Title: The Best of Samoa Joe: Unstoppable
Synopsis: Let me take you back in time dear readers to a wonderful period when TNA Pay Per Views were must see events which featured exhilarating matches and fresh young faces who were putting on spectacular displays of wrestling action the likes of which were unheard of in WWE. Imagine if you will a time when the X Division Title actually meant something and newcomers were given an opportunity to shine even if they had never worked in WWE before! Imagine an era where a recently signed Ring Of Honor wrestler was racking up wins on TV and PPV, and the announcers frequently brought up these previous wins during his matches and – get this – put over the importance of the victories and the consequences of what would happen when said wrestler eventually lost a match.
In short I want you to remember Samoa Joe’s first year in TNA and how quickly and effectively this newcomer got over and became one of TNA’s hottest properties and added to the already stacked roster that TNA boasted at the time. This DVD covers the first 7 months of Joe’s TNA career and an amazing collection of matches shown in between highlights of a sit-down interview with the man himself. Also included is a sweet music video, a slideshow and some outtakes from the main interview. This the best of Samoa Joe!
Reasons to Buy this DVD:
Samoa Joe vs Sonjay Dutt (Slammiversary 2005)
Naturally included is Joe’s TNA debut against the “Playa from the Himalaya ” Sonjay Dutt. A sound match in which Joe showcased all of his usual moves/sequences for those seeing him in action for the first time. The corner Uranage looked like it broke Sonjay’s neck! I’m not sure if that was good or bad for his first impression but at least it was memorable. Not exactly a squash as Sonjay managed to get in plenty of offence on Joe, but still a very decisive victory, the first of many as you will discover.
Samoa Joe vs Chris Sabin (No Surrender 2005)
Now here we have a superb match from an amazing event. Though Chris Sabin is mostly known as a tag team wrestler nowadays, he definitely showed here that he can handle himself in singles action. The match wasn’t exactly back and forth as Joe dominated a good 75% of it, but Sabin made several impressive comebacks, only to be immediately put down again. I loved how the announcers noted that at that point nobody had been able to sustain any serious offense on Joe. Sure they might catch him here or there with a few slaps, chops, or dropkicks, sure they might move out of the way if he’s charging towards them in the corner, but nobody was able to continuously stay on him for more than a few shots before the advantage swung back in his favour. That was exactly what happened here, and even when Sabin did manage to string a few combos together to really put Joe on the defensive, he still couldn’t hold Joe down long enough. A great match!
Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles (Sacrifice 2005 and Turning Point 2005)
We have two very good matches on this set against AJ Styles, one of Joe’s real life friends and favorite opponents. As you can imagine both matches here are gripping. The match at Sacrifice was the finals of the 2005 Super X Cup Tournament where they faced each other for the first time in TNA. That story was about Styles being Joe’s most difficult challenge to date and how even the Phenomenal One couldn’t keep Joe down.
The Turning Point match is based more around brawling than wrestling as Joe had taken out Christopher Daniels and AJ wanted revenge. I really like how AJ showed a more vicious side and attacked Joe with such fury that Joe was actually trying to escape for the first time in his career and not just simply block AJ’s offense. Very good matches indeed!
Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles vs Christopher Daniels (Unbreakable 2005)
What can I say about this match that hasn’t been said already? Easily one of the top five matches in TNA history, if not the best. Just three guys being given that main event and tearing the house down, leaving it all in the ring and any other wrestling cliche you want to throw out there. Move after move and near-fall after near-fall and so much emotion as the crowed was just crazy into it. TNA has attempted to replicate the awesomeness of this match twice since then (three times if you consider the fact that this match was almost the main event of Destination X this year). While both matches were great they just couldn’t live up to the original, but then the original as you will see set the bar sky high. All three deserve credit for this outstanding match and every TNA fan must go out of their way to include this match in their DVD collection.
Samoa Joe vs Jyushin Thunder Liger (Bound For Glory 2005)
Where else in the world will you see this match? … well maybe Japan but that’s not the point. This was the opening match of the first ever Bound for Glory and they started things off with an awesome dance sequence from Joe and a Polynesian troupe. Liger of course was greeted with a huge ovation complete with streamers and I don’t have to tell you how special it was seeing a legend of Liger’s calibre taking on an athlete like Joe. It was also a nice touch having NJPW President Simon Inoki in the front row to add to the atmosphere. A decent match and though it might have been shorter than I would have liked, it is still worth seeing for the sheer spectacle.
Samoa Joe, Alex Shelley, Roderick Strong and Christopher Daniels vs Matt Bentley, Austin Aries, Sonjay Dutt and Chris Sabin Elimination X (Genesis 2005)
Okay seriously, look at the names listed above and try to explain to me how this match can be anything less than awesome! Relevos Atomicos as it’s known in Lucha Libre or a traditional Survivor Series elimination match if you prefer, this 8 man elimination match was unbelievable! All eight men delivered here, but the main story of the match was the rocky relationship between Joe and Daniels and how Joe, lone wolf that he was, would get along with the rest of his team mates. This match was exciting from start to finish and showcased the lesser known talents like Strong and Aries (who of course are both well known today). Also included is the aftermath where Joe viciously attacks Daniels and the beat down is as memorable as it is bloody. All in all I’d say this is the best match on the DVD behind the Unbreakable match.
Samoa Joe vs Christopher Daniels (Final Resolution 2006)
The DVD closes with a very good match with Christopher Daniels for Joe’s X Division Championship. Admittedly it isn’t quite as good as the matches with AJ Styles but it’s a quality bout and the story about Daniels’ health being in question after the beating from Joe was very well done. A rare occasion when a TNA match ends in stoppage (Styles through in the towel after a bloody Daniels took a Muscle Buster on a chair) and an even rarer occasion when a stoppage finish in TNA makes perfect sense. It continued the feud for two more Pay Per Views, but unfortunately we don’t get those matches. As a final endorsement of this match, it is the only time I can ever recall Joe using a hurricanranna. If that’s not worth a second look then I don’t know how else I can sell it to you!
The interview segments with Joe in between matches are engaging for the simple fact that they are (yes!) non-kayfabe. An out-of-character Joe talks openly about his debut, his upbringing, his training, injuries, matches, etc. which makes for some fascinating insight into Joe’s life and in addition, doesn’t give your reviewer the impression that he’s watching a pre-taped promo on Impact Wrestling. Furthermore it’s actually more valuable to have a character like Joe be himself when the character he plays on TV is clearly a gimmick. For example AJ Styles talking out of character on a DVD isn’t that amazing because his character isn’t really any different from his true self (unless he’s playing a heel). Joe on the other hand was a heel who not only liked destroying his opponents, but never actually cut promos or even spoke for about a month. He was as silent as Chief from One Flew Over The Cukoo’s Nest (or Sin Cara for younger readers who prefer wrestling references) and his body language and facial expressions just gave off an impression of “Don’t mess with me or I will murder you.” The point I’m making is that having a character like that drop the facade makes the DVD more essential viewing because it lives up to the promise that we see the real Samoa Joe and not just a kayfabe production which only serves to insult the viewers intelligence.
Reasons to Avoid this DVD:
More Content Needed
What we have here is a very stacked DVD but I feel it was a mistake to produce this when Joe hadn’t even been in the company for a year. It’s the same problem with The Best of Jeff Hardy and Immortal Forever. TNA produced the DVD when Joe was one of their hottest acts, but that was before they had enough content to make this as good as it could have been. Again what we do have is excellent, I will not deny that. But then again TNA could have waited a little longer.
Other than that there’s nothing else to complain about. Apart from being released too early the only other problem I have is that former X Division and Tag Team Champion Amazing Red gets treated like a nameless jobber in an Impact squash match. That is seriously the only other complaint I could find.
This is an outstanding DVD release from TNA packed with great matches and in addition to Styles, Daniels and Sabin, we get some appearences from talented wrestlers from various promotions past and present (Liger, Dutt, Red, Strong, Aries, Delirious and the debuting Jay Lethal). Bottom line, I would recommend this to any fan who wants to start collecting DVDs.
I still can’t believe how far Joe’s stock has fallen since then. The fact that Joe hasn’t had any more DVDs released by TNA in the five years since this one tells me that TNA just doesn’t consider him a draw anymore. I’m glad to see AJ Styles got 2 DVDs so clearly TNA are capable of making another Joe set. Hell the fact that Jeff Hardy has a second DVD coming out and Joe, Daniels and even Kurt Angle haven’t gotten any sequels show where TNA’s priorities lie.
But to get back to the positive this is still one of TNA’s best DVDs and it has been a pleasure watching it again for this review. If you’ve only just started watching TNA then you need to see what you missed in 2005 and 2006. This is indeed the best of Samoa Joe.