The WWE have made it their business in recent years to cherry-pick the top talent from rival rosters and the independent scene.
The likes of Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Daniel Bryan, Cesaro and Samoa Joe have all signed with the organization after making a name for themselves elsewhere in the wrestling business.
There is one big difference between the first four wrestlers and the last name on that list, however. Unlike the four main roster talents, Samoa Joe hasn't been forced to change his name. This week, the recently crowned NXT champion explained how he'd managed to keep hold of his identity.
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Speaking during an appearance on the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast this week, he cited a combination of a good lawyer, his longevity in the business and, always key to WWE, the financial advantages:
"My lawyer is dope," Joe began. "Yeah, but I'm really super over and awesome, so that helps. I think the biggest thing really is when they looked at the situation, which was very unique that I was coming into, and AJ [Styles]'s much the same way.
"It's very unique where we have decade-plus careers and decade-plus name recognition behind us that it's more of a benefit to keep us as we are, so I think that's the biggest thing."
As Samoa Joe alludes to, he and Styles have created a real reputation fighting under their current names. Joe, for instance, has been competing all over the world under that name for over 15 years.
The likes of Owens (previously Kevin Steen), Zayn (El Generico), Cesaro (Claudio Castagnoli) and Bryan (Bryan Danielson), whilst finding success outside WWE, didn't have the same following.
Continuing the Joe brand was easier, and more profitable, than changing things completely:
"And for branding purposes and all that, I understand their business acumen behind trying to change somebody's name. But, at the same time, do we want to start moving stuff a couple of months down the line or start moving stuff on night one? And that was a motivating factor too.
"I mean, it was financially smart and it was creatively smart, so I think that was the biggest thing that went into it."
Making his mark
Since making his debut in NXT back in May 2015, Samoa Joe has fit in extremely well, and keeping his name has only helped enhance his reputation en route to claiming the development brand's title last week.
With Styles having already made the jump to the main roster equipped with his long-time character name, Samoa Joe will surely follow suit in the not too distant future.
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