Samoa Joe Explains How a WWE Power Struggle Led to Him Getting Fired Twice

Samoa Joe was released by the WWE twice in a span of eight months between April 2021 and January 2022. The first release came at a time when Joe was operating as a color commentator after injuries put a pause on his in-ring career. Paul Levesque (Triple H) hired him back almost immediately, adding him to the WWE Performance Center's recruiting team before putting him back on NXT programming and having him win the NXT Championship for a record third time. After his second release, he chose to sign with Tony Khan and work for both All Elite Wrestling and Ring of Honor. He's just over a week away from hitting 300 consecutive days as the ROH World Television Champion and will fight for a second reign as AEW TNT Champion on this week's AEW Dynamite.

Joe appeared on The Sessions with Renee Paquette this week and discussed the circumstances surrounding his WWE departure. He believed it had to do with a power struggle going on within WWE, as many of the people working backstage alongside Levesque in NXT were fired from the company while he was out of commission after suffering near-fatal heart failure. Some of those releases, most notably the return of William Regal, have since been reversed ever since Levesque took over WWE's booking as its Chief Content Officer. 

"As I understand it, unconfirmed, there's issues between the two upper echelons of management and they were playing out their war with the careers and the contracts of the people underneath them. So after the initial one, I mean, I didn't have much of a chance to grieve because essentially I was hired back within hours. The second time, I just kind of chuckled because I realized it was very much the same situation," Joe explained (h/t

"At the same time, I mean, I wasn't bitter or mad. I mean, the truth of it is, and really this is to give WWE some credence, was that I was expensive," he continued. "I was expensive to keep around and if cutting my contract they said saved the company money, trust me, I believe they did. So I wasn't hot about that. It was more just the silliness of the situation and what they were doing and the reasoning why they're doing it, which I can't officially confirm, but I've heard from enough people that have a pretty good idea, including many of the people involved. After that, I think I spent a day kind of pissed, like I said, more of the situation than the actual firing, and then all these super awesome opportunities literally materialized out of nowhere."