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Posted in: The Eternal Optimist
The Eternal Optimist Presents: Samoa Joe should NOT choke out Brock Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire
By Dave Fenichel
Jul 3, 2017 - 1:56:25 PM

Hi kids.

I decided to take a break from your regularly scheduled Eternal Optimist programming to chime in on The Great Balls of Fire main event.

It’s been roughly a month since Samoa Joe won the Fatal Five Way match at Extreme Rules to earn a title shot against Brock Lesnar at Great Falls of Fire. Shortly thereafter, our very own Mr. Tito wrote a column advocating that Samoa Joe SHOULD choke out Lesnar and become champion.

He’s not always my cup of tea, but Tito wrote a great and compelling column. I got excited. You got excited. We all stood up and cheered. It seemed like an amazing idea and exactly what the WWE needed to do.

He was wrong and so were we. Samoa Joe should NOT choke out Brock Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire.

I love Samoa Joe.

Samoa Joe is the best wrestler in the history of Ring of Honor. The entire company was built on the back of his nearly two year reign as World Champion. CM Punk’s ROH tenure had NOTHING on Samoa Joe’s. When he skipped town, ROH never recovered.

His TNA run was even better. I have fond memories of his undefeated streak. It was every bit as dominant as Goldberg’s in WCW. A.J. Styles, Low Ki and Christopher Daniels might have built TNA’s X Division, but Joe is the one who brought it to another level. His feud with Kurt Angle over the TNA world title is one of my favorites of all time. It was during this storyline and series of matches that I believed, for the first and only time, that TNA could be a legitimate competitor to the WWE.

None of that matters in 2017.

Brock Lesnar is an incredible draw and has been built to be an unstoppable monster. The person who eventually takes him out cleanly will in fact receive one of the biggest rubs in wrestling history. There is absolutely no reason for that person to be Samoa Joe.

What do all of Joe’s accomplishments that I raved about tell you? They all happened in the early to mid 2000s. They took place 10-15 years ago. Samoa Joe is 38 years old. He’s an old man by wrestling standards. We want Brock Lesnar and John Cena to move along and pass the torch to younger wrestlers. They are 39 and 40 years old respectively. Samoa Joe represents THAT generation of wrestlers, not the new generation that needs to carry the company for the next ten years.

He still cuts a great promo but he’s not the in-ring badass he was then. It’s not his fault. He’s old. Old men shouldn’t be the ones who are given the keys to the castle. There is very little upside to having Samoa Joe gain all of Lesnar’s heat.

The main eventers that draw major money fall into several categories. They are larger than life superheroes that appeal to the masses. Guys like Hulk Hogan or John Cena fit the bill. Samoa Joe is surely not that. They are characters that are cool by mainstream standards and attract the teenager and/or college crowd. Steve Austin comes to mind. Joe surely isn’t that either. There is the loveable underdog that catches lightning in a bottle. Daniel Bryan checks this box. Samoa Joe does not. There’s the crossover star that brings a tremendous amount of fanfare from another genre. While his opponent at Great Balls of Fire is the prime example of this, Samoa Joe is not.

What you are left with is a guy who has been great for a long period of time, but is simply too old and doesn’t attract the right audience to carry the company forward. I have no problem with Samoa Joe beating Brock Lesnar and winning the title at Great Balls of Fire. You could turn Heyman and have him cost Lesnar the belt. You could then book the rematch as the Summerslam main event and have Lesnar get his revenge. This would be a great way to honor Joe for his tremendous career, while recognizing that it’s far too late for him to be the one who knocks Lesnar off his pedestal for good.

In conclusion, having Samoa Joe choke out Brock Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire this Sunday sounded like a great idea. In reality, it’s the wrong move. Thank you for reading. Sound off below!

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