Samoa Joe: Why I Joined WWE NXT In 2015

Joe would go on to become the first two-time NXT Champion

Samoa Joe began his second run in WWE NXT a couple of weeks ago and The Samoan Submission Machine is currently William Regal's enforcer on the black and gold brand.

Joe previously wrestled in NXT for close to two years after signing with WWE in 2015, and the two-time NXT Champion recalled how his first WWE run came about on Out Of Character with Ryan Satin

"I had left TNA and I was ready for something new, some new experiences. I think, at that point in my career too, I would have been happy if it was a few more years and then I transitioned into some other things I was working on at the time," Joe stated.

"I put out some feelers. I remember sending messages through the grapevine, through Paul Heyman, through Joey Mercury at the time, through Road Dogg, saying: 'hey, what would be the interest of me over in WWE?' Which for the most part had been largely locked off to anybody who hadn't come through the system. TNA guys, explicitly, were very much not sought after... it wasn't like an official edict but I know they were in no rush or they weren't trying to hire any TNA guys, especially because of past legal entanglements.

"So it was a shot in the dark. Within a few minutes, I got messages back from all of the parties above like 'Triple H is trying this new idea, NXT is this new thing and you may be a perfect fit here for what we're looking to do.' And that's when the discussions started," he continued.

Joe also reflected on why he wanted to join WWE, adding: "My goals are a lot different than most people. I'm looking more for the matches and the moments rather than necessarily a bunch of accolades. For me, it was that. It was a new experience in a very very new environment. And for much of my career an environment I'd heard about from second-party accounts rather than experiencing myself. Well, this has been my journey and I've worked essentially everywhere else but here, so maybe it wouldn't be complete unless I gave here a shot. That was also a big factor in me deciding to join WWE.

"Another big turning point for me was I was in San Jose the year prior to me joining WWE for WrestleMania weekend, doing a few shows. I think I was finishing up with Ring Of Honor at the time and it was my first real experience with NXT and what they were doing and I knew a lot of the people involved. After that San Jose weekend, and seeing it up close and personal, and having preliminary discussions with people."

After departing TNA in January 2015, Joe would work a few Ring Of Honor shows and he debuted in NXT in May. The former United States Champion was initially allowed to continue working outside of WWE, but the company soon signed him to an exclusive deal after his merchandise sold out.

If you use any of the quotes in the article above, please credit Ryan Satin’s Out Of Character Podcast with a H/T to Cultaholic Wrestling for the transcription. 


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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Editor-in-Chief of Cultaholic.com Twitter: @theaidangibbons