Until recently, Samoa Joe was quietly plodding along at TNA as one of the unsung greats of the professional wrestling world.
When his contract expired, it was expected that he would flex his indie muscles with promotions like New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor. In fact, according to WrestleZone, he’s actually on the books for some ROH shows, but there are no permanent commitments at this time.
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, one of the industry’s top publications, has reported that WWE is actually serious about signing the big man, which is quite remarkable when you consider the preference that owner Vince McMahon has for muscular guys and homegrown talent.
To date, Samoa Joe has made a name for himself without the WWE’s help, but the Newsletter report characterizes what is now going on as “active talks,” which means Joe is seriously entertaining signing.
Most commentators agree that he would be likely for the NXT brand from the beginning, but Samoa Joe is a veteran performer who’s no stranger to larger television broadcasts. He’s pretty much good to go in the training department, and since NXT is still considered a “farm system” for the main brand, his inclusion on that roster could mean that WWE is starting to look at its one-hour program through a different lens.
They’ve already added the ECW/TNA vet Rhino to the mix, which is what you want to do to distinguish a brand as “big time” — get your hot stars and your veterans working together, telling more stories in the ring and deepening the impact for when one of the younger guys go “over.”
Joe probably has a little more gas in the tank than Rhino, though both guys are looking strong these days. Their in-ring stiffness can add an extra layer to the NXT brand and push guys like Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens past the point where they are now.
(Though Owens is already among the best when it comes to working stiff.)
While there hasn’t been any confirmation one way or the other on Joe — whether he’ll sign or, if he does, where they’ll place him within the WWE hierarchy — he, along with Rhino, could be what NXT needs to establish itself as the next big brand in professional wrestling.
What do you think, readers? Should Samoa Joe be placed on the NXT roster, and what other outside talents would you bring in if you could? Sound off in the comments section.