Samoa Joe's release from the WWE earlier this year was shocking for fans, though it didn't take long for the company to reverse its decision in a logical manner. Following reports that Joe (real name: Nuufolau Joel Seanoa) took a job with WWE offshoot NXT, the wrestler appeared on a recent episode of Tuesday Night NXT as William Regal's enforcer-of-sorts to ensure the general manager is "respected" by others around him. The new role came with the explicit caveat from Regal that Joe can't be a competitor on the roster unless he's provoked, and given Joe's recent comments about a potential in-ring return, that day could come sooner than later.
Samoa Joe not only talked about his desire to get back into the ring on Out Of Character With Ryan Satin, but he surprisingly didn't hold back in specifically calling out some of the other NXT stars he'd like to get into the ring with. And Joe didn't hold back in running down the list, throwing some pretty heavy hitters into the mix as well.
I think Karrion Kross and Pete Dunne would definitely top that list. I think a guy like Walter. People have been asking for [Joe vs. Walter] and I’m not blind. It’s with good reason. I mean, the guy’s a powerhouse, and we want to see some furniture move. It’s not just one or two guys. Guys from Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly. There’s several very, very accomplished athletes in NXT. . . . Bronson Reed, I know he’s always yapping. He wants to get some. He’s always running his mouth. Aussies, you know they’ve got big mouths down there. The kangaroos got pouches, [Australian people] got big mouths. That’s Aussies for you! What you gonna do, you know?!
In terms of potential opponents for Samoa Joe - and there are clearly more than enough to last for quite a few potential rivalries - it makes sense that someone like Karrion Kross is at the top of the list. Kross was present when Samoa Joe made his triumphant return in NXT, and the two stared each other down as William Regal hashed out the ground rules for how Joe would conduct himself in the NXT. The bottom line is it seems Samoa Joe and Karrion Kross are on a provocation-filled collision course, so it only makes sense the wrestler would promote a possibly marquee matchup like that.
The real question WWE fans may have is whether Samoa Joe's role in NXT is more meant to help build up the younger talent hoping to advance their reputations on the way to hopefully landing on Monday Night Raw and/or SmackDown's main rosters, or if those wrestlers are meant to be Samoa Joe's stepping stones as he attempts to make his own return to WWE's bigger brands. Maybe it's a little of both, considering Joe may have some ring rust after his extended time away from the action following injuries. If that's the case, getting some time in NXT will benefit all involved, regardless of who gets pushed early and who stays behind.
The truth of the matter is that Samoa Joe was considered a main eventer in the WWE ahead of his injury, and he remained popular in making a successful transition to commentator, so one has to wonder how long he'll stay in the NXT. At the same time, it could be equally beneficial for him to be among the veterans in NXT and coaching the next generation of talented athletes who could later make a splash on shows like Monday Night Raw. In either case, it sounds like Samoa Joe is ready to return to action, and if he's talking about it in podcasts, it might be a thing fans will get to witness sooner rather than later.
NXT airs on USA on Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. As fans wait for Samoa Joe to make his way back into the ring, he's not the only one looking to make a return to the ring following a big injury. Read about the other WWE superstar allegedly planning a return and how that could shape the coming months here.