Across the Line: Samoa Joe – The Patience of Violence

Across the Line

Across the Line

Samoa Joe – The Patience of Violence

By Richard Jennings

Samoa Joe

Samoa Joe

For five years now Samoa Joe has been one of the greatest assets of TNA. Not only is he one of the best workers in the company, but he also brilliantly embodies one of the most unique personas in the business. As such the news that Samoa Joe’s contract with TNA has very recently expired will be met with trepidation by any fan of Joe and the company.

Most would expect him to stay with TNA, especially as he is willing to continue to work for them on a show-by-show basis until any deal can be worked out, but there are a couple of issues that might scupper any potential deal between the Samoan Submission Machine and TNA. Issues that the company will want to address if they want to retain Joe, and – if they have any sense – they will want to retain him.

The first issue is that of money. It has been widely reported that TNA has recently been experiencing something of a, to put it kindly, cash flow problem. Bringing in Hogan, Flair, Jeff Hardy and RVD at the very start of the year has taken its toll on the company’s budget, and as the year draws to a close things have apparently become tough. Recently we have seen both Sabu and Raven being released and Eric Young and Rhino taking pay cuts. However when it comes to Joe we can hope and expect TNA to dig deep and offer him the deal he deserves. After all Joe isn’t a poorly booked journeyman or a once-great has-been trading on nostalgia and past glories, right?

Well, if you look at the way Joe has been booked this year then you might think otherwise. While it might be a bit strong to say that he had spent the year being buried he has certainly been horribly, horribly misused. It is this misuse that is probably the main issue that Joe has to consider during his contract negotiations. For the first half of the year Joe was directionless. After losing a title match to AJ Styles at Against All Odds in February he was forced to do the job to Orlando Jordan and then kidnapped. He then inexplicably reappeared in March and began a series of unprovoked attacks on various wrestlers. We still do not know who kidnapped him, why he was kidnapped or what drove him to the series of attacks he committed thereafter. Many fans thought that there might be an explanation when “They” arrived, but there wasn’t even a mention of Joe’s kidnapping. Joe must have been in love with TNA’s writers during that period.

What followed was certainly the nadir of Joe’s year. He gained a vague direction when TNA started doing a world rankings angle, and even managed to claw his way up a few spots with some victories. On the July 22nd edition of Impact he then wrestled Jeff Hardy to Broadway. The match was excellent – one of the best on Impact this year – with the two going full-bore for all of the ten-minute time limit, but the time limit wasn’t announced and Joe apparently wanted it that way, feeling that the finish would be made obvious if there was a countdown. Of course the production team felt differently and Jeremy Borash began a countdown when there was thirty seconds to go. Joe’s ensuing anger backstage was to result in him receiving a legitimate one-month suspension.

When you look at the situation from Joe’s point-of-view it’s easy to sympathise with him. He had been subject to dropped storylines and pointless jobs, quite possibly at the behest of relative newcomers to the writing and booking teams. Then when he finally gets a chance to shine in a match of decent length with a skilled opponent and decent motivation it’s spoiled despite his specific request that it not be. It’s no wonder that he blew up quite frankly; it’s not as if he’s some up-and-comer – he’s a Triple Crown Champion – he deserves some kind of say in how his matches are booked.

After this incident many speculated that he would quietly be granted his release from TNA and soon appear in WWE, but it was not to be. A month later he reappeared and aligned himself with Jeff Jarrett and Hulk Hogan in their battle against Sting and Nash. This was clearly a carrot-and-stick measure; the carrot was that he was given a proper storyline but, the stick meant that it involved carrying some seriously past-their-prime wrestlers. To Joe’s credit he has committed himself to this storyline completely and the result has been a regular spot on Impact and pay-per-views as well as a valuable role in the promotion-encompassing Immortal/Fortune storyline.

Nevertheless Joe should be hoping for something bigger and better very soon, and it’s definitely what he should be pushing for in any contract negotiations. Likewise you would hope that TNA would recognise Joe’s talent and seek to address the concerns which he will have doubtlessly picked up during the last year. Joe has shown dedication to TNA and it seems unlikely that he would take any decision to leave lightly, but there is only so far you can push a wrestler’s patience, and Joe was very patient in the first half of the year. His outburst in July might have suggested the limits of that patience and served as a warning to management that someone like Joe cannot, and should not, be sidelined, lest you lose them. Joe is immensely talented; let’s hope that he gets a chance to shine again soon.

Some closure on the kidnapping thing wouldn’t go amiss either.

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About Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan is a longtime wrestling fan and Owner/Editor of TNA UK . Also a contributing writer to a number of other online wrestling media including 1Wrestling.com, Wrestle Zone UK & Lords of Pain.

One Response to Across the Line: Samoa Joe – The Patience of Violence

  1. Dan(Ward) says:

    I read em, I said I would.

    To comment on the subject at hand, I’ve always found Samoa Joe to be a bit bland. You know what you’re going to get, he’s a solid performer but just not that exciting, maybe they felt they needed more exciting faces pushing for the honours.

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