What’s the story?
Last night on Raw, Samoa Joe had his debut match on Raw. Joe pinned Roman Reigns with a spinning Uranage suplex, after interference from Braun Strowman. It was interesting to note that Joe did not win with the Muscle-Buster, even though it would have been logical to use his finisher on his debut. Has the Muscle-Buster been outlawed by WWE?
In case you didn’t know...
Samoa Joe has used the Muscle-Buster finisher for over a decade.
However, the move was responsible for injuring and ending the career of Tyson Kidd, back in June 2015, where Kidd suffered a “spinal injury.” In an interview, Bret Hart spoke out against Joe's Muscle Buster. Bret said, "It's extremely dangerous."
Hart then added, "The move that Samoa Joe did was reckless." The Hall of Famer went on to compare it to Owen Hart breaking Steve Austin's neck with a reverse piledriver at SummerSlam 1997. Joe's Muscle Buster, however, is not especially dangerous.
It is not on par with the piledriver that left Austin temporarily unable to feel his extremities. That piledriver has the attacker drop his opponent's head straight down. A slip-up in protection means a nasty collision between the crown of one's head and the mat.
The Muscle Buster actually has more built-in safety measures, in that, Joe's arm protects his foe's neck. And he drops his victim more on their back than their head.
The heart of the matter
With Samoa Joe being involved in the incident that injured Seth Rollins last week, in addition to the Tyson Kidd incident, it’s possible that WWE sees Joe as a dangerous worker. However, it’s unlikely that they would push a dangerous worker to main event status.
It’s also possible that Vince McMahon has outlawed the Muscle-Buster himself. While the Muscle-Buster was used on NXT, once even from the top of a cage, Raw is heavily overseen by Vince McMahon, as he is at every show.
It’s possible that he himself has made the call. During the time, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that WWE itself reportedly didn't believe that it was Joe's finisher or a mistake from Joe that led to Kidd's injury.
The Observer said that the WWE viewed the injury is viewed as a fluke—not the result of a poorly executed move—and there is "reportedly no heat on Joe for the incident."
It will interesting to see what Joe comes up with in the upcoming weeks for a finish. This could just be a one-off, so that Joe could win quickly. However, if he had nailed Roman from behind and put him on the top rope for a Muscle-Buster, it would have taken around 2-3 seconds longer to finish Reigns off.
So I do not feel it was a quickness issue. As you can see from the video below, after Joe had nailed Roman from behind, it would not have taken too long to execute the Muscle-Buster as his finisher.
Bret Hart has been known to speak out against WWE Wrestlers over the years. However, what was more surprising, were Cesaro’s comments. When asked if he would wrestle Samoa Joe in future, after what happened to Tyson Kidd, Cesaro said:
“Yes — maybe without the muscle buster. There are a couple of moves outlawed in the WWE, and I think that one maybe be added. But I wrestled Samoa Joe before, and why not again?"
There is obviously concern in the WWE about the Muscle-Buster, as there was about the “Styles Clash.” However, AJ Styles has managed to win people over and is using the move regularly. I feel that in the cookie-cutter world of WWE, they need to give their Superstars unique traits that we all associate them too.
The Muscle-Buster is a huge part of who and what Samoa Joe is and I am not in favour of having the move shelved. However, I do understand the concerns and I especially understand the concern as we head into WrestleMania 33.
Seth Rollins' injury probably reminded WWE of the nightmare that was WrestleMania 32, where they were without, John Cena, Seth Rollins, Cesaro, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Sting, Nikki Bella, Luke Harper and others I am probably overlooking.
Gone are the days when you can just work through or with an injury. Kurt Angle recently talked about the difference in protocols during his time with WWE, saying, "When I got my neck surgery, I don't even remember getting cleared to wrestle, I just came back. ... Now, they have to abide by what the doctors tell them. ... I have to commend the WWE because I think they are doing the right thing now."
With that said, Seth Rollins is in real danger of missing WrestleMania 33. The WWE protocol no longer allows you to participate if you’re not ready. Last year, WrestleMania 32 badly needed star-power, but the WWE could not clear Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins or John Cena, all of whom may have been cleared in the past.
It is possible that the WWE may be outlawing the Muscle-Buster temporarily, just until they are out of WrestleMania season. As someone who is attending the WrestleMania 33 in six weeks, I am not critical of WWE wrapping up their big stars in cotton wool on the road to WrestleMania, and they don’t come much bigger than Roman Reigns, who has a key match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania.
Stay tuned to our podcast, the “Dirty Sheets” as we head towards WrestleMania 33, and look out for more articles from me here on Sportskeeda.
Send us news tips at firstname.lastname@example.orgPublished 07 Feb 2017, 19:13 IST