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Latest Rumors, Preview for 1st WWE SmackDown After WrestleMania 34

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterApril 10, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

The WWE SmackDown landscape is undergoing a reshaping thanks to WrestleMania 34 and its aftermath.

By the end of Sunday's pay-per-view, SmackDown had a new United States champion and new tag team titleholders; Shinsuke Nakamura showed off a darker side of himself; and Daniel Bryan returned to the ring and made sure Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were no longer a part of the roster.

Those aren't the only changes headed the blue brand's way.

Traditionally, the first nights after WrestleMania are used to welcome roster additions. Bobby Lashley, Ember Moon and The Authors of Pain showed up on Monday. Who will be SmackDown's new faces?

Read on for a look ahead at Tuesday's show complete with info from news updates, the SmackDown preview on WWE.com and storyline projections.

                  

News, Rumors

Is Rusev Day going to come to an end?

According to PWInsider (h/t Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc), there had been talk of the company releasing Rusev. Whether The Bulgarian Brute's unhappiness with his spot led to him joining the United States Championship match at WrestleMania is uncertain.

What lies ahead for him and whether WWE will tap into his popularity are stories to keep an eye on in the months ahead.

Tuesday's SmackDown should welcome some fresh talent to the mix, but it doesn't look as if Alberto Del Rio will be a part of that even though he's no longer with Impact Wrestling.

PWInsider's Mike Johnson refuted a rumor of Del Rio (aka Alberto El Patron) returning to WWE. "WWE sources have indicated that Patron has not had any recent discussions with the company in regard to a return," he wrote.

Fans in New Orleans could see a pair of intriguing bouts, but they may not be a part of the actual SmackDown broadcast.

Joseph Currier noted for Figure Four Online: "For what it's worth, the Smoothie King Center is advertising AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Charlotte Flair vs. Carmella for Tuesday's SmackDown tapings. One or both of those could be dark matches if they end up happening."

                   

SmackDown Streaks

After outlasting Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania on Sunday, AJ Styles will look to keep adding to a growing streak.

The WWE champ hasn't lost in last five matches, per CageMatch.net. He's also won four PPV matches in a row. That's not surprising given his position as champ. He should be presented as the brand's best.

Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, meanwhile, have gone from contenders to something less desirable. 

They both failed to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania, adding to their record woes. Benjamin has lost six straight matches and the duo has lost four in a row as a team, per CageMatch.net.

It doesn't look as if Benjamin and Gable will be wearing gold anytime soon.

             

WrestleMania Fallout

Bryan is no longer simply SmackDown's general manager. After he was medically cleared and he stepped back into the ring at WrestleMania, his role is sure to shift. He and Shane McMahon teamed up to oust their antagonists Owens and Zayn from the brand.

What's next for Bryan? It makes a ton of sense to allow him to focus more on the in-ring side of things moving forward.

Whether Bryan resigns as GM, pulls double duty or is pushed out of his position for the sake of drama remains to be seen. Change is coming, though. It will be welcome, too, because as good as he has been as an authority figure, he was born to be a wrestler.

Asuka failed to dethrone Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania and will now head back to Raw. That leaves a major vacancy in the top contender's spot opposite The Queen.

Expect some reshuffling of the SmackDown Women's Championship picture. Perhaps Naomi's win in the Women's WrestleMania Battle Royal will net her a title opportunity. All the while, Carmella stands nearby ready to cash in her Money in the Bank contract. 

As for the tag title scene, The Bludgeon Brothers are in need of challengers of their own.

WWE @WWE

The #SDLive tag team division will never be the same... The #BludgeonBrothers are your NEW SmackDown #TagTeamChampions! #WrestleMania https://t.co/odDTzlYdox

Harper and Rowan wiped out The New Day and The Usos in convincing fashion to win the gold on Sunday. It may be one of those squads who step up to the big bruisers or maybe the tag division will infuse some fresh blood. 

Raw had its share of debuts and returns on Monday, and now it's SmackDown's turn.

The WWE.com preview of the show hinted at exactly that: "Is it possible SmackDown Live will see new faces emerge one week before the Superstar Shake-up?"

In addition to the changes to the roster, the night's biggest story will be what unfolds between Styles and Nakamura.

WWE @WWE

WHY, @ShinsukeN, WHY?! #WrestleMania https://t.co/D0TVqqfEzt

It looked as if The King of Strong Style was going to show great respect to the champ after losing to him at WrestleMania. Nakamura, though, delivered a punch to the onions and issued a post-match beatdown.

An explanation for Nakamura's action is likely on the way, as is a growing supply of bad blood between these two. There's now a rematch (or two) to build toward.

WrestleMania wasn't the climax of their rivalryit was only the beginning.

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