Craig Wilson, Jamie Lithgow and Brian Damage
The WWE roster is filled with “superstars” at every level. There are the main roster guys who regularly appear on Raw and SmackDown, those who are used as glorified jobbers and those who are barely used at all. In this series of pieces, we will take an individual wrestler barely used and decide if they are worth keeping or should they be let go. Today we decide if we Book or Cook Samoa Joe.
Craig: This one might be a bit different in terms of options, I guess we can either ‘book’ him and have him move to Raw or Smackdown, ‘book’ him and keep in NXT challenging Nakamura for the NXT or cook him and have his run with NXT, and the WWE as a whole, come to a close.
I have to say, I am no fan of Samoa Joe. I thought his recent match at NXT Takeover was terrible, in no small part due to him. After all, he was up against arguably the best guy on the NXT roster and managed to have an abysmal match. He clearly blew up quite quickly and doesn’t have the conditioning for NXT. I believe he is almost the antitheses of the fast paced NXT show.
So, a move to the main roster? I say no to that too. I saw suggestion online that he would add to the IC title picture but I’m really not sure he would. Overall, am not sure there’s a place for Joe at all within the WWE.
What do you guys think?
Jamie: Okay, so Joe is as a monster, whether that be as a heel or babyface. Would he be permitted to look like a destroyer on the main roster? I’m not convinced. His gimmick is not too dissimilar to Rusev, who is bigger and more established. Physically he’s more akin to Kevin Owens, who is far more athletic and also more established. WWE would need to fully commit to pushing Joe as a dangerous man, and I just don’t see that happening.
I take your point about the Takeover match too. I didn’t get into until the last few minutes, but generally I like Joe. I do find that the quality of his matches varies more than others based on his opponent. In NXT we see him in fewer matches but on the main roster he would be booked against a wide range of opponents, and I have my reservations about him being durable enough to be worth watching once, twice or even three times a week.
Brian: To be honest, I am shocked that he is even an option for this subject. Samoa Joe is an absolute beast and a wrestling machine. While his match against Shinsuke Nakamura doesn’t measure up to Nakamura Vs Sami Zayn or Nakamura Vs. Finn Balor it was still a top quality match.
Joe is what he is and despite his size and look, can out wrestle more than half the men on the WWE roster. There is no way he should be cooked for any reason whatsoever.
Craig: In that case, do you think he should be promoted to the main roster, Brian?
I’m happy to lay my cards on the table, if they weren’t clear already, I don’t think he’s worthy of a promotion to the main roster. I agree with Brian, he’d be merely a Rusev-lite.
Brian: I think he should be on the main roster and to be perfectly honest, I think he would dominate it. Samoa Joe could have easily gone straight to Raw and Smackdown when he first signed. He would have made a better call up than Apollo Crews.
Craig: Whilst we’ve disagreed a fair bit so far, Brian, I certainly agree that the call up of Apollo Crews was ill-timed. Maybe I just have an irrational dislike for Samoa Joe. I just find him bland, with a lack of depth of character to him. Maybe that’s it for me? As a result, if he was called up I just think he’d seem so similar to others around him. But am not sure what you can really do with Joe’s character above and beyond having him being a dominating monster…
Jamie: With both of you guys very clear on your views, I’m naturally on the fence! I pretty much agree with everything both of you have said. I compared to Joe to Rusev and Owens purely because that is a likely comparison that will be made by fans who are unfamiliar with him.
His match with Nakamura wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, but on the whole I like Joe and hope he will be a success on the main roster when his time comes. I don’t have any reservations over him or his ability, rather WWE’s commitment to pushing him as the killer he should be presented as.
I’m going to say ‘book’. Conditions are perfect for Joe on the main roster at the moment. Two rosters equals twice the opportunity and also means half the exposure. Thus, his monster aura won’t be too diluted by appearing on TV two or three times a week. With Finn Balor looking at a spell on sidelines there’s also a vacancy for a top level guy on Raw. Give the guy a shot.
Brian: I say ‘Book’ as well because think of the matches he can have with main roster guys like AJ Styles, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins, Cesaro…heck…even Rusev. Joe is a legit beast in the ring and is tough as nails. He in my humble opinion is a top of the roster type of guy.
Does he have the look of the prototypical “superstar?” No, but he can sure as hell wrestle with the best of them.
Craig: Most contentious Book or Cook yet then… I disagree, don’t have anything positive to say whatsoever about Joe and I certainly don’t think he can wrestle with the best of them. I’d not be sorry if he didn’t make it up to the main roster.
So Brian and Jamie would book Samoa Joe to the main roster but Craig isn’t convinced by the merits of doing so. What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
You can read all previous ‘Book or Cook?’ pieces here.