WWE has had to rely on cultivating their own talent since the death of WCW. However, that's changed in recent years as Vince McMahon and Co. have enjoyed cherry-picking established names from independent promotions around the globe. And Samoa Joe is all for it.
Spending 15 years on the indy circuit made Joe a fabled hero of that world, but he revealed to PopCulture.com in an exclusive interview that he favors Darwinism to nostalgia when it comes to pay.
"Hey, you know whose fault it is, that your favorite wrestler got bought out? The company he was working for, cause they were too cheap to pay him what he was worth. So he should get paid what he's worth, and if WWE comes and pays him what he's worth, that's on your sorry ass. Get the money right. And start paying these dudes," he said.
Outside of WWE, the world of professional wrestling can look all too dingy. While promotions like Ring of Honor have transcended bingo hall stereotypes, there's still plenty of impropriety coursing through the industry.
"There are too many crazy talented dudes out there that aren't getting paid, and if you have a problem with WWE making those dudes rich, you can kiss my ass, cause those dudes deserve to be rich, cause they're talented as hell," said Joe.
Not only has WWE abandoned their closed-door policy, but now they are letting new acquisitions keep the names they built outside of the WWE lexicon. AJ Styles, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, Adam Cole, EC3, Ricochet and Joe, too, all maintained their brand upon making the jump to Vince McMahon's company.
With NXT essentially operating as its own brand, WWE now has the luxury of docking a surplus of talent. But NXT is more than just a developmental concept, it's arguably the best "indy" promotion in the world.
"It's funny because people are like, 'oh, well that's kind of messed up,' No. No. That's how you win," explained Joe. "That's why they're the number one company in the world. You go out there and you get the best dudes. You don't get mad at a tiger for being a tiger."
Clearly, this is a strategic move on WWE's part. With no real competition, they monopolized big box wrestling long ago. But smaller organizations like ROH, Impact Wrestling, Evolve, Progress and Pro Wrestling Guerilla have launched a radical era and instead of trying to match their efforts, WWE is snatching the movement's leaders.
"I wanna remove all doubt, and I'm not an official spokesman for the company, but yeah. Of course! Why wouldn't you do that? That's the move to make. Let's go out and get the best dudes," reasoned Joe.
WWE's new policy could not be more apparent than it is on SmackDown Live. With Joe's arrival, the Tuesday night show is undeniably anchored by the leviathans of indy wrestling — Bryan, Styles, Nakamura, and recently departed Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. But to Joe, this was a reality that was decided long ago.
"These are the guys that are going out there, they force their way, they proved to what the world that they can go out there and be stars, and to find them all on the WWE now, I don't think it should be as surprising as it is to a lot of people. Because we were never count ourselves out," said Joe.