While appearing on 102.5 The Bone’s Drew Garabo Live, Samoa Joe talked about Triple H bringing him into NXT and giving him a non-exclusive deal with the company before offering him a full-time deal.
“Yeah, [Triple H] made the call, so I give him a ton of credit for me being with WWE because he was my contact point. Really, it was a bunch of dudes. It was Paul Heyman; it was Road Dogg; it was Joey Mercury. Really, it was a laundry list of people who were with the company who worked with me throughout my [pro wrestling] career.”
Joe would then reveal that he was offered a main roster deal after only a week and a half with the company following the non-exclusive “lowball” offer he received initially.
“The initial deal on the table, it was a little bit of a low offer, but it was a foot in the door. No, financially, it was actually great, but as far as opportunity, it was a lowball offer. He did take care of me in that aspect, which is much appreciated. He told me from the get that, ‘we’re probably only going to be used in NXT. You’re in your 30s. Vince [McMahon] really isn’t interested in bringing those guys up right now.’ And that was the edict at the time, ‘if you’re over this certain age, we’re not interested in bringing you to RAW or SmackDown. We’re trying to build new talent.’ But to me, I already had a pretty good career. It was just kind of an opportunity to stay going. It was a merch deal, which they do so much distribution I was with, and I said, ‘yeah, sure.’ And within I believe a week-and-a-half, I was offered a main roster contract and continued to work in NXT with later moving onto RAW after we build the brand up.”
When Joe was asked whether merchandise numbers influenced the push to sign him to the main roster, Joe revealed that it did and shortly after he was put on an exclusive deal.
“It definitely does. I know after that happened, the phone call was, ‘yeah, we need you to be signed exclusively immediately.’ Obviously, it plays a big part and if there’s a fanbase there, especially, if you want to vote, it’s the economy. You vote with your dollars. People were excited I was there. It makes a big difference.”
You can check out the full interview here: