It sounded like foreshadowing, and as it turns out, it was.
Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated reports that WWE is indeed aiming to get Joe in the WWE Championship picture relatively soon.
"Samoa Joe fans are bracing themselves for disappointment, as the “Samoan Submission Machine” is nearly a certainty to take the fall in his match with Roman Reigns. WWE is planning a Joe-Styles feud for the WWE title (imagine reading that sentence five years ago?), and it will be interesting to see what direction the creative moves in for Shinsuke Nakamura if he is unable to capture the title from Styles on Sunday," he wrote.
Before we get too excited, it's worth noting that this is just a rumor and the Barrasso has made multiple erroneous claims this year. However given Joe's SmackDown tease and WWE's clear affinity for the 39-year old, this report seems to fit the narrative.
Since joining WWE, Joe has only worked with the biggest names in the company and a pair of untimely injuries spoiled programs with both John Cena and Roman Reigns. Based on his dancing partners alone, we can safely deduce that WWE thinks highly of Joe—when healthy he's one of their best employees.
But how likely is a Championship feud with AJ Styles?
Well, first, Styles has to leave Backlash as WWE Champion—something that is a coin toss at best. With the match being no disqualification, that heavily favors the testicle mashing heel Shinsuke Nakamura. Since his turn at WrestleMania, Nakamura has been intoxicatingly good as a villain, and WWE may be ready to reward his performance. If Shinsuke wins on Sunday, that puts Joe's WWE Championship opportunity on hold.
But he may not have to wait long.
If I had to guess, I'll say Nakamura wins on Sunday. He and Styles will have at least one more pay-per-view match, but I think their program ends with Styles getting his WWE Championship back earlier this summer. By then, Samoa Joe should have plenty of momentum and he and Styles could enter a program that culminates at SummerSlam.
While Barasso's report has some valid notes, it seems unlikely that Joe will go from losing to Roman Reigns to hop into SmackDown's title picture in just three days.
However, we'll just have to wait and see.