Samoa Joe is finally starting to make a big impact on RAW after his debut in January, brutalizing Seth Rollins at the orders of Triple H.
Joe was dominating at NXT for years, though, helping create what's become a lasting interest in the WWE's developmental promotion. Without Samoa Joe's star power and in-ring talents, NXT would have certainly been less over with fans of wrestling.
It's crazy to think that the former TNA champion and main-eventer was working with NXT for nearly two years before finally making the jump to RAW. The WWE may have had a very good reason for that, which The Destroyer pinpointed while appearing on the Talk Is Jericho podcast.
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Joe wasn't the only one who spent far longer than anticipated on NXT. The Samoan Submission Specialist shared some fantastic insight on why the WWE decided to keep him and other top talents on the developmental show for an extended stretch.
"I think a part of that too was about driving the brand. And I think that was kind of the issue with myself, Finn, and Nakamura. We were kind of these mainstays, it was a touring brand at this point, and it was like I felt kind of needed us," Joe told Jericho, as transcribed by Wrestling Inc.
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"NXT is at a level now where it is a third touring brand within the WWE spectrum and you have to now produce talent that have the risk of being gone. I liken it to a Ring Of Honor or an ECW where it's like you'd build these huge stars, but eventually opportunity comes calling," he said.
NXT has certainly taken on a life of its own over the years, and that's largely thanks to talent like Samoa Joe and Finn Balor making it one of the most fascinating shows for wrestling fans to watch. Eventually those draws have to move on to bigger and better things, though.
Triple H, who is in charge of NXT, has mentioned that replacing talent in the ring and behind the scenes has been a challenge the show has had to overcome. The recent re-branding, along with the arrival of Drew McIntyre, have been a few of the ways this deficit has been addressed.
Joe's gone just 8-21 as part of the main roster, but his 72-4-70 record as part of NXT is a testament to his hard work and importance to making the development brand relevant. Now it's only a matter of time until Joe starts climbing the ranks as one of the top performers on RAW.
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