Yesterday’s Indy Stars, Today’s Main Stars.

Hey Folks, you’re here on the newly named SharpShooter: Best of the Shoot which was formerly known as Ryan’s Favourite Photos. The new name was to signify a new start for me and this article. Ryan’s Favourite Photos had lost its shine but I’m here to get that shine back. First off let me tell you a lil’ somethin’ about me, OLD SKOOL!

I’m the Shooter and anyone who steps foot in here comes face to face with the best of the best. You may be asking what the best of the best is, well here’s the answer. Come hell or high-water I bring you the best of the best in the world of photos. As I said, I’m the Shooter and this is my Shoot. With my camera in hand, I’ll bring the best photos to the Wrestling Rambles brand. In-Ring focus is my speciality, forget the bitches at Hooters cos it’s all about the Shooter! LET’S GO!

Pardon that horrendous promo to open the show but hey, it’s all about fun here, right? This article is about the stars of today that used to be and may still be the big Indy attractions. Without further delay let’s have a look at the first of those stars.

Samoa Joe
Joe first started his career in Ultimate Pro Wrestling in 2000. UPW was WWF’s development affiliate and Joe was sent there to feud with the then not so known John Cena before making an appearance on WWF Jakked against Essa Rios (does anyone remember him?). During his time in UPW Joe won the UPW No Hold Barred Championship and the UPW Heavyweight Champion. In Joe’s tenure as UPW Heavyweight Champion Joe broke the record as the longest reigning champion and still holds the record to this day.

In 2001, Joe went to Japan to wrestle for Pro Wrestling Zero1 fighting in its Shingeki series of PPVs as well as their annual Burning Heart tournaments. In 2001 Joe also wrestled for the Southern California promotion Pro Wrestling Guerrilla where he feuded with Super Dragon. He continued with the promotion throughout 2002 but soon left when they asked for him to portray a more gimmicky character.

Joe then started wrestling in Ring of Honor making his debut at the Glory by Honor show taking on the role of Christopher Daniels’s hired assassin who was to take out Daniels’s opponent Low Ki. ROH had originally been booked for one match only but when the ROH took to Joe’s stiffer style ROH decided it would be great to invest in him full time. Quickly rising through the ranks Joe became the ROH champion when he defeated Xavier. The ROH championship was then renamed the ROH World Championship whenever Joe defeated the Zebra Kid at Frontiers of Honor in London.

Joe had a trilogy of title defences against CM Punk in which the second match was awarded a 5 star rating from Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter which was the first American match in 7 years to earn such a rating. Joe continued on as champion for 21 months before meeting his match in Austin Aries at the Final Battle in 2004. After losing the belt to Aries, Joe went on to become ROH’s 5th Pure Champion defeating Jay Lethal at Manhattan Mayhem in NYC.

Holding the title for over three months Joe then faced off against Nigel McGuinness losing the belt at Dragon Gate Invasion. In 2005 Kenta Kobashi from Japan made a Once in a Lifetime trip to the USA and got booked on two ROH shows, facing off against Joe in a singles match that was awarded a 5 star rating from Meltzer which then went on to win the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Match of the Year. In 2006 Joe took part in the war against rival Philadelphia promotion CZW (Combat Zone Wrestling). The war would culminate in a five-on-five Cage of Death match at Death before Dishonor IV. ROH dominated the match but when Joe picked up Chris Hero (now known as Kassius Ohno in FCW) for one of his finishers, fellow ROH wrestler Bryan Danielson attacked Joe repeatedly hitting the injured knee with a steel chair forcing Joe to quit the match.

Despite this ROH still picked up the win but when Danielson attacked Joe a feud was set up between the two. Joe came up short against the champion Danielson in several matches including a 60 minute draw and the final match being a steel cage match.  After this, Joe then called out Japanese promotion NOAH which resulted in Joe beating Takeshi Morishima in a singles match. In January 2005 Joe stated his intentions to leave ROH after March 4 which allowed ROH to bill all the shows up to that date the Samoa Joe Farewell Tour. In his final match for ROH Joe beat longtime rival Homicide by using his finisher the Muscle Buster from the 2nd rope. However, Joe would return for a one night only appearance in November at the Rising Above defeating Tyler Black in a non PPV main event.

Joe would then relocate to Total Nonstop Action where he has since become one of the biggest stars in the promotion and thus earned himself a place in the wider wrestling limelight. Since debuting in TNA Samoa Joe has went on to win:

  • TNA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • TNA World Tag Team Championship (2 times, current) – by himself (1), with Magnus (1, current)
  • TNA X Division Championship (4 times)
  • King of the Mountain (2008)
  • Maximum Impact Tournament (2011)
  • Super X Cup (2005)
  • Turkey Bowl (2007)
  • Wild Card Tournament (2011) – with Magnus
  • Triple Crown Champion (1 time)
  • Mr. TNA (2006)
  • Mr. X Division (2006)

You’ve stuck it out this long, why not look through some photos and ease those eyes!

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This is the first of a few articles focusing on wrestlers who have been stars on the Indy circuit and have become even bigger since, I’m using Wikipedia as a source therefore if any information is incorrect I apologise and eh… bye! I hope you enjoyed reading about Samoa Joe’s time on the Indy circuit. There were other promotions that Joe worked for but I couldn’t really get much information on it so as I said I hope you enjoyed what I fed to you and I hope you’ll be back next week for more!

If you wish to follow me on twitter for all thoughts wrestling then you can do so by following me @Razor_WWE94

Remember if it’s not in-ring focus you shouldn’t bother!

-Ryan.

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