Samoa Joe was one of the biggest names on WWE’s released roster in April of 2021. The company has been making cuts fairly regularly during the pandemic, and almost no one has been safe from the moves of their protective roster. It was no surprise that Joe, who had a series of injuries and had just been transferred from the Raw commentary team, was one of them.
It was even more surprising when, after two months, he was brought back to work in NXT. That run came to an end when Joe was once again one of the biggest names in yet another roster for WWE releases in January of last year.
His second release wasn’t terribly surprising. Joe has been sidelined since the developmental brand underwent a 2.0 revamp, and most of the people released with him had ties to Triple H and/or the black and gold era of NXT. From the outside it looked like Joe, William Regal, Road Dogg, and others were let down as a result of those contacts; Just one step in a series of political moves we’ve seen over the past two years has involved the McMahon family.
This reading was from the outside. According to Joe’s comments on A.J New episode of René Paquette sessions PodcastIt was also read among those affected:
“This is, at first…as I understand it, uncertain—there were problems between the two upper levels of management, and they were fighting their war with the professions and the contracts of the people below them. After the first time, I didn’t get much chance of breathing because, basically, I was hired. again within hours [laughs]… Then the second time around, I kind of laughed it off. Because I realize it was pretty much the same situation.
“At the same time, I wasn’t bitter or mad. The truth is… And that, I think, to give WWE some credibility, is that I was too expensive.” [laughs]. It was expensive to stay around. If I cut my contract, if they said it saved the company money – believe me, I think it did… I wasn’t hot about it. It was just the absurdity of the situation, what they were doing – and why they were doing it, which I can’t officially confirm, but I’ve heard from enough people that I had a pretty good idea… including many of the people involved.
“After that, I think I kind of had a grumpy day and, as I say, more in the situation than the actual shooting. And then all these very cool opportunities just materialized out of nowhere.”
One of those great opportunities has been AEW, where Joe is currently reminding the wrestling world who he is with his “King of Television” gimmick and related feuds in AEW and Ring of Honor.
Well it all ends well. Joe’s take on what happened to him in WWE over the past few years isn’t something many of us haven’t heard or thought about before. But coming from someone involved (and with some unnamed firsthand sources), this is pretty big evidence that Vince McMahon’s feud against Stephanie McMahon and Triple H was happening behind the scenes.
And who knows if it’s over? At least Samoa Joe doesn’t have to sweat anymore.