We may have witnesses the changing of the guard on Monday Night Raw. The news of Samoa Joe winning the right to face Brock Lesnar at the WWE “Great Balls of Fire” pay-per-view may be one of those poignant moments in wrestling history. Not only did Joe deliver one hell of a sell of why he should be the number one contender, but his attack on Paul Heyman was exactly what the “Samoan Submission Machine” needed to define himself as WWE’s baddest ass on Monday nights.
And in some sick and excitable way, he proved to the millions watching on television he could very well be the “next” Brock Lesnar.
Putting the advocate of the “Beast Incarnate” in the Coquina Clutch, sending a message to the Universal Champion, is exactly what the current titleholder would have done in years past. The message by Joe, who was brought up from the NXT roster the night after WrestleMania 33, was as close to perfect as anything I have seen in some time.
Now that it has been announced that Lesnar will be on Monday Night Raw next week, WWE is doing the right thing in building a main event match for five weeks in advance.
Oh my gosh, it has the feel of WWE of the past – showcasing two giant superstars – where fans are waiting on every word, every move. While this is the “New Era” of this company, the “Attitude Era” appears to be alive and well.
WWE has taken many hits over the last couple of years for a lack of backstory with its feuds and the rush of finishing something and moving on. The slow burn of Joe vs. Lesnar could be as solid a program as we will see this year. The development of Joe, the former TNA world champion and former NXT champion, as the most feared heel in the company is perfect. While I can see many scenarios and subplots develop over the next month, it remains a fact putting Joe over at Extreme Rules was the best way for WWE to capitalize on a superstar who not only wants to be the top dog on Monday nights, but deserves a chance to prove he can carry the banner on his back.
This company has tried and failed in making Roman Reigns its top babyface. The fans won’t let it happen. Bray Wyatt continues to be a favorite despite the fact he is the cryptic message of a new generation. Braun Strowman was loved for his pure size and his ability to beat Reigns into oblivion. Lesnar is loved as a babyface and heel. There are others who have traveled this path.
Joe is perfect as the villain who wants heat from the fans and will thrive on it.
Joe also offers WWE something it needs – a champion who will appear weekly. As he pointed out in his promo, he wants Lesnar’s life. His schedule of working when he wants. His ability to handpick his opponents. He wanted Heyman is in corner to be his mouthpiece and everything that comes with being his advocate.
Not only does he want that, but WWE is about to make him the new bully on the block. Lesnar will still be considered one of the best at beating opponents into submission. Joe wants to be known for beating Lesnar into submission, and the one who takes the Universal Title into the New Era.