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Samoa Joe is perfect opponent for Lesnar at Royal Rumble

Dec. 30, 2011; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Brock Lesnar during a heavyweight bout at UFC 141 at the MGM Grand Garden event center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Few WWE superstars are as steady and confident as Samoa Joe. Since making his main roster debut on Jan. 30 of this year, he’s been involved in feuds with some of the top performers in the company — including but not limited to Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns.

He was a frequent fixture of the main event picture before he injured his knee at a house show in Augst, but he picked up right where he left off upon returning on the Oct. 30 edition of Monday Night Raw.

It now appears that creative will continue to build Joe up to be a legitimate heavyweight contender and someone who can hang with the likes of Lesnar and Reigns atop network special cards and televised shows alike. For the time being, it seems like we’re going to be given a heavy dose of Joe vs Finn Balor. Anyone who watched those two work together in NXT knows that it’s a feud that could elevate both performers, as their matches tend to be simultaneously brutal and compelling.

Recent reports suggest that Vince McMahon has cooled on the idea of Balor facing Lesnar for the Universal Title at the Royal Rumble. We can debate all day about why the Demon King isn’t as over as he should be, but it’s tough to argue with McMahon’s opinion that Balor simply isn’t “over enough” to take on Lesnar at one of the biggest events of the year.

That means that the WWE is currently scrambling for someone to put into the main event alongside Lesnar, and Joe could very well be that performer. We’ve seen those two tangle before, and the Samoan Submission Machine could be positioned perfectly to main event the Royal Rumble.

No one is going to beat Brock Lesnar until WrestleMania, and it’s largely assumed that Roman Reigns will defeat the Beast Incarnate for the Universal Title on that night. No one is kicking out of the F5 until that evening either, and if A.J. Styles isn’t going over on Lesnar, neither is Joe.

Joe’s character wouldn’t be badly harmed by a loss to Lesnar, though, and the right kind of booking could make him look even tougher than he already does. Brock is one of the rare performers in the WWE where his opponents can come out looking good even when they lose.

Dean Ambrose is a good example of that. He kicks out of things that few other superstars can get away with kicking out of, and it’s believable because we’ve seen Lesnar manhandle him during a network special. Joe can eat a handful of suplexes, sneak in some offense, take the pin and still look good following the Rumble.

Simply main eventing a show of that caliber would be a boon for Joe.

Based on what we saw this past Monday night — Balor passing out to the Coquina Clutch in the middle of the ring — it seems like that Joe will eventually emerge victorious in their feud. What comes next could be a big push to the main event of the Royal Rumble.

If he performs well enough leading up to and at that show, who knows what could be next for the always-over veteran.

Franklin Steele is the assistant editor and featured writer of FanRag Sports' NHL side. He also covers the WWE for FRSSLAM.com. Steele, who joined FanRag Sports in October 2013, has been watching and playing hockey since the age of 6. His work has also appeared on TheHockeyWriters.com, FanSided.com and Bleacher Report. All told, he has more than 3,000 bylines to his name and more than six million people have read his work since 2011. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @FranklinSteele (NHL) and @SteeleTheHeel (WWE).

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