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By Mike Johnson on 2015-02-17 23:00:00
In regard to all the emails we've received asking about what happened that led to Samoa Joe leaving TNA, we are told that in many ways, it was a similar situation to the one that led to AJ Styles leaving the company in 2013, i.e. the company was not going to be able to match what Joe had been making and in the end, Joe made the call that it was time, after nine years, to leave TNA.

We are told that the two sides negotiated and attempted to come to terms on a new deal all the way to the end, and that it remained friendly the entire time, but they weren't able to find a common ground that would have each side happy. The landscape of the company and what it could feasibly offer Joe this time around vs. the last time his contract came up has completely changed. The company, after making their final offer, left it to Joe to make his decision.

When Joe made the decision to leave, it was made clear to him there was absolutely no heat and that TNA was considering the door open so that one day, they could work with Joe down the line. I was told that the company has all the respect for Joe in the world and they are sorry to see him leave, but understand that in February 2015, it's the best move for both parties.

I was told that another, lesser factor involved was the company is seeking to invest more in newer talent coming in. Joe had been an awesome hand for the company for years, but for much of his tenure, was mishandled creatively by previous creative regimes. Although the current regime had tried to reboot Joe and get him back towards his strengths, they had been unable to overcome the scorched earth left by the past sins of their predecessors. The hope internally is that, down the line, if Joe returns to the company, the past will be washed away and all parties can start fresh.

I don't think anyone can argue that Joe's handling over the years by TNA has been nothing short of terrible and the idea of Joe in a fresh environment is something that, based on emails we've received, has gotten a lot of fans excited.

The reality is that much like AJ Styles in 2013, Samoa Joe now finds himself in the driver's seat with the ability to recreate himself and excite fans with lots of fresh matches, just as Styles has in New Japan, Ring of Honor and elsewhere. If you are a fan of Samoa Joe, it's going to be a very interesting year.

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