Samoa Joe made quite the debut for AEW/ROH at Supercard Of Honor just recently. The pro wrestling industry and fan base was just waiting for him to make an appearance, really. And especially after the treatment of such an in-ring legend such as he is by WWE, can we really have expected anything less as far as debuts are concerned?
In truth, I’ll take this opportunity to say that AEW finally gave this gentleman the look and feel that he deserved. I always had a problem that when he started in WWE, they relegated him to NXT. He didn’t deserve that, especially after all he had done at other promotions during his long and tenured career—specifically in ROH and Impact/TNA.
The confusing end of his WWE run was also a disappointment and he had nothing to do with that. Mismanagement all the way. He was relegated to announcer duties after injuries and then was subsequently released. Then he was asked to return to NXT by Triple H only to be released yet again a few short months afterward.
His debut in AEW not only feels right, it’s apropos and was done perfectly, as stated. Now he’s in a great storyline and has the ROH World Television Championship and has his hands full with the likes of Jay lethal, Sonjay Dutt and the debuting Satnam Singh, the former professional basketball player.
Today’s piece though is to honor the great Samoa Joe and his accomplishments inside of the squared circle. We took a look back at his whole career and found too many epic matches to narrow it down easily, so we certainly missed a few, but here are 8 matches that most certainly stand out….
8.. Samoa Joe vs. Bryan Danielson at ROH Fight Of The Century for the ROH World Title
They were so young, both men, and even in these early days shown here, the greatness they would achieve was imaginable for anyone paying close attention.
Now they’re at the same company and if you ask me, being showcased in the right light, which is as professional wrestlers intent on wrestling day in day out.
7.. Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT Championship – WWE NXT on Dec. 7th, 2016
He had a lot of great matches during his time in NXT and this one stands out for obvious reasons. Shinsuke Nakamura too has been to a lot of the same places Joe has, and their combined experience made for quite the clinic on pro wrestling on that night.
6.. Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe at WWE Payback – 2017
As we’ve seen above, he had epic matches in NXT as well, but it wouldn’t be until he got to the main roster of WWE that he’d have matches more befitting a talent such as he, and what better way to justify his experience than in a match with Seth Rollins himself?
5.. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels at Unbreakable – 2005
Ah, the good old days of TNA/Impact. The product is still very good, but I miss those earlier days; the roster was so full of epic talents and it had that old WCW vibe that I’m partial to. This match delivers on all fronts and as far as three-way matches are concerned, it’s at the top of the list for me…up there even with Chris Benoit vs. Triple H, Vs. Shawn Michaels from WrestleMania 20.
4.. Samoa Joe vs. Claudio Castagnoli at ROH Gut Check – 2006
An epic match for sure and proof that Castagnoli, or Cesaro as he was known in WWE, should be the very next debut for AEW/ROH. Can you imagine if these two get to rekindle their old feud? It would make for even more epic matches.
3.. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Title At Super Show-Down (2018)
AJ Styles had a very different experience when he debuted for WWE. He and Joe had been to a lot of the same places, but Styles debuted at The Royal Rumble 2016 and Joe debuted at NXT, which really has always been considered the WWE farm league.
I always wanted Joe to have had a similar experience as AJ had. I love AJ and he too deserved the debut he was granted, but Joe as well. This match proves just why the two are evenly matched in my eyes and in the eyes of many.
2.. Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe at TNA Genesis from 2006
I guess it’s really all in the header of this entry. You have Samoa Joe and the incomparable Kurt Angle in one match. This match is legendary by now, but the two men had many battles during their time in TNA. Kurt Angle has stated that his matches with Joe are among his favorites.
1..Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk (Match 1) – June 12th, 2004
This match would spawn two more epic matches in the series and all three were or rather are considered to be quite legendary, but the first one most certainly takes the cake. Joe had the ROH title since 2003 and when CM Punk made the scene, they broke the mold of what a pro wrestling match could be in their first confrontation on that night in Ohio. This match would be come to be known as the “World Title Classic.”