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Predictions for the in-ring return of Samoa Joe after commentary on WWE Raw

Image:-Samoa Joe

As part of the Raw comment team, Samoa Joe made his long-awaited return to WWE programming Monday and fans are already wondering, predictably, when he will resume his in-ring career.

Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet 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, since Joe hasn't had a match ever since.

Whether the 41-year-old was cleared to wrestle is not known, but there are plenty of intriguing opportunities on Raw for him if and when he gets clearance.

When he last served on comment, Joe was recovering from an injury. He was written into a storyline when he was healthy, which saw him helping Kevin Owens with Seth Rollins, AOP and Murphy during his feud.

Before getting injured he was a babyface, but he was always at his best as a heel, and bringing him back to that capacity with a surprise turn would probably elicit the greatest possible response from the fans watching at home.

Drew McIntyre is set to defend the WWE Championship against Seth Rollins at the Bank's Money, and while McIntyre is likely to retain, having only recently beat Brock Lesnar for the title at WrestleMania 36, it is easy to imagine the multi-pay-per-view rivalry that will last.

If that is the case, Joe's opening the door to get involved. In essence, McIntyre faces a two-on-one deficit against Rollins and Murphy, so it would be logical for Joe to move from the announce table to the ring as McIntyre's partner to even the odds against Rollins.

However, after helping McIntyre get past Rollins and Murphy, Joe would have the perfect opportunity to turn on McIntyre and signal his intention to compete for the WWE Championship.

Joe has competed on multiple occasions only to fall short for the WWE and Universal titles. That includes a brief rivalry with last year's Kofi Kingston. Joe's failure on WWE's main roster to win a world title makes him a compelling challenger. As does the fact that due to his physicality and viciousness he can match up with McIntyre.

A rivalry between McIntyre and Joe would also be fresh since they never faced each other in a single match, which is key to keeping the audience interested in the weeks and months that followed WrestleMania.

Also, if the goal of WWE is to give McIntyre a long and fruitful reign of the title, putting him up against a gatekeeper like Joe can add to his credibility. The matches might not only be great, but their promo battles also have the potential to be special.

Whether Joe will win the WWE or the Universal Championship during his career is hard to know. But even if he doesn't, when it comes to putting the title on a pedestal and making his opponent look good he has value.