Samoa Joe became the latest victim of Seth Rollins on the December 23 edition of WWE Monday Night Raw. Joe, who has been serving as color commentator on the red brand, refused to move for The Authors of Pain and as a result, he was taken down.

This was the first time that Joe crossed paths with Rollins and company, but it likely won’t be the last. It appears that The Samoan Submission Machine is headed for a major feud with The Beastslayer and the question is, does this mean that Samoa Joe is finally headed to main event stardom in WWE?

It’s been a long time coming for Joe, who will soon celebrate three years on the main roster. Main event glory has been heavily teased during his run, most notably with Brock Lesnar. The two men waged war over the Universal Championship, but Joe was unsuccessful in his bid to walk away with the title.

But that did not stop fans from supporting him. Despite how many times Joe tried to heel out, he often found himself getting cheered by the WWE faithful. He’s always been an effective antagonist of course, but the fans’ desire to see him win has been there from day one.

Watch Joe get attacked on Raw!

There’s just something about Joe that causes the crowd to rally behind him. Much of that has to do with his character, which has always been a straightforward bruiser. Joe is a submission technician, a man who can hold his own in a fight but can also go move for move with the best in the game. He proved his mettle many times before and every time he did, he earned a little more respect from the fans.

That respect has brought him to where he is today in WWE. Joe is viewed as a battle hardened veteran, a guy who has paid his dues and now deserves a legitimate shot at the top. But is he now getting it with Seth Rollins? Or is all of this nothing more than a way to get Seth over as WWE’s hottest new heel?

One potential problem with the angle involving Joe is that Seth doesn’t have anything to lose. Rollins is not the WWE champion and in fact, he doesn’t wear a title at all. This means that even though Joe could gain some ground with a few moral victories here and there, he would still leave empty handed. While championships don’t necessarily need to be included for a talent to get over, it may spark an interesting question in this situation. What will Samoa Joe get out of this?

Relive the war between Joe and Brock Lesnar!

Anytime a Superstar enters into a new rivalry, the endpoint should be a concern. Will the talent in question come out better that when he or she went in? If the answer is no, then what was the point? This is especially true in WWE, where storylines are often abandoned for seemingly no reason. One moment, a star is on the rise. The next moment, a star is extinguished before he can really shine. Will this be Samoa Joe’s fate? 

WWE has indeed teased this before, but did not deliver. Joe has beaten some of the company’s heavy hitters, including Roman Reigns and AJ Styles. But no matter what he does, Samoa Joe typically ends up right back where he started. There seems to be no good reason why and most of the time, fans are left wondering why he can’t seem to get ahead. He’s earned his shot after all and everyone knows that he can handle the pressure that goes along with being a top guy.

But recognizing his effort and truly giving him a chance, are two very different things. WWE seems intent on keeping Joe right where he is, which means he could never break through as a main event powerhouse. So perhaps this new run with Seth Rollins is Joe’s best chance. He could come out of this with decisive victories over Rollins, which may lead Joe back to WWE champion Brock Lesnar.

Watch Joe trap Lesnar on Raw!

If so, then WWE would be bracing itself for a renewed rivalry that could steal the show every time out. Joe and Brock are two undeniable forces that bring tremendous power and sheer athleticism to every match. They each want to be seen as credible in the ring, because that’s exactly what they are. In a company filled with one bit of silliness after another, Lesnar versus Joe is the one storyline that seems authentic and very believable.

Of course, fans cannot dismiss the importance of AOP in this angle. Akam and Rezar are a physically impressive tag team who should be on top of the division. But much like Joe, The AOP has had chances in the past, yet never seemed to get over the hump in WWE. Could it be that their fate, like that of Joe, is now changing?

Samoa Joe is one of the most widely respected Superstars working in WWE today. He’s proven himself time after time and every time he does it, he shows that he deserves more. Perhaps he will now get more. He’s certainly ready for it and the same is true of his fans.


Tom Clark is a Senior Pro Wrestling Analyst and Featured Columnist for Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes,YouTube, iHeart Radio, and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live



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