When he's healthy, Samoa Joe is one of WWE's finest performers. And that's exactly why WWE sent him to SmackDown in the Superstar Shake-Up.
Joe switching RAW for SmackDown was arguably the biggest shock of WWE's overhaul. Joe already has dibs on Roman Reigns for May 6th's Backlash show but will have to wait for The Big Dog to conclude his program with Brock Lesnar. With Joe next in line, it seemed reasonable for him to stay on RAW. But last Tuesday, he officially became part of Team Blue.
There's a method to WWE's madness, and according to PWStream, Joe's move to Tuesday's promises big things for the Samoan Submission Machine.
Per source: Samoa Joe moved to #SDLive to avoid Reigns. The two will have a match soon, however following that, Reigns, as expected, will be running #Raw. As such, Joe wouldn’t be a pivotal part of the show. WWE want him to play a big role — he wouldn’t be on Raw, hence the move.— PWStream (@PWStream) April 22, 2018
Joe "avoiding" Reigns isn't out of cowardice, but out of strategy. By hanging around Reigns, Joe could never establish momentum because he'd be too busy losing high profile matches to Reigns. However, by going to SmackDown, Joe will be free to begin his campaign of dominance.
If PWStream's report is valid, it sounds like Joe could enter the WWE Championship discussion sometime in 2018.
For now, it looks like AJ Styles and Shinsuke will carry their program through May, but when it closes, Joe could very well be the number one contender—particularly if Styles is still champion.
However, Joe's path to fruition isn't exclusively contingent upon earning WWE gold. With names like Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy or even Shane McMahon, Joe has a juicy slate of white meat babyfaces to run against.
Even more, like any good wrestling show, SmackDown needs its heels. By acquiring both the Miz and Joe, Tuesday nights have the two best bad guys in the company. Even more, they'll keep steady work as neither Shinsuke Nakamura or Big Cass have chronically proved themselves to be elite bad guys. While both of them look promising, it's Joe and Miz who are established
For now, look for Joe to wreak havoc on sloppy jobbers while tuning up his game for Reigns and Backlash. However, after that, Joe will head to biggest stages SmackDown can offer.