Before I begin this article, I would like to stress to all of you that this was not written to be in anyway against Samoa Joe; I am a huge Samoa Joe fan.
We have all seen it, at least in his random appearances to attack Scott Steiner. Ever since he returned, Samoa Joe has been in the the midst of a gimmick change.
The question is, will it bolster his career or flat-out destroy it? Let's take a look at Joe's old gimmick and move-set compared to what we have seen from the new Joe thus far to try to determine that.
Old vs. New Gimmick
Joe's old gimmick is the one anyone who has been watching TNA over the last few years should be familiar with.
He is what can be only described as cerebral, the Triple H of TNA if you will. He would defeat his opponents easily in what can only be described as some of the better matches in TNA.
From what I can tell, the new gimmick that Joe has, is basically the old Joe with no restraint. He can only be called a violent, remorseless, dangerous psychopath.
He did not hesitate to put Steiner in life-threatening situations, something we did not see very often from the old Samoa Joe.
The entire gimmick seems to be based around Joe's two most infamous lines "Joe is going to kill you," and "Joe knows pain." These lines were good for getting the crowd ramped up.
Although I think taking a few lines of dialogue and trying to turn it into an entire gimmick and make it work is going to be insanely difficult, even for someone as talented as Samoa Joe.
For one, the size of Samoa Joe leads people to expect generic wrestling slams and throws, but Joe's move-set combines ruthless shoot-fighting with basic wrestling to comprise one of the most legit move-sets in pro wrestling today.
We also see amazing athleticism for someone of Joe's size, demonstrated through speed and amazingly high jumps. He has beaten many of the greats in TNA with his two deadly finishers: the Coquina Clutch (rear naked choke) and the Muscle Buster.
I really cannot say much about the new Joe's move-set, as he is yet to make a televised in-ring debut. Just from what I have seen and heard from Joe's promos with Scott, it will likely be even more ruthless than before, with more focus on the shoot fighting aspects of his move-set.
All and all, Joe is one of the best wrestler's TNA has, being a tag team, three-time X-division and heavyweight champion. He is also the longest-reigning champion since TNA formed their own title and is one of TNA's most beloved stars.
Samoa Joe is the reason I started to watch TNA, and if anyone can make the gimmick work, he can. Only time will tell where it takes him.