In 2021, WWE made more talent cuts and Samoa Joe was among the names to be let go. He was brought back two months later.
While speaking to Renee Paquette on The Sessions podcast, he recalled his first departure.
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Being released from WWE the first time… I deign to say that initially, as I understand it, unconfirmed, there is issues between the two upper echelons in management and they were planning out their war with the careers and contracts of the people underneath them. So, after the initial one, I didn’t have much of a chance to grieve because essentially, I was hired back within hours.”
“And then the second time (I was released from WWE), I just kind of chuckled because I realized it was very much the same situation but at the same time, I wasn’t bitter or mad. The truth of it is… this is to really give WWE some credence I guess was that I was expensive. I was expensive to keep around and if cutting my contract, if they said that saved the company money, trust me, I believe it did so, I wasn’t hot about that. It was more of just the silliness of the situation, what they were doing and the reasoning why they were doing it but, which you can never officially confirm but I’ve heard from enough people, I have a pretty good idea of what went down, so including many of the people involved so, after that, I think I’d spent a day kind of pissed and like you said, more at the situation than the actual firing and then all these super awesome opportunities literally materialized out of nowhere.”
Samoa Joe was considering retirement before joining AEW
“Oh, all the money they threw at me (Joe joked about why he was attracted to AEW). I mean, immediately threw all my morals away and — no. I was legitimately thinking about hanging it up, for health reasons. You know, obviously still coming off the concussion and still dealing with the very hidden effects of that and getting back in the ring healthy and transitioning back to a physical state where it’s like, I could do something for a good period of time and not wanna pass out. “