As reported a couple of weeks ago, longtime TNA stalwart Samoa Joe left the company after his contract expired.
Ever since, rumours have been running rampant that a deal with WWE is on the horizon for the Samoan Submission Machine, despite the fact that he is in his 30s and does not have the 'look' Vince McMahon commonly wants in a superstar.
However, with it being reported that a deal is getting ever closer, it begs the question: How will Samoa Joe be used in WWE?
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Similar to his debut in TNA, one of the best ways for Joe to be brought into the WWE would be as a dominant monster. They can have him win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania and then rip through the entire roster, filling the hole of 'legitimate tough guy' which is likely to be left by Brock Lesnar should he leave after Wrestlemania.
However, this is the most unlikely scenario due to a number of different factors. Joe is in his 30's and has been wrestling since 1999, so a push like this would almost certainly be reserved for someone younger who will work for the company for longer than Joe will (like Rusev at the moment).
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Secondly, he does not have the typical 'look' Vince McMahon tends to go for in a superstar and so may not be pushed because of it and lastly, it is more likely that WWE would start the push and then end it suddenly (as they have done with Cesaro) and throw away a winning streak in a meaningless match (as they have done with Bo Dallas and the Ascension).
One of the most exciting options for Joe is a run in NXT where he can face guys like Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and Finn Balor in what would surely be show stealing matches. As shown with the recent influx of indy talent - Owens, Balor, Hideo Itami and Solomon Crowe to name but a few - it is almost a given that Joe would be given a lot of airtime and some great feuds.
This would be a great option for both Joe and fans alike as he finally gets a proper run in a WWE ring, he gets to put on great matches with an array of talent and gets to elevate said talent to next level by putting them over. What possible downside is there?
Joe has wrestled all over the world and has a wealth of experience and knowledge to pass on to future stars at the Performance Center. While he has never had a proper run in WWE, this should not prove to be a problem due to the fact that Sara Del Rey became the WWE's first female trainer without having a run in the company either.
As someone who has been a World Champion and faced legends like Sting and Kurt Angle, Joe's input could prove to be invaluable because newly appointed head trainer Matt Bloom (Albert/A-Train/Tensai) was never a main event star in WWE and neither were Norman Smiley or Terry Taylor.
Billy Gunn, is probably the closest but he was never a World Champion. Joe, on the other hand, has been multiple times and his advice on how to be a champion is something that the other trainers just can't give due to the fact that they never were themselves.
It does seem highly unlikely that a run on the main roster would happen for Joe. A
s much as a lot of fans would like to see him at a Wrestlemania, combining being a trainer and having an NXT run seems like the best idea for both parties as Joe still gets to perform in the ring but also gets to impart his knowledge of the business on to the future stars by both facing them in the ring and by training them at the Performance Center.
His experiences as a top star would be invaluable.