Samoa Joe is happy that guys are finally starting to crunch numbers on the independent scene.
Joe spoke to Scott Fishman of TV Insider and praised the independent wrestlers who are able to make a comfortable living without WWE.
“I think just now you’re seeing guys fully harness their potential on the independents and treat themselves as businesses,” Joe said. “It wasn’t really done in the past with really just a select few. There were guys like myself, Bryan, AJ and a laundry list. Now you’re seeing guys crunching the numbers. That is something a lot of guys didn’t do back then. They didn’t sit there and figure merch. They didn’t think of it like a business." “They treated as a weekend warrior hobby. I’m very happy to see this. I hope it continues to thrive, and they continue to bring interest," said Joe. "The landscape of the fan base has broadened so much. I think there is a lot of opportunities out there.”
Joe, AJ Styles, and Daniel Bryan were three guys who made a living on the independent scene before coming to WWE. But the success of All In proved that there's more money to be made outside of WWE than ever before. Along with All In, Ring of Honor is thriving heading into 2019 and their Madison Square Garden event on WrestleMania weekend. Joe believes this is good news for the wrestlers and the wrestling scene as a whole.
“I feel like the more buzz and competition that is out there creates a better marketplace for everybody,” he said. “I’m excited, especially for the people involved. I still know a lot of guys in the office for a good amount of years. They work tirelessly. It’s good to see them thrive and doing well.”
Of course, many would argue that All In and ROH running Madison Square Garden could not happen if it weren't for the health of WWE. Vince McMahon just signed a billion dollar deal that will put SmackDown Live on Fox every Friday night starting in October 2019. Joe is excited for the new opportunity afford to him and the company.
“The move will have a massive impact,” Joe said. “Something that is missing from the primetime, mainstream lineup is something that is live. To have SmackDown Live on Fox is a big opportunity for WWE and a lot of the superstars. It’s a big introduction back into a large portion of mainstream America. I’m looking forward to it.”
Joe is currently headlining SmackDown events, battling AJ Styles for the WWE Championship in arenas all over the country.