Samoa Joe is reportedly back with WWE after being released back in mid-April due to budget cuts.
It was reported last week that NXT officials wanted to bring Joe back to work as an in-ring talent, and that he was briefly at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando earlier in the week. Now PWInsider reports that Joe is coming back to work exclusively with the NXT brand.
Joe’s return to the company comes after Triple H reportedly “snatched him back” as soon as possible. A source noted that Triple H was not happy with Joe being let go, and wanted him back in NXT instead of going to work elsewhere, away from WWE. Triple H was the point person responsible for signing Joe back in 2015, and at one point gave him a unique contract where he was able to continue working indie dates.
Joe was not backstage at “Takeover: In Your House” on Sunday, and there’s no word on when he will officially make his return. Joe has not wrestled since February 2020 due to concussion issues, and was working as a RAW commentator at the time of his release. It was noted that when he was at the WWE Performance Center in recent weeks, he was not taking any bumps.
Regarding Joe’s in-ring future, it’s believed that while he could wrestle at some point, that is not the goal with this upcoming return as they want Joe to focus more on non-wrestling duties. It’s possible that Joe’s return is related to NXT General Manager William Regal teasing change for the NXT brand at the end of Takeover last night. WWE is promising that there will be a follow-up to Regal’s teaser on Tuesday’s NXT episode.
Dave Meltzer noted on the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio that Joe has been given “a Regal-like role” with NXT, and that Joe is the favorite to replace Regal, if the pro wrestling legend really is stepping down from the General Manager role. It was speculated by PWInsider that we could see Joe be the new General Manager, or some sort of enforcer for Regal.
Regal has been the NXT General Manager since July 2014, and has also worked as a trainer behind-the-scenes, and as WWE’s Director of Talent Development & Head of Global Recruiting. Joe worked the NXT brand from May 2015 until January 2017, and is a two-time NXT Champion.
Stay tuned for updates.