HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
OWW’s Wrestler of the Week — Samoa Joe
Our resident philosopher, Jay Shannon, profiles the current TNA champion, who successfully defended his title against Kurt Angle and Christian Cage at No Surrender
Samoa Joe was originally scheduled to battle Christian Cage, Kurt Angle and Booker T in a Four Ways to Glory match at Sunday’s No Surrender. The card was changed at the last minute, due to Booker T’s being in Houston to assist with Hurricane Ike relief efforts. Joe dealt with his two opponents, as well as Sting, to retain his title. Samoa Joe showed why he is such a good TNA Champion. He also earned himself this week’s OWW Wrestler of the Week award.
The Other Famous Samoan Family
Joe Seanoa came from a family of performers. The family created a dance troupe known as Tiare Productions. In 1984, Joe was lucky enough to perform in the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics. He was only 5 years old, at the time. Joe would perform with his family during his formative years. Joe was taught pride and honor in his work that is quite evident in his wrestling style.
Joe’s family instilled in him that education was very important. He was a stand-out at Ocean View High School in both Judo and Football. In fact, Joe became the California State Judo Champion and an All-League in football. Joe earned a degree in finance and worked as a mortgage broker before learning about UIWA West Coast Dojo (a training camp for wrestlers).
Famous Friends and Firsts
Joe began his wrestling career at the West Coast Dojo of UIWA. Joe was their first graduate. He worked the independent groups around California until taking a position with UPW. Joe was the longest reigning UPW champion in the company’s history. One of Joe’s earliest rivals in UPW was The Prototype, who would later become WWE’s John Cena. Speaking of WWE, Joe actually had one match on the Jakked program, jobbing out to Essa Rios in March, 2001
Grabbing the Brass Ring (of Honor)
After leaving UPW, Joe moved to the East Coast of the US. He began working for numerous smaller promotions, up and down the Atlantic seaboard. His next big break came in Ring of Honor. Joe worked with many stars that he would later join in TNA,including Low-Ki/Senshi, Homicide and Christopher Daniels.
Joe defeated Xavier to win the ROH title on March 22, 2003. He would hold onto that title for an amazing 21 months. He was eventually defeated by Austin Aries aka Austin Starr. Joe would also hold the ROH Pure title, defeating Jay Lethal in 2005. Joe also was one of the key players in the ROH v CZW wars. A knee injury sidelined him, temporarily. Before leaving ROH, Joe also challenged Pro Wrestling NOAH, based in Japan. Joe had spent some time in Japan in the earliest days of his career. That feud was short-lived, as Joe accepted an offer from TNA.
Tough N Amazing
Joe made his TNA debut at the 2005 edition of Slammiversary. It was in his very first match, against Sonjay Dutt, that Mike Tenay christened Joe “The Samoan Submission Machine”. Joe began an amazing 18-month unbeaten streak. That streak would end at the hands of his biggest rival in TNA, Kurt Angle.
Of all of Joe’s opponents, Kurt Angle has given Joe his biggest tests. Their matches have been considered top candidates for Match of the Year and Feud of the Year awards.
Joe finally won the TNA World title, from Angle, on April 13, 2008 at Lockdown. Joe has also held the X-Division title on 3 different occasions. He also held the World Tag Team titles, by himself. Oddly enough, Joe lost his World Tag belts and one of his X-Titles to Kurt Angle. In the five months since winning the title, Joe has taken on all comers. He is next set to face Sting at the highly-pushed Bound For Glory IV, in October.
Samoa Joe has been ridiculed by a few so-called wrestling journalists because of his rather large size. Insult names like “Sloppy Joe” and “The Samoan Slob-mission Machine” are unfair character assassination attempts. Samoa Joe is a crowd favorite who uses his size as a weapon. He has battled top stars across all weight, height and skill classifications. Samoa Joe has learned a great deal from his mentor, Kevin Nash. Samoa Joe will likely go down in history as one of the greatest stars in the industry. Will he ever work for WWE again? I honestly hope that he stays in TNA until his career winds down. If he does jump to McMahonLand, expect him to dominate there, just like he has everywhere else he’s battled.
Samoa Joe’s heroic triumph at No Surrender was inspiring. He over-came a match change that could have thrown him completely off his game. Such professionalism and skill helped Joe keep his belt. It also brought him this week’s OWW Wrestler of the Week award.
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