Samoa Joe was signed to WWE in 2015 after a decade of national television experience, but he'll be the first to tell you it was still an adjustment.
During a recent interview with Fox Sports, the former NXT, ROH and TNA World Champion stated that the most difficult aspect of switching from Impact Wrestling to WWE were the rigors of the road.
"The biggest thing right off the bat is the schedule of the average WWE wrestler is very intensive. It's a full-time commitment. You're shot around the world at any given point in time, all throughout the year. You spend a lot of time on the road, so if you're not really prepared for that kind of lifestyle, if you're not accustomed to it and you don't know how to navigate around not just the United States, but the planet in an efficient and sane manner, it can get kind of overwhelming. And definitely, in WWE, it's the heaviest schedule in the industry, period. I don't care where you go or what company you work for - and I've pretty much worked for them all - WWE by far is the most brutal road schedule in the world. It takes a special kind of individual to navigate that and be able to thrive in that environment. It's a challenge that I've enjoyed."
Many questioned why Joe even competed in NXT at all, much less for well over a year and a half. According to the man himself, he was happy to be a part of the growth and subsequent explosion of NXT's popularity.
"No, not really, because I was seeing NXT grow into this third brand within the realm of WWE. It needed me. We had these big events every year - Dallas, Toronto, Brooklyn - and to not have me there would definitely affect the product and definitely affect the momentum that the brand had going for it. I also knew that when you do get that call, you want to make sure there are things in place to give you the best opportunity to succeed, whether it be on Raw or SmackDown. It's very much about timing. I've been in this game for a while and I kind of realized that, you know, it's definitely more about timing than trying to get anywhere as quickly as possible. When the timing's right, things all fall into place, it definitely gives you a lot of momentum - which is what you want to do anytime you find yourself within the bounds of a new company or a new brand."
Samoa Joe will face Sami Zayn at WWE Fastlane on March 5.