Triple H has commented on Samoa Joe’s return to WWE as an on-screen enforcer on NXT and revealed that his new backstage duties for the company have been in the works for some time.
Joe was originally reported to have been released from his WWE contract on the 15th of April 2021 alongside a slew of other talents. He had been part of the Raw commentary team for several months and had announced for the red brand at WrestleMania 37. However, Corey Graves and Adnan Virk were added to the Raw broadcast team replacing Joe and Tom Phillips immediately after WrestleMania.
Since then Samoa Joe made a swift return to WWE television as William Regal’s on-screen enforcer on NXT. Joe has discussed the conversation with John Laurinaitis where he was released happening only hours before Triple H called him back to discuss a return.
“It was weird. Johnny [Laurinaitis] called me and I thought, hey, that’s a rare call from Johnny. I’m like ‘Hey, Johnny, how are you doing?’ He told me ‘Hey, listen, we’re going to have to release you from your contract.’ I was like ‘OK, cool.’ He went ‘We think the world of you and we would love to work with you again.’ I was like ‘OK, yeah, absolutely, Johnny.’ And honestly, I did have a bit of an understanding. Obviously, at the time, dealing with injuries, coming back and getting ready to get my rehabilitation going, we are in a pandemic all that stuff. 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 freaked out but, at this point, you roll, pivot. That’s really all there is to it, in life in general. At that point I was setting up the framework for what I was going to do next. A few hours later, I get a call from Hunter and that pretty much all kind of changed.”
Samoa Joe also added some information about his new role behind the scenes for the company:
“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.”
Now in conversation with the New York Post, NXT head honcho Triple H has given his side of Joe’s return, saying Joe’s new role has been some time in the making.
The Game explained:
“It was something that we were already talking about anyways. And what people tend to focus on, because it’s the visual, is the in front of the camera, the character side of it. But what Joe and I have been talking about for a long period of time, before COVID, probably from the time he started in WWE in general [is] that’s he’s a very smart guy that’s very business-oriented, has a level head, and all those things. And [we discussed,] ‘What is the future like and how can he help build the future?’ and he was enamored with the other side of the business and what we do.”
Triple H then explained that there was no confusion in the company over Joe’s apparent release, saying that everyone knows what’s going on in other parts of the company.
Triple H added:
“It wasn’t like he got let go from one part of the company and the other part of the company [hired him]. It’s all one big company. Everybody knows what everybody’s doing. […] There was an opportunity for him to transition, no different than you would say, ‘Well, he was released from this pitching contract and started managing the team and became a coach.’ It’s a similar situation.”
“There was an opportunity for him to leave one realm and come into the other, but in coming into the other it sort of connected the dots for him to still do something in-ring from a preference standpoint — no different than I do, [or] other performers who have other jobs as well. It’s a piece of it, but the bigger component is the talent-development component that he’ll be a big part of. I’m really, really excited about that because again, at this stage of my career, it’s all about developing the next generations of superstars.”
Triple H was speaking to the New York Post to promote WWE’s return to its spiritual home of Madison Square Garden later in the year.