Let’s talk about Samoa Joe. Throughout the past decade, “The Samoan Submission Machine” has been the subject of speculation amongst fans of Professional Wrestling. The question at hand was simple: would Joe ever step foot inside a WWE ring?
Many believed he ultimately would. Joe is extremely gifted inside the ring and the WWE would be foolish to ignore his talent. The WWE had inked CM Punk, Ring of Honor’s top star, to a developmental deal in 2005 and that brought hope that the WWE was interested in some of the bigger Indy names.
Others, however, didn’t share their confidence. Joe doesn’t have the chiseled look of a prototypical WWE “Superstar” and many were worried that he would be saddled with some lame gimmick (Umaga anyone?). The only Indy star who was allowed to keep his name and, more or less, his Indy gimmick was CM Punk. Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, Bryan Danielson, Kevin Steen, KENTA, El Generico…all stripped of the names (and in some cases gimmicks) that made them famous.
When Samoa Joe left TNA in February of 2015, the speculation of his WWE debut grew like wildfire. With the popularity of NXT and the WWE’s apparent intent on signing every top Indy star, this seemed like the perfect time. And yet it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen for a number of reasons: mainly his return to ROH and numerous Indy dates he was booked for throughout mid-summer.
And then NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable happened. Samoa Joe walked down the aisle, stepped into an NXT ring, and went nose to nose with Kevin Owens. He had finally arrived.
PW Torch is now reporting that Samoa Joe has inked a full-time deal with the WWE after his merchandise sales were “off the charts impressive.” As of yet, it’s unclear if Joe will be a long or short term member of the NXT roster.
That leads me to the point of today’s post: should Joe stay with NXT long term or should they call him up to the main roster?
There’s benefits to both. NXT is the hottest thing in Professional Wrestling and Samoa Joe would absolutely thrive there. It also allows him to work a more stable schedule, something that has to be appealing to a veteran of his status. Plus, the brand is in desperate need of a big presence after the injuries to Hideo Itami and Sami Zayn plus the apparent call-up of Kevin Owens to the main roster. Joe working with Finn Balor and Tyler Breeze could bring some us some epic, epic matches.
On the other hand, it would be cool to see Joe’s feud with Kevin Owens blossom on WWE television. I could totally see Joe costing Owens his second match against John Cena at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view later this month. I could definitely get on board with a summer revolving around Joe and Owens practically killing each other with power bombs, slams, and suplexes.
It’ll be hard for the WWE to mess this up. Joe’s stock, in my opinion, has never been higher because they have a lot of appealing options to work with. I’ll always hold my breath when it comes to the WWE but…this feels a little different. Maybe I’m riding high on Owens’ success thus far but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.