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Samoa Joe was scared that his career was over: "It was a much worse type of injury than I think I had dealt with before"



Two-time WWE NXT Champion was interviewed on Corey Graves' "After The Bell" podcast to talk about his return to the ring, his upcoming match at TakeOver 36 with Karrion Kross, being sidelined for a year and a half, and more.

Joe was asked, ‘You haven’t had a match since February of 2020. What does it mean to you to now be stepping back into the ring for the NXT Championship at TakeOver 36?”

“Obviously, it’s good to be back. It’s good to be an active competitor again. I like the circumstances, coming back into NXT and fighting for the championship. It feels right. It seems right. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to get back in the ring in front of the WWE Universe.”

Joe was asked what was going through his mind over the last year (he was out of action due to concussion issues):

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“I kept it simple, and it was just getting healthy. I think sometimes a lot of people have a tendency to overcomplicate their problems, and make them finite or worse, just adding to them my heaping extra pressures, uncertainties, and stuff like that. My focus was simply just to get healthy. No other expectations were put on it. No expectations to return to the ring. No expectations to be anything other than to get back to where I should be, getting my brain healthy, and getting my body healthy. That was my main focus. Just because of the people that I know around me, and that I care about, I told them I would take that approach to see how my health came along, see how I felt, be careful with it, take extra time, and just really concentrate on getting better. I think that was my main focus, and that’s what helped me.

It was not thinking about all the extraneous stuff. It was not thinking about, ‘Man, will I ever be back in the ring again? Will I ever do this again?’ A lot of it was having the hindsight of seeing other people that I know in this business going through very similar struggles, gathering a wealth of knowledge, taking the doctor’s advice, asking a lot of questions of other people who have dealt with this in depth throughout their career, and making the best health decisions for me. Once we got through that process and I was comfortable with that, we started concentrating on getting back to the ring and finding the best ways to do it, and the best opportunity. During that entire time, I like to keep busy. I’m never one to shirk away from a little work, so when the opportunity came to do commentary, when the opportunity came to maybe do a panel, or do other things with WWE, I jumped at the chance because I don’t like sitting idly by for too long.”

Joe talking about if he thought the injury would be the end of his career:

“It was a much worse type of injury than I think I had dealt with before. It scared me. It scared a lot of people that care about me too. They were very, very concerned. It became very easy to make that the focus as far as what I wanted to do, and when I wanted to come back. It inevitably all hinged on that, just making sure I was alright, and making sure I was feeling good. When I came back to the ring, I didn’t want to come back in a 70% capacity. I wanted to make sure I can come back and give the best I could to the fans.”

If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit After The Bell with Corey Graves with a h/t to for the transcription