What's Next for Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, More Stars After WWE Money in the Bank?

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

There's no rest for the WWE roster, as the end of every pay-per-view leads directly into the beginning of the build to the next show.

Money in the Bank 2018 is over and done with, so our sights are now on Extreme Rules 2018, set for July 15 at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

Already, we have an indication of some matches that could end up on that card, as well as multiple feuds that will take place over the course of the next few weeks that could be factored in.

On Monday Night Raw, right out of the gate, Ronda Rousey got herself suspended after going on the attack not just against Alexa Bliss, but also Kurt Angle and several referees. She will be sitting out the next 30 days—just long enough to get back into the fold for SummerSlam.

In the meantime, Nia Jax will receive her standard rematch after having lost the Raw Women's Championship to Bliss, meaning it's safe to say The Goddess will retain that title after spending the next few weeks reverting back to her previous storyline of bullying Jax.

A new intercontinental champion was also crowned when Dolph Ziggler dethroned Seth Rollins, setting up a rematch for next week. Knowing WWE, this could easily be a situation where a disqualification drags this feud out, leading to the true rematch for Rollins taking place at Extreme Rules, too.

Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley took their wins from Money in the Bank and qualified for a vague "multiperson match" at Extreme Rules, which will determine who faces Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam.

They also happened to defeat The Revival, because if there's one thing the WWE Universe likes more than the repetition of Reigns and Lesnar, it's a botched Lashley promo followed by the belittling of two people who have been underutilized and mismanaged since coming up to the main roster.

In a sense, Monday Night Raw is pulling the same strings as it has been, but there's still room for SmackDown to go in a different direction.

It has been announced that on Tuesday night's episode, there will be a gauntlet match to determine the No. 1 contender who will face AJ Styles at Extreme Rules for the WWE Championship.

The participants include Big E, Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Rusev and Samoa Joe, which is a rather interesting group to be facing off.

Three of those Superstars competed in the Money in the Bank ladder match and failed to obtain the briefcase, but instead of having Kofi Kingston round out the list, he's being replaced by Big E.

Whether that choice was made to give Kingston some time to rest or just to mix things up with a different opponent remains to be seen, but Big E doesn't stand much of a chance to win, so it will probably be a moot point.

Bryan's win over Big Cass gives him some solid momentum to carry with him into this, but the idea of Cass being left out of the running from this is suspicious.

With Extreme Rules being the next event, it would make sense for Cass to interfere and cost Bryan the victory, setting up a third match between the two with some kind of gimmick attached to it.

While it serves no purpose, as Bryan has made Cass tap out both times they've fought, WWE is no stranger to repetition and tiresome booking. Just look at the feud between Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura for an example of that.

Thankfully, Nakamura is noticeably absent from being in the running for this title shot, signaling an end to his storyline with The Phenomenal One.

Going forward, he will have to start a feud with someone else, but no clear and obvious pairings have been alluded to.

One option could be to challenge Jeff Hardy for the United States Championship, as The Charismatic Enigma isn't in the middle of a program with anybody that would get in the way of that feud starting up.

Alternatively, Nakamura may just be on the outs and pushed aside for this event, not doing anything at all. Not everybody can wrestle on every card, so it would be perfectly reasonable for him to take some time away from the spotlight.

This picture is a good enough excuse for Nakamura to take a few weeks off.
This picture is a good enough excuse for Nakamura to take a few weeks off.Credit: WWE.com

It's hard to predict how WWE will balance all the major stars on SmackDown, as only one person can win this gauntlet match and the continuation of feuds can influence the outcome quite a bit, but it's safe to say a heel is the most likely option.

Given the lineup, The Miz and Samoa Joe would likely be the winners, and since Joe has yet to feud with Styles and would be better suited for an Extreme Rules match of sorts, the smart money is on him to win.

Meanwhile, in the women's division, Carmella's successful title defense should give rise to a new challenger, but it's no certainty that Asuka will have to go to the back of the line.

Paige may see it fair to award The Empress of Tomorrow another opportunity to offset the distraction from James Ellsworth, possibly by going the standard route of instituting a stipulation that should prevent further outside interference, such as a cage match.

However, if this was done mostly to keep the title on Carmella and eliminate Asuka from the title picture, the champion will soon have to move on to someone else, such as Naomi or Becky Lynch.

There is still plenty of time to deal with the fallout of Money in the Bank without checking everything off the list for Extreme Rules, so while new challengers to the title may be established Tuesday night on SmackDown, some of these answers may linger for a few more days until next week.

In the meantime, tell us what you're hoping to see these Superstars do next by leaving a comment below!


Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.