WWE have posted an article (Written by Howard Finkel, Ryan Murphy & Kevin Powers) talking about big names that you may not have known worked in the WWE at one time. Names include the Fabulous Freebirds, Tiger Mask, Buff Bagwell, Greg Gagne, KroniK, Kevin Von Erick, The Public Enemy and more.
But perhaps one of the more surprising names that crop up in the article is none other than TNA talent, ‘The Samoan Submission Machine’ Samoa Joe. Back in 2001 Joe had been working the former WWE Saturday Night show Jacked, where he competed in a rivalry against former WWE Light Heavyweight Champion Essa Rios.
Here’s how the WWE described the big man:
“Samoa Joe became an icon on the independent wrestling scene throughout much of the 2000s by treating his opponents’ heads like they were soccer balls. A rival of both Daniel Bryan and CM Punk during their early years with the Ring of Honor promotion, the hard-hitting Samoan even battled Kenta Kobashi in the Japanese icon’s most famous North American match.
Joe earned his ardent fan base the hard way. But before he compelled supporters to chant “You’re going to get your head kicked in!” at his shaken opponents, the near 300-pounder made a sole WWE appearance in March 2001. Competing on WWE Jakked only a few years into his career, a young Joe struggled against former WWE Light Heavyweight Champion Essa Rios in an inauspicious national debut. The burly Samoan would go on to kick the teeth out of every major independent wrestler around, but he would not be seen in WWE again.”
A couple more TNA talents that should have made the list but are otherwise absent are Frankie ‘Kaz’ Kazarian, who would compete over on Smackdown’s warm up show Velocity (and remain undefeated in the WWE) and ‘The Phenomenal’ AJ Styles who’s match on Sunday Night Heat against The Hurricane remains something of a sought after video in the Internet Wrestling community.
You can read the whole article over at WWE.com.