Samoa Joe officially becomes the top challenger for the World Title at AEW Dynamite. Does a great career that seemed to be over reach a late climax?
CM Punk. AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels. Bryan Danielson. Kenta Kobashi. Kurt Angle. Brock Lesnar. Roman Reigns.
The list of stars with whom Samoa Joe has had big and memorable matches is long. And it’s still hard to tell that the former training partner of superstar John Cena has been adding to it for almost 20 years now.
Now the 44-year-old heavyweight is facing his biggest fight in a long time: on the current edition of the TV show AEW Dynamite, he earned a match against World Champion MJF.
At the special edition “Grand Slam” at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where Novak Djokovic won the US Open a few days ago, the similarly ageless phenomenon Joe could now celebrate a late crowning of his glorious and style-setting career. A career that had actually already threatened an involuntary end.
Samoa Joe officially rises to the top challenger for the World Title at AEW Dynamite. A great career that seemed to be over reaches a late climax?
Samoa Joe fired twice by WWE
The athletic colossus, who did a lot to establish the ROH and TNA (now: Impact) leagues as WWE alternatives in the noughties, had to fear for his active career a few years ago due to head injury problems.
Joe had already started a second career with WWE as a commentator, but the apparent transition into retirement then took several twists and turns.
In the spring of 2021, WWE surprisingly fired him, a reinstatement for the rebuilding NXT squad arranged by promoter “Triple H” Paul Levesque ended with a ring comeback – and then another dismissal when Levesque lost power in the meantime and league boss Vince McMahon had the squad radically rebuilt in front and behind the scenes.
Successful reboot at AEW
Joe signed with AEW in the spring of 2022 and has since successfully returned to his best days, most recently with a rematch of the feud against CM Punk that once made them both great.
That Joe would now reach for the World Title was already indicated a few weeks ago at the Pay Per View All Out, in which Joe sought the conflict with MJF. Now Joe’s win of the “Grand Slam Eliminator” with a final victory over Roderick Strong made the duel official.
A title win by Joe is by no means out of the question, especially as it would be a not illogical new twist in the “bromance” between MJF and partner Adam Cole to change the constellation somewhat with MJF as champ and Cole as friend and partner also eyeing the belt.
MJF has been portrayed in recent weeks as weakened from the efforts of the dual reign as World Champion and ROH Tag Team Champ alongside Cole.
Joe’s final opponent Strong, an old friend and companion of Cole’s, also plays a role in the storyline: Strong, who resents Cole’s friendship with MJF, aggravated his own neck injury in the match against Joe, raising Cole’s concern. Joe used that to backstab Cole as well – and then threaten MJF that he would take “everything” from him.