Samoa Joe has opened up about his wrestling future and rumours linking him with a move to AEW.
On January 6th, the first and currently only, three-time NXT Champion in history Samoa Joe, was released by WWE for a second time. Joe had initially been released by the company in April 2021, before being swiftly brought back at the behest of Triple H.
This comeback involved a return to the ring, with Joe competing for the first time in 18 months at NXT TakeOver: 36. At the event, Joe defeated Karrion Kross to claim the NXT Title. However, before he was able to defend it, he vacated the belt due to an specified injury. Joe has since revealed he tested positive for COVID-19.
Joe’s absence coincided with NXT being re-launched as NXT 2.0, and he never returned to the ring, instead quietly moving into a backstage coaching and scouting role.
Since leaving WWE, many fans have wondered whether Joe may now resume his in-ring career. Speaking on Busted Open Radio, Joe said that he’s recently been doing a lot of work outside of wrestling, while he reserved special praise for a number of NXT talents.
“Since my departure from WWE, I’ve been consumed with outside work, outside of the wrestling industry. A lot of cool voice over work, been busy with that. As far as my future (in wrestling), I kind of started my road back to the ring in NXT. That road never really stopped, I just kept training.
Being in the PC at the time with a lot of young talent, working with guys who are now…I want to put over some NXT talent. The Creed Brothers are going to be amazing. Solo Sikoa has the family behind him, he’s going to be an amazing cat. I think the world of a lot of NXT 2.0 guys. Young Bron Breakker is going to be amazing. I was (disappointed) I didn’t get to work with him a little bit more before he’s going to make his eventual rise to the top. It’s in the genes. He knows what’s up,”
Moving on more specifically to his own future, Joe said that while he’s taken some time away to spend with his family, he’s “getting back to pro wrestling” and remains a free agent.
“We’re training. We’re ready. I’m not on paper with anybody, anywhere, we haven’t signed anything. We’re just kind of exploring our options. I’m taking a little time, personally, to be with the family and sure up things home side. We’ll see what the coming months hold, hopefully, it’ll be positive. I’m not really engaged with anybody or exploring that. I’ve been consumed with my other work, which has been nice, we’re now getting back to pro wrestling and seeing where we go from here.”
There also continues to be a huge amount of speculation linking Joe with a move to AEW. The company is currently home to his former Ring of Honor rivals, CM Punk and Bryan Danielson.
When asked about the rumours, and even a return to WWE, Joe explained that he’s ruling nothing out.
“I’m open to whatever opportunity. At this point, I’m blessed enough that I get to make decisions and get to work on things outside of wrestling, which is a rarity when you’re this far in and committed to the business. The discussions haven’t happened yet. I’ve got my team working on stuff and when they eventually connect, we’ll see if something gets worked out,”
After highly successful runs with Ring of Honor and IMPACT Wrestling, Samoa Joe signed with WWE in 2015. He went on to win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic alongside Finn Balor, the NXT Championship on three occasions, as well as the United States Championship.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.