Home This Samoa Joe world title reign could be an awkward couple of months for AEW

This Samoa Joe world title reign could be an awkward couple of months for AEW

Chris Graham
samoa joe
Photo: All Elite Wrestling

The plan all along for Maxwell Jacob Friedman, according to Elite whisperer Dave Meltzer, was for him to drop the AEW world title to Samoa Joe at “World’s End” and then have MJF go on a break.

Which when you think about it, makes sense for this reason: the booking of MJF had been so awful of late that it will be good to get him off TV so that when he comes back, it’s a fresh start.

The torn labrum that MJF suffered at “Full Gear” last month played no role in the booking decision, per Meltzer, though the scheduled break for Friedman, who held the AEW world title for a record 407 days, will give him time to rest and rehab the injury, and the bad booking.

Putting the belt on Samoa Joe just reinforces how plain dumb it was for Tony Khan to send Joe out at “All In” to drop a clean fall to CM Punk, given what Khan says went on backstage literally minutes before the match – Khan has said that the melee involving Punk and Jack Perry was so out of control that he feared for his life, his reasoning for firing Punk, who is now making big bucks in and for WWE.

It will be interesting to see who emerges as the first contender for the new heel champ, given the relative lack of top babyfaces on the roster, which is what happens when you are coming off a long run with a babyface champ – and you load up on the heel side to be able to throw guys into the main-event picture.

The most logical contender just from recent booking moves would seem to be Swerve Strickland, a “cool heel” who gets as many cheers as boos from the fans, and could somewhat easily make the switch to the other locker room.

Other than that … I’m struggling.

Orange Cassidy, as the International champ, is doing fine as the top guy among the mid-carders, but Cassidy is a gimmick act, and thus not someone who, under any circumstance, should ever be in the main-event mix.

Former AEW champ Chris Jericho has been on the face side of late, but the issue that emerged over the weekend with backstage dealings with former AEW talent Kylie Rae and perhaps others could very well have him on the way out of the company soon.

Kenny Omega is damaged goods.

Maybe Will Ospreay? Meh. Ospreay is much, much better as a heel, and would be a good heel champion for his company once he gets established with the AEW fan base.

This Joe reign is already starting to feel like when Ron Garvin won the NWA world title from Ric Flair in 1987, to set up Flair winning the belt back at Starrcade, and Garvin had to get through a couple of months as a face champ defending against the likes of Ivan Koloff, because Jim Crockett had loaded up on top faces to have guys to work with Flair, the heel champ.

That was an awkward couple of months.

This Joe reign could be another awkward couple of months for AEW.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].