When WWE released Samoa Joe, fans were heartbroken. The ROH and TNA legend had just begun to make his mark on the WWE main roster.
While he never won the coveted WWE Champion, Samoa Joe was a multi-time NXT Champion as well as a former United States Champion. He was won the NXT Championship just prior to his release, although he was forced to vacate the title just days after winning due to injury.
His end was a snapshot of Samoa Joe’s entire WWE run before WWE released Samoa Joe in January 2022. His main roster career was hampered by injuries and he never really got into his grove, save for a few bouts against Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns.
One huge missed opportunity for Samoa Joe in WWE was not booking him in a match with John Cena. The pair are long time friends and even trained together and were rivals at Ultimate Pro Wrestling in California.
Samoa Joe was one of the best in the ring and on the microphone in WWE, as he he showed with his incredible promo on Brock Lesnar which you can watch below.
Despite being so good at his craft, why did WWE release Samoa Joe?
Why did WWE release Samoa Joe?
WWE released Samoa Joe on January 6, 2022 with the reason given being “budget cuts”. Whilst Samoa Joe himself has not spoken out about the reason for his firing, other stars who were released at the same time have spoken out about the reasons.
On his Twitch stream, former WWE star Alaistar Black (now known as Malakai Black in AEW) discussed why he was released by WWE. The former NXT Champion claimed he was told that “budget cuts” were the reason for his departure, which was in the year prior to Samoa Joe’s release.
WWE started their regular culls of talent contract in 2020, blamed as budget cuts due to the pandemic. However, these mass firings have continued into 2022, when the likes of Samoa Joe, Cesaro and William Regal were all released from their WWE contract.
While he was released due to budget cuts, Samoa Joe’s health in recent years has also contributed to WWE deciding that he was the one to be release.
Samoa Joe has been out with injury for long periods during his WWE career. He won the NXT Championship in 2021 but immediately went out with injury and was forced to vacate the title.
His lack of reliability was certainly a factor in Samoa Joe’s release. If Vince McMahon can’t rely on him to wrestle when he is needed, he really has no value to WWE. It’s a sad truth.
He did have a spell as the commentator on Raw during an injury hit year, but his goal was always to wrestle. Sadly, he has had to achieve that goal outside of WWE.
It was the second time in two years that the ROH Hall of Famer was released by WWE. He was a casualty of the WWE budget cuts the year prior, and his re-signing and eventual firing was a huge surprise at every point in the journey.
While Samoa Joe did not give the reason why he was released by WWE, he did react on Twitter after he was given the news.
Samoa Joe said “Extremely fortunate and grateful to all the young & amazing talent I had the pleasure of working with in the past months. Only saddened at the loss of an “excuse” to see their continued growth & achievement . I am very excited for there future,….. and mine”
Samoa Joe since his release has signed for AEW and currently wrestles in both AEW and ROH. He currently holds the ROH TV Title and is one of the companies top wrestlers.
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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.