Monday Morning Backlash: TNA’s Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy in the Wake of Final Resolution 2010

In the wake of TNA Final Resolution 2010, Samoa Joe may be done with TNA soon, while Jeff Hardy is still the heel champion. These two men are two of the biggest draws in TNA history, so let’s take a look at TNA’s handling of both.

Samoa Joe was originally the best TNA has ever handled a new talent. With amazing matches and a long win streak, along with a unique connection to the fans, Joe was both over and bought into by fans as a guy they’d pay to see kick ass. He was the logical person to end Jeff Jarrett’s years long reign of terror over the then NWA World Title, but, in the first of many times being overlooked for former big name talent, that was a spot given to a returning Sting.

Still, Joe remained strong and when Kurt Angle came in, he was the man chosen to represent TNA as a legitimate threat to him. This pairing has, multiple times, lead to the biggest buy-rates in the company and shown Joe can, if allowed, be a draw. Unfortunately, again, in favor of a former mainstream talent, Samoa Joe was made to be second banana. Angle didn’t only continually beat Joe, he also continually outsmarted him, beginning a trend that lasted even to last night of Joe being essentially helpless against heel shenanigans.

Joe eventually got the title and defeated Angle, but the damage was done. His title reign was good, but ended up being transitional to the next wave of talent TNA intended to push. Joe ended up out of main events and, despite the occasional great match, mostly forgotten, disappearing and re-appearing on television with nary an explanation. He’s now got a good, big feud with the evil Jeff Jarrett, but his spot is being utilized to build Jarrett for the return of Kurt Angle and he lost again last night.

Now, Samoa Joe is out of contract with TNA. He’s apparently negotiating a new deal and, for his financial security, I hope he gets it, but, more, I want him in WWE. With the pushes for CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, the WWE has a new willingness to push ROH developed talent of an unlikely look and Joe would work excellently as Punk’s enforcer or any number of other roles throughout any show. Even if only as a racial stereotype, Joe has likely been ruined as a top draw without major rebuilding and I hope to see the guy TNA never saw as good enough to be the man at least get enough out of this career to spend the rest of his life in comfort. If not, there’s still TNA, with their paychecks for mid-card work and constant passing up of Joe’s talent. They got him over, so they’ll always take the opportunity to use him to get over less-talented workers who’ve been in big companies previously.

Jeff Hardy, meanwhile, is, unsurprisingly, a mess. Every time he’s been away from the WWE’s structure, he’s fallen apart, right from his first TNA run. Currently, in addition to this video-

-Jeff also supposedly showed up “in no condition to compete” at last night’s Pay Per View. I’ve already spoken at length about what a mistake it is to turn the top merchandising guy, but TNA’s use of Jeff as their top talent is equally baffling. The guy is a renowned flake. WWE made him a ridiculously huge star and he walked out. He’s left multiple times and had huge drug issues multiple times, including a pending trial that resumes Wednesday. This is who you choose as the face of your company? Jeff could have been kept a face, kept putting on solid matches, and put over actual young talent that’s reliable, but instead, he’s the face of TNA and he’s doing what he always does- letting everyone down. Just like TNA let down Joe. I guess there is such a thing as karma.

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