When Samoa Joe returned to the WWE NXT brand as an enforcer a few weeks ago it was a bit of a surprise because he was released by WWE in April a few weeks after WrestleMania. Now Joe works for the WWE NXT brand again, which is where he started in WWE as a two-time NXT Champion.
The big question with Joe is, will he wrestle again? In a new interview with Fox Sports’ Ryan Satin of the Out of Character series, Joe said: “Absolutely. We’ll just say yes and leave it at that.” What we don’t know is if Joe is cleared to wrestle after having concussion issues or when he might be able to return. Thanks to Fightful’s Jeremy Lambert for the transcript as well as the comments below.
Joe was asked if he had any reservations about returning to WWE:
“No, a lot of what was, me and Triple H had spoken about this transition in-depth. It wasn’t just coming back to NXT and being an enforcer and having a role on the show. Now, I’m working in the talent scouting department, working with Canyon Ceman, doing more administrative things behind the scenes. It’s a transition into some of the other aspects of the business. It’s an evolution of my journey. It was a cool opportunity that Hunter offered me. It was a very nice understanding that we had come to.”
Joe talked about what kind of talent he is looking for as a scout:
“I always try to keep a pulse on the industry in general, whether it be through me looking or my network contacts and people I know. Outside of the Indie wrestling world, in the combat sports world and a lot of the athletic world. Just heavy connections. It was a really nice fit. I’m looking forward to giving an opportunity to a lot of people that maybe wouldn’t get a look.”
Joe was asked about possible opponents in NXT if he were to wrestle again:
“Karrion Kross and Pete Dunne are at the top of that list. A guy like WALTER, people have been asking for it, I’m not blind. It’s for good reason. The guy is a powerhouse and people want to see some furniture moving. It’s not just one or two guys. Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly, there are several very accomplished athletes in NXT. Bronson Reed, he’s always yapping and wants to get some. Aussies, they got big mouths.”
Lastly, here’s Joe talking about how he got the call from WWE’s John Laurinaitis about his release and then he heard from Triple H about coming to work for NXT. Thanks to Wrestling Observer for this transcript:
“It was weird. Johnny [John Laurinaitis] called me and I thought it was a rare call from Johnny. ‘Hey, what’s up Johnny, how you doing?’ He told me, ‘Hey, listen, we’re going to have to release you from your contract.’ I was just like, ‘Okay, cool.’ ‘Joe, you know we think the world of you and we’d love to work with you again.’ And I was like, ‘Alright, absolutely Johnny.’
And honestly, I did have a bit of understanding. Obviously at the time, dealing with injuries, coming back, getting ready to get my rehabilitation going and all that stuff. We’re in a pandemic. All this other stuff. So, I got it. It wasn’t unexpected, but at the same time I was relatively calm about it. I’ve kind of been in this situation before. A younger me probably would have been really, really freaked out. But, I mean at this point you just roll/pivot. That’s really all there is to it when it comes to life in general. That’s kind of the mantra I’ve kept. At that point I think I was already kind of in the works and setting up the next framework for whatever else I was going to do. A few hours later I get a call from Hunter and it pretty much all kind of changed.
I had sent some company farewell texts, just to people to say, ‘Hey, look, pleasure working with you.’ Some genuine people that I really, really enjoyed working with. Just some general like, ‘Hey, thanks and I’m sure we’ll talk down the road at some point’ or something like that. I got a text back, ‘Hey, give me a minute, I’m getting out of a meeting.’ We had a brief conversation which was essentially like, ‘Give us a little bit of time. I’ll work out a package and we’ll be talking soon.’ I said, ‘Alright, that’s totally fine. I have no problem with that.’ It led to my return back to NXT.”
That’s a summary of the key comments. The video version of Samoa Joe’s interview is below and it’s available on podcast platforms already.