He won the NXT Championship three times and is a former United States Champion, even though he had the talent to have multiple WWE Championships if Vince McMahon put his faith in the Samoan Submission Machine.
In this article, we’ll look at Samoa Joe’s debut in NXT, the first match he wrestled in the company and his final match in WWE before being fired for the second time in less than a year.
Samoa Joe’s WWE Debut
Samoa Joe made a shock debut after the main event of NXT Takeover: Unstoppable. He had been rumoured to be signing for the promotion and would have been the most high-profile signing that NXT had ever made.
However, there were some doubts. Being in his mid 30s, he was not in the age-bracket that NXT had been signing up to that point. He was older and much more experienced. He also had spent years on TV with TNA, with WWE always hesitant to sign the stars that battle against them for years.
There was also talk about his name. Samoa Joe known worldwide in wrestling circles and it seemed unfathomable to see him wrestling under a different name. NXT were intent on making sure that everyone in the company had their name trademarked, so it seemed unlike Joe would be able to keep his moniker.
Saying that, it was a huge shock when he was announced as Samoa Joe as he walked out in the NXT arena following the climax of the Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens match. Walking out to a funky, jungle version of his WWE theme, he stood up to Kevin Owens and announced himself in NXT and the WWE.
He was originally signed on a non-exclusive deal with the company, being allowed to compete outside the promotion. However, after his incredible T-Shirt sales following his debut, Samoa Joe was signed to a big-money, full-time deal with NXT.
He won the match with a Muscle Buster, before challenging Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship. William Regal then came out to announce Kevin Owens vs Samoa Joe in a non-title match the following week.
Samoa Joe’s Last Match In WWE
Samoa Joe’s last match in NXT was the final time he was seen on WWE TV. After being released from the company in April 2021, he was brought back into NXT by Triple H just two months alter to face NXT Champion Karrion Kross.
He faced the young star at NXT Takeover 36 and shocked the world by actually defeating him. He won the NXT Championship for the third time by defeating the previously dominated champion and seemed to signal a return to the old ways of NXT.
However, that would soon come to an end. This would turn out to be Samoa Joe’s last match in the WWE. He vacated the NXT Championship due to suffering with COVID and stayed off TV even after recovering.
Samoa Joe was released by WWE again in January 2022, for the second time in less than a year. He soon signed for AEW where he is a two-time TNT Champion and a one-time ROH Television Champion.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.