Samoa Joe has revealed that he relinquished the NXT Championship after testing positive for COVID-19.
At NXT TakeOver 36 in August 2021, Samoa Joe defeated Karrion (Killer) Kross to win the NXT Title for the third time. The title was vacated in September, just days before the premiere of NXT 2.0. Tommaso Ciampa won the vacant title on the premiere episode, defeating LA Knight, Pete Dunne and Von Wagner to claim the gold.
At the time, it was announced that Joe was taking time away from the ring due to injuries. Speaking on Busted Open Radio, Joe revealed that he agreed to relinquish the gold to give Vince McMahon the opportunity to open the rebooted NXT brand with a bang.
Recalling his positive COVID-19 tests, Joe noted:
“I popped for COVID. You know, at the time, it was over the weekend. My wife was making stew and I couldn’t smell it. She said, ‘Wow, doesn’t that smell great?’ I went, ‘No’ and then I tested positive I think on Saturday and by then, Vince (McMahon) had really wanted to go in a different direction with NXT and he really wanted to have the new opening of NXT 2.0 kind of be with a bang and I agreed with him. I said, ‘Listen, if that’s the case, then you know, this is probably what’s best for what your vision is for what you want for this product’
“I kind of went behind the scenes and I just started working with talent on a real one-to-one basis, pulling guys individually in open gyms, working with them and just focusing on a lot of the — these really new, tremendous prospects that we brought in and people were like really, really hungry to learn, really, really excited about this new-found opportunity and it was really invigorating for me.
“I think you (Tommy Dreamer) can speak to that. Whenever you’re working with young talent that are hungry and really, really want to succeed on a very, very high level, it kind of amps up your own spirit a little bit so I was really delving into that heavily and working with Matt Bloom on really revising things and training techniques and kind of evaluating what we were doing already and seeing if we could do it better and yeah, that was pretty much the end of my tenure at WWE is really what I was absorbed in.”
Joe was released from his WWE contract on January 5, during the latest round of Performance Center cuts.
Stay up to date with every WWE release of 2022 using our tracker at this link.
Transcription via POST Wrestling.
- John Cena, Cody Rhodes & More Announced For NXT Airing Against Edge’s AEW Debut Match
- Trick Williams Breaks Silence After Title Loss To Dominik Mysterio
- Update On Becky Lynch WWE Status
- Rhea Ripley Reacts To Dominik Mysterio Winning Back The NXT North American Championship
- Adam Copeland (Edge) Reveals WWE Backstage Reaction To AEW Switch
- VIDEO: Adam Copeland’s (Edge’s) Immediate Backstage Reaction To AEW Debut
- Recent WWE Surprise Was A ‘Late Creative Decision’
- SmackDown Star Shares Cryptic Message Amid WWE Absence
- Adam Copeland (Edge) Pitches For Major First-Time Ever Dream Match
- WWE Hall Of Famer Believes Jade Cargill ‘Looks Like Money’