Tonight marks the go home edition of Smackdown Live in the build to this year’s edition of Money in the Bank, as the blue brand airs live from Memphis, Tennessee. Hopefully, tonight’s show can top the mediocre effort from RAW last night; I mean, it can’t be much worse, right? However, Smackdown looks to be in good shape with a MITB segment and three matches announced, including Jeff Hardy vs Shinsuke Nakamura.

After a week off, I’m Spencer Love, and I’m back – and better than ever! – with this week’s Smackdown Live! preview!

A Quick Recap:

  • Carmella kicks off Smackdown with a video package and promo on Asuka, recapping her loss at WrestleMania and her other losses since moving to the blue brand. The Empress of Tomorrow interrupts; however, before she gets a word in, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville interrupt.
  • Asuka def. Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose in a handicap match. Carmella attacked post-match.
  • The New Day and The Miz met in a backstage segment; the New Day taunted Miz about which member of the faction would be competing at Money in the Bank.
  • Karl Anderson def. Harper via rollup
  • The Usos & Naomi def. Aiden English & Lana.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles sign their contract for Money in the Bank.
  • Becky Lynch def. Charlotte Flair via the Dis-arm-her.
  • Big Cass cut a promo while facing the Titantron the entire time. Moving on.
  • Andrade “Cien” Almas attacks Sin Cara from behind while he argued with Zelina Vega.
  • The New Day def. Rusev, Samoa Joe and The Miz.

One Big Thought:

Unlike it’s Monday night counterpart, Smackdown’s build towards Money in the Bank has been good-to-great. They’ve done an excellent job of placing importance on each match taking place on Sunday, whether it be the WWE Championship match or the MITB ladder match itself. It’s the subtle things they’ve done on the road to Money in the Bank that have done them well; little things like a backstage contract signing between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura make all the difference, because they’re a change of pace from what we’re used to as fans. On the RAW side of the equation, there’s really been nothing new on the road to MITBas with years past, they’ve simply qualified their competitors and had them face off for a number of weeks. Sure, there’s complaints about Smackdown – there always is – but so far, they’ve piqued my interest far more than the red brand has.

State of the Belts:

Tonight sees the United States Champion take on the #1 contender to the WWE Championship in what I can only assume will be tonight’s main event. After Jeff Hardy and Shinsuke Nakamura went back-and-forth on Twitter, a match was made official for tonight’s Smackdown. While I’m not usually a fan of anything set up over social media, at least we should get a barnburner of a match out of the proceedings. Personally, my money is on Nakamura to win; Hardy isn’t currently scheduled for Money in the Bank, and regardless of how much his championship reign needs a little momentum it would be an odd decision to have Nak lose heading into another championship opportunity. I’d also expect to see AJ Styles on commentary for this one just to get the champion on-screen prior to a title defence.

Carmella doesn’t appear to have anything scheduled for tonight’s episode of Smackdown, but I would expect some sort of confrontation between herself and her MITB opponent, Asuka. ‘Mella seems to have a loose alliance formed with the IIconics; could we see them make a statement tonight? Could they interfere on Carmella’s behalf on Sunday? Again, while there’s nothing promoted, I do expect something with tangible impact to happen tonight.

After careful research, it appears as though there is still a tag team division on Smackdown. After Karl Anderson pulled off a surprise victory over Harper last week, the Good Brothers look to be heading into MITB with some momentum. Similarly to the women’s division, there’s nothing advertised for either the challengers or the champions tonight; do the Club or the Bludgeon Brothers make an appearance on tonight’s show?

Three Things to Watch For:

  • Daniel Bryan faces off with Shelton Benjamin tonight. It’s got the potential to be a great match, so expect Big Cass to ruin everything about it in some way.
  • Andrade “Cien” Almas will be in action against Sin Cara tonight after weeks of trash talk by both Almas and his associate Zelina Vega. I would put the odds of Cara winning tonight as very, very low, unless by disqualification. Almas is a future star for the company, and needs to come out of this looking as strong as possible.
  • In what will likely be a calm and rational affair, Paige will be hosting a Money in the Bank summit with the four competitors in the women’s MITB ladder match.

That’s it, that’s all! You watching tonight, WWE fans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, or on the ol’ Twitter machine at @WCSportsCA!

WWE Last 5:
Smackdown Live Preview: June 12
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Spencer Love

Once stood in front of Cedric Alexander in line at a hotel. Slightly big deal.

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