wrestling / News

Josef Samael on Dealing With Time Off During the Pandemic, Court Bauer’s Stance on MLW Not Holding Shows Without Fans

July 4, 2020 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Josef Samael

In a recent exclusive interview with the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast, MLW wrestler and CONTRA Unit member Josef Samael discussed his career, how he’s dealing with time off during the pandemic, his thoughts on MLW CEO opting not to hold shows without live fans, and more. Below are some highlights and some audio from the interview:

Josef Samael on dealing with not being able to work during the pandemic: “Well, it’s a real crazy time. I mean, none of us have ever seen anything like this, so it’s unprecedented. So, we’re just all day-by-day listening to the news and seeing kind of what’s what with all the information we’re allotted, but at times like this, even though you want to be out there working and doing things that are in your normal comfort zone, there’s a bigger picture here. So, you know, I haven’t really been thinking about being in the ring or anything like that. I’ve just been at home, staying safe. My wife’s a flight attendant, so we’re real concerned with her being at home, staying safe. We have older people in our family, much like everybody else does, so it’s just a time where we’re kind of sitting back and kind of seeing what happens next.”

Josef Samael how he’s feeling physically right now: “As far as wrestling, my body feels fantastic. I don’t remember feeling this good — the only time I’ve ever had this much time off in the past 22 years in the wrestling business has been when I was injured on two separate occasions. But beyond that, I’ve been going full bore for 22 years, so the time off has been pretty nice. You know, the reasoning behind it stinks, but the time off does feel pretty good for a grizzled old vet like myself.”

His thoughts on Court Bauer’s stance not to hold shows for MLW with no live fans present: “I agree 100 percent. There is no other sports art form, if you will, that has the audience as a member of the entire cast. Like, exactly what Court said. I’m trying to re-say it in a different way. It’s exactly what he said. They are a member of this thing, and the audience is an integral part of what we do. When you watch wrestling with no crowd, and you’re watching the wrestlers in the crowd cheering and booing and stuff, it really loses a lot. Whether it’s the poor booking or whatever you want to call it, all the ratings are suffering right now. And it quite possibly could be because of the product. It’s just — it’s like if people were doing a play and were doing it in front of nobody. You need an audience to be there, and it’s a live experience. And I respect MLW for their stance, and I agree a million percent. It would be weird to be out there wrestling. Not to mention the fact that everything would hurt with no adrenaline, with no people there reacting to what you’re doing. It would just be a strange thing all around.”

Josef Samael on CONTRA Unit holding the World Heavyweight title with Jacob Fatu: “Absolutely. Whoever holds the gold in any organization basically controls the organization. So yeah, it’s a big deal having Jacob Fatu. Me and Fatu have been together as a team for probably about five years now, something like that. Maybe a little less, maybe four years. I can’t remember exactly, and yeah, I’ve always held a top spot in wrestling wherever I was. I was trained in a certain way by certain people. The art of manipulation in wrestling in front of a camera, behind a camera, so I’m able to position myself in ways and perform in ways that allows me to have spots and allows to earn spots in that sort of way. And CONTRA Unit is by design one of the most powerful things to ever happen in professional wrestling, definitely in the last couple of decades. I’m really enjoying being part of it. All the pieces that are coming together and all the pieces that will come together in the future and all that, it’s going to be something really amazing to watch for a long time to come, and it’s something that I can transition — as I transition out of the ring, I can transition fully into a managerial role, which I do outside of the ring with this organization, with my own organization, with multiple other things I manage, shoot manage wrestlers, so it’s a really cool time for me.”

Josef Samael on CONTRA Unit’s goal once everything is back up and running: “Well, CONTRA Unit has taken over MLW. We have seized MLW headquarters, and we’re not gonna let up. We’re not gonna relent. We’re gonna move forward with that, and we’re gonna take every championship in MLW. And we’re gonna rebrand it in our name, and there’s nobody and nothing that can stop that. So, that’s really the goal. That’s really the purpose. And I have other things in my back pocket that I won’t discuss because I’m not gonna open my playbook, but it’s basically the same thing: Conquer. And that’s what CONTRA Unit’s been doing from the very beginning. At first, we weren’t really taken seriously. We walked in the building, and we showed ’em real quick we were to be taken seriously. And then we started to dismantle everybody. Nobody took heed to that, then we just dismantled everybody. Then, we set our sights on the championship, nobody said nothing. We took the championship. Then, everybody started noticing, and then started to destroy Salina [de la Renta] and all of her stuff. We started to destroy LA Parks, started to destroy The Von Erichs. Now, we’re going to take over the league. It’s going to be a lot more of the same.”

In the full interview, Josef Samael talks about MLW’s new deal with DAZN and a possible MLW/ESPN deal, CONTRA Unit’s goals in MLW, working with Jacob Fatu and his rise to the top of MLW, Court Bauer expanding MLW’s distribution during the pandemic, the possibility of new members in the stable, the secret to generating heel heat and more.

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0:00: Intro
1:35: On MLW’s new deal with DAZN, what it means for MLW and CONTRA Unit
3:05: On Court Bauer expanding MLW’s distribution during the pandemic
4:16: On the pandemic resulting in MLW’s shutdown, feeling better than he has in some time and being ready for MLW’s return
7:02: On CONTRA Unit holding the MLW World Title via Jacob Fatu, what statement it makes for the group
9:04: On if CONTRA Unit will be targeting the Von Erichs and MLW Tag Team Titles
9:45: On his combat style, CONTRA having more yet to reveal
10:52: On Jacob Fatu’s growth and rise to the top of the MLW roster
11:48: On the possibility of an MLW/ESPN deal and the prospect of bringing CONTRA to ESPN
13:34: On if he’s considering adding some new members to CONTRA, the possibility of an alliance with someone like Tom Lawlor or Dominic Garrini
14:36: On if he feels the need for CONTRA to get more revenge on Los Parks
15:12: On the group’s ability to draw heel heat, the importance of making the fans believe in heels, true heels being a lost art
17:16: On Court Bauer refusing to bring MLW back until crowds can safely be in attendance
19:38: On CONTA Unit’s goal once everything is back up and running of a complete MLW takeover
22:20: On where to find him online
23:13: Outro

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