But maybe the REAL question is: Did Samoa Joe ever have what it takes in the first place?
Hereâ<80><99>s how one wrestling insider described Joe: â<80><9c>He looks like a slob, dresses like a bum, canâ<80><99>t cut a promo and has no charisma.â<80> Try to argue with that. Maybe Joe was just a niche performer all along, a guy who made major impact with ROH, a little-engine-that-could promotion, then failed miserably with a bigger company despite being indefinitely rammed down the fansâ<80><99> throats as a top guy. Joeâ<80><99>s a latter-day Sandman, only he has a weight problem instead of an alcohol addiction.
Joeâ<80><99>s weight IS a problem. Wrestling fans rarely take the obese seriously, except those heavy enough to fall into the freak-show category. Every time I see Joe on TV, his girth and ill-advised fashion sense make me think one thing: â<80><9c>Fat guy in a little coatâ<80>¦â<80>
Yeah, Iâ<80><99>m fat. So what? No oppressed minority devours its own like the morbidly chunky, preferably with a side of cheese fries.
As far as his promos and charisma go, Joeâ<80><99>s permanent sourpuss kills him. He not only sounds whiny, he looks whiny. He has the Samoan version of bitter-beer face.
Are his interviews scripted properly? Probably not. But you either have to take control or rise above, and if youâ<80><99>re talented enough, youâ<80><99>ll get over. Look at the Chris Jericho-Shawn Michaels program in WWE, by far the best thing in wrestling today. Itâ<80><99>s good, in large part, because Jericho and Michaels have control of it and have the savvy to make it work.
If Joe canâ<80><99>t take the helm of his own program in TNA, thatâ<80><99>s his fault. Heâ<80><99>s certainly up the card far enough that he should be able to do so. If Joe does have control, his failure speaks for itself.
John Cena is an example of someone who rose above. WWE originally booked him as the wrong white rapper â<80>” Marky Mark, not Eminem â<80>” but he rose above. Some WWE fans booed Cena despite his positioning as a babyface â<80>” some still do â<80>” but he rose above. Cena is one of the top stars in WWE, not so much because of how heâ<80><99>s been used, but because he always had the indefinable â<80><9c>it.â<80>
Joe does not.
Ultimately, the fans choose. Not the Internet schmucks, but the everyday fans, the ones who watch Impact!, who purchase PPVs, who attend live shows. The Impact Zone used to love Joe. But when was the last time you heard a â<80><9c>Joeâ<80><99>s gonna kill youâ<80> chant? Joeâ<80><99>s a whiny, easily-duped fat guy now. At TNAâ<80><99>s most recent taping, â<80><9c>Sloppy Joeâ<80> was the mantra sung by the marks.
Fan adulation isnâ<80><99>t everything, though. Remember when Sting succeeded Ric Flair as WCW flagship in the early â<80>~90s? The arenas went nuts for Sting â<80>” even as attendance dipped continually and consistently.
Some argue that Joe should have been booked as a one-dimensional killing machine, period. Perhaps that should have been the case a bit longer. But sooner or later, your character has to grow. If Joe couldnâ<80><99>t handle it now, thereâ<80><99>s no guarantee he could handle it later.
If Joe ever goes to WWE, heâ<80><99>ll be used as a garden-variety lard-assed Samoan and limited to the middle of the card. When TNA began pushing Joe, WWEâ<80><99>s answer was the laughably stereotypical Umaga , and guess what? Umaga meant more, did more and drew more than Joe.
One of my favorite sports truisms is: What could have happened, did.
It definitely applies to Samoa Joe.