Samoa Joe has signed a permanent, full-time contract with WWE.
The former TNA champion was backstage at Raw last night to formally sign a full-time deal with the company. His current agreement – that began with a memorable appearance at NXT Takeover: Unstoppable – was structured in such a way that it still gave him freedom to accept and work independent dates, including bookings with Ring of Honor. It also allegedly contained a clause that offered WWE the opportunity to sign Joe to a full deal and, according to PWInsider, that is what WWE have done.
The site is reporting that positive reviews following his work at the NXT TV tapings plus strong merchandise sales convinced Vince McMahon and Triple H to execute the contractual option, with the decision to do so reportedly made late last week. Another factor was the announcement that Ring of Honor will soon be broadcast on Destination America, with WWE understandably keen to avoid having Joe appear on that show as well as NXT.
As it stands, Joe will fulfill all existing bookings, including Ring of Honor’s taping on 20 June.
With the new deal in place, Joe will now likely be fully programmed with NXT champion Kevin Owens before eventually moving onto the main roster.