When the Mixed Match Challenge, WWE’s upcoming Facebook Watch mixed tag series, was original announced, the final male competitor on the Raw side was supposed to be determined by fan vote. Then both the company and the man himself started promoting Samoa Joe as a participant, and the fan vote angle was dropped.
On Raw last night (Jan. 8) with all the other teams from Raw already announced, another vote was set between Joe, Elias and Jason Jordan to determine Bayley’s partner. A reveal was supposed to happen at noon Eastern, but then...
Joe only worked a quick squash of Rhyno, and then called out John Cena for what is rumored to be both men’s post-Royal Rumble feud. He didn’t appear to be injured, but you never know.
Before it went away, he had a fairly commanding lead in the Facebook poll. Perhaps WWE thought Elias would win and gimmicked the results? Maybe someone decided they don’t want to show Joe in humorous vignettes about Bayley trying to hug him while he’s supposed to be trying to destroy Cena? Perhaps the blowback to his tweet about his MMC partner holding his towel for him led to this?
UPDATE: Or he could be “legitimately injured”, as this report claims.
Problem with any of those theories is that they frequent changes in direction from WWE can also be used as arguments for why they’re not accurate. So this is likely just a case of the booking-on-the-fly and too-many-voices-in-the-room issues we often hear about from backstage.
No matter, we now have all of Raw’s Mixed Match Challenge teams.