We're almost spoilt for choice when thinking about where Joe may go next. He could fashion himself a busy worldwide schedule cruising the variety of prominent indies that exist. He may have spoken to a Japanese promotion while negotiating with TNA. New Japan would be the most likely but NOAH and All Japan are just about plausible too. He could return to his old stomping ground of Ring of Honor. Or, of course, he could sign with WWE.
Seeing Joe in WWE has always seemed unlikely to me. He doesn't have than athletic body type and he's got a shining reputation outside of the company. These are things that have historically counted against prospective WWE signings. But the last few years have proven that's not necessarily the case anymore. Both CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were given multiple WWE championship reigns and joined the elite main event club. Perhaps even more noteworthy is that the men's division in NXT currently revolves around guys who joined WWE after being very successful elsewhere. This includes Kevin Owens, another man who doesn't have the usual WWE look.
Something else in Joe's favour is that Mick Foley and Steve Austin have spoken up in favour of hiring him. Those are some significant endorsements. If we're to believe a story Foley relayed on his blog last week then Triple H is a fan of 'The Samoan Submission Machine' too. As the man in charge of hiring and firing he's the right name to impress. So, in short, I don't think Joe moving to WWE is that unlikely.
Although it would be more accurate to say I could see Joe in NXT. Vince McMahon remains in charge of WWE proper and Joe does not seem the sort of guy who'd impress him. But with Triple H having stated he wants to make NXT its own brand, even going so far as to say they'll be close to that vision come the end of the year, we could see him sign Joe without having any intention of ever seeing him progress to the main roster.
This would be beneficial to both parties. Joe would get to be one of the star attractions of NXT and have a long-term goal of proving his detractors wrong by earning a promotion to the main roster. WWE would have a guy who can draw fans on the scale NXT currently operates on (and will likely continue to operate on even if expansion occurs) and who can help less experienced performers learn. Viewers would benefit from seeing a bunch of fresh matches featuring everyone from Adrian Neville to Tyler Breeze. Joe would be a big deal for the NXT roster.
|Future NXT champion?|
For this to happen WWE would have to offer Joe enough cash to match what he could make travelling the world as a true independent contractor. Obviously they could afford to do this, but would they want to? As a highly regarded name Joe can demand and receive a fair chunk of change per appearance. By working for WWN, PWG, ROH, and various British and North American promotions Joe could easily bring in more than he was getting in TNA (which is likely why he left). It's tough to imagine WWE would be willing to pay a six figure sum to someone unlikely to progress beyond what is still technically their developmental division.
Personally I'll be happy watching Joe anywhere that's not TNA. He'd been stagnating there for years. He'd won everything and wrestled everyone. He was going nowhere as one of MVP's many lackeys. Wherever he ends up will be fresh surroundings with fresh challenges and fresh opponents. He could help ROH to solidify their grasp on the number two spot. He could become the latest guy to join up with WWN, adding to their momentum. Or he could go to WWE for a guaranteed top spot on NXT and the glimmer of a hint of a hope of a chance that one day, if Vince McMahon feels like it (or steps down as the man at the helm), he'll get promoted.