Predictions for Samoa Joe's in-Ring Return After Commentary Stint on WWE RawMay 3, 2020
Samoa Joe made his long-awaited return to WWE programming Monday as part of the Raw commentary team, and fans are predictably already wondering when he will resume his in-ring career.
Pro Wrestling Sheet's Ryan Satin reported in February that Joe suffered a head injury during a commercial shoot, and it was believed that Joe would miss a "considerable amount of time." That turned out to be true, as Joe hasn't had a match since.
It isn't known whether the 41-year-old has been cleared to wrestle, but there are plenty of intriguing opportunities for him on Raw if and when he receives clearance.
Joe was recovering from an injury when he last served on commentary. When he was healthy, he was written into a storyline that saw him help Kevin Owens during his feud with Seth Rollins, AOP and Murphy.
He was a babyface before getting injured, but he has always been at his best as a heel, and bringing him back in that capacity with a surprise turn would likely elicit the biggest possible response from the fans watching at home.
Drew McIntyre is set to defend the WWE Championship against Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank, and while McIntyre is likely to retain, having only recently beat Brock Lesnar for the title at WrestleMania 36, it is easy to envision the rivalry lasting for multiple pay-per-views.
If that is the case, it would open the door for Joe to get involved. McIntyre is essentially facing a two-on-one deficit against Rollins and Murphy, so having Joe move from the announce table to the ring as McIntyre's partner to even the odds against Rollins would be logical.
After helping McIntyre get past Rollins and Murphy, however, it would be the perfect opportunity for Joe to turn on McIntyre and signal his intention to vie for the WWE Championship.
Joe has competed for the WWE and Universal titles on multiple occasions only to fall short. That includes a brief rivalry with Kofi Kingston last year. Joe's failure to win a world title on WWE's main roster makes him a compelling challenger. As does the fact that he can match up with McIntyre because of his physicality and viciousness.
A rivalry between McIntyre and Joe would be fresh as well since they have never faced each other in a singles match, which is key in the weeks and months following WrestleMania in terms of keeping the audience interested.
Also, if WWE's goal is to give McIntyre a long and fruitful title reign, putting him up against a gatekeeper like Joe is something that can add to his credibility. Not only could the matches be great, but their promo battles have the potential to be special as well.
It is difficult to know whether Joe will win the WWE or Universal Championship in his career. But even if he doesn't, he has value when it comes to putting the title on a pedestal and making his opponent look good.
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