It took Samoa Joe 14 long years before he finally landed a deal with the WWE. In 2000, he was recruited by the WWE’s developmental company, UPW, where he trained alongside future stars such as John Cena. While the latter made the jump to the WWE’s main roster within two years, Joe only earned a tryout match against Essa Rios during an episode of WWE Jakked in 2001. He didn’t step into a WWE ring again until his NXT debut in 2015.
Following memorable stints with TNA and ROH, Joe had finally made it to the top of the wrestling world by joining WWE. However, there were some question marks regarding his fit with the company, as he received a lukewarm reception behind-the-scenes. Vince McMahon was among the doubters at the time, although their relationship has significantly changed since Joe’s rookie campaign.
“Oh, there were tons here for years. Years. Vince vehemently opposed me being in WWE. He didn’t know me, wasn’t familiar with me. And now we have a great relationship, everything’s working fine,” said Joe in an interview with Fightful.
Fans wanted to see Joe as a member of the WWE long before McMahon gave him a chance. The lengthy journey paid off for Joe at last, as he was able to change McMahon’s perception of him.
“I think he just realize he already bought it, so he might as well use it. No, like I said, with every partner I’ve ever worked with it’s about time and understanding. And we’ve had some time and we’ve had some understanding. It’s working out pretty well,” added Joe regarding McMahon warming up to him.
The introduction of NXT opened up the door for independent wrestlers, many of whom were previously overlooked by the WWE. Thanks to Triple H, Joe received a call-up to the brand in 2015, and now he has moved up the ladder to become an integral part of Monday Night Raw. With his current position on the brand, Joe is set to continue playing a major role in the foreseeable future.
In the past two months, Joe has been teasing a face turn for the first time since his arrival in the WWE. While plans had been made for the switch, WWE opted to postpone it for another episode of Monday Night Raw, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. While McMahon may have resisted the signing of Joe in the past, it’s safe to say that the latter has won him over, given his ongoing push.