After making his shocking return to NXT in recent weeks, Samoa Joe joined the WWE After the Bell podcast to talk about his upcoming NXT Championship opportunity in August.
Joe announced this past week on NXT that he will be facing Karrion Kross at NXT TakeOver 36 for the NXT Championship, making it his first match in NXT since 2017. Joe spoke about being back on the black-and-gold brand and the potential new opponents he will face.
“I’m excited about it,” Joe said. “I think the reason why is there’s a lot of really fresh matchups there. I’m also just excited to be working with the NXT product as a whole. The entire breadth of what I’m doing in NXT is extremely exciting to me and I’m just looking forward to being back in the ring and testing out all this new talent I’ve been hearing this guff about, see if the hype is for real.”
Joe also spoke about the numerous changes NXT has undergone since his run from 2015-17 including being on national television. The former 2x NXT Champion mentioned how the brand has officially become its own brand since he left the so called “developmental” brand of WWE.
“I think a lot of that change started when I did walk through that door and it’s kind of the impetuous of where it graduated to where it is today,” Joe said. “Obviously NXT for most of its life was the developmental feeder system for RAW and SmackDown. As I got there, myself and Balor, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Shinsuke, Asuka, Sasha, Bayley, Charlotte, the list goes on and on.
“As these superstars came to NXT, the brand began to build bigger and bigger and began to take on a fan base of its own and to see it transform into a 3rd brand, that’s just a major difference. It’s been legitimized, it is what it is and now it’s on television. I think it’s just different in the fact that NXT is a brand, it puts on these amazing shows every month in parallel with RAW and SmackDowns pay per views, it’s become this whole other phenomenon.”
With the match scheduled for the day before SummerSlam, Joe spoke about his opponent Kross and what he expects from him that night.
“Karrion Kross without a doubt, extremely dominating force,” Joe stated. “He’s run through everybody they put in front of him, he’s been an absolute beast of a champion. Hits hard, throws harder and I’m going to beat the breaks off of him. I’m going to put all my hands on him, I don’t know when I want to do it but I know this, it’s going to be a lot of pummeling strikes to the head and face area. I’m going to probably do my best not to wear out my right foot when I’m whipping his ass with it all over the ring. I’ll see how it holds out. I’m going to set some things right, you’re big, you’re bad, obviously got a lot of eye candy ringside with you. It’s going to be fun.”
Joe’s match against Kross at NXT TakeOver will be his first match for WWE since February of 2020 where he teamed with Kevin Owens and The Viking Raiders to take on Seth Rollins, Buddy Murphy and The AOP. The injury he suffered has left him out for over a year now and Joe spoke about returning from the injury and how he never questioned coming back.
“Nah, it’s not a new lease,” Joe said. “To say it was a new lease would mean at some point, I thought it was over and to be honest I never did. If it’s anything, it’s just going to be a reminder. A reminder for the world that there’s still terrible horrible things out there that are still looking for you and they want to take everything you have.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE After the Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.