WWE NXT star Samoa Joe joined Busted Open Radio to promote his upcoming match against Karrion Kross for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver 36. The match will be Joe’s first match in nearly two years, and he discussed his process for getting ready to step back in the ring.
“I think ring rust is always kind of a big issue,” Joe said. “I will say this, even going back to Edge and his return, the PC has been a big part in shaking off that process and maybe even alleviating as much as possible. It’s been nice to kind of have that at my disposal. In addition to that, I’ve been at home training like crazy, enthusiastically. Because you know, for me, it’s been close to two years now. That’s a long time to be chopping at the bit, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Joe also shared a funny story about his first bump and the first time he hit the ring ropes when training for his return. He attributed his body’s reaction to it reconditioning itself after his long layoff.
“The first bump’s always rough, obviously,” Joe said. “But the one thing that was very telling that actually made me crack up when I got home. I get home, take a shower, walk out and there’s a big, bruised stripe across my back. You don’t realize that your body toughens up to the point where you can run the ropes without that happening. I looked at my back and was like ‘I haven’t seen that in twenty years!’ There’s definitely a process of reconditioning the body, getting it used to being back in the ring and being in a volatile environment. It’s part of the process.”
While he was out of the ring recovering from a concussion, Joe had a long stint as color commentator on WWE’s RAW brand. While Joe always planned on returning to the ring, he admitted he paced his recovery and put most of his focus on his new job at the time.
“I think it was always in the back of my head,” Joe said. “But at that time, I try to stay focused on what I’m doing at that time, and at that time I was doing commentary. And also, I wasn’t really put a really crazy, impossible timetable on my recovery. I wanted to take as much time as possible, do it the right way and come back as healthy as possible. So it was in the back of my head, but it wasn’t my focus because I didn’t want to drive myself crazy. That’s the one thing that we as performers do better than anybody else is drive ourselves crazy. You’ve kind of got to tap down those feelings a little bit and focus what’s in front of you. And that was commentary.”
Before he could make it back to the ring and NXT however, Joe had to be re-signed by WWE after he was released from the company in April. Joe described the process to him coming back and how his role now is different than before.
“Initially we did WrestleMania and then I was off commentary,” Joe said. “They were doing some switching up as far as what they wanted to do at the desk, which is par for the course. They always in there shuffling, doing new things. Shortly thereafter I received my release, and then shortly after that Hunter called me and we worked out my new deal to return to the company, in a much more expanded capacity than just a performer. This was something Hunter and I had been talking about loosely and a little bit more seriously this past year.
“It was kind of a wild process, but my entire tenure in WWE has been anything but normal or average. Even going back to my original contract situation when I first got to the company to now, nothing has gone according to the preset plan, the road that most people travel. So I’ve always been that way with me in my career, so it’s not a big issue that these surprising circumstances find me here now.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription