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Samoa Joe Was Almost Allowed To Wrestle On Indies While In NXT

Samoa Joe

In a recent interview, Johnny Gargano revealed that Samoa Joe was almost allowed to wrestle on independent shows while being contracted to NXT.

Samoa Joe’s last stint with WWE was nothing short of tumultuous as he was released from the company twice in the span of a year. After first being released in April of 2021, he was quickly brought back at the behest of Triple H and won the NXT Championship by defeating Karrion Kross the following September. However, Samoa Joe would immediately vacate the title, which was later revealed to be due to a positive test for COVID-19 and the company wanting to go in a different direction.

Samoa Joe was once again released from WWE on January 5th, 2022 alongside longtime employees William Regal and Road Dogg.

Speaking to Renee Paquette on The Sessions, former NXT Champion Johnny Gargano revealed that Samoa Joe was nearly allowed to work independent shows during his time with NXT, but that those plans were curtailed. He began by speaking about his experience being brought into the company alongside partner-turned-rival Tommaso Ciampa before revealing that he nearly shared the same type of contract as Samoa Joe during their early days with the company.

“I was very lucky. Obviously, from the time I started, until the time I ended in NXT, things were vastly different. When I first started, I was brought in as an extra, me and Tommaso, our story has been told a million times, but literally, we had a tryout where we were told, ‘No, there isn’t a spot for you in NXT, but we might be doing this Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament that maybe we will put you guys in for like a one-off.’

“So we did the Dusty Classic, it went well, and William Regal was, obviously, a big liaison for us that would always try to get us on the show every week because he knew there was potential there. He knew what he had in us. Every week, I had to either text William Regal or text the writer at the time, Ryan Ward, and say, ‘Hey, are we going to be used?’ They’re like, ‘Yeah, will bring you down for another extra spot.’”

“We would always hear this thing like, ‘Maybe we’ll give you this weird contract, where you can still do indies and we will also have you do NXT,’ like when that was being discussed at the time,” he said. “[Samoa] Joe was gonna be under it when he was initially brought in. It was a weird thing that never ended up happening because legal was like, ‘Wait a minute, what are we doing here? We can’t do this.’”

Johnny Gargano last appeared on NXT 2.0 on the December 7th episode, which saw him attacked by upstart Grayson Waller after the former NXT Champion gave a heartfelt goodbye to the NXT audience. He has since revealed that he knew as far back as July 2021 that he had no plans of immediately re-signing with the company, and he’s currently taking time away as his wife recently gave birth to their first child, Quill Lewis Gargano.

h/t Fightful