On Saturday August 20 NXT Champion Samoa Joe will defend his title, against Shinsuke Nakamura, at NXT Takeover Brooklyn II. At one time this was something Joe thought would just never happen for him. In an interview with NOLA.com he revealed that after a brief period in the WWE developmental system at the start of his career he thought he would never make it back.
The 37-year-old, who has been wrestling since 1999, said he had come to terms with not working for the company, preferring to focus his energy on the companies where he did work, with much success. It took 15 years for Samoa Joe to get back to WWE where now, as NXT Champion, he is a locker room leader, with only good things to say about his company and colleagues.
The NXT Champion clearly has a lot of respect for his challenger at Takeover, and he won’t be taking Shinsuke Nakamura lightly. But, while he agrees that Nakamura’s achievements tell a compelling story, his claim to be the ‘king of strong style’ are refuted by Joe, who says everything Nakamura has done, he did first. If Nakamura is the king, then Joe suggests he must be the emperor.
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Regardless of the result at NXT Takeover on Saturday, the ‘Samoan Submission Machine’ is not going to be satisfied with being the NXT champion. He has the main roster firmly in his sights. A call-up appears inevitable for Joe, it’s just a matter of when, and there are several matches he already has in his sights. While he has history with several current superstars - and would love to reignite some old rivalries - his main targets are Brock Lesnar, and Lesnar’s SummerSlam opponent Randy Orton, neither of which he has faced.
In the meantime, the current champ is enjoying the responsibilities of leading the NXT locker room, and watching the enthusiasm of some of the younger stars. He describes them as invigorating, and says their infectious energy even manages to affect him at times. Despite being a veteran, it seems there is still a bright future ahead for Samoa Joe.
Who will walk out of NXT Takeover Brooklyn II the NXT Champion? Have your say in the comments section below.