Samoa Joe is a type of wrestler who is a rarity - a big, hulking man who is agile, quick, and can
make high-risk moves with ease. Like many other Superstars who are currently in the WWE,
Joe was a star in the indie scene, wrestling all over the United States, and other countries,
before receiving his due and being recognised by the WWE, who signed him up in 2015.
Early beginnings in pro wrestling
Prior to becoming a wrestler, Joe excelled in other sports and was the California State Junior
Judo champion and also playing American football.
A fact about Joe that many do not know about is that he started his pro wrestling career
alongside John Cena at Ultimate Pro Wrestling, which was a WWE developmental promotion,
where WWE’s Jim Ross and Bruce Prichard told him that he may not become a pro wrestler.
Samoa Joe, though, brushed aside the criticism and travelled to Japan to compete in the Pro
Wrestling Zero-One promotion, where he won the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team
After returning to the United States, Joe joined the fledgling Ring of Honor promotion in 2002,
where he feuded with future WWE Superstars like Tyler Black (Seth Rollins), Bryan Danielson
(Daniel Bryan), Chris Hero (Kassius Ohno), as well as a famous feud with CM Punk, where one
of the matches received a 5-star rating from wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, NXT, and main roster
After wrestling in the indies for a few years, Samoa Joe got his break when he joined Total
Nonstop Action Wrestling which had several big names. Joe had several great matches and
feuds with AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Christian Cage, while also feuding with pro wrestling
legends like Sting and Kurt Angle.
Joe won it all at TNA and was one of the top dogs in the promotion for nearly a decade. The list
of achievements in TNA for Samoa Joe is endless - TNA Television Champion, TNA World
Heavyweight Champion, TNA World Tag Team Champion, and TNA X Division Champion, to
name a few.
In 2015, Samoa Joe left TNA and briefly wrestled in ROH, before signing with WWE and NXT.
At NXT, Joe had a memorable feud with Finn Balor for the NXT Championship and then later
with Shinsuke Nakamura, winning the NXT Championship twice, before his switch to the main
Samoa Joe was called up to the main roster in January 2017, quickly being added to the
Universal championship picture. He was involved in a brief feud between Brock Lesnar and
Braun Strowman, but his push for the top title quietly died down.
In the 2018 Superstar Shake-Up, Samoa Joe was moved to SmackDown Live where he
rekindled his feud with AJ Styles for the WWE Championship, albeit unsuccessfully.