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WWE SmackDown preview (July 16, 2021): It’s time for Sasha Banks to return

SmackDown airs tonight (July 16) live from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. This is the go-home show for the upcoming Money in the Bank 2021 event on July 18, and WWE’s first show back on the road with live fans.

There could be a couple surprise returns tonight

The rumor mill has suggested that Sasha Banks could return to WWE tonight. She has been off television for the last three months, and has been a non-factor since dropping the SmackDown women’s championship to Bianca Belair at Wrestlemania 37.

With live fans finally back in WWE, there is bound to be a big surprise or two during the course of tonight’s episode of SmackDown, so this is the perfect time for Banks to return. Belair is defending her championship tonight against Carmella, who has something close to a zero percent chance to win. Once Belair gets this pretender out of the way, the stage will be set for Sasha to make a dramatic return and set up a championship rematch with Bianca.

There is also a chance that John Cena will show up on SmackDown tonight. The latest rumors indicate it might not happen until next week, but if WWE wants to make the biggest splash possible with their return to the road, it’s hard to top a surprise appearance from the man who was the face of the company for over a decade.

The title scene

Roman Reigns is set to defend the Universal championship against Edge at Money in the Bank. Edge has been running through the Usos left and right, and caught Roman off guard last week when the SmackDown tag team champions, Rey and Dominik Mysterio, showed up to have Edge’s back. These six men will clash tonight in a trios match in the main event.

Natalya and Tamina finally have some competition on Friday nights in the form of Shotzi & Nox. The latest NXT call-ups arrived in a tank last week and made quick work of the Women’s tag team champions. A win over the champs usually means a future title shot is coming, so we’ll see if that’s what’s next for the newest team in the women’s division.

Intercontinental champion Apollo Crews failed to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match and doesn’t have anything going on for that event. Cesaro is a babyface in a similar situation, except he doesn’t hold any championship gold. Perhaps it’s about time for these two wrestlers to butt heads?

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- A Fatal 4-Way match is scheduled tonight between the four participants in the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match. Seth Rollins will be the lone heel in there sharing the same ring with Kevin Owens, Big E, and Kingsuke Nakamura. We saw the women’s version of this match on Raw earlier this week.

- Nothing has been announced yet tonight for the four women in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Maybe this is where WWE combines multiple stories into one and books a six woman tag with Shotzi, Nox, and Liv Morgan against Natalya, Tamina, and Zelina Vega?

- Baron Corbin is really down on his luck right now and might have to resort to some desperate measures to scrounge up a few bucks.

- The atmosphere should be wild tonight with live fans finally back in WWE. There should also be a new set design and some digitally enhanced entrances.

What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?

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