HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
OWW Wrestler of the Week: Samoa Joe
Our resident philosopher profiles the Samoan Submission Machine, who is currently on a campaign to eliminate the entire Main Event Mafia, by himself.
Samoa Joe often takes criticism from writers due to his less-than-muscular physique. The chants of “Sloppy Joe” make it sound as if Joe can barely lace up his boots. In reality, Joe is one of the best of the big men, especially when it comes to size-defying moves. Joe took out both Scott Steiner and Booker T in vicious “First Blood” matches on !mpact! Joe’s already eliminated 3 of the 5 male members of the Main Event Mafia. Despite an injury, Joe is planning on working until Slammiversary. Destroying two former World Champions in 1 night (3 in 2 weeks) pushed Samoa Joe to the top of the TNA pantheon of superstars. It also garnered him 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.
Nation of Violence
Joe held the title for about five months, before dropping the belt to Sting. Due to a prematch stipulation, Joe was not able to evoke the normal re-match clause. Joe began working with A.J. Styles, Jay Lethal, Consequences Creed and others as the group known as The Frontline. That group battled the quintet known as the Main Event Mafia (Sting, Kurt Angle, Scott Steiner, Booker T and Kevin Nash). Joe became one of the victims of a Mafia “hit”, in which his arm was (storyline) broken. Joe took some time off before returning to exact revenge.
The returning Joe had a new look. He wore long pants with tribal writings down the leg. He had a nearly-shaved head and tribal markings painted like a tattoo on his face. Joe claimed he represented the Nation of Violence. He began to wreak havoc on mid-carders like Eric Young and Sheik Abdul Bashir. A.J. Styles tried to talk with Joe, but the “new” Samoa Joe considered himself a one-man army. Eventually, Joe would be seen talking to someone inside a car. The mystery person has yet to be revealed but that unseen person appears to be the driving force behind Joe’s current behavior. Joe’s main goal has been to eliminate the entire Main Event Mafia, single-handed. His first victim was Kevin Nash. Joe faced off against his former mentor in a Lethal Lockdown match. The winner of that contest would get a spot in the Slammiversary 2009. Joe bloodied Nash and took the win. Joe then returned, the following week, to take on both Scott Steiner and Booker T in “First Blood” matches. Joe split Steiner’s head wide open and cracked Booker in the ribs with a steel pipe. Booker began to spit up blood, thus losing his match. Joe now has Sting and Kurt Angle as his final two targets. Joe has made it clear that he plans to “Kill” Angle. The storyline might get shelved, due to an injury that Joe suffered. Joe is looking to go on the sidelines following Slammicersary.
Samoa Joe has ridden a major rollercoaster during his career. He’s reached the heights by winning championships and fallen to lows, thanks to injury. Joe is often ridiculed by writers who love to call him “Sloppy Joe”. It’s an unfair nickname. While Joe doesn’t have a sculpted physique, he does have an amazing set of moves at his disposal. Samoa Joe may be nearing the end of his career because of persistent injuries. If he finishes soon, he will got down in the history books as one of the most successful Samoan wrestlers in the history of wrestling. Samoa Joe is a master of submissions and power moves. He is also this week’s OWW Wrestler of the Week award winner.
– -Jay Shannon