Samoa Joe has become the “fortunate one” for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
Joe earned his No. 1 contender status by teaming up with Kurt Angle and being victorious over Magnus and Ethan Carter III. He made Magnus, the current TNA World Champion, tap out to his rear-naked choke. The two will collide on March 9 at Lockdown, where they’ll do battle inside a steel cage.
This will be Joe’s first one-on-one title shot on pay-per-view since taking the title from Angle in the 2008 Lockdown, where, incidentally, he also won his first TNA world title. Now, more than ever, TNA needs Joe to ascend to the main event.
Samoa Joe’s title shot came at the right time for TNA.
The wrestling league needs to make a splash big enough to stay relevant in the wrestling world. They’ve been experiencing a bad streak of luck in the past few months.
AJ Styles, their main attraction since the company’s inception, is officially gone from TNA. And The Icon, Sting, could be on his way towards WWE, per Bleacher Report's Sharon Glencross (via Bryan Alvarez of F4W Newsletter).
Kurt Angle, suffering from a knee injury, will most likely be taking time off, according to PWInsider.com (via Nick Paglino of WrestleZone). Former champions Bully Ray and Mr. Anderson are still embroiled in their feud since the Aces & Eights split up.
To make matters worse, there aren’t any face wrestlers being inserted to face Magnus. Current X-Division champion Austin Aries is busy defending his title. James Storm and Gunner are too occupied fighting each other. Former champions Bobby Roode and Chris Sabin are still heels—not the best moneymaking options to turn them face. Their other big headliner, Jeff Hardy, hasn’t been seen since his “walkout” storyline.
This leaves Joe, their only option for this marquee match and for a possible lengthy feud. Why Joe and Magnus? Frankly, the pairing is as reliable as ever.
The two have history as tag team partners, enemies and allies as members of the now-defunct Main Event Mafia. Plus, Joe still has drawing power. He appeals to the more adult demographic in the audience and still gets a big reaction at TNA crowds.
The tapings in England showed that fans love Joe. Come Lockdown, when he takes on Magnus, it will show again.
Samoa Joe got his title shot at the right time for TNA wrestling. The company needs him desperately to perform at the same level as he once did. The ball is in your court now, Samoa Joe; your move.