy,’ and you can never plan for those types of things, but you can get a basic framework and guideline for what needs to be done. I am in there with four other superstars who are probably the best in the world. Anytime you have that many forces clashing, it’s all about abiding your time and taking your opportunity and that’s exactly what I did. I let these guys expend their energy on each other. I took my shots when they were necessary and in the end, I found my opportunity. Finn Bálor was unaware, so I grabbed him and choked him out. Now I am the No. 1 contender.

Many of Brock Lesnar’s opponents have given a message to him through his advocate Paul Heyman, but you also chose to put Heyman to sleep with the Coquina Clutch. Was there a reason for that?

It was the right message because Brock Lesnar didn’t show up to Raw. I’m the No. 1 contender for the Universal championship, where is Brock Lesnar? He’s at home on the couch. He is not taking this thing seriously. So now he is taking it very seriously. I respect Paul Heyman. Like I said, I would love for Paul Heyman to be my advocate. The fact of the matter is he was the only link, my only courier to take my message to Brock Lesnar for me. So I had to deliver a message that Brock could understand. Brock’s not a man of many words, he’s a man of action so I sent a message of action. And now, next Monday on Raw, hopefully if he is not a chump, is going to come and reply.

Do you take it personal that the WWE Universal champion is not on Raw every week?

Yes, I do. I absolutely take it personal. How can you not be there when you got people like me out there lurking? People like me are waiting to take your belt. You want to say you run the shop. You want to say you are king of the Raw brand. Well, the king has to be in the kingdom because I have been running through the countryside taking out everybody and I’ve heard nothing from him.

You posted an interesting quote by warrior and philosopher Sun Tzu of The Art of War that read “If your opponent is of choleric temper, irritate him.” Do you model yourself after the ruthless warrior?

I model myself after every great general. What I do is go into battle, so why wouldn’t I study the greatest warriors in history? That goes to prove the opponent of choleric temper irritated. Brock Lesnar shouldn’t be laying back, but he’s used to that. That’s a part of his strategy. That’s how he communicates to his opponents that he doesn’t sweat anybody because he doesn’t show up. So, I gave him a reason too.

There is a month before you battle Brock Lesnar. How will you use this time to prepare for that match?

As far as my preparation, I know what my camp is capable of and the guys working with me getting me ready for Brock Lesnar. The real question is — what is Brock Lesnar doing? Is he resting on his laurels? Is he thinking no one can touch him in the WWE Universe? He has that arrogance about him and I don’t blame him. His is the former UFC champion and multiple time WWE champion. He is a man who should be feared, by a mortal man. But for every man that is at the top of the mountain just know there is somebody out there who is working harder that you are right now, who wants what you have more than what you want to keep it. And I’m that man.

Before the next Raw, you’re here in Beaumont to face Seth Rollins. You guys have a history.

I blew out Seth Rollins’ knee, now I’m going to choke him unconscious again like I did on Monday Night Raw. It’s real simple with Seth Rollins. Everyone likes to point out he handed me my first loss on the main roster, but that was sucker win. If you go back and watch, he didn’t beat me – he escaped me. And last Monday on Raw, he did not survive me. Nobody doubts he is a fantastic athlete, but he is not a good enough athlete to whip my ass any day of the week and he sure as hell won’t in Beaumont, Texas.

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