In a shocking turn of events this evening, NXT Champion Samoa Joe took to his Twitter minutes ago to announce that he is relinquishing the NXT title effective immediately. He explained that he demands to be a fighting champion in NXT and that due to injury, WWE doctors have not cleared him for action going forward and have asked him "to step away from the ring for a brief, but indeterminate amount of time." Samoa Joe had been noticeably absent from TV for the past couple of weeks and now it appears that this was due to an injury-related issue. It is unknown right now whether these are the same injuries that kept him out of the ring from February of 2020 until last month or if it was a new injury that occurred during his match with former champion Karrion Kross at NXT TakeOver 36.
WWE.com released a brief statement, simply saying "NXT Champion Samoa Joe revealed Sunday night on Twitter that he has sustained an injury, and is not able to compete at this time. As a result, he is relinquishing the NXT Championship."
While most people assumed Samoa Joe would be a transitional champion, especially with the NXT revamp coming this Tuesday, the news of a serious injury and his reign ending like this has everyone caught by surprise.
In the Twitter video he posted minutes ago, Samoa Joe makes it clear that when he challenged for the NXT title again, it was with his personal demand to have a committed and fighting champion hold that title again. And now that he is injured and unable to defend the title, Samoa Joe relinquishes it to someone who will.
"I realize this week we are on the cusp of a new NXT. We are on the brink of a new era in our history. And I realize that era deserves a fighting champion. And that's why it makes this a very difficult decision…very easy to make. Effective immediately, I relinquish the NXT Championship. Best of luck to those who will vie for it. My sincerest condolences to whoever wins, because I will be along shortly to recollect what's mine."
The only information we have right now comes from Samoa Joe's video, but I'm sure that will change over the next few days, so keep checking in as we update this situation.