There has been a lot of chatter over the past couple of weeks that WWE, specifically Vince McMahon, still views NXT as developmental rather than a third brand. And while he can think what he wants, not developmental show is on broadcast television with a TV show week-in and week-out. That being said, NXT has been a show that has had its many ups and certainly plenty of downs since joining USA Network and going to two hours in 2019. At times it has felt like the NXT of old (especially when it stopped competing with AEW), and other times it has left people asking “Where is the NXT that I love?” All reasonable points to make. However, since the moment Samoa Joe has stepped through the door, he has single-handedly saved the brand in an effort to return it to prominence.
The two-time NXT Champion originally came in to help William Regal keep order on the black and gold brand, but it never felt that was his true fit. On night one, he choked out Adam Cole, had a faceoff with Pete Dunne, had a conversation with Johnny Gargano, and of course made it clear to Karrion Kross that he was there to stop him from running roughshod on the brand. As the weeks have gone on, Joe’s involvement has expanded more and more to the point where he no longer cares about his enforcer role and just wants to put Kross to sleep. In doing all of this, Joe has shown that he is still one of the best on the microphone and has instantly refound the form of himself that was prepared to feud with Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship.
For many, that is the greatest form of Joe, and breathing that energy and life into NXT has made it all feel like must-see television each and every single week. Last week saw Joe at his angriest and maybe even his best. The promos were filled with passion, anger, and determination. Joe’s intensity was felt through the television screen as he paced back and forth waiting to get payback on Kross who had choked him out a week before. It gave fans the final block of Joe returning to form — he was cleared to wrestle.
After all, when he was released from his contract, there were no signs that the “Samoan Submission Machine” was going to return to the ring. He was simply a commentator on Raw that many people can agree was not fulfilling his full potential. The moment he stepped into NXT, it felt different instantaneously. One of the legitimate best wrestlers over the past 20 years was joining the NXT roster and felt as it was an instant fit. So what’s next to continue this momentum with Joe in NXT?
Samoa Joe should be the next NXT Champion. Kross, by all accounts, is on his way out. But even more importantly, Joe feels like the match that can stop him once and for all. Since the moment Kross stepped into NXT, he has felt to be dominant, unstoppable, and remains undefeated as a singles competitor in his NXT career. He’s defeated Finn Balor, Johnny Gargano, Adam Cole, Keith Lee, and Pete Dunne in all separate defenses to further the fact that he could be NXT’s most dominant wrestler in history.
Funny, seeing that before Kross, most would say that moniker belonged to Samoa Joe. People may forget what he has done in his NXT career after all. While yes, he is a two-time NXT Champion, it’s the wins that he has in accomplishing that feat that is most impressive. Joe ended the reign first title reign of Finn Balor at a live event in Lowell to become champion for the very first time. The reason that the win is so impressive is that Balor established himself as the face of NXT and his title reign was the longest in the history of the NXT Championship up until Adam Cole broke it in 2020. Joe then doubled down his dominance by being the only man in WWE history to defeat Balor in his “Demon” form, doing so at NXT TakeOver: The End inside a Steel Cage.
Joe went on to hold the NXT Championship for 121 days before losing it to Shinsuke Nakamura. But no fear for Joe, as his second reign as NXT Champion (the first two hold the title twice) saw him give Nakamura the first loss of his NXT career. Joe’s NXT career was one of the most impressive in the history of the brand and already has him as one of the best in brand history. After remembering all of this, it makes sense as to why Joe has been such a plus for the NXT brand.
With his next stop being the first-ever three-time champion if he is able to defeat Kross, we only believe that Joe’s ability to continue giving NXT more of a heartbeat will get better and better. There are numerous potential matches that he can have as champion which makes the coming months in NXT must-see as well. The brand no longer has to work against anyone and must be itself again.
Samoa Joe is everything NXT needs moving forward.
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