Kurt Angle Says He Was 'Surprised' Samoa Joe Was Released by WWE

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2021

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR WWE - Kurt Angle addresses the crowd after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the WrestleMania 33 weekend at a ceremony on Friday, March 31, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Images for WWE)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Kurt Angle had the same reaction as many wrestling fans upon learning of Samoa Joe's departure from WWE.

Following WrestleMania 37, WWE released a number of performers, including the Samoan Submission Machine. Angle, who had worked with Joe in Impact Wrestling, thought Joe still had a role to play within the promotion.

"Joe was a very intense individual, and I'm surprised they released him," Angle said on his podcast (via Fightful's Gisberto Guzzo). "Especially with Bobby Lashley right now, they need some guys to go up against Bobby, and I thought Samoa Joe would be a great person to represent that spot, but unfortunately, they did let him go and I'm not sure why."

A Joe/Lashley feud would have been a lot of fun, but it may not be possible now. Samoa Joe hasn't wrestled since the Feb. 10, 2020, edition of Raw, with a concussion forcing him out of the ring and onto the commentary table.

In general, Angle's comments echo the widely held belief WWE failed to get the most it could out of the 42-year-old and that he would've had a role to play whether as a wrestler or broadcast voice.

Renee Paquette @ReneePaquette

How do you drop the ball on SAMOA JOE?!?!? How?! Injuries aside, what a mistake.

Ryan Satin @ryansatin

The fact that Samoa Joe never became a World Champion in WWE is an absolute shame.

Adam Pacitti @adampacitti

Samoa Joe has proven himself as one of the most versatile performers both in ring, on the mic, on commentary, everywhere. I'm in absolute disbelief.

Prior to joining the main roster, Joe was a two-time NXT champion and generally portrayed as the smug, monster heel that played perfectly to his traits.

Upon getting called up to Raw, however, WWE was never willing to commit to Joe in the way he was pushed in NXT. He feuded with AJ Styles over the WWE Championship and had a fun rivalry with Roman Reigns in 2018, but he consistently came up short in his biggest storylines.

Perhaps getting his walking papers from WWE could be the best thing for Joe.

Per a report from Fightful Select (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), he's looking to step back inside the squared circle. Now, he has the freedom to explore opportunities with independent promotions in the U.S. or abroad.

Plenty of talented performers in recent years have successfully landed on their feet elsewhere upon leaving WWE.