At Great Balls of Fire, a dream match will occur. Samoa Joe and Brock Lesnar, two genuine animals of the business will do battle in a WWE ring for the Universal title.
First, this is an incredible reality that we can’t quite believe is happening. With Joe working mainly out of TNA and Brock having a bipolar relationship with the WWE and wrestling in general, it seemed like this match was going to be impossible. Even when Joe entered the WWE, a possible match with the Beast Incarnate seemed a long shot. Yet, here we are, the most ridiculously named PPV in WWE history will see one of the most anticipated matches in WWE history.
The question is: will it work?
On the surface, the question is almost redundant. Of course, the match will work, both men are supremely gifted in the ring and their styles should mesh seamlessly to give a hard-hitting, yet technical match. Since he returned to WWE when was the last time Brock was in a match with a wrestler of the calibre of Samoa Joe?
No, the question is not about outright styles, instead, it brings into question WWE’s possible booking up to WrestleMania, and, more importantly, the booking of the match itself.
If the rumours are to be believed, Roman Reigns (boo) is going to be slaying the beast at WrestleMania for the ultimate rub. Will this work? That’s a question for a different time which we, quite frankly, haven’t got the energy for.
Regardless, for this to happen as Vince wants it, Roman has to be booked strong, as does Brock. That means that Brock will be holding the Universal title until WrestleMania. With Brock holding the title until Mania, there is no way Joe is winning at Great Balls of Fire. Even a protected loss lowers Brock’s aura, which will negatively impact on the rub he will give Roman.
Knowing Samoa Joe won’t win is an issue, but not a major one. Even with a telegraphed finish, Joe and Brock can still put on a beauty of a match with Brock coming out on top. And the promo that Joe and Brock’s advocate, Paul Heyman, did on Raw this past week, shows that there will be an intriguing build to the match.
We are looking forward to Brock’s response with a glint in our eye.
However, here in lies the second booking issue. Apart from a few notable exceptions, Brock Lesnar squashes everyone he faces, including WWE icons John Cena and Randy Orton. So it stands to reason that if the WWE are prepared to squash Cena and Orton, who have nigh-on 30 world titles to their names, they will have no issue with squashing Samoa Joe, a former TNA superstar with no WWE world titles to his name. This is especially true if it enhances the already unbeatable Brock. It’s long term booking that very few want.
This can’t and shouldn’t happen, but it’s a very real possibility.
For what it’s worth, we don’t mind seeing Joe lose, as long as he puts on a competitive match with the beast, but a competitive match with Lesnar goes against WWE’s long term booking plan. This is compounded by the fact that of the five in the fatal-fiveway match at Extreme Rules, Joe is, with the possible exception of Bray Wyatt, the guy that can eat a loss, competitive or otherwise, the most. Joe is a heel so a loss won’t harm his standing with the fans, he is a match for Lesnar in size so, unlike Seth Rollins and particularly, Finn Balor, a loss won’t bury him as a non-legitimate threat, and of course, Brock can’t face Roman because it’s too soon. With that logic, Joe was the obvious choice. WWE can feed him to the beast, Lesnar has a match and reasserts his dominance,
WWE can feed Joe to the beast, Lesnar has a match and reasserts his dominance, ratings peak and no faces take a loss. Everyone wins, apart from Joe.
If, on the other hand, the match is competitive. Joe gets a small rub from Brock, Brock still appears on TV for the ratings peak and no face takes a loss. Will the WWE see it this way, possibly, but who really knows.
Will Samoa Joe vs Brock Lesnar work? As a match, with the proper booking, it could. Will it? Judging by WWE’s booking decisions, both long and short term, we have a shudder running through our spine that a bonafide dream match, might just be an elongated squash match.