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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Samoa Joe: The Greatest
October 28, 2006 by Anto G.


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Anyone who has watched ROH or TNA over the last four years will know just how good Samoa Joe is; he has what very few wrestlers in this generation of pro wrestling have, the total package. You heard me right. I think he could be one of wrestling’s greatest stars and with TNA going primetime this month and starting to hold international tours, it will become apparent to the casual fans. Here are my reasons why I think Samoa Joe is one of the greatest and will become a big star for TNA.

Wrestling skill: Make no mistake he is one of the best wrestlers around due to his extensive knowledge of wrestling holds from different styles of wrestling from around the world (he isn’t called the Samoan Submission Machine for nothing). The best thing about his wrestling however, is the fact that he has incorporated moves from around the world into his repertoire and is a wrestler who can wrestle all styles: scientific, power, hardcore, high-flying, etc, not to mention he can work well with any style of wrestling and make the most of it. The most credible thing about Samoa Joe as a wrestler however is his UFC fighting style that gives his wrestling an aura of credibility and realism that in the modern era of bodybuilders, high-fliers and effeminate gimmicks have seemed to have lost. A more gritty and ground-and-pound style has become more craved and noticeable in popular wrestlers like Samoa Joe, Senshi and RVD with a martial arts background.

Unique look: Well, maybe not unique but in TNA, but it certainly makes him stand out from the pack. Although he doesn’t have a typical physique (I don’t think it’s essential in this era of pro wrestling), he does have an interesting look in the smaller, interchangeable roster of TNA. He has the classic look of a menacing heel and putting him against the X-Division for a year was a smart build-up (to present him to a national audience) and make him look like a Goldberg-like machine with his undefeated streak (much like Umaga). He is unlike anyone else on the TNA roster.

Charisma/Promos: If you watch ROH or TNA closely you will notice that he is quite good on the mic; he’s no Monty Brown or CM Punk but he can speak fairly well as a face or a heel. In general he has good charisma as his body language suggests and is more articulate with his words rather then angrily making his point which is what makes him stand out. His points are worth listening to and is quite smooth as a talker which is surprising. His facial expressions blend well with whatever emotion he expresses and can be funny on the mic as well as serious, insulting or angry. He can express any emotion with ease and is convincing on the mic, something that not many can do.

Matches: As well as his wrestling skill, he is very proficient at having great to excellent matches with various styles of opponents in various styles of wrestling matches. Watch his (in my opinion) 4 ½ -5 star encounters with AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Chris Sabin, Rhino, CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Abyss who are all quality opposition. Not only is he able to have quality matches, he can carry his opponents to a higher level and can wrestle lengthy bouts and mesh well with their style of wrestling which all possible NWA World Champions should be able to do. He has proven with his high-profile matches with AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels that he is able to draw money wherever it is a semi-final spot or the main event itself. Beating the likes of experienced and established veterans like Rhino, Sabu and Jushin “Thunder” Liger has done him no harm at all and has established himself as a legitimate contender to the NWA World title. He is more then worthy of the gold.

Agility: For a man who stands at 6’3” and 290 pounds you wouldn’t imagine he would have so much agility. His family’s tradition of Polynesian dance troupe, Tiare Productions at an early age surely helped him a lot. As well as being able to get across the ring quite quickly, he is able to execute a suicide dive or a side corkscrew with force like a typical X-Division star with ease. His speed is also what makes his chain-wrestling most effective and also his kicks and chops are met with more velocity when using his surprising speed especially against not so fast opponents. There is no one of his size and girth with that kind of speed around in pro wrestling.

Stamina: Anyone who saw him wrestling mainly the X-Division and thought that he only wrestles smaller wrestlers because he has no stamina should take another look. Although he is 290 pounds, he can wrestle 20+ minute matches with relative ease (which is what you need in a semi-final or main event spot) and has plenty of those lengthy matches against AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels and Chris Sabin under his belt but looking at some of his ROH matches (which are usually lengthy matches), he has wrestled Bryan Danielson in a 40-minute match and has wrestled CM Punk to two one-hour draws. For someone who has a rather undefined physique, his endurance is incredible. He is kind of old-school in a world were to NWA, 60 minute draws were the norm.

All those points aforementioned is clear-cut proof of why Samoa Joe is so highly rated not just by TNA or ROH fans but by many wrestling magazine publishers. For my money, he is the best wrestler not just in the NWA but in the world by a distance. Anyone who thinks I’m wrong just watch him a few times in TNA (preferably on PPV) and see for yourself. I can’t wait for the day where he wins the NWA World title and is ranked number 1 in the PWI 500.

by Anto G. ..


Curtis Robert Rosler wrote:
I have to diagree with the idea the Somoa Joe character will be considered one of the greatest. My main argument for it is because although Joe does possess all the skills you mentioned; I don't think he will be able to keep up with TNA in prime time television when they possibly battle WWE. I thnk he will get lost in the mix because of his mic skills and his "monster" image. When I look towards the future of Somoa Joe, I believe that I just need to look at the past of the "Big Red Machine," Kane. Enough said.
Adam Dean wrote:
Your article about Samoa Joe was great! I agree with you 100%. Samoa Joe has the 'total package' and he can become one of the greatest wresters in the business. I feel Joe is the man that TNA needs to build their company around to rival with the WWE. Keep it up mate!
Steven P. wrote:
Samoa Joe is indeed a phenomenal athlete. His agility does surprise me. However, I believe the match that made his career was one of those rare losses. At Unbreakable 2005, he competed in a Triple Threat Match against AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels (who you mentioned) and those three put on an incredible performance. The match was something like 45 minutes to end the show and Styles defeated Daniels for the win. I didn’t see it but I heard that it was the mark of excellence for the X Division. The thing about Samoa Joe that is so impressive is that, with a good opponent, he is one of the few people that can have a “Match of the Year” contender before they compete. He has it all and if TNA were smart, they would make this Joe-Angle feud short so that Joe can get his paws on that NWA Championship. Then again, TNA is the same company that had Joe carry the belt around for four weeks and didn’t even give him a title shot. Last thought, I definitely think Joe is one of the best wrestlers in the world today. However, based on my opinion, and this is just my opinion for what it’s worth, I believe that Joe ranks in front of Angle for the second best but behind Chris Benoit for the number one slot. I would much rather see Joe-Benoit than Joe-Angle for two reasons. Benoit has that total package that you talked about, where Angle slightly lacks it. Benoit can go 40-45 minutes. Angle really can’t. He had that one 60 minute Iron Man Match, but I believe the longest after that was around 30 minutes. And, that was before the neck problems really kicked up. That leads me to reason 2. Samoa Joe’s finisher is really a modified brainbuster. Kurt Angle would break his neck watching the move on TV. With Benoit, you can really feel a lot better about the potential outcome of the match. Great piece of work.
Lance Crucifix wrote:
Samoa Joe, isn't as great as people would like you to believe. Joe is a good worker, a man who really knows his shit. I dissagree with a couple of the things you said. If you ask me listening to Joe on the mic is like listening to nails on a chalkboard, he just tries to hard, and his voice does not match his appearence. His wrestling is fun to watch, but repetetive, and since he's ventured into the land of weekly squash matches, his wrestling has gotten boring to watch, aside from his PPV stuff. All I'm saying is the TNA Joe is nothing like the Original Joe.
Will wrote:
I'm not the biggest fan of TNA, but I do admit that they work harder at putting on better in ring performances. And yes, Samoa Joe is likely the best in that company, that is, until Kurt Angle has come along. I just hope they don't put down Angle, to put over Samoa Joe. I will give Samoa Joe his credit. He is a damn fine wrestler, and close to being a total package. But Kurt Angle is a proven "Total Package". And honestly I do not think Samoa Joe will reach the level that Kurt Angle is at.
Kyle Haynie wrote:
Samoa Joe is the most overrated wrestler in the history of wrestling! Yes in the history. He’s in the minor leagues! The only reason he look big and scary is Joes’s in the cruiserweight promotion! 6’3 290! Wow so is the greater at Wal mart!

Put him in the ring with Taker, Kane, Triple H, and well even Visera would make Joe look like the crap Joe is!
Mike Adams wrote:
Kyle Haynie that was perhaps the most moronic, least thought out markish statement I have ever heard on this site.

Everyone you listed is below Joe's in ring talent so how again are they going to make Joe look like the "crap that he is"? Do you mean that Viscera is such a terrible wrestler that he could make any match bad, yes I agree, or that that Undertaker and Kane's skills have erroded to the point where most of their matches are on the poor side? yes that might also be true. Or that somehow Triple H's super wrestling ability and the backstage power of Stephanie McMahon Levesque is going to make Joe look bad? On the contrary with a skilled opponent like , Joe, old Trips just might be able to be involved in one of his better matches, you know so long as Joe was allowed to go at least somewhat over the son in law GameAH!! So you must be talking about size then. If thats the case then pretty much everyone in Wrestling looks like crap that they are up against the Big Show, Bob Sapp, Giant Gonzalez or the Great Khali right? We already know thats the case *hint hint* Sarcasm. So the greeter at Wal Mart is 6-3 290, well when was the last time you saw that 6-3 290 pound greeter deliver a running corkscrew to a customer walking through the doors, or an enziguri to an employee standing on a ladder? Or more pertinent, when was the last time you saw a wrestler Joe's size use those moves, or be as athletic,agile and as technically sound in the ring as Joe?

Can you pretend for one moment you aren't a biased WWE mark, and make a valid argument as to why Samoa Joe is "the most overrated wrestler in the world" ? If not can you at least be a man and admit that you just don't like Joe because you are said mark?
Andrew Irvin wrote: Firstly let me say, as ever, none of what follows is said with any malice.

I don't usually respond to the "I love wrestler because.." columns, I don't really think they merit it. Articles are supposed to promote discussion and be lacking in any kind of personal agenda (there are no questions posed in this, a subjective, article! Not even a token gesture "Do you agree?"). Anto G. (the author) telling us all that Samoa Joe is amazing sort of borders on arrogance because it seems to imply that the rest of us didn't realise. I read this article a while back and, due to the afore-mentioned reasons, didn't feel any need to respond. I read it again today however, with the responses of others and felt compelled to react to those people. Just another reminder before I rant, no malice (I promise!).

First off, we have Curtis Robert Rosler who has the nerve (one assumes he hasn't seen many Joe matches) to compare Samoa Joe to Kane, there is no comparison. One is a guy who can only do the "WWE power moves", the other is one of the greatest ROH champions ever (which means speed and technical skills a plenty). You say that he won't be able to keep up with TNA in a prime time slot, but what does that even mean? Are you saying that for some reason, he can't wrestle at 9 o'clock (I'm from the U.K., this is what time it airs over here)? The guy did one hour matches in ROH, so I think he can manage a one hour show (TNA Impact). "He'll get lost in the mix" you say! I disagree, Kurt Angle is the biggest addition to the TNA roster and the first thing TNA did was put him in a non-title feud with Samoa Joe. If Joe is a big enough star for Kurt Angle, how can you question his value to the company?

Steven P.'s response is on the verge of being more irritating that Curtis', mainly because it starts off sounding perfectly reasonable, Joe vs. Styles vs. Daniels = great match (I'm with you all the way, but then..) "I didn't actually see the match" says Steven. Does anybody else have a problem with this? Basing one's favourite matches on hearsay?!? That's not the worst bit, Steven goes on... "if TNA were smart, they would make this Joe-Angle feud short". I think this bit took about a year off my life because, and this is only my opinion, I don't think wrestling has ever had a more exciting moment in the past 5 years or so than when Angle and Joe squared off and Kurt headbutted Joe. I don't even know enough words to describe how cool that moment was, and then Joe got up with blood all over his face (please somebody back me up on this!) and they had to be separated by security, plus the locker room.

Pause for breath.

Steven then resumes with a more reasonable line of argument... "I would much rather see Joe-Benoit than Joe-Angle". Putting aside the fact that Benoit and Joe are in different promotions (whereas Joe and Kurt are not) I was happy to entitle Steven to his opinion until he said that he prefers the hypothetical Benoit feud because Kurt could not risk Joe's finisher, the muscle buster, as Kurt has had neck problems... so has Chris Benoit!! He hurt (possibly broke) it in one of those matches you heard about but probably didn't see (cheap shot, I apologise). For the record, I believe it was in a triple threat WWF/E title match against Jericho and Austin at a time when Benoit and Jericho were tag champs (so there was a certain implication that this would be a handicap match for the defending Austin).

To end on a happy note, I thought Lance Crucifix (great name by the way) had a couple of nice insights and I just thank God (blasphemous, sorry) for Mike Adams.
Anto G. (original author) wrote:
Thanks for the replys, they are most welcome. I am sorry about making the column a big I love Joe thing but he is to me he is the most exciting up and comer in the wrestling world today and anyone who denies that is a WWE fanboy who is clueless. Kyle Haynie, how stupid do you think I am? He's certainly not the most overrated wrestler of al time and that is one confident statement by the way. Minor leagues? He works for TNA not Smackdown! (unless you mean ROH) and the wrestlers you mentioned can't even wrestle that well please, Visera can't do s##t, neither can Kane, Taker maybe and HHH can do a few wrestling holds, that's it, waht ae you impling anyway, that your'e an idiot? Oh and he is the heavyweight division now, he left the X-Division about four or five months ago. do you even watch TNA or any Samoa Joe match for that matter? Just remember, he is a long way to go to prove to thte masses he is one of the greatest as he hasn't won the NWA World title yet.
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