|Joe and TNA have parted ways, apparently|
Photo Credit: Lee South/ImpactWrestling.com
I have decided to part ways with @ImpactWrestling. My very best to them moving forward, and my eternal thanks to the fans.The move was totally unexpected if only because he'd stuck with the company for so long despite seeing his role diminish year by year and the stature and profitability of the promotion dwindle to its current state. Joe had debuted in 2005 with a monster push behind him, including an undefeated streak, a run with the X-Division Championship replete with a hot feud against AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, and a stint as TNA World Champion. However, once TNA signed Kurt Angle, Joe's prominence started to circle the drain.
— Samoa Joe (@SamoaJoe) February 17, 2015
Joe has seemingly been around forever, but he's only 35, which still places him closer to his prime than away from it. He will be a coveted free agent though. He has history with Ring of Honor, which has had a habit of collecting former talent home to roost (Styles, Chris Hero, Matt Sydal). Additionally, Joe will be an attractive target for New Japan Pro Wrestling with his international stature and his stylistic fit. I can see him working a similar schedule as Styles, who currently is the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. I could also see him working for Lucha Underground, since it also has taken to bringing former TV wrestling stars under its care.
Of course, the most coveted scenario for wrestling fans seems to be the most unlikely. Joe-to-NXT could happen since WWE has lessened its restrictions on signing older wrestlers. Hideo Itami and Finn Bálor both signed at age 33, just two years younger than what Joe is now. Also, according to his Wikipedia article (I know, I know), William Regal is counted among his trainers, who's not only a fixture at the Performance Center, but one of Triple H's best buddies within the company. ETA: He's also good friends with John Cena, which is another reason maybe to get excited. Never say never, of course, but WWE has been cautious signing former TNA wrestlers, and 35 seems to be an extreme age outlier.
But again, not a whole lot of information is available at this time since it literally just happened via Twitter. Either way, it's a shame Joe spent so much of his career in a state of creative atrophy (although who knows, maybe he got paid really well and has a high tolerance for bullshit, which more power to him). This release seems to have come four years too late, but if he does go the Styles route and compete for NJPW and ROH going forward, he could have a whole other run ahead of him to help cement his all-time legacy in the positive direction.