For the second time in the 12 months since he debuted on WWE’s main roster, Samoa Joe has seen his upper-card push interrupted by a real-life injury.
The 38-year-old Joe suffered a right foot injury during his Raw match with Rhyno on Monday night. WWE announced the news on Tuesday via its website.
As a result of the injury, Raw general manager Kurt Angle also announced in a social media post that WWE had removed Joe as Bayley’s partner in the upcoming Mixed Match Challenge tournament, which debuts Jan. 16 on Facebook Watch following the SmackDown Live broadcast. Elias, who finished as the runner-up in a Facebook vote, will replace Joe.
“During his match, [Samoa Joe] felt a pop at the bottom of his [right] foot,” said WWE senior ringside physician Dr. Chris Amann. “We took a look and believe he has a plantar fascia rupture, which is a thick tissue rupture under the foot. We will get an MRI to confirm. Treatment includes a period of immobilization in a boot with crutches and platelet rich plasma injections.”
While the length of Joe’s recovery hasn’t been announced, the news comes at a potentially inopportune time considering the promo he cut on Raw after his victory over Rhyno. During an in-ring interview with Charly Caruso, Joe seemed to plant the seeds for a possible WrestleMania feud that would be his highest profile to date.
“John Cena is a name I will never forget, and in the Royal Rumble, he will be the first man that I eliminate,” Joe said.
After a long and distinguished career on the indies with Ring of Honor and TNA Impact Wrestling, Joe debuted in NXT in 2015 and was a two-time champion. Despite making a memorable main roster debut on Raw in January 2017 by ambushing Seth Rollins as the hired muscle of Triple H, Joe was mysteriously left out of WrestleMania 33.
Despite the lack of explanation, Joe received a huge push entering the summer and established himself as a legitimate main event player during a Universal title feud with Brock Lesnar. Overall, Joe would headline three consecutive pay-per-view shows, including a fatal four-way match at SummerSlam that many hailed as the best WWE match of 2017.
But just as Joe appeared poised for a spinoff feud against Roman Reigns, he suffered a knee injury in late August that kept him out until the very end of October.
— Samoa Joe (@SamoaJoe) January 9, 2018
While the injury was reported by WWE, it should also be noted that it came on the same day as Joe announcing via social media that he’s joining the cast of the new Transformers animated series as a voice actor, alongside Mark Hamill, Ron Perlman, Jaime King and Mikey Way.
Credit: WWE Network