5 Things WWE Subtly told us on SmackDown: Possibly big spoiler on Theory cash-in plans, Former Royal Rumble winner set to lose upcoming title match?

In the first episode of SmackDown post-Money in the Bank, the build-up to SummerSlam 2022 began. There was some storyline progression but this was admittedly one of the weaker episodes, especially the ending.

Just as how the SummerSlam main event was scheduled before Money in the Bank even took place, the main event of Clash at the Castle was (almost) set before SummerSlam could even take place.

However, some storylines have been put in place and this is what WWE subtly told us on SmackDown this week:

#5. Theory announces his cash-in plans on SmackDown, but what does that mean?

Roman Reigns opened the show on SmackDown this week ahead of his clash against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam 2022. Lesnar hasn’t appeared since the 17th June episode of SmackDown and is set to appear on RAW in the coming week.

This likely means that they’re going to have minimal confrontations in the build-up. It’s hard to even blame WWE, especially since there isn’t too much left to build up for their seventh match against each other.

The presence of Theory was interesting and how he teased cashing in the MITB at SummerSlam. He even announced his intention to do so. This was WWE’s subtle way of saying that the cash-in will not be happening at the biggest party of the summer.

#4. Was it a break-up or tough love for Ludwig Kaiser?

This week on SmackDown, Shinsuke Nakamura confronted Intercontinental Champion Gunther, who was looking to go for the title again. Nakamura defeated Ludwig Kaiser to get his future title shot – presumably next week.

Post-match, Gunther hit Kaiser with brutal chops – not to end their partnership, but as a punishment for losing. Nakamura is unlikely to get another Intercontinental title reign by dethroning Gunther.

#3. The slow-burn build to Lacey Evans’ heel turn

Lacey Evans made a bit of a bizarre entrance on SmackDown this week. While she was supposed to team up with Aliyah, she was angry over not getting the appropriate crowd reaction.

She demanded respect and got none of it, which was WWE’s way of finally pulling the trigger on her heel turn. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she attacked Aliyah to cement her status.

It was a slow-burning build to the heel turn, and it could be seen from the start that WWE had no intention of using her as a babyface.

#2. Liv Morgan’s journey to stay on top begins with a big clash

Liv Morgan’s journey to the top was almost complete at Money in the Bank 2022, but it’s harder to stay on top than to get there. That’s exactly what Ronda Rousey reminded Morgan when their SummerSlam match was announced on SmackDown.

Rousey also defeated Natalya, who took credit for assisting Morgan at MITB. Her presence was interesting and the fact that Morgan will face Natalya in a Championship Contender’s match next week, signaling that there could even be a triple threat direction at SummerSlam 2022.

#1. Drew McIntyre’s road to CATC and the COVID storyline

Drew McIntyre was scheduled to face Sheamus in the main event this week, with the winner getting a Universal title shot at Clash at the Castle this September. We were getting a bit ahead of ourselves, but WWE decided that it would be appropriate to use COVID as a part of the storyline and the reactions were not pleasant, to say the least.

Either way, Sheamus had Butch replace him in a main event with no consequences and McIntyre won with ease. It was just WWE’s subtle way of dragging on this storyline with Sheamus for a little longer before McIntyre becomes the number one contender.

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