Latest Rumors and Preview for Final WWE SmackDown Before Money in the Bank 2018

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJune 12, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

WWE SmackDown's Superstars are poised to do some fine-tuning in the ring before Money in the Bank arrives.

Both Daniel Bryan and Shinsuke Nakamura have tough matchups in front of them before Sunday's pay-per-view. Bryan will mix it up with Shelton Benjamin in a battle of former United States champions. As for Nakamura, he will collide with the United States titleholder.

Memphis will host those bouts plus a Money in the Bank summit.

Raw went with Superstars bickering while perched on ladders and two Fatal 4-Way matches to hype the PPV. How will the blue brand try to get fans psyched for the big event? News updates, the SmackDown preview on WWE.com and storyline projections help figure out what's in store for fans who tune into Tuesday's go-home show.

The action kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network.

News, Rumors

The doghouse may await United States champion Jeff Hardy because of legal troubles. Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet reported: "Hardy pled guilty on Monday to driving while impaired earlier this year, and his license was promptly suspended for 120 days."

This isn't the kind of press WWE wants, obviously. The company knew about the incident before crowning Hardy, but one has to imagine it will at least question whether it should move on from Hardy as champ.

WWE fans, meanwhile, should be on the lookout for a familiar face. PWInsider's Mike Johnson reported: "James Ellsworth looks to be returning to WWE soon, PWInsider.com has learned. There have been several recent creative pitches for Ellsworth to pop up in some capacity."

Is James Ellsworth on his way back?
Is James Ellsworth on his way back?Credit: WWE.com

WWE titleholder AJ Styles is due for a return of his own. Raj Giri noted on Wrestling Inc: "Styles was once again off the road this past weekend" and that the WWE champ hasn't wrestled since May 22.

With a Last Man Standing match on the way, perhaps WWE just wants to rest The Phenomenal One. One would imagine he shows up for the go-home SmackDown whether he competes in the ring or not.

      

SmackDown Streaks

The New Day is charging back toward title contention.

The trio defeated Rusev, The Miz and Samoa Joe last Tuesday to extend a modest streak. The New Day has now won three matches in a row after losing four straight before that, per CageMatch.net

The group is likely to never stray far from the SmackDown Tag Team Championship mix.

Sonya Deville hasn't been nearly as fortunate. WWE hasn't worked to make her look formidable of late. She continues to fall short when the bell rings.

Deville teamed up with Mandy Rose against Asuka on last week's SmackDown but couldn't get the win. She has now suffered five consecutive losses, per CageMatch.net. That includes a winless stretch on SmackDown since moving to the brand in April.

It's surprising that the company hasn't made more of an effort to get her some momentum via victory.

        

Last Leg of Money in the Bank Build

The Raw women headed for the Money in the Bank ladder match rocked each other in a hard-hitting match on Monday.

Team Blue is going a less physical route. SmackDown general manager Paige will host a Money in the Bank summit with Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Naomi and Lana.

Paige will host a Money in the Bank summit.
Paige will host a Money in the Bank summit.Credit: WWE.com

The meeting is sure to turn violent at some point, but those Superstars will be a lot fresher heading into the PPV. 

Bryan will warm up for his clash with Big Cass by taking on Benjamin. Those opponents couldn't be more different from a style standpoint. Cass is a big bruiser; Benjamin is a nimble high-flyer and accomplished amateur wrestler.

We may not get to see Bryan and Benjamin tear it up on the mat for long, though. Big Cass is bound to be lurking, looking for a chance to beat down his enemy once more.

Andrade "Cien" Almas and Sin Cara are supposed to have a match on Tuesday night, but it's not listed on the WWE.com preview.

Last week, Almas blindsided Sin Cara, ambushing with a backstage attack. Announcers noted the two men would then clash on this edition of SmackDown, but perhaps WWE will save that for the Money in the Bank pre-show.

Even if Almas vs. Sin Cara is delayed, Memphis fans will have plenty of action to take in. Hardy vs. Nakamura, for one, is on tap.

Nakamura is days away from a Last Man Standing match against Styles for the WWE Championship. He will look to make an example out of Hardy, throttling one champ to prepare for another.

Whether SmackDown succeeds in effectively hyping the PPV or not, it at least wil boast a pair of intriguing first-time matches. 

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