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By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
NXT champion Samoa Joe talked in-depth to NOLA.com promoting this weekend’s NXT tour in SEC Country, including a final stop in New Orleans.
Joe hyped his current NXT Title feud with Shinsuke Nakamura, listed the main roster stars he’s looking forward to mixing it up with, and having regrets about not landing in WWE sooner.
“I’ve known Shin since he first started in wrestling, and his accolades speak for themselves. He’s reignited any company he’s ever been with, and coming into NXT, he’s definitely added a lot of flame to our fire,” Joe said before hyping their TV feud.
“But he says he’s the King of Strong Style. When you look at the history of wrestling and you see who brought the techniques and the style that was so prolific in Japan here to the United States, it was me. … For him to say he’s the King, by default, that makes me the Emperor.”
About 15 years ago, Joe was on WWE’s radar along with the likes of John Cena, but Joe’s body type wasn’t what WWE was looking for. They also wanted him to relocate to the Midwest for OVW training. The experience gave Joe a sour taste, which kept him away from WWE until joining NXT in May 2015.
“It was something I had resigned myself that if I don’t make it there, it wasn’t meant to be. I never took that as a slight or an insult, I just (knew) there’s a lot more companies in the world that would appreciate my services, and I went full speed ahead and worked,” Joe said.
“To be here now, it’s a surprise to me as much as anybody. Now that I’m here, I kind of regret my thinking back then because (WWE) is a lot more than I thought it would be. And it’s been a real blast being here.”
As for a potential main roster call-up, Joe said he’s looking forward to working with wrestlers he has a long history with, like A.J. Styles and Kevin Owens, and others he’s never been in the ring with.
“I have so much history with so much of the roster up there. A.J. Styles, John Cena, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn,” Joe said. “(There’s )Brock Lesnar, a guy I don’t have any history with but I’d love to get in the ring with. Randy Orton, another guy who we’ve kind of run parallel but have never crossed paths. I would definitely love to get in the ring with him and mix it up.
“The options and potential is limitless. To me and to a lot of fans these options are really incredible matches in the making. Rusev, there’s another guy who I’d love to go after.”
If he comes up after SummerSlam, I’d put him in a program with Cena. When Nakamura comes up I’d put him in with Bray Wyatt or Ambrose.