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Samoa Joe: Moral Victories Don’t Create Superstars

In his latest piece, PWP Nation’s Eron Ramadanov explains why moral victories will not propel anyone to the next level of superstardom. 

Another one bites the dust.

With WWE Great Balls of Fire in the history books, another challenger has fallen short against Brock Lesnar. After weeks of build and anticipation, Samoa Joe was unsuccessful in slaying the Beast Incarnate. Although the main event of WWE Great Balls of Fire was very entertaining, as I found myself on the edge of my seat, there is an overarching disappointment hanging over this show that many probably haven’t noticed.

Going into this show, the perception was that Samoa Joe needed a spectacular showing to elevate himself to the next level, which would make him into a mainstream superstar. Although many of my fellow PWP Nation staffers believe that Samoa Joe is a “made-man” regardless of the finish, I respectfully disagree.

WWE most certainly had the opportunity to make Samoa Joe into a “made-man” by not only protecting him in the finish of this match, but even putting Samoa Joe over as WWE’s dominant force and the new WWE Universal Champion. Now, I’m not naive. I understand that Samoa Joe was going to take a clean loss to Brock Lesnar, but I was hoping for change of heart. I was hoping for Vince McMahon, Kevin Dunn and everyone in the back to see how great Samoa Joe has been throughout this feud, how fantastic he was during the main event of GBOF and call an audible and run with Samoa Joe as the Beast of the Summer.

Before I continue, I would like to make something very clear. It’s still very possible that Samoa Joe’s character can be salvaged. What happens next for Samoa Joe will define whether or not WWE still cares about elevating him into that next level of superstars. But the overall point of this article is to make it very clear that moral victories do not create superstars. It never has and it never will.

Yes, the idea of chasing a title and falling short is a story that has been done a thousand times in WWE and other wrestling promotions, but how many SUPERSTARS has that story created over the years. Coming close is great and everything, but at some point, there needs to be someone who actually is presented as a legitimate threat and someone who actually wins the title and beats Brock Lesnar.

Samoa Joe was that guy.

What happens when WWE continuously has guys like Samoa Joe come really close but fall short is that they are training their audience, especially the mainstream casual fans, to think that no one can ever overcome Lesnar, the Championship and ultimately, that next level of superstardom that Lesnar has. Yes, that type of story can be told and told effectively, but when the only people to legitimately defeat Brock Lesnar are John Cena, Triple H and Goldberg, there’s a problem there. I’m not saying that Samoa Joe is already at the point where the mainstream fans see him as a loser, but it doesn’t take very much to get there; ask Dean Ambrose or Dolph Ziggler. WWE fans can only tolerate so much losing before they stop caring.

WWE has conditioned their audience to view guys like Samoa Joe as less than, because by all accounts from a booking standpoint, they are. In their main event match at GBOF, Samoa Joe simply took one F-5 and was pinned clean as a sheet.

Again, let me state that I get it. WWE seemingly have bigger plans in mind, that include Roman Reigns being the one to dethrone the Beast. But personally, I felt like the finish for Lesnar vs. Joe was a little lazy and complacent. It was decisive, but predictable and lacks foresight.

In closing, I don’t believe Samoa Joe is a”made-man” by any stretch of the imagination. He has now been delegated to just another guy on a show that already has plenty of “other guys.” Joe’s character and credibility can be salvaged and he can get back to a level where casual fans view him as a star, but one thing that is not debatable is that nothing can make Samoa Joe a bigger star than if he had beaten Brock Lesnar at WWE Great Balls of Fire.

Joe may still be viewed by some casual fans as a legitimate star, but he will never reach the point of where he was during this feud. In the end, moral victories don’t do anything for WWE superstars and did not do anything for Samoa Joe.

Thanks for reading.

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About Eron Ramadanov

Editor-in-Chief & Senior Columnist at PWPNation.com

  • Kelsi Schmaadoo

    I definitely agree with this. Very well written! Others who have faced Lesnar and lost were subjected to multiple F5s and many more suplexes than I saw in the match between Lesnar and Joe. Joe, I believed, was a believable contender and challenger to Lesnar. And I was hoping, even if they wouldn’t put the belt on him/let him beat Lesnar, that they would at least make him seem like more of a bada$$ threat. Yes, he controlled the match early on and was dominant for a good while within the match, but it still only took one F5 to put him away clean. Joe is a top-tier talent that they should be elevating, not a talent that they should be throwing road blocks in front of making it harder for the audience to believe he is a top guy/a contender/main event player. I get they want to have bigger names, many of them part timers, to draw in the casuals, but you are hurting business long term, when the casuals tune out, meanwhile you have been constantly demeaning and lessening the potential of the wrestlers who make up the full time roster. How can you build a newer set of main event stars in the eyes of even casual fans if you are relying on nostalgia to constantly put over part time/past WWE stars?