Sunday night at WWE Great Balls of Fire may have featured the world’s first desperation F-5.
Brock Lesnar, whose finishing maneuver is typically a formality with his opponent already beaten into submission after a barrage of offense, hit the F-5 as a means to escape the Coquina Clutch. Lesnar retained the Universal Championship by the skin of his teeth.
Samoa Joe was made to look strong in the buildup to his match against Lesnar. Joe was booked as an equal to the universal champion across several episodes of Raw, and at Great Balls of Fire, he was booked as Lesnar’s superior.
This had to be the least amount of offense Lesnar has exacted since his one-sided loss to Goldberg at Survivor Series 2016. And despite losing to WWE’s top box office draw, not only was Joe not harmed in defeat, but he has a strong case for a rematch sometime down the road.
Considering Lesnar has beaten the likes of John Cena and Randy Orton in one-sided contests, WWE showed quite the vote of confidence in Samoa Joe, whose plethroa of offense featured a table spot, as a top contender for the Universal Championship.
The Samoa Joe-Brock Lesnar feud can safely be considered a success. After brawls, chokeouts and a physical match that barely slipped through Joe’s hands, this rivalry still seems unfinished.
The sky is the limit as far as which stipulation could raise the stakes of a second Samoa Joe-Brock Lesnar matchup. A submission match? A Steel Cage Match? No holds barred? Joe and Lesnar are just getting started, and if Lesnar continues to move on without avenging a near-loss, his mystique will take a hit.
Paul Heyman is a master of subtlety. Much of his extended genius is in his most nuanced moments. As Lesnar smiled, almost in relief, while celebrating his win over Joe, Heyman retained a look of concern, as if his client had lost. There was no joy from the smug mouthpiece of the reigning and defending champion. Just prolonged fear, and maybe even doubt. Hopefully this is a sign that the best is yet to come from these two.
It helps that Joe was booked strongly months prior to his world championship opportunity. Not only was he a disciple of Triple H, but he racked up several wins. It’s worth noting Joe is 2-0 over the mighty Roman Reigns in one-on-one competition.
Samoa Joe is not getting any younger, and WWE’s window to book a worthwhile rematch is steadily closing. Joe has been tested several times since his debut on the main roster, and he has passed them all with flying colors. From here on out, his opportunities should only increase.