One week after AEW star Bryan Danielson was revealed as the second inductee into the Ring of Honor Hall of Fame, ROH has announced that a contemporary of Danielson’s will be joining him. In a lengthy statement released on their website, Ring of Honor revealed that Samoa Joe will be the third inductee into ROH’s inaugural Hall of Fame class.
“Ring of Honor is proud to welcome Samoa Joe, the most dominant ROH World Champion in history, into the inaugural class of the ROH Hall of Fame,” the statement read. “From the first time he stepped into an ROH ring in 2002, Joe proved to be an intimidating force whose hard-hitting offense, intensity and relentlessness made him one of the sport’s most dangerous competitors. ‘The Samoan Submission Machine’ is arguably the most proficient American pro wrestler in the art of strong style, a form of pro wrestling popularized in Japan that emphasizes strikes and submissions. In just his 10th match in ROH, Joe captured the ROH Title in March 2003. Two months later, Joe officially elevated the championship to world title status when he successfully defended it in London, marking the first time the championship had been defended outside the United States.
“Joe went on to hold the ROH World Championship for a record 645 days and make 31 successful title defenses. It’s not only the longest reign in ROH history, but at the time it was the longest world title reign in any U.S.-based pro wrestling company in 15 years. During Joe’s historic reign, he and CM Punk engaged in an epic trilogy of matches that have become legendary. They wrestled to two 60-minute draws before Joe won their final meeting. Six months after losing the ROH World Title, Joe won the ROH Pure Championship. After leaving ROH in 2007, Joe won the TNA World Heavyweight Title by defeating Kurt Angle. Joe returned to ROH in 2015 for a series of matches before he departed for WWE, where he became the first two-time NXT Champion.”
Samoa Joe joins Danielson and The Briscoe Brothers in Ring of Honor’s inaugural Hall of Fame class; the final inductee will be revealed next week. Shortly after the announcement, Samoa Joe simply tweeted out “#Honored” along with a photo of himself and fellow ROH alumni CM Punk and Homicide.
The announcement comes a little more than a month after Samoa Joe was released from WWE for the second time in the span of a year. Originally released in April of 2021, Joe was re-signed by Triple H and brought to WWE’s NXT brand to work as an in-ring performer and talent scout. He would go on to defeat Killer Kross for the NXT Championship at TakeOver 36 but quickly vacated the title due to injury right before the launch of NXT 2.0.
Joe would never appear on WWE programming again and would ultimately be released on January 6, alongside several other so-called Triple H “lieutenants” William Regal, Gabe Sapolsky, and Road Dogg. In a statement following his release, Joe hinted at a potential return to the ring once he was legally able to. It is unknown what kind, if any, of noncompete clause Joe is under.
As also announced by Ring of Honor, a career retrospective of Samoa Joe will air this weekend on ROH’s weekly Ring of Honor Wrestling program, followed by a YouTube special focused on Monday. The Hall of Fame episode will air on TV next month on Saturday, March 5.
Source: Wrestling Inc.