This Sunday sees a clash of two bad-ass Samoans, as Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns go head to head.
Both come off losses at the Greatest Royal Rumble, but one is more significant than the other. Whereas Samoa Joe came up short in a four-way ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship, Reigns lost for the second straight time against Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title and most importantly, received a lukewarm reaction at best in front of what many believed would be a heavy Roman-partisan crowd. So this leaves us at a crossroads; who should have their hands raised in victory at Backlash? This is why I think Samoa Joe should get the honour over ‘The Big Dog’.
History & Experience
Joe is one of the most physical and dominant stars in pro wrestling. Everybody knows who he is and what he represents, pain. Joe’s career speaks for itself. If you’re looking for a new WWE Champion with an enriched history and a resume that fits the bill, look no further.
Joe is already an established veteran and decorated champion. He has held titles in TNA, including an eighteen-month unbeaten streak. He has also held titles in Pro Wrestling NOAH, Ring of Honor and had one of the best runs as champion in NXT.
Joe has been billed as “The Destroyer” and wherever he goes, he will reign down destruction on anybody and take what he wants. He needs to be treated like this again.
Beating Roman Reigns and Gaining Some Momentum
We look at Samoa Joe and we see an animal. He wants to beat people up, hurt and embarrass them. He is literally the Brock Lesnar who is there every week but he hasn’t been treated like that. Whilst we have seen Joe do some great things since coming up to the main roster, he has hit a few bumps along the way with injuries and having to do favours, along with a few other stars to solidify Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar as “undefeatable”.
Joe will enjoy a new lease of life following his recent draft to SmackDown LIVE and hopefully we’ll see a breakthrough for him and he can build some real momentum. This must start with Roman Reigns at Backlash. Reigns is coming off another heavy defeat after losing controversially to Brock Lesnar in a Steel Cage at the Greatest Royal Rumble that took place in Saudi Arabia.
This has potential to be a great match but the match in general is a nothing match, for Reigns that is. It’s everything for Joe. They have established Reigns as the top star in the company and will continue to do so. The reality is, Roman has accomplished so much in such a short amount of time, including knocking off the Undertaker at WrestleMania 33. Beating Samoa Joe at Backlash doesn’t do anything for him. There is no follow up, no prize to be won. It will just cripple and damage Joe further.
If Joe can secure a win over the big dog, that will leave him in really good stead going forward with SmackDown and there is no reason why he couldn’t be thrust into main events for the WWE Championship.
One of Joe’s greatest skills and strengths is his ability to compete in any type of match and tell a story that many wrestlers just simply cannot do in this day and age. We have seen Joe in steel cages, ladder matches. He is phenomenal in the ring. People who are familiar with Joe’s TNA Career will remember he was part of “X-Division” matches and took place in an Ultimate X match which had potential risks for a man of his size.
Whether he is matching up against somebody lighter or heavier than him. Joe has proven that he can compete with anybody in the squared circle. His matches with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were early examples of how somebody his size could move and adapt with guys around the ring who were quicker and lighter than him. Then in TNA, Joe would face off against superstars like Abyss who would be taller and heavier which would ask more of his mobility and striking. Joe’s conditioning is astonishing and his in-ring stamina is just extraordinary.
Joe can make any type of match look good and is capable of adapting to what the expectations of the match need to be.
“Full-Time Brock Lesnar”
I’ve given Samoa Joe this nickname for a long time and it’s true. He’s just…better. If you don’t believe it, you’re wrong. You’re cheating yourself. There has never been a point in time where anybody has ever said “Samoa Joe is stale”. That’s what Brock Lesnar is now.
Think about this; You think about all of Joe’s qualities but the best quality of all has to be, his ability to create a program and actually commit to it. Not just one program, the entirety of his career. Fans would feel hard done by if they knew Joe was booked for a match but wasn’t showing up to shows or the build up.
Whilst I do understand some of it is behind closed doors and Brock Lesnar’s schedule is well documented, Brock can’t and won’t ever do this. We may get Paul Heyman or Paul Heyman and Brock together one week and yes, whilst Heyman is a fantastic draw and very pivotal to Lesnar’s success, it isn’t the same. I’m a huge Paul Heyman guy but it doesn’t hold the same value as if it would coming from Lesnar, or in this case, Joe.
Joe has never had anybody speak on behalf of him. He’s made friends, he’s made enemies but he’s always laid down challenges or stepped up to them. Promos, vignettes, any segments leading up to events. Joe’s consistent attendance and captivating promos have made his ability to make a program so much more exciting and impactful.
The Hottest Heel
It’s not even up for debate, Joe is the ultimate bad guy. Wrestling has changed dramatically over the last 10-15 years and now it’s considerably harder for heels to gain negative responses from the audience, because fans will have made up their own minds and cheer for who they enjoy and want to see do well. Regardless of storytelling purposes and who WWE want them to cheer for.
Its quite a rare feat to be one of the best talents in the business and still get heat from the crowd. I can only name a few off the top of my head who can do this. CM Punk, Chris Jericho, Triple H, The Rock. Samoa Joe is one of those too. The fact a top star who is loved by so many fans can receive boo’s and negative chants/responses speaks volumes about just how good he is.
It was once said about Joe. “When he’s good, he’s good, but when he’s bad..he’s better”
One of Joe’s best qualities is his ability to captivate an audience on the microphone, regardless of whether he is a face or heel. Joe is extremely diverse and could transition from hero to villain as quick as a wink. This is a trait simply required of a champion. If you’re weak on the mic, your title reign won’t have any longevity. You have to make the audience care about you and connect with you.
There aren’t enough stars like Joe who can change the dynamic of SmackDown. Joe must establish himself as the wrecking ball we all know he can be and put the whole roster on notice after conquering Roman Reigns at Backlash.