The Samoan Submission Machine Samoa Joe has officially left TNA, revealing the news on his official Twitter account earlier this week.
Joe shared his gratitude with 275,000 fans for their support during a decade with the company last night, declaring: "I have decided to part ways with @ImpactWrestling, My very best to them moving forward, and my eternal thanks to the fans."
TNA also responded with an official press release via Vice President of Talent Relations John Gaburick. The statement read: “Upon expiration of Samoa Joe’s contract, TNA and Joe have mutually agreed to part ways. We would like to thank Samoa Joe for nine great years. Joe will always be a valued member of our family. We wish him all the best.”
Many TNA employees have reacted to the news with a mixture of surprise and disappointment, including Magnus, Kurt Angle, MVP and Mike Tenay.
Magnus in particular failed to hide his disappointment that TNA had failed to persuade a proven performer to stay put, but backed something of a mentor to continue a stellar career in the squared circle.
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Angle also shares thoughts
Long-time rival Angle also decided to make it clear he'll miss getting the chance to test himself against Joe on a regular basis, with the duo sharing a series of classic matches that have to go down as some of the best in TNA's short history.
It seems surprising that TNA would let Joe leave seeing as he was a big part of the current BDC storyline and an established name they could rely on to put on great matches which makes it seem as though either money was an issue or Joe jut decided it was the right time to go. Either way, after 10 years with the company it is an end of an era.
What does the future hold?
As a well established name and good in-ring performer, Joe will likely have no shortage of options moving forwards. There is a chance that WWE may come calling but Joe's age and look may prove to be a sticking point there unfortunately.
Despite the fact that it would be great to see Joe at a Wrestlemania, more likely options include a return to Ring of Honor, a run in Lucha Underground or joining fellow former TNA star AJ Styles in New Japan Pro Wrestling or even just touring the independent circuit.
Either way, at almost 36, Joe definitely has a good few years left in him yet and I for one, am very excited to see what comes next for the talented Samoan.