Samoa Joe is returning to the broadcast booth for WWE Monday Night Raw. According to a report from Ryan Satin at Pro Wrestling Sheet, a reliable source because he is on WWE's payroll, Joe will return to commentary on one or both of the episodes of Raw being taped this week. Satin doesn't say whether Joe will replace one of the existing commentary team members or join them, but it seems like Jerry Lawler could be a good bet.
Lawler was already the subject of bad publicity for WWE due to his age and previous medical conditions. A recent issue of Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Newsletter said that nobody in WWE could come up with a good reason Lawler is traveling to and from Florida to commentate on the shows other than that Lawler himself wants to. If Lawler were to get sick, that would be terrible publicity for WWE, so with the increased media spotlight on the company, they might decide to play it safe with The King.
In addition, Lawler found himself the subject of social media controversy for calling a diving senton by Japanese wrestler Akira Tozawa a "ramen noodle moonsault." Lawler was dragged on Twitter for the comment including by at least one WWE wrestler, though Jim Cornette did come to his defense. On his latest podcast, Lawler didn't apologize for the incident, instead likening it to classic heel commentary by the likes of Bobby Heenan and Jesse Ventura. Lawler also blamed a lack of chemistry with his fellow announcers for not capitalizing on the joke, which Lawler says was meant to be on him for being out of touch. Once again, an aversion to bad publicity could cause WWE to want to see Lawler out of the spotlight for a while.
We'll find out tonight (or maybe next week) when WWE Monday Night Raw airs on the USA Network at 8PM Eastern.