On one side, we have a former Future Stars of Wrestling Champion and the current NXT Champion. On the opposite side of the ring is a former multi-time NXT, Ring of Honor, and TNA/IMPACT World Champion. Over the course of the last few weeks, these two intense and destructive forces have brought with them their pedigree and wrestling acumen before this match to this first-time confrontation between them. However, in preparation to see where both men are going, it is important to see where both of them have come from to get to this point. It is without question the greatest threat to Karrion Kross’ reign as champion to date. This is the journey of Samoa Joe & Karrion Kross as they prepare to fall, prey, clutch, and choke each other.
Over the past twenty years, Samoa Joe’s career has spanned the globe. From the time he graduated from the UIWA West Coast Dojo to his time learning the ropes in the UPW, Joe was beginning to carve a niche himself. Samoa Joe would then move on to Zero-One, Shinya Hashimoto’s promotion in Japan. He competed as both Samoa Joe and King Joe while with the promotion over the course of a couple of years.
Samoa Joe – In Ring of Honor
However, it wasn’t until he came to Ring of Honor in 2002 that Christopher Daniel’s ‘hired assassin’ first came to be. Over the course of the six years that Joe was with the promotion, he captured ROH World and Pure Championship. He was also embroiled in some of the greatest matches and rivalries in the promotion’s history. Whether it was against Bryan Danielson or CM Punk, Samoa Joe battled the best and beat the best the company had to offer. Finally, in 2005, Joe faced legendary Kenta Kobashi in what was billed as a once-in-a-lifetime match-up. Their battle cemented Joe’s career early on as someone to be aware of.
While competing for ROH, Joe would also debut for TNA Wrestling. Although his time with Ring of Honor was drawing to a close, the aura of the Samoan Submission Machine began to rise. His undefeated streak began facing the likes of AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels. During this time, he would also go on to face notable WWE legends such as Christian and Sting. His success would then be parlayed into his battles with the likes of TNA Wrestling owner Jeff Jarrett. Samoa Joe’s undefeated streak would then lead into his run as the TNA World Heavyweight Champion. However, his battles against the ‘Angle Alliance’ would be the first series of matches that stood before him.
Samoa Joe Departs TNA
After some time, it would be that Joe would need to be aligned with others to maintain his success. As a member of the Main Event Mafia, Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, & Sting, among others, would assemble to demonstrate strength in numbers. He was in more of a supporting role here. However, after being ‘abducted,’ Joe would remerge after some time away. Joe would then team with Magnus for some time. This was before re-establishing the Main Event Mafia, once again teaming with Kurt Angle and Sting once again.
He once again pursued championships within TNA before leaving the company in 2015. A short time later, Joe would join the WWE’s NXT brand. During this time, Joe would ascend to the top of the brand capturing the NXT Championship on two separate occasions. Once Joe was brought to the main roster, he pursued the WWE Championship and captured the US Title. After suffering injuries, Joe would transition to commentary on Monday Night Raw before being released.
For Karrion Kross, his journey before his time in NXT can be best summed up here. However, his NXT Championship reign has seen him face and defeat the likes of Johnny Gargano, Finn Balor & Kyle O’Reilly, among others. Additionally, he attempted to discredit and disrespect General Manager William Regal, all leading to seeds being planted for change.
Upon his re-signing with the company, Joe rejoined NXT. However, it was at that time when a change was needed. At this time, Samoa Joe and Karrion Kross would come face-to-face for the first time. Joe’s role would be that of an administrative enforcer. One that couldn’t touch the talent unless provoked.
Samoa Joe & Karrion Kross – Provoked
As such, a situation presented itself, and Samoa Joe was provoked. After defeating Johnny Gargano for the NXT Championship, Samoa Joe, acting as the referee, raised Karrion Kross’ hand as the victor. However, not being one to accept Joe’s time as the referee, he would suffer an attack by the champion. Kross would proceed to scream that he was provoking Joe until the Samoan Submission Machine passed out.
The following week, Samoa Joe came to the ring and demanded that Karrion Kross appear. Throughout the show, Joe would pace and scream for the NXT Champion to confront him. As the episode drew to a close, it would be Kross once again getting the better of Samoa Joe. Kross would appear on the screen laughing at Joe, and before he would drive away and unconscious William Regal. Samoa Joe would attempt to catch Kross outside of the arena until he drove off.
“Karrion Kross, without a doubt, extremely domineering force. He’s run through everybody they’ve put in front of him; he’s been an absolute beast of a champion,” Joe said. “Hits hard, throws harder, (but) I’m going to beat the brakes off him.
Samoa Joe sends a message to Karrion Kross.
The following week, Joe confronted William Regal and said he would step down in pursuit of Karrion Kross. It was clear that for everything that Karrion Kross had achieved before, this meant nothing. Regardless of who he defeated and who stood across from him, he hadn’t faced someone with the ferocity and pedigree in NXT like Samoa Joe. With no disrespect intended to those he has defeated in the past, Joe’s achievements in the WWE, NXT previously, IMPACT, and Ring of Honor speak to what he is capable of doing in the ring.
“I’m going to put all hands on him. I don’t know when I’m going to do it, but I just know this, it’s going to be a lot of pummelling and strikes to the head and face area. I’m going to probably do my best not to wear out my right foot when I’m whipping his a*s with it all over the ring. I’ll see how it holds out.”
Samoa Joe continues to send a message to Karrion Kross.
As their match with one another is set to take place, the stakes have continued to grow. Both men are on a collision course to do more than beat each other down. They are determined to end the other one. For Samoa Joe, it is a matter of pride, while for Kross, it is about asserting his dominance as NXT Champion. Who among them will walk away as the champion, and who will leave wondering what if? Regardless of the distractions that could present themselves in this match, they will clearly prey, fall, clutch, and choke each other in this match.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) August 10, 2021