Impact Wrestling's 2022 edition of Slammiversary was all about honoring the past and giving fans of the promotion a few Easter Eggs from the first 20 years of the promotion. Performers from every other major American promotion, from AEW to Ring of Honor and even WWE, made an appearance, with old-school favorites like Shakboy, Davey Richards, and even Earl Hebner ending up in the squared circle, and alumni like Kurt Angle, A.J. Styles, and even “The Man Called” Sting beaming in to congratulate the promotion via pre-taped video packages.
But there was one wrestler in particular with extensive experience in Impact/TNA who was noticeably absent from the promotion's premier Pay-Per-View; a performer who had far fewer hoops to jump through to get on the screen than, say, A.J. Styles: Samoa Joe.
That's right, despite being one of the most well-decorated performers in the promotion's history, the only Joe fans saw at Slammiversary came via tribute moves from Josh Alexander and Eric Young in the main event, with the former hitting his foe with a face wash before connecting on a running face wash in the style of the “Samoan Submission Machine.”
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) June 20, 2022
What gives? Does Joe have ill feelings towards his former promotion? Or are some simply reading a bit too into the issue? Fortunately, the current Ring of Honor Television Champion/AEW star took to Twitter to clear things up and ease the minds of more than a few fans.
Samoa Joe still has love for Impact even as a member of AEW.
When Samoa Joe woke up on Sunday morning, he likely didn't think he was about to become the center of a minor wrestling controversy. No, he probably went about his day, had a few meals, and then took to Twitter the following morning, as one often does, to find himself flooded with messages and Tweets asking if he had issues with Impact Wrestling.
Ideal? Hardly, but Joe did his best to nip the situation in the bud before it got out of hand and largely succeeded – sending out the following Tweet at exactly 9:47 AM EST to wish his former promotion well.
Dearest cackling hens. I wasn’t asked, or available, and it should not mar a great milestone set by Impact. Happy Anniversary, and my best going forward to all involved .
— Samoa Joe (@SamoaJoe) June 20, 2022
To further prove his love for the promotion, Joe liked the video of “The Walking Weapon” pulling off one of his signature routines in the ring, in addition to the Impact video of Earl Hebner's return.
Surprising? Maybe to some, but it really shouldn't be; after 14 years away, Joe made his triumphant return to Ring of Honor at the end of Supercard of Honor, where he assisted Jonathan Gresham against a returning Jay Lethal, who was unhappy that his former protege won the unified title. While his career has now come full circle, as Joe is back in ROH as a champion, the door – forbidden or not – is potentially open for “The Samoan Submission Machine” to make his way back onto Impact television once more like Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels before him.
There's no doubt about it; Samoa Joe's best days are in the past, and even he knows it. WWE refused to clear him for in-ring action for the longest time and even tried to give him a non-wrestling role in NXT before the inevitable happened and he returned to the ring. Still, “The Samoan Submission Machine” remains one of the most physically imposing performers in the sport and will impress fans regardless of promotion for the foreseeable future whenever he shows up on their screens, even if it's in a video package just saying ‘Congratulations on 20 years of operation.'