It was reported last night that Samoa Joe had signed a full-time deal with WWE, which explains why he was backstage at the WWE RAW television in taping in San Antonio, and why he worked a match for WWE Superstars prior to the show.
Joe was said to have impressed everyone with his debut at NXT Takeover and the NXT television tapings the following night at Full Sail University. His official t-shirt has also been selling incredibly well.
Another major reason for WWE officials pulling the trigger on a full-time contract is the announcement of Ring of Honor to Destination America, which kicks off this Wednesday night. Obviously it’s a bit awkward to have one of your new stars appearing on television for a rival promotion, not to mention as a lead-in for Impact Wrestling.
That being said, Ring of Honor (as of late last night) is still advertising Samoa Joe and AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian for their June 20th television taping. This will likely be Joe’s last appearance for the promotion, against some of his biggest and longest-running rivals throughout his entire career.
He is expected to begin touring with NXT soon, and is scheduled for the upcoming live events in Pittsburgh and Columbus, OH. They are letting him finish up his independent bookings, although if there is a scheduling conflict the tie goes to WWE on that night.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes for WWE to bring him up to the main roster, although with stars like Kevin Owens pulling double-duty, and Sami Zayn getting mentioned on a weekly basis, things are not as black-and-white between the two as they used to be. For those wondering, PWInsider.com reports that Joe is not booked for tonight’s WWE Smackdown taping, so he will not be the mystery opponent to answer Kevin Owen’s NXT Championship Open Challenge.