Leave it to my friend and fellow wrestling writer Tom Clark to get out in front of this story before I have a chance to put anything on a word document. In many ways, wrestling writers draw from each other, taking different angles about the same topics everyone is talking about. This past week Samoa Joe cut a promo about an upcoming match against Big Cass which has me wondering, like Clark, if the Samoan Submission Specialist is on the verge of a babyface turn on Tuesday nights.
I hope not, but based on the comments he made look like that’s inevitable.
“The Samoan Submission Specialist is booked to face Big Cass in a Money in the Bank Qualifying Match on the May 22 edition of SmackDown Live,” Clark writes on thechairshot.com. “The two men have a reason to sound off on each other. Joe was simply generating heat and nothing more may come of this scathing promo. But what if it does?”
Joe, when given a chance to talk to Roman Reigns or AJ Styles or even Finn Balor, has proven to be every bit as good with a microphone in his hand as he is in a wrestling ring. The former NXT champion and TNA superstar hasn’t disappointed, but he also hasn’t been given the storyline he deserves. After a short program with Brock Lesnar where he lost to the Universal Champion, Joe has been lost in the shuffle, mainly because of injury. But upon his return following WrestleMania 34, Samoa Joe has proven the next six-plus months of 2018 could be his chance to shine.
Only, he could be doing it as one of the good guys. Joe carved Big Cass up in a promo that is reminiscent of his brash, striking style. While the company seems ready to push Big Cass toward the mid-card and on the fringe of the main event picture, it is Joe who deserves such a push, and eventually a title around his waist.
“Joe is a man’s man. He’s a legitimate tough guy and everyone knows it. His gaze is ice cold and his intentions are purely evil. Every time he opens his mouth, his words cut like a knife. Just as there is no wasted movement in his matches, there are also no wasted words when he speaks. Samoa Joe is deliberate and that is what makes him different,” Clark added.
And when it came to him challenging Reigns, he cut him to pieces with his words before losing to the “Big Dog” at the WWE Backlash pay-per-view.
I hope Tuesday night is nothing more than two heels fighting for the same goal. Samoa Joe is the antagonist SmackDown Live needs as part of its machine. A loss by either superstar doesn’t derail their momentum. A babyface turn by Joe might have a more profound effect.
Still, there is a reason WWE may turn the switch on changes to Joe’s character.
“Pro wrestling fans gravitate to this kind of personality. It’s precisely what first turned The Road Warriors babyface during the mid-80’s. The same was true of Jake the Snake Roberts in 1987. Stone Cold Steve Austin was supposed to be a heel as well but like Hawk, Animal, and Roberts, Austin turned face because of the crowd,” Clark wrote.
There are few performers on WWE’s roster who can move the needle like that now. The company may want to cash in on that and of course, make another change in the future.