Samoa Joe shocked the wrestling world on Sunday night when he announced via Twitter that he was relinquishing the NXT Championship after WWE's medical team advised he step away from in-ring action for the immediate future. The announcement came mere days before NXT's relaunch with Tuesday's episode, being referred to in advertising as "NXT 2.0." A new champion will be crowned during the episode, as the four-way between Tommaso Ciampa, Kyle O'Reilly, LA Knight and Pete Dunne (originally booked as a No. 1 contender's match) will now crown the new champion.
PWInsider's Mike Johnson then reported on Tuesday morning that, despite his decision to surrender the NXT title, Joe is "not expected to be out of action for an extended period of time," adding that a return date has not been determined. Johnson wrote that the undisclosed injury is legitimate and that WWE officials decided to take the title off of Joe and crown a new champion in what is supposed to be the first night of a new era for the brand.
"As part of my recent return, my goals were very simple, I sought to ensure the respect and integrity due to both NXT and its championship," Joe said in his announcement video. "I sought to ensure that everybody understood that the needs of one individual will never outstrip the sum of the brand. Today, I find myself having to stand on these principles. Recently, WWE medical has informed me that due to certain injuries they would like to have me step away from the ring for a brief yet still undetermined amount of time.
"I realize that this week we are on the cusp of a new NXT," he continued. "We are on the brink of a new era in our history. I realize that that era deserves a fighting champion. That's why it makes this very difficult decision very easy to make. Effective immediately, I relinquish the NXT Championship. Best of luck to those who will vie for it. My sincerest condolences to whoever wins because I will be along shortly to re-collect what's mine."
Stay tuned for further updates on Joe's status as they become available. Who do you think walks out of tonight's NXT as its new champion? Let us know down in the comments!