Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Samoa Joe Worked the RAW Dark Match, May Have Signed a Full-Time WWE Deal

Expect more of this in the near future
Photo Credit: WWE.com
At the beginning of 2015, Samoa Joe was just drifting along in TNA, the company that scooped him up when WWE signed CM Punk and then repeatedly hung him out to dry. Then, he left TNA, became the biggest ticket wrestler on the indies, and signed his true independent contractor deal with WWE that allowed him to take indie dates while also being positioned as one of Kevin Owen's many challengers. Joe has led a charmed life this year, and it took a turn last night for the interesting.

Joe started the night by showing up at RAW and working a pre-show dark match against Tyson Kidd. His appearance sparked wildfire speculation from fans that he might play a role in the show. Although he ultimately did not appear later on, he apparently wasn't in San Antonio just to take on Kidd in a match for the fans. According to Sean Radican, who passed the news along to Pro Wrestling Torch's Wade Keller, Joe was there to sign his exclusive WWE deal. According to the report, Joe will play out the string of his indie appearances, which includes dates for SMASH Wrestling and Ring of Honor among others. Once those are done, he will have exclusivity in dates for WWE.

The decision came hilariously enough after Vince McMahon was startled by the reaction Joe got at Takeover: Unstoppable and by how many t-shirts he sold, as if Joe wasn't going to move those metrics upon signing. Despite his shoddy presentation in TNA, Joe had remained one of the few big-time American-based wrestlers who had never been in a WWE ring in more than a jobber capacity, a status he'd shared before with AJ Styles and the Young Bucks. But regardless of how the circumstances came about, if the news is correct, then it's good for everyone involved.

I don't want to get my hopes up too high, since news like this has fizzled out after being reported. Additionally, the excitement around WWE can be squelched in a moment thanks to the whims of McMahon, whose grip on the main roster narrative has choked RAW for the most part. But the boundless optimist inside of me is trying to burst out and talk about a sea change in the way WWE tells stories and which people can be principal characters in said stories. A lot is going to ride on how the Owens/John Cena feud plays out, and one can ask both Rusev and Bray Wyatt how that can happen. However, maybe, just maybe, the daughter and the son-in-law has gotten themselves more influence and the true changes are on their way. Joe could very well be another huge piece in that puzzle.