Even though WrestleMania 34 is still a few weeks away, WWE already has plans for the Universal Championship following the April 8th mega show.
Joe suffered a foot injury in January that cost him the Royal Rumble and has placed his WrestleMania availability in jeopardy. However Joe was backstage at RAW this week, but the reasons for his presence are still unknown.
That said, Joe will be healed up to be Roman Reigns' first Universal Championship defense, likely at May's Backlash show.
If Joe does emerge as Reigns' first challenger, it will be the continuation of a feud that started over the Intercontinental Championship earlier this year. But just as Joe set his sight on Reigns, he pulled up lame and we haven't seen him since.
Joe is slated to Reigns' adversary allows us to deduce a few things. First, with the another Superstar Shake-Up in the works, we can assume Joe stays on RAW. Second, the original rumor of Seth Rollins being Roman's first Universal title defense now looks to be dead. This means that Rollins likelihood of winning the Intercontinental Championship or being shipped to SmackDown tick up in probability.
We'll keep an eye on this, but don't be surprised if Joe shows up at WrestleMania. While he likely stays away from Reigns, there's belief he could show up at Braun Strowman's mystery tag team partner.
While no injury comes at a good time, Joe's setback occurred just as WWE was launching into WrestleMania season. Despite being a "lifer" in the wrestling business, Joe missed what would have been his first Royal Rumble and still may miss his first ever WrestleMania.
Joe opened up on how he's dealt with the injury on Booker T's podcast:
"Anytime you miss one of the "Big 4″ shows or, really, just shows, in general, it's always sad to say. A younger version of me would definitely be stressing out and probably making this situation a lot worse. For me right now, I know what I need to do to get back and be healthy. I understand the timetable and what I need to do to exceed that timetable. I was more accepting of the process because I realize it's unavoidable. Now it's just about concentrating just getting back and being healthy," he said.