It only took a decade to get him there but Samoa Joe is now officially a WWE superstar. Numerous reports that the former TNA and ROH champion has signed a contract, making fans giddy with anticipation of WWE future.
Several reports point to a couple of factors for the deal. First and foremost, the company was said to be extremely impressed with the reaction Joe got when he confronted Owens in NXT. Second, the company was also said to be highly impressed at how quickly his t-shirt sold out. Finally and maybe more importantly than most care to admit, the recent announcement of Ring of Honor going to Destination America put Joe in a real advantageous position and hence an urgency was created to get the deal done.
I have to say that I am extremely surprised yet excited for Joe. Steve Austin has reportedly tried to get Joe in the WWE several times in recent years with little luck. Joe had two major things going against him. First and foremost, he didn’t fit the cosmetic look that we have become accustomed to seeing from WWE superstars. Second and maybe more important, he was a TNA star and the WWE has gone out of their way to avoid TNA guys in recent years. While signing Joe is very exciting, it certainly says a lot about a change in attitude in the WWE.
There are a couple of other interesting takeaways here. Kevin Owens is not an exception anymore. The WWE has obviously changed its attitude when it comes to physiques and that is a great thing. Vince McMahon for whatever reason has opened up his mind to different looks and I couldn’t be happier. The other takeaway as I see it, is that isn’t necessarily a good thing for Triple H. Hunter is in charge of this multi-million dollar performance center, developed to create new superstars essentially from scratch. While Rusev and Roman Reigns have been stellar graduates of the center, the majority of NXT stars are guys that came in with long pedigrees outside of the WWE. That doesn’t bode well for Trips performance review when it comes to how the center is producing new stars.
If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be watching television with Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe on it, I would have thought you were crazy. If you would have told me months before that I’d also be seeing Kenta and Prince Devitt on WWE TV I’d tell you that you are insane. The aggressive push to bring in these seasoned independent stars is something I don’t ever recall seeing in the WWE. It was a huge deal when the company signed Daniel Bryan a few years ago. Now they are aggressively hunting talent through the independents and Japan. You’d think Paul Heyman was running recruiting!
It is highly conceivable that WrestleMania 32 could have Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Hideo Itami, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose on the card. I don’t know about you but to me that is one hell of a working roster and something to get excited about.