During an interview with WWE After The Bell, Samoa Joe spoke about his process for preparing for his return to the ring.
"I kept it simple. It was just getting healthy. A lot of times, people have a tendency to overcomplicate their problems and make them worse and adding to them by adding extra pressure. My focus was simply to just get healthy. No other expectations to put on it, no expectations to return to the ring. No expectations other than getting back to where I should be and getting my brain healthy and my body healthy. That was my main focus. I told people around me that was my approach. See how my body came along, see how I felt, be careful with it, take extra time, and really concentrate on getting better. That was my main focus and what helped me. (I wasn't) thinking about 'man, will I ever be back in the ring?' A lot of it was having the hindsight and seeing others I knew going through similar struggles and gathering the wealth of knowledge and taking the doctors advice and asking a lot of questions from others who have dealt with it throughout their career and making the best health decision for me," said Joe. "Once we got through that process and got comfortable with that, we started concentrating on getting back in the ring and finding the best ways and opportunity. During that entire time, I like to keep busy and I'm never one to shirk away from work. When the opportunity came to do commentary and to do a panel or other things, I jumped at the chance."
Joe was asked about his injury and how he was feeling about it.
"It was a much worse type of injury than I had dealt with before. It scared me, it scared a lot of people I cared about. It became very easy to make that the focus as far as what I wanted to do when I came back. Inevitably, it all hinged on making sure I was alright and feeling good and when I came back to the ring, I didn't want to come back in a 70% or 60% capacity. I wanted to make sure I could come back and give the best I could to the fans. I do play my cards close to my chest, but that's just the belief I have."
"It's obviously good to be back and be an active competitor again. I like the circumstances. Coming back to NXT and fighting for the championship kinda feels right, seems right. I'm looking forward to getting back in the ring in front of the WWE universe. Karrion Kross, without a doubt, an extremely dominating force. He's run through everyone put in front of him. He's been an absolute beast of a champion. Hits hard, throws harder. I'm going to beat the brakes off him. I'm gonna put all the hands on him. It's going to be a lot of pummeling and strikes to the head and around the face. I'll do my best to not wear out my right foot when I'm whipping his ass with it. There has been some trauma, I'm dealing with a Conor [McGregor] situation. Hopefully, it won't be too big of a deal. We're gonna have some fun and set some things right."
Joe was asked if he felt this was a new "lease on life."
"Nah, it's not a new lease. To say it's a new lease would mean at some point I thought it was over. To be honest, I never did. If it's anything, it's just a reminder. A reminder for the world that there are still horrible, terrible things out there and they want to take everything you have."
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