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Samoa Joe Reveals How NXT Has Changed Since His First Run

Samoa Joe

Samoa Joe is back on NXT and has set his sights on Karrion Kross’ NXT Championship.

Joe made his triumphant return to the black and gold brand on June 15th after being released by WWE in April.

Upon returning to NXT, Joe appeared as General Manager William Regal’s enforcer. Regal had initially looked to be stepping down from his role until Joe arrived to make sure the GM “got the respect he deserves.”

In the weeks that followed, Joe frequently clashed with Karrion Kross. On the July 13th episode of the show Joe served as the special guest referee for the NXT Title match between Kross and Johnny Gargano. After winning the match, Kross quickly turned his attention to Joe, choking out the former champion. The following week, Joe sought revenge but Kross instead attacked William Regal, saying he does whatever he wants.

On the July 27th episode of NXT, Joe came to the ring to offer his resignation as Regal’s enforcer. But only so that he can have a match with Karrion Kross. Regal, who wanted to fire Kross for his actions, accepted Joe’s resignation and made the match official.

Samoa Joe will face Karrion Kross for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: 36.

After the former NXT Champion’s in-ring comeback was confirmed, he sat down with Corey Graves on WWE After The Bell.

Many of the Superstars that Joe clashed with during his first run in NXT have long since graduated to the main roster. This means that there are plenty of potential match-ups lying in wait for the Samoan Submission Machine. Something the former announcer said he finds exciting.

“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 then reflected on his earlier run on the black and gold brand from 2015-2017. During this time he became a two-time champion, but the NXT he has returned to is a very different beast.

“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 SmackDown’s pay per views, it’s become this whole other phenomenon.”

When Joe steps into the ring with Karrion Kross it will be his first singles match on a WWE show since September 2nd 2019. While the NXT Champion has been a dominant force since joining the black and gold brand in early 2020, Joe says he’s going to “beat the breaks” off his rival at TakeOver.

“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 pummelling 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.”

Samoa Joe initially joined NXT after signing with WWE in May 2015. The former IMPACT Wrestling star immediately made his presence known at the top of the card, teaming with Finn Balor to win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. By the end of the year Joe had turned on his partner and the pair went to war over the NXT Championship.

Despite coming up short on more than one occasion, Joe finally claimed NXT’s top prize in shocking fashion, defeating Balor at a live event. The former ROH World Champion went on to lose the title to Shinsuke Nakamura before winning it back, becoming the black and gold’s first ever two-time champion.

H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.