Date: 1987 (exact date unknown)
Location: Japan (exact location unknown)
Source: Anonymous Armpit reader
One of our readers sent in a story that Maxx Payne had told him himself. While it hasn’t been confirmed, it does sound legit because the timelines add up and there’s no reason to believe it’s made up in any way.
Maxx Payne achieved fame in WCW when Bill Watts hired him just before Watts was fired in early 1993, and later worked for the WWF in 1995 as Man Mountain Rock. What many fans don’t know is that Payne was an accomplished amateur wrestler in college, having achieved All American status. He even trained in the New Japan dojo alongside Chris Benoit, working there as Darryl Peterson before coming back to the US with the Max Pain character in regional territories (WCW later changed the spelling to Maxx Payne).
Payne shared a story that took place in 1987 when he and Benoit were training in very harsh conditions in the New Japan dojo. At the time, Samu and Fatu were there on a tour. Fatu would of course later go onto fame as Rikishi, but before that, he and his cousin Samu were a longtime tag team throughout the world. They gained most fame in the WWF as the Headshrinkers, but before that were known as the Samoan Swat Team in NWA/WCW, and several other promotions around the globe.
While on the tour, Samu and Fatu went out drinking with Payne and Benoit. The four of them drank quite a bit, with Benoit passed out at the table. Payne hoisted Benoit over his shoulders and had to carry him home in a fireman’s carry position. As they started to leave the bar, Samu and Payne started arguing about something outside. Not sure what the argument was about, but Samu ended up charging Payne.
Almost every Samoan fight story ends up with the Samoan as the winner. This was a rare case of that not happening. To be clear, this wasn’t an all out fight. It was more horse play, but it wasn’t all play. It was one drunk guy getting rough and physical with his fellow wrestler, where it’s not a full on fight, but it’s not playing around either. It’s somewhere in between, and the kind of situation where if one guy doesn’t remain calm and in control, it can quickly escalate into a drunken brawl where someone gets really hurt.
As big and tough as Samu is, Payne is actually bigger. And with Payne’s extensive background in amateur wrestling, he wasn’t going to be taken down. As Samu charged at him, Payne was still holding Benoit. He had to physically place him down and then take Samu down and hold him until Samu said it was over. Samu finally agreed to say it, so the four of them continued home. It’s not known what Fatu was doing during all this. If it was a serious fight, Fatu would’ve jumped in and Payne would’ve been dead meat. Either Fatu was too drunk himself, or more likely, he knew it was more playful than serious, even if it really was more serious than playful.
They all continued walking back, which was more than a mile and a half, and Payne was carrying Benoit the whole time. Payne said that every few blocks, Samu would charge him again. And each time, Payne had to set Benoit down and contain Samu. At one point they were crossing a bridge, and Samu charged him from behind. The momentum almost caused Payne to drop Benoit into an empty seabed at low tide. If that had happened, the wrestling world would’ve been quite different with no Chris Benoit.
Finally they got back to the hotel and Payne set Benoit down in his room. Payne started walking in the hallway towards his room, and he heard Samu’s battle roar again coming towards him. Samu charged him again, and this time Payne threw him so hard that Samu broke his ankle on the ceiling, ending his tour with New Japan on the spot.
This is a great, little known story and we’d love to hear more about it from either Payne, Samu, or Rikishi if ever given the chance.