Samoa Joe was surprisingly released by WWE on April 15, just days after serving as an announcer for WrestleMania 37.
Joe signed with the company in 2015 and though he hadn't wrestled since 2020 due to a concussion-related injury, he remained on TV as a commentator on Raw. Joe was not out of work long, returning to NXT on June 15.
Speaking to Ryan Satin on Out of Character, Joe discussed his release and how quickly he reached an agreement to return to NXT.
"It was weird. Johnny [Laurinaitis] called me and was like, 'Hey, we're gonna have to release you from your contract.' I was like, 'Okay, cool.' 'Joe, we think the world of you and would love to work with you again.' 'Absolutely.' I did have a bit of understanding. At the time with injuries and coming back and getting ready to rehab and we're in a pandemic. I got it. It wasn't unexpected, but at the same time, I was relatively calm about it. I've been in this situation before. Younger me probably would have been freaked out, but at this point, you just pivot. I was already in the work of setting up the next framework for what I wanted to do. A few hours later, I get a call from Hunter and it all changed," said Joe. "I sent some company farewell texts just saying, 'Pleasure working with you' and some general 'thanks.' I got a text back (from Triple H) who was like, 'Give me a minute to get out of a meeting.' We had a brief conversation which was like, 'Give us a little time, I'll work out....we'll be talking soon.' It led to my return back to NXT."
As with any release, Joe received plenty of support from his peers, and he had to remain mum on his plans to return as his friends mourned.
"The awkward part was, so many people reached out and said they feel bad and it was hard for me to genuinely accept their grief because I'm like, 'Maybe it's not a bad deal,' but I couldn't say anything. I felt terrible, but I had to keep it a secret. Of course, right after I debut, everyone texts me, 'You SOB. I cried for you,'" Joe said with a laugh.
Joe currently serves as the enforcer for NXT GM William Regal.
Elsewhere during the interview, Joe discussed his role behind the scenes with NXT and a potential in-ring return. You can find his full comments by clicking here.
If you use any of the quotes above, please credit the original source with a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.