After more than a year away from the ring, Samoa Joe is making his return.
It was set up at Wednesday night's NXT television tapings that Joe will challenge Karrion Kross for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver 36 next month. The TakeOver event is taking place on Sunday, August 22.
There was an in-ring segment at Wednesday's tapings where Joe offered NXT general manager William Regal his resignation as an NXT authority figure so that he could face Kross at TakeOver. Regal, who wanted to fire Kross during the segment, agreed to Joe's deal and signed the paperwork.
Last night's NXT ended with an angle where it was shown that Kross had laid out Regal. The attack on Regal was Kross sending a message to Joe. The previous week, Kross choked out Joe after Joe was the special guest referee for Kross' NXT Championship defense against Johnny Gargano.
Joe hasn't wrestled since February 2020 due to concussion issues. He was working as a color commentator for Raw until being released by WWE in this April's roster cuts. Joe returned as an on-screen authority figure for NXT this June. He's also working in the talent scouting department in NXT.
On Fox Sports' Out of Character with Ryan Satin podcast in June, Joe was asked if he's still working toward a return to the ring. "Absolutely," Joe said. "We'll just say yes. We'll leave it at that." Joe named Kross, Pete Dunne, WALTER, Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Kyle O'Reilly, and Bronson Reed as opponents that he would like to face in NXT.
Kross made his Raw debut this Monday, losing a non-title match against Jeff Hardy. Hardy pinned Kross while having his feet on the ropes for extra leverage.