What was billed as Worlds End may be the start of brighter days for All Elite Wrestling.
At the company’s final signature event for 2023, Samoa Joe defeated MJF to win the AEW World Championship. At the post-show media scrum, the new champ quickly assumed the position as the face of AEW, vowing to win back fan confidence following a tumultuous 15-month period for the promotion.
“I think that’s my main focus during this reign,” said Joe. “I want to bring back that fan a surety and make sure that fans know that when they tune into AEW, we’re gonna get down, and you’re gonna have a lot of fun watching it. And really that’s what I want to re-establish in this company.”
Since All Out in 2022, there have been several reports of backstage blowouts and brawls, diverting attention away from the on-screen action and focusing it on the drama behind the scenes. One of those events resulted in the firing of CM Punk. Just before Worlds End went live, there were allegations of sexual misconduct by star Chris Jericho that threatened to derail the event.
But as Joe addressed the media, he seemed poised and enthusiastic about being an instrument of change for the promotion.
“What our athletes are able to accomplish inside the squared circle, it’s gonna become more focused, especially under my reign,” Joe said. “We’re gonna do things head up and in your face and in front of the people. So I’m looking forward to this new era.”
Considering how his career appeared to be over just a few years ago, that Joe is the face of this new era is remarkable. Following a series of injuries, concussions, and two releases from WWE, the 44-year-old superstar appeared to be winding down until he found new life in AEW, proving he has a lot left in his gas tank.
“I think there’s a big misconception with that time period,” said Joe regarding his final days in WWE. “It wasn’t that I was done. It was that I was taking the actual time to heal.”
That time off helped prepare Joe for the run he’s been on since coming to AEW in 2022. He’s had thrilling matches with Darby Allin and CM Punk. Joe also became the longest-reigning ROH TV Champion in the brand’s history while winning two AEW TNT titles during that reign.
Now, he’s the proud holder of AEW’s top crown. A savvy veteran who brings a calm yet stern presence, Joe looks to right AEW’s ship while providing the best product possible for its patrons.
“At the end of the day, we do this for our fan base and for our fans,” said Joe. “We do this for when people show up to an AEW show, they know they’re going to see a spectacle and have a great time. And that’s where I want to keep the focus, on servicing our fans and giving them good matches, and giving them something to look forward to, to watch and being entertained.”