Current AEW Champion Considered retirement before joining the company

All Elite Wrestling has revived many of its veteran stars’ careers. Former WWE midcard acts such as Claudio Castagnoli and Athena currently reign with Ring of Honor gold, while Malakai Black and Buddy Matthews are regulars on weekly programming. The same can be said about Samoa Joe, a well-traveled independent sensation who spent seven years in WWE. During his tenure, Joe dominated NXT, reigning with the company’s top prize three times. His main roster also saw success, as he won numerous pay-per-views against the likes of Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar.

That said, the end of Joe’s WWE experience featured fewer highlights. Injuries forced him into a commentary position and he was unceremoniously fired from the company in April 2021. Joe would be re-signed just two months later and move back to NXT to serve as an enforcer to then general manager William Regal. Just six months after returning to the company, Joe was released.

In conversation with Renee Paquette The sessionsJoe revealed that he was seriously retiring before AEW came knocking.

“I was honestly thinking about putting it up for health reasons,” said Joe (h/t competitive). “[I was] I’m still coming off the concussion and still dealing with the very last effects of that and getting back into the ring healthy and getting back to a physical state where I can do something for a while and don’t want to pass out.

Joe’s injuries piled up in early 2020, forcing him to move to the announce table. Although he was not in control of the situation, Joe commented that he needed the time outside the ring.

“I actually got two concussions very close together,” Joe said. “I took a year off to comment, which has helped me immensely and I don’t regret taking that time. I wouldn’t change it for anything. That allowed me to get healthy and my getting my mind back together and back in a place where I felt confident even when I was doing something physical.”

If he wasn’t away from physicality before his time, Joe doubts he’d still be struggling today.

“I realize if I rushed that and did that, I probably, inevitably, wouldn’t have returned to the ring at all,” Joe continued. “I’m glad I handled that well, despite wanting to go after it.”

Joe currently reigns as the AEW TNT Champion, a title he reclaimed last Wednesday AEW dynamite.

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