United States Champion Samoa Joe did not appear on either Monday Night Raw or SmackDown Live this week despite it being the annual Superstar Shake-up. Fightful reported earlier in the week that Joe was supposed to show up on Raw, signifying that the United States Championship was moving to Monday nights, but his segment was scrapped due to him being too sick to work.
Given that Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor moved to SmackDown Live on Tuesday night, it appears WWE is still moving forward with having the two midcard champions swap brands. Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer reported as such during the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, then added that Joe's first program on Raw will be against Braun Strowman.
"The Monster Among Men" made a surprise appearance on SmackDown Live the week prior to brawl with Joe, so pairing the two big men up would make sense. If Strowman were to win, he would finally have his first singles championship since joining the WWE.
Joe won the US title, his first championship since jumping to the main roster in 2017, by defeating then-champion R-Truth, Andrade and Rey Mysterio in a fatal four-way back on the March 5 episode of SmackDown Live. He successfully retained the title in another four-way bout at Fastlane, then defeated Mysterio in one minute at WrestleMania 35 via submission.
Strowman spent his WrestleMania on the Kickoff show by competing in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. He won the match after last eliminating Saturday Night Live cast members Michael Che and Colin Jost. On Raw this week he attacked EC3 after the NXT call-up demanded some competition, and wound up slamming him through the Raw entrance stage.
Joe is far from the only major star to jump from SmackDown to Raw this week. Other new acquisitions in this year's Shake-up included AJ Styles, The Miz, Andrade, Ricochet, Aleister Black, The Viking Experience (formerly known as The War Raiders), Rey Mysterio, The Usos, Eric Young, EC3, Cedric Alexander, Naomi and Lacey Evans.
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