Samoa Joe has relinquished the NXT Championship due to injuries informed to him by WWE’s medical team. The news was announced at first by Joe on his social media, and later in an official statement on WWE.com
The 3 time NXT Champion has said the following in his address to the NXT Universe on social media:
“Hello, I am NXT champion Samoa Joe. As part of my recent return, my goals were very simple. I sought to ensure the respect and integrity due to both NXT and its championship. I sought to ensure that everybody understood that the needs of one individual will never outstrip the sum of the brand.
Today, I find myself having to stand on those principles. Recently, WWE medical has informed me that due to certain injuries, they would like to have me step away for the ring for a brief, yet still indeterminate, amount of time. I realised that this week we are on the cusp of a new NXT, we are on the brink of a new era in our history and I realised that that era deserves a fighting champion.
That’s why it makes this a very difficult decision very easy to make. Effective immediately, I relinquish the NXT championship. Best of luck to those who will vie for it. My sincerest condolences to whoever wins because I will be along shortly to recollect what’s mine.”
As mentioned in the video, the injuries and severity have not been specifically mentioned. It has also been stated by Samoa Joe that the timeframe for an in-ring return is currently unknown.
The relinquishing of the NXT Championship ends Joe’s short third reign as the top champion on the black and gold brand. The Samoan Submission Machine captured his third NXT Championship from Karrion Kross at NXT TakeOver 36 on August 22nd. The victory at NXT TakeOver 36 made Joe the only ever 3-time NXT Champion.
The vacated championship comes shortly before the new-look NXT on September 14th. Originally, a number one contenders match was planned to take place. Tommaso Ciampa, Kyle O’Reilly, LA Knight, and Pete Dunne are due to compete in a fatal 4 way match. There has been no official announcement on whether this will still take place.
h/t to Inside the Ropes for the use of transcriptions.
Featured image: Sports Illustrated