A 6 foot 1 inch, 240 pound Samoan walks out of the curtain, it is none other than NWA:TNAs Sonny Siaki. This North Carolina boy has grown into one of the NWA:TNA's greatest assets, as well as a great asset to S.E.X. As his profile states, "He wanted gold and wanted it fast. Once he shook the Flyin' Elvis' from his side, he began a steady path towards achieving and surpassing that goal." Please join the Belle of the Brawl as I give you NWA:TNA's X-Division Champion, Sonny Siaki!
Lekisha Oliver (LO) [LO]: Lets get some background information. Where exactly are you from?
Sonny Siaki (SS) [SS]: I was born on Pago Pago, American Samoa.
LO: Youre parents are both from there?
SS: Yes, both of my parents are from Samoa.
LO: Did you grow up there?
SS: I moved when I was three years old to Hawaii, then California, then I was basically raised in Wilmington, North Carolina, my dad was in the Coast Guard. I was in North Carolina when I was four years old and grew up there through the rest of my life.
LO: Did you do any sports growing up?
SS: Yes. I was planning my future to play football in the NFL when I was seven years old. I played in elementary through junior high and high school and got a scholarship to play at East Carolina University.
LO: Did you pursue that scholarship?
SS: Yes, I played and I got an injury during my college career. I kept on getting stingers down through my neck and it went down to my leg and the doctor said if I continued to play, it would get worse.
LO: Did you get to complete college?
SS: Yes. I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Health and Fitness.
LO: Thats a great help for wrestling.
SS: See I never did wrestling. I had always watched it on television, but I never though I would ever do it. After I stopped playing football, I wanted to be like a trainer for the NFL. Then Lodi, who was in WCW, said I should come down to Atlanta and try out. So I went down to Atlanta, tried out and started wrestling
LO: So you got started down at the Power Plant. Who else was in your class at the Power Plant?
SS: It was me, Elix Skipper, Chuck Palumbo, Mark Jindrak, Mike Sanders.
LO: Good little list of alumni there.
SS: We were the Power Plant.
LO: How long were you there?
SS: I was there for two-and-a-half years.
LO: Did you ever get to go up to WCW at all?
SS: I was under contract for WCW. When I say that, people are like "I dont remember you." But I was on a lot of Saturday night tapings. I made two appearances on Nitro and Thunder, I was doing the Saturday night tapings. They stopped doing the tapings and WCW was pretty much not doing anything with me. I was unhappy and I wanted to further my career, so I quit WCW to go to the WWF.
LO: How did that go?
SS: I was doing dark match with the WWF, and in the meantime, there was a federation out in California called the Urban Wrestling Alliance. They didnt last long. When they first started out, they were all minorities. Like blacks and whites, there were a few white guys, but the majority of the wrestlers were minorities. They were trying to get a wrestling show on BET, in the meantime while I was working dark matches with the WWF, the UWA offered me a pretty good contract. So I took it and I started doing shows with them in California.
LO: Sounds like youve traveled all over the world.
SS: Well, I traveled all over everywhere with WCW, you know doing all the Saturday tapings. We went all over the place.
LO: The style that you are working right now, is that style similar to what you were working in WCW and the other federations?
SS: Well, when I was in WCW and Urban Wrestling Alliance, I didnt know as much as I know now. Ive learned so much more over the past year and a half, its a totally different style with what I have at TNA than what I had at WCW and the UWA. I try to have a combination of mat wrestling, the big power moves and some of the basic moves that the high-flyers use. Im not a high flyer. I could keep up with those guys. My main thing is to entertain the people.
LO: Did you do any training for the entertainment part, like plays or acting?
SS: Not at all. (laughs)
LO: It just comes natural, huh?
SS: It didnt come natural at first. You know I found out that a lot of wrestling is entertainment and Ive learned a lot from the guys that have trained me, like Dusty Rhodes, who is still the man, and Diamond Dallas Page, Those two guys taught me the entertainment part of wrestling. Ive also trained with Chris Beniot, who has taught me a lot. You cant get any better teachers and those guys right there.
LO: Thats working with the best of the best.
SS: Yeah, those guys taught me a lot. They come natural, Im still learning. Im still trying to get the entertainment part of it.
LO: The X-Division, to the people who havent seen exactly what the X-Division is, or havent seen the TNA PPVs, how would you explain the X-Division to these individuals?
SS: The X-Division is something new that Jeff Jarrett came up with. The majority of the guys that are in the X-Division are high-flyers and cruiserweights. Im 61", 240 pounds, Im not a Cruiserweight, so if thats what the people are thinking, they are mistaken. The best wrestler pound for pound is in there. But there is a lot of high flying and luchador type moves, but what we are trying to get to the people is that is it still wrestling. All the high flying and big moves, we kinda work our way up to there, what you call an exciting match.
LO: What differences have you got to see compared to the other federations that you have been in and TNA now?
SS: Theres a lot of differences, mainly in the locker room. I wasnt there too long, but when I was at WCW you know everybody was out for themselves. They werent too into helping out the younger guys. The ones that are trying to get into the business. The TNA locker room is more family oriented, more like a family locker room. Everybody is about helping each other out. The older guys helping the younger guys and the younger guys helping the older guys, and its established everybody behind the scenes and the money people, the Jarretts and Panda Energy that put the money behind the Jarretts. Everybody is all about helping each other out.
LO: Lately there have been some shakeups with new guys coming in weekly, how is the transition into coming into the locker room?
SS: What do you mean new guys?
LO: Guys like Tony Shavione and the Rock-n-Roll Express and Raven, some of the guys that are slowly incorporating into the business.
SS: Yeah. We dont want this to be an old WCW or old ECW crew, the only way this is going to work is to see new faces. Guys like Raven and Scott Hall, we need guys like that, but we dont need the attitudes in the locker room, a lot of egos. We dont want that in the TNA locker room.
LO: The locker room is small enough without everyone bringing in their ego at the same time.
SS: You know we just want this to work out for everyone. But yeah, its good to have some of these guys, like the Rock-N-Roll Express and Dusty Rhodes, these are the guys that paved the way for us to be here in the first place. So, I hope everything works out for the new guys as well as the old guys who have been doing this for a while.
LO: I guess so far, besides yourself, who else do you see inside TNA that have, not to make it to the top, but have the star material?
SS: There are a few guys. We have some of the best talent in the world at TNA right now. The guys that stick out in my head, are Ron "The Truth", I cant believe that the WWF let him go. AJ (Styles), Amazing Red, Lo-Ki, Christopher Daniels, those guys right there are some of the best talent that Ive ever seen. By far some of the best talent Ive seen, even better than some of the guys that they have at the WWE.
LO: It seemed that the talent that they had was underused and under appreciated.
SS: Its not up to me, but thats just how I see it.
LO: Where exactly would you like to see yourself in the next five years?
SS: Im learning more and more each and every day of this whole wrestling deal. Im just hoping Im one of the best wrestlers that this business has to offer. I just want to be what the people are wanting to see.
LO: Thats a good philosophy. So far, whom do you see that you have had your best match with?
SS: Definitely Jerry Lynn. Hes one of the best wrestlers Ive ever seen and wrestled against. Hes helped me so much just by working with him in the ring, Ive learned so much. Jerry Lynn would be my best match.
LO: So youve learned quite a bit from him over the past couple weeks.
SS: Definitely. Ever since Ive been with TNA, I think Ive had three or four matches that were good and all learning experiences.
LO: Thats very good. I guess Ive been told that TNA has considered moving the show to other cities. In your opinion, do you think that this would be better for the company or would it be better to stay in Nashville and build up the fan base before moving the show?
SS: I think were gradually gaining a fan base with a lot more people watching the show. I would love to travel to other cities, I hope that it does happen. I think that if we stay in Nashville and build up a fan base, that we should move to other cities to let the people see the show live.
LO: With you having the X-Division championship, have the other NWA organizations offered you to go and work for them?
SS: Ever since Ive been on TNA and on TV, Ive pretty much been booked every weekend at different promotions.
SS: Locally, and its not just NWA, its other federations as well.
LO: The locker room perception of you, has it changed anyway since you have been to TNA? Like how they perceive you.
SS: Like when I first started, no matter where I go Im a quiet person. No matter where I go, not always wrestling you know even to the mall, people perceive me as being cocky and conceited. If anybody knows who I am, they know Im not that way. The locker room knows that its just Sonny, hes just cool to hang out with. Im just quiet if I dont know you, but if I do know you, Ill talk your ear off.
LO: Im the same way.
SS: The TNA locker room know that Im a good person to get along with, but the people who dont know how I am, quiet, but people think Im mean looking.
LO: Oh no.
SS: I try not to be that way, but I try to talk to as many people as I can and try not to be perceived as a mean person or a cocky person.
LO: From what I have seen today, youre neither mean nor cocky. The best way to put it is that youre a little bit on the bashful side.
SS: Oh yes, I am a very shy person.
LO: It pays to be bashful, you get to watch what you say. (laughs).
LO: I guess, anything that you would like to tell the readers that no one else would not know.
SS: First off, turn into TNA every Wednesday night, 8:00/7:00 central. You guys are in central time right?
SS: But mainly a lot of people who dont know who I am and watch me on television they think that Im trying to be like the Rock. And that is far from the truth. I cant help the way I look. Everywhere I go, people call me the Rock. Im trying to get away from that look as much as I can. I tattooed up, Ive grown out my hair, trying to get away from his look.
LO: Just as long as you dont go blonde. (laughs).
SS: I dont want to do anything like that.
LO: Nothing too drastic.
SS: I was thinking of shaving my head bald, but the Rock is going bald himself. But I was thinking of dying my hair blonde or white. But I dont want to do that, its not me. I cant help the way I look. I just want them to know that Im trying to be Sonny Siaki. You know everything that the Rock does, I stay away from. I dont do anything he does. I dont want to be like him. He does what he does and thats good, but I want to get away from him. Also, I love this sport more than anything in the world. There is nothing that I would rather do that get in that ring and entertain people. But that I want to thank you and help support TNA.