Samoa Joe may be the biggest “Dropped ball” in WWE history. A big man who could fly like a cruiserweight, had believable offence and was elite on the mic, it’s a mystery how he was not a multi-time WWE Champion and a first ballot hall of famer.
Joe proved to everyone in TNA, ROH and NXT that he was a top star. He was a main event talent in the world and everyone knew it by just a single glance.
Everyone except for Vince McMahon. He fired Samoa Joe not once, but twice, although what happened to Samoa Joe next completely proved the WWE Chairman wrong in his opinion of the Samoan Submission Machine.
Samoa Joe Was Fired Twice By WWE
Samoa Joe was released twice in one year by WWE during a hectic time in professional wrestling. Samoa Joe was first fired from his role as Raw Commentator on April 15th, 2021.
His release came during one of the mass releases during the pandemic. Samoa Joe was released alongside a number of WWE talents due to budget cuts in preparation for the 2023 sale of the WWE.
The wrestlers who were released on April 15th, 2021 were;
- Samoa Joe
- Billie Kay
- Peyton Royce
- Mickie James
- Chelsea Green
- Mojo Rawley
- Bo Dallas
- Wesley Blake
However, Samoa Joe was shockingly rehired just two months later in June 2021. Triple H was reportedly unhappy with Samoa Joe being fired and campaigned to bring him back for another run in NXT. Joe was already a two-time champion in the promotion.
Joe made his return on the June 15 episode of NXT as the enforcer of NXT’s General Manager William Regal. This led to him engaging in a feud with then-NXT Champion Karrion Kross.
He shocked everyone when he actually defeated Kross to win the NXT Championship at NXT Takeover 36. It was his third reign with the championship but it would certainly be his worst.
Joe was forced to vacate the title soon after without defending it once. He suffered with COVID-19 so missed a lot of TV. Vince McMahon also wanted to change the idea of NXT and bring NXT 2.0 into being, so didn’t want one of Triple H’s former champions at the head of the brand.
Samoa Joe never appeared on TV again. He eventually returned to work in a backstage role in NXT but was not considered for an in-ring role. WWE fired Samoa Joe for the second time in a year on January 6th, 2022.
What Happened To Samoa Joe?
After being fired by WWE, Samoa Joe signed a contract with All Elite Wrestling. He joined AEW with the intent to feature him on Ring of Honor, the pro-wrestling company Tony Khan had recently purchased.
Samoa Joe made his return to ROH after years away at Supercard of Honor XV on April 1st, 2022. His return popped the ROH fans hugely and his return was incredibly well received. He is a legend in Ring of Honour, being a former ROH Champion and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2022.
He debuted for AEW a week later, appearing on the April 6th episode of AEW Dynamite. He was a surprise opponent for Max Caster in a qualifying match for the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament. He impressed in his first match back since NXT Takeover 36, defeating The Acclaimed member to earn his spot in the first round of the tournament.
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.