Hear it from the man himself, who posted the following on Twitter a short time ago:
“Hello, I am NXT Champion Samoa Joe. As part of my recent return, my goals were very simple: I sought to ensure the respect and integrity due to both NXT and its championship; I sought to ensure that everybody understood that the needs of one individual will never outstrip the sum of the brand. Today, I find myself having to stand on those principles.
“Recently, WWE medical has informed me that due to certain injuries they would like to have me step away from the ring for a brief yet still indeterminate amount of time. I realize that this week we are on the cusp of a new NXT — we are on the brink of a new era in our history. I realize that that era deserves a fighting champion. That’s why it makes this very difficult decision very easy to make.
“Effective immediately, I relinquish the NXT champion. Best of luck to those who will vie for it. My sincerest condolences to whoever wins, because I will be along shortly to re-collect what’s mine.”
Joe won the title from Karrion Kross at NXT TakeOver 36 just a few weeks ago. His first title defense was to be determined by a Fatal 4-Way match scheduled for this coming Tuesday night’s episode of NXT TV. Tommaso Ciampa, Pete Dunne, LA Knight, and Kyle O’Reilly were all set to be included in said match.
No word on what exactly the plan is for the title going forward.
Next week’s show was already set to be a big one, considering it will mark the debut of the new look NXT, which is undergoing a rebrand to make it more of a developmental wing of WWE and less a third brand on par with Raw and SmackDown.