Jason Jordan has been absent from WWE television since early February after undergoing surgery for a neck injury, but his return appears to be imminent.
For the past several weeks, Jordan has appeared backstage at Monday Night Raw, indicating he may be cleared to compete anytime now in whatever capacity WWE deems fit.
If that is the case, how should he be brought back and in what way?
When we last saw Jordan, he was teaming with Seth Rollins but heading toward a possible singles feud with him after the pair dropped the Raw Tag Team Championships.
If WWE is desperate to rekindle that feud, Jordan could remain a singles competitor and challenge Rollins for the Intercontinental Championship. Yet it isn't likely to amount to much. Rollins is on fire, and Jordan was struggling when he left, so WWE wouldn't put the title on him. It would lead to a dead end.
That feud wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders, so it's doubtful the WWE Universe would care if it wasn't touched upon and both sides simply moved on.
Jordan would then have to start a new singles feud, but almost everyone is already paired up with somebody else, leaving only the tag team option left.
Luckily, there is an obvious choice of where to insert him in that division that makes perfect sense for all parties involved. Jordan needs to come to Chad Gable's aid and reunite American Alpha to fight off Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre.
Gable is at a disadvantage by going at it solo against those two. Since splitting with Shelton Benjamin in April, nobody has had his back, which is where Jordan comes in.
Those two have chemistry from their tag title reigns on NXT and SmackDown Live, so there's no need to worry about whether the pairing could work.
For that matter, McIntyre and Ziggler could have amazing matches with Jordan—just as they have worked well with Gable—since he's capable of getting the job done in the ring. That has never been his issue, which was more of an image problem.
The fans didn't embrace Jordan as a babyface. Nor was his heel turn fully realized. So it's important to firmly establish his allegiance immediately upon his return or face the risk of the crowd not knowing how to react.
Anything that leaves room for speculation is dangerous and could lead to a mixed reaction or none at all, whereas a triumphant rescue of a babyface to reform a well-liked tag team tells us he's a good guy right out of the gate.
American Alpha had no trouble connecting with the WWE Universe before, and Jordan could use that magic again.
This also brings clarification as to why Kurt Angle has been interacting with Gable here and there over the past month. He clearly has a soft spot for Gable, and if his storyline son can be added to the mix, it ties all three together much more cohesively.
At that point, WWE needs to decide how to address the relationship between Angle and Jordan going forward. Does it continue, is it nixed or is it ignored?
If the writers continue it, a soft approach is better. Making it a focal point could draw heel heat that would distract from the babyface story being told and land Jordan back in the same hot water as before.
A simple throwaway line acknowledging it would be good enough to keep it going without going overboard.
Eliminating it entirely could also happen as easily as having Angle say they did further testing while he was away and determined that he is not his son but that he's still grown attached to him and is invested in his career.
That could be the best way to go, as it would be an endorsement of his skills without the need for another heel turn down the line that sees Jordan reveal he faked it all and that he isn't Angle's son but was trying to manipulate him.
Ignoring it could also work, as it would allow the fans to fill in the blanks themselves, drawing whatever conclusions they would prefer to go with.
Ideally, Angle could be used to give some momentum to American Alpha as a reformed unit but not become too interlocked in the feud.
His presence would dominate proceedings and make the focus Jordan's daddy issues when it should be more about talented wrestlers wowing the audience with their in-ring work.
This could all be accomplished in just a few swift moves by having Jordan come to Gable's rescue, one promo backstage to address where Angle fits in all of this and making a tag team match for the following week. Then we would be off to the races.
American Alpha could feud with McIntyre and Ziggler for however long that feud can sustain itself, and Jordan could not only help out the tag team division on Raw but also course-correct his career after the failed singles run and heel turn.
Before long, Jordan would be back in good graces and once again looked at as a future star—as would the others he would be working with in this simple yet effective feud.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.