It appears Tuesday's WWE SmackDown won't dwell on the miserable Backlash pay-per-view. Instead, the blue brand will jump right into the Money in the Bank build.
The field for the June 17 event's two ladder matches is already starting to take shape. Braun Strowman, Ember Moon and Finn Balor from Raw all locked up their spots. It's the stars of the blue brand's turn to join the fun.
Will Charlotte Flair move a step closer to becoming Ms. Money in the Bank? Can Jeff Hardy, Rusev or Daniel Bryan do the same?
Baltimore is set to host as the post-Backlash edition of SmackDown will answer those questions.
The following is a look at what to expect on Tuesday's show, complete with news updates and storyline projections. The action then gets started at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network.
Rusev Day may be popular with fans, but the WWE brass is reportedly not sold.
According to Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats), WWE officials don't like Aiden English's look and view him and Rusev as "a very midcard losing tag-team act."
With that in mind, it's unlikely either English or Rusev get anywhere near title contention in the coming weeks.
Released audio of Hogan repeatedly using the N-word led to his release. WWE appears ready to forgive even if some fans are not.
As for whether Rey Mysterio is heading back to WWE, it looks like he has some business in Japan to take care of first. As Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet noted: "NJPW has announced Rey Mysterio will be making up for his missed match this year at Strong Style Evolved by wrestling at their upcoming Dominion event."
The move to SmackDown has been kind to Jeff Hardy thus far.
The United States champ is undefeated since changing brands. Hardy is now 4-0 following the Superstar Shake-up including two successful title defenses, per CageMatch.net.
Sometimes WWE has its midcard champs lose a lot of non-title action to give others momentum, but that hasn't been the case early in Hardy's reign.
On the other hand, it looks like WWE has already given up on Tye Dillinger. The former NXT star has barely been used since joining SmackDown last year. 2018 has been especially hard on The Perfect 10.
Dillinger hasn't wrestled on SmackDown since April 3. He has since missed four consecutive episodes, per CageMatch.net.
He's only competed in three SmackDown matches this year so far—a clear sign that he occupies a low rung on the brand's ladder.
Moving onto Money in the Bank
SmackDown general manager Paige will get things rolling in Baltimore. The former Divas champion tweeted that she will open Tuesday's show:
Her former Absolution teammates, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose, may have some harsh words for her or worse. Last week, they tried to curry favor with the GM and asked for special treatment, but Paige shook them off.
That's bound to have some repercussions.
Much of the latest SmackDown will zero in on the upcoming PPV, namely deciding who will compete in the two co-branded ladder matches. WWE announced three Money in the Bank qualifying bouts:
The Miz will be fresh off a spectacular performance against Seth Rollins at Backlash when he faces Hardy. The U.S. titleholder, on the other hand, has won a number of matches but hasn't been his old self in the ring.
Should Hardy lose, he will likely continue his feud with Randy Orton over the United States Championship.
Flair vs. Peyton Royce will have no shortage of bad blood. Royce and Billie Kay announced their arrival on SmackDown last month by attacking The Queen, leading to her losing the women's title. They have since met in tag team action as their feud intensifies.
The fact that only one of them is moving forward to Money in the Bank will only worsen things between them.
When Bryan faces off with Rusev in the third Money in the Bank qualifier, he will have to spend as much time looking over his shoulder as going on the attack. He and Big Cass are far from done as enemies. Bryan forced the big man to tap out at Backlash and Cass responded to the loss by laying out Bryan after the bell.
Big Cass is sure to be lurking as Bryan takes on Rusev.
SmackDown will benefit from high stakes matchups and marching toward Money in the Bank. There is little reason to reflect on Backlash. It's best to offer the audience something to wash the taste of that PPV out of their mouths.