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Samoa Joe Challenges Roman Reigns to WWE Backlash Match in Raw Return

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 10, 2018

Roman and Samoa Joe (R) battle during the WWE show at Zenith Arena on may 09, 2017 in Lille, France. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN        (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
PHILIPPE HUGUEN/Getty Images

Samoa Joe returned to WWE programming Monday night on Raw after a foot injury kept him out of action for three months.

Joe returned to interact with Roman Reigns and inform The Big Dog they have a match at Backlash on May 6.

Before that, Reigns will challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at the Greatest Royal Rumble on April 27:

WWE @WWE

"When you fail, once again, I'll be waiting at #WWEBacklash, to PUT YOU TO SLEEP!" Once @WWERomanReigns is finished with @BrockLesnar at #WWEGRR, @SamoaJoe will be waiting... https://t.co/6HNDh3Va27

In January, WWE announced Joe suffered a plantar fascia rupture in his right foot, and no timetable was given for his return.

The Samoan Submission Machine had taken aim at both John Cena and Reigns shortly before the injury, and he was expected to be a major force in the Royal Rumble match.

Joe was forced to miss the match, however, and it was unclear if the ailment would allow him to return in time for WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans.

After a strong run in NXT that saw him become the first two-time NXT champion, Samoa Joe debuted on the main roster during the build toward WrestleMania 33 last year.

Joe aided Triple H in his feud with Seth Rollins, but he did not appear on the WrestleMania 33 card, which created some urgency among fans for him to be included at the WWE showpiece this year.

Despite the WrestleMania 33 snub and the injury issues he dealt with, Joe had an exceptional 2017 that was highlighted by his feud with Lesnar.

Joe established himself as the No. 1 contender to Lesnar and the Universal Championship, and he came across as a true threat to The Beast Incarnate.

Although Lesnar beat him at Great Balls of Fire, Joe pushed him to the limit and came out of the feud looking like a legitimate top guy.

While WWE didn't necessarily capitalize on that, injury issues were a major contributing factor.

Joe is a top-flight in-ring performer because of his unique mix of brawling and technical ability, and he has also developed into a great worker.

Now that Joe is back, WWE's already-stacked roster has another big-time Superstar capable of competing in a main event capacity.

            

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