Samoa Joe, who is now working as the enforcer to WWE NXT General Manager William Regal, believes he will eventually be back in the ring to wrestle.
Joe recently spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, just one week after returning to work for the company. Joe had been working as a RAW commentator when he was released in April along with other COVID-19 budget cuts. He was then brought back to NXT two weeks ago in this new authority role.
“Guys on the roster, they’ve told me they want this matchup, too,” Joe said of potential matches. “I couldn’t really pay heed to that when I was on Raw. Those matchups weren’t going to happen then. But now I’m here. Let’s see if they’re still as loud.”
It was confirmed that Joe is still not medically cleared to wrestle, due to the concussion he suffered at a WWE commercial shoot in early 2020.
Joe recalled how he got the release phone call from WWE Talent Relations head John Laurinaitis back in April.
“A younger me would have handled this much, much differently,” Joe said. “I know when I got the call, and it’s hard to explain, but I really was nonplussed about the whole thing. Johnny called me and gave me the token speech, and it’s hard for Johnny because he has to make a lot of calls. At the same time, there were already discussions between myself and Hunter from a while ago. This is something Hunter had wanted. So essentially, when I got released, I understood their logic and reasoning. For me, I didn’t miss a beat. I was ready to take on whatever came next, and that’s what I was ready to do.”
He continued and talked about how that led to Triple H bringing him back to NXT. He commented on Triple H’s work in NXT, and a big reason why he came back.
“I was sending a number of farewell texts, expressing my thanks and gratitude,” Joe recalled. “Hunter texted me right back, asking if I had a few minutes. We had a brief phone call, and he asked for a few weeks to put something together. Throughout all my dealings with Paul during my tenure with WWE, they’ve been nothing but positive, and they’ve also been nothing but honest. So when he asked me to give him a few weeks to get something together, it went without saying I would. And it’s even more than that. I like a lot of what he’s done at NXT, the talent he’s given a platform and a voice, and being able to help continue that tradition is a big reason why I came back.”
Joe also praised the NXT women’s division, naming NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez, Ember Moon, Dakota Kai, and Io Shirai. He commented on the passion for NXT that WWE Hall of Famers Shawn Michaels and Triple H have. It was noted that one benefit for Joe in his new enforcer role will be highlighting the NXT roster. Joe said he’s grateful to work with the current group of male and female NXT Superstars.
“A lot of why I’m back is the people I’m working with in NXT,” Joe said. “It starts with the passion of Hunter and Shawn Michaels, who is an incredible mind. And I’m amazed at the women on the roster. They’re beyond incredible. Some are very young in their careers, and they’re exceptional—look at how Raquel [González], she’s been fantastic. Then look at Ember Moon, Dakota Kai, Io Shirai. It’s a murderer’s row of top-tier, internationally certified talent. NXT, they’re putting out an incredible wrestling program.”