Samoa Joe, known for his dominating presence and hard-hitting style, has been one of the most iconic wrestlers of the past decade.
Throughout his career, he has entertained fans around the world with his intense matches and incredible in-ring performances.
From his early days in Ring of Honor to his time in Impact Wrestling and WWE, Samoa Joe has built an impressive resume of unforgettable matches.
His style, which combines powerful strikes, technical wrestling, and submission holds, has earned him a legion of fans and made him a feared opponent in the ring.
In this article, we will take a closer look at Samoa Joe’s best matches, exploring some of the most memorable moments of his career.
We will examine his battles against some of the greatest wrestlers of all time, including AJ Styles, Kurt Angle, and Brock Lesnar, as well as his championship reigns and legendary feuds.
Whether you’re a die-hard wrestling fan or a casual viewer, you won’t want to miss this in-depth analysis of Samoa Joe’s greatest matches.
So sit back, relax, and prepare to relive some of the most electrifying moments in the career of one of the most dominant wrestlers of all time.
Samoa Joe’s Best Matches
In this article, we’ll talk you through the top 10 matches in the incredible career of Samoa Joe.
To decide what makes the top 10 list, we’ll look at the star ratings awarded by Dave Meltzer, of the Wrestling Observer.
10. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels (TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match) – TNA Against All Odds (2006)
While this was not the famous triple threat match between Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, it still manages to make the list of Samoa Joe’s best matches.
This was a fast-paced affair, with very little downtime. As one man got tired, he left the ring and let the other two fight it out.
The trio fought the next year in a greatest-of-all-time bout, so this one rather goes under the radar, but remains in the top ten of Samoa Joe’s best matches.
9. Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (NXT Championship Match) – NXT Takeover Brooklyn II
It was a surreal moment for wrestling fans when Samoa Joe finally made his debut in NXT back in 2015, marking his entrance into the WWE.
By 2016, NXT had risen to prominence in the wrestling world, selling out larger and larger venues and boasting an impressive roster of marquee talent.
Among these talents were Joe, who was on a dominant run as the NXT Champion, and Shinsuke Nakamura, the self-proclaimed “King of Strong Style” who had recently signed with NXT after making a name for himself in NJPW.
The match between Joe and Nakamura at a SummerSlam weekend event in Brooklyn was undoubtedly deserving of its main event slot.
With their striking-based and grounded combat styles, Joe and Nakamura complemented each other perfectly, dishing out and taking an equal amount of punishment.
Although the match was exceptional, it was slightly hindered by an ill-timed jaw injury suffered by Samoa Joe, which expedited the match’s finish.
Despite this setback, it was still a stellar main event from a pivotal year for the NXT brand and a glorious showcase for both men. Additionally, Nakamura’s impressive victory over Samoa Joe further solidified his ever-rising popularity.
The match was a testament to the skill and talent of both Joe and Nakamura, who were two of the most exciting wrestlers in the business at the time.
Joe’s dominant run as the NXT Champion had already cemented his status as a top-tier performer, and Nakamura’s signing with NXT had generated a buzz of excitement among fans who were eager to see what he could do in the WWE.
Their clash in the main event was the perfect showcase for their unique styles and incredible abilities, and it left fans buzzing with excitement and anticipation for what was to come.
In the end, the match between Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura at the Brooklyn event was a highlight of the NXT brand’s meteoric rise to prominence in the wrestling world.
It was a showcase of some of the best talent in the business, and it solidified both Joe and Nakamura’s status as two of the most exciting and innovative wrestlers of their time.
Despite the injury suffered by Joe, the match was a thrilling and unforgettable display of athleticism and skill, and it remains one of the best matches in the history of the NXT brand.
8. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles (TNA X Division Championship Match) – TNA Turning Point (2005)
The Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles match for the TNA X Division Championship at Turning Point 2005 was a highly anticipated clash between two of TNA’s biggest stars.
The match was a classic encounter that showcased the athleticism, skill, and intensity of both competitors. It was a true battle between two of the best wrestlers in the business at the time.
Samoa Joe was dominant from the outset, using his power and striking ability to control the match.
However, AJ Styles fought back with his speed and high-flying maneuvers, keeping the match evenly balanced throughout. Both wrestlers exchanged some hard-hitting moves, with each trying to gain the upper hand.
As the match progressed, Samoa Joe began to wear down AJ Styles with his relentless offense.
Styles fought back, but it was evident that Joe was too strong for him. In the end, Samoa Joe emerged victorious, retaining his TNA X Division Championship by forcing the referee to end the match, via technical submission
Overall, the Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles match at Turning Point 2005 was a classic encounter that showcased the best of what professional wrestling has to offer.
It was a highly competitive match that featured both technical and high-flying wrestling, and both competitors delivered an outstanding performance.
This match will go down as one of the greatest in TNA’s history and cemented Samoa Joe and AJ Styles as two of the best wrestlers in the business.
7. Samoa Joe vs Darby Allin (AEW TNT Championship Match) – AEW Dynamite 174
Samoa Joe has faced many talented wrestlers throughout his career, and one of his more recent opponents was the enigmatic Darby Allin. Their match took place on an episode of AEW Dynamite in August 2021, marking Joe’s return to the ring after a two-year hiatus.
From the opening bell, the contrast between Samoa Joe’s brute strength and Darby Allin’s agility was clear. Allin’s high-flying maneuvers were a sight to behold, but Joe’s size and power allowed him to ground his opponent and wear him down with his signature submission moves.
Despite his disadvantage in size, Allin showed incredible heart and resilience throughout the match. He was able to withstand Joe’s punishing strikes and submission holds, and even landed some impressive offense of his own. In the end, however, Joe’s experience and power proved too much for Allin, as he was able to secure the win with a devastating Coquina Clutch.
The match between Samoa Joe and Darby Allin was a showcase of two very different wrestling styles, with each wrestler bringing their own unique strengths and abilities to the table. It was also a reminder of Joe’s dominance in the ring, as he made a triumphant return to the world of professional wrestling. The match was highly praised by fans and critics alike, with many calling it one of the best of the year so far.
6. Samoa Joe vs. Bryan Danielson – ROH Fight of the Century 2006
Bryan Danielson, better known as the American Dragon, has left a lasting impression on the world of professional wrestling.
Known for his exceptional in-ring abilities and his ability to put on a great match with any opponent, Danielson has earned his place in the pantheon of wrestling greats. One of his most memorable matches was against Samoa Joe at ROH Fight of the Century 2006.
In this classic encounter, both men brought their A-game and left it all in the ring. The level of selling from both wrestlers added to the drama, making each blow and submission hold look devastating.
The match was a testament to their skills and their ability to create a memorable performance. Neither wrestler was able to secure the win before the time limit expired, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats until the very end.
This match is a must-see for any wrestling fan who wants to witness two masters of their craft at work.
5. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles (TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match) – TNA Turning Point (2005)
Two legends of both TNA and ROH clashed in a huge X Division title match at Turning Point 2005, in one of Joe’s best matches ever.
Just a month before the TNA Bound for Glory event, the wrestling world was shocked when Samoa Joe attacked Christopher Daniels in a sudden and unprovoked assault at the Genesis event. The attack was widely criticized for its lack of sportsmanship, with many fans and pundits questioning Joe’s integrity as a wrestler.
In response to the incident, A.J. Styles, the reigning X-Division champion, challenged Joe to a match at the upcoming TNA Bound for Glory event. This would be a high stakes match, as Styles would be defending his title, which he had won in a thrilling match three months prior, while Joe would be putting his then-undefeated streak on the line.
The stage was set for a thrilling encounter, with fans eagerly anticipating the clash between these two titans of the wrestling world. The match promised to be a showcase of athleticism, skill, and determination, with both Joe and Styles eager to prove themselves as the best in the business.
Despite the controversy surrounding Joe’s previous actions, there was no denying his raw talent and power in the ring. His undefeated streak was a testament to his skill and determination, and many fans believed that he had what it took to defeat Styles and claim the X-Division championship.
However, Styles was not one to back down from a challenge. He had earned his title through hard work and dedication, and he was determined to defend it with all his might. Styles had a reputation for being one of the most exciting and innovative wrestlers in the business, and he was determined to prove that he was the best in the X-Division.
As the two wrestlers prepared to face off at Bound for Glory, tensions were running high. Fans were on the edge of their seats, eagerly awaiting the start of the match. When the bell finally rang, the two wrestlers sprang into action, trading blows and executing breathtaking moves with lightning speed.
The match was a classic, with both wrestlers pushing each other to their limits. In the end, it was Samoa Joe who emerged victorious, successfully defending his undefeated streak and winning the X-Division Championship.
The match was a fitting end to a heated rivalry, and it cemented Styles’ status as one of the greatest wrestlers of his generation. Despite the controversy and drama leading up to the event, the match proved that, in the end, it was skill and determination that mattered most in the world of wrestling.
4.Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle (TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match) – TNA Lockdown (2008)
This match was for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, and it pitted two of the best wrestlers of their respective eras against each other.
The match built on the growing popularity of the UFC, by employing an MMA-style to the match, in a first for TNA.
Inside the steel cage at TNA Lockdown 2008, Angle came out in fight shorts and wrapped feet, ready to grapple Samoa Joe in what would be one of the best matches of both men’s career
One thing that made this one of Samoa Joe’s best matches is the uniqueness of the bout, and how they baulked expectations with a grapple-heavy match.
Angle and Joe had a history of bad blood, and they didn’t hold anything back in this match. The match featured plenty of technical wrestling and hard-hitting strikes, with both men coming close to winning on several occasions.
In the end, Joe emerged victorious, winning his championship and earning the respect of the Olympic Gold Medallist.
3. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels (TNA X Division Championship Match) – TNA Unbreakable (2005)
Considered by many to be one of the best matches in TNA history, this match was for the X Division Championship, and it featured three of the best wrestlers of their era.
The match was fast-paced and full of high-flying moves and innovative counters, with all three men showcasing their incredible athleticism.
This is widely considered the greatest triple threat match of all time, and helped put TNA’s X-Division on the map.
AJ Styles picked up the victory, pinning Christopher Daniels after a Styles Clash. However, all three men put on an incredible match which earned five stars from Dave Meltzer, in that week’s issue of the Wrestling Observer.
2. Samoa Joe vs. Kenta Kobashi – ROH Joe vs. Kobashi (2005)
Pitting together the stars of ROH and Pro-Wrestling NOAH, this match pitted two of the toughest and most hard-hitting wrestlers of their respective eras against each other.
Kenta Kobashi was a big star in Japan. However, during this era of wrestling, the internet was not what it was. Fans could only see his epics with the late-Misawa via tape trading.
Because of this, Kobashi thought that the fans would not know who he was. He planned to wrestle the match as a “Mr Fuji-type” foreign heel, before Samoa Joe assured him that the fans would know who he was.
Samoa Joe then went out and had his best match ever, against one of his best matches of all time.
Joe and Kobashi traded stiff strikes and punishing chops throughout the match, with neither man giving an inch. The crowd was electric throughout the bout, and in the end, Kenta Kobashi emerged victorious, earning the respect of his opponent and the fans.
This was the second of three matches by Samoa Joe to earn a five-star rating from Dave Meltzer.
1. CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe (ROH World Championship Match) – ROH Joe vs. Punk II
This match is considered by many to be one of the greatest in Ring of Honor’s history, and the best of Samoa Joe’s storied career.
It was the second encounter between Punk and Joe, and this time it was for the ROH World Championship. The first went to a 60-minute draw, so fans were eager in anticipation as to what his bout would bring.
Both men gave it their all, with Punk playing the underdog against the dominant Joe. The match featured plenty of hard-hitting strikes and submission holds, with both men coming close to winning at various points.
In the end, history repeated itself. Joe vs Punk II ended in a time-limit draw, which wowed the crowd once again for an entire hour.
This has been named as a five-star match by Dave Meltzer, and is considered the best match Samoa Joe has ever had. It builds upon the previous encounter, but makes it better at every turn.
Truly a five-star classic, if there ever was one.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.