I don’t know if it’s because crowds are back or if WWE has finally pulled out of the post-Wrestlemania slump, but I’m more excited for this show than I have been for any WWE show since Royal Rumble.
Money In The Bank has had a disappointing few years. The women’s briefcase was non-existent last year thanks to Becky’s pregnancy, and the men’s briefcase has been treated like garbage and hasn’t had a good cash-in since 2016. I don’t know why, but I feel like this year is going to be different. WWE’s history doesn’t really warrant this optimism, but sod it; I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.
The non-ladder matches all look pretty damn promising too. As much as the weekly TV product has been in the toilet, WWE’s Pay-Per-View output this year has been surprisingly great every time.
Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio(c) vs The Usos
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)
Surprised this was the match that got bumped to the pre-show rather than the other tag titles. It’s reasonably arbitrary at the end of the day. It just felt like this match had more build & heat going into it.
Either way, I think it will be good. I know pre-show matches don’t usually get as much time as they need, but The Usos practically lived on pre-show tag matches for a while, and they still pulled it out of the bag in a major way every time. Rey & Dominik have been great, and I’m super happy for them about getting the tag titles, but I don’t see their reign lasting any longer.
The Usos have the momentum right now, and them winning the tag titles will just make Roman look even more legit if he’s backed up by two champions. I guess their disagreements could screw things up, but they already told that story last month with Roman costing them, so now’s the time to switch those belts.
AJ Styles & Omos(c) vs The Viking Raiders
(Raw Tag Team Championships)
The one thing that hasn’t picked up since Wrestlemania is the tag title scene on either show.
Styles & Omos are great in general as a pairing, but this tag title reign has been really underwhelming. They’ve defended the titles twice, and neither match has been anything worth shouting about. I feel like we’re all still waiting for Omos to show us what he can do, and it’s starting to seem like he can’t do a whole lot. Either that or management don’t trust him to do anything. I’m not sure which is worse.
That said, this could still be a good match. The Viking Raiders are one of the best tag teams WWE have on the main roster, and even with Omos’ limited moveset, I’m hoping the other three can pull this out of the bag. Unfortunately, if any match is going to get cut for time or bumped to the pre-show, it’s going to be this one.
I’ll go with AJ Styles & Omos to retain. It’s a possibility Raiders win the titles. It’s not like it would make much difference, either way, to be honest. It just felt like WWE were trying to do something with Styles & Omos in this title reign, and they haven’t done it yet, so the reign should continue.
Bobby Lashley(c) vs Kofi Kingston
I’m just happy to see Lashley defending against someone other than Drew.
This storyline has been pretty good. Xavier Woods has surprisingly been the MVP of the storytelling (pun intended). Even though this is Kofi’s story (who has still been great), Woods is the one whose fire I can feel whenever he cuts a promo. He’s looked surprisingly good against Lashley, too, even getting a win on Raw.
I’m confident this will be a great match. Kofi’s run as champion a couple of years ago proved he could compete in high-quality singles world title matches consistently, and Lashley is better than he’s ever been right now. The big man vs little man dynamic is obvious, and both men know how to play to that potential.
Bobby Lashley is 100% retaining, though. A second run with Kofi at the top would be incredible, but there’s just no way Lashley’s losing that title before Summerslam. Every story the rumour mill has about Summerslam involves plans where Lashley is champion, so I don’t think WWE is budging on him anytime soon.
Rhea Ripley(c) vs Charlotte Flair
(Raw Women’s Championship)
After the bizarre and terrible ending to their match at Hell In A Cell, I’ve not been particularly interesting in this rematch. I really only care about the result.
The build’s been ok, but nothing particularly special. Charlotte & Rhea have been going back and forth since just after Mania now, so we’re running out of directions for the story to go. They’re also taking Rhea’s character in a weird direction. They want her to be heel, but they’re putting her up against Charlotte, who is even more of a heel, so it’s not going to work. I’m sure the match will be good. Both these women are at the top of their in-ring game. It’s just all a bit heatless at this point.
As for the result, it’s a hard one to pick. It’s Charlotte, so her winning is always a possibility; it’s just a matter of what you think the Summerslam plans are. Becky Lynch is definitely going to be fighting for one of the women’s titles; it’s just a matter of which one. If she’s going for the Raw title, Rhea is almost certainly retaining here because no one wants to see Becky vs Charlotte for the 100th time.
However, I actually think Becky is going to return to Smackdown and challenge Bianca. This is partly because, after Bayley’s injury & Sasha’s absence, the main-event scene of the Smackdown women’s division is pitifully shallow. It is also partly because that’s where Rollins is, and WWE (rightfully) like to keep couples together on the road.
It’s really a coin flip in my head, so I’m going with Rhea Ripley to retain because it’s what I want.
Roman Reigns(c) vs Edge
As much as I was thrilled when Daniel Bryan got added to the Wrestlemania main event, I was a little disappointed we wouldn’t see the singles match between Reigns & Edge instead. Thankfully, WWE knew there was still money there.
Edge came back and kept all that fire he had in the Wrestlemania build. The added wrinkle of the drama between The Usos has given this build a different feeling to the Wrestlemania one, though. Reigns has very much settled into his groove for this character, and we know what to expect from him, which allows his opponents to consistently play off it to great effect.
The last few PPVs have shown that Reigns’ title matches will always get as much time as they need, so I’m really looking forward to seeing these styles collide. Roman hits hard and fast, while Edge is notoriously more wily and opportunistic. I think a lot of great storytelling will come from Edge picking his spots and creating opportunities for himself.
Roman Reigns is winning, though. Unless something monumentally unforeseen happens, there is no way Reigns is losing that title any time this year. In fact, assuming WWE can get Reigns vs Rock for next year’s Wrestlemania, I wouldn’t expect to see Reigns drop that title before 2022’s Summerslam.
Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match
The booking surrounding this match has been bizarre. Raw sorted out all four of their participants the week after Hell In A Cell, but Smackdown has been drip-feeding them. They also conspicuously left the final spot open, only to suddenly announce it would be Tamina on Twitter.
The last-minute nature of it all very much feels like some sort of plans have fallen through, especially considering fans were speculating that people like Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch or even Sonya Deville could fill that final spot.
Regardless, here are each competitor’s chances.
Natalya & Tamina – Lumping these two together because the reason they won’t win is the same, they’re the Women’s Tag Champs. I know that just a year ago, those champions were also singles champions, but Natalya & Tamina are not in the same position that Bayley & Sasha were this time last year.
Zelina Vega – A surprising return, especially considering what her husband’s currently up to, but a welcome one. Hopefully, on this run, WWE will fully treat Vega as a wrestler and not as a manager who sometimes gets in the mix with other women. Vega would be the most interesting choice to win, in my opinion, but I don’t see it happening.
Asuka – Asuka’s run as Raw Women’s Champion last year was great when it was allowed to be. Unfortunately, the lasting impression of that reign was how badly she was treated in the latter half of it. I don’t think WWE have any intention of putting her back in the title picture anytime soon, and she’ll probably move to Smackdown in the draft, so she’s not getting the briefcase.
Nikki Cross – I’m not really sure what this new character of Nikki’s is supposed to be. From what I’ve seen, it looks like she’s the one who came up with it and is enjoying doing it, so good for her; I just don’t quite get it yet. Of course, if it gets her featured on TV more often, then I’m all for it; I think she’s great. I think she has a very small chance to win this briefcase, but I’m not optimistic.
Naomi – Again, I think her chances are slim, but not zero to win. She’s been on the back burner for a long while, but people react to Naomi when given the opportunity. I could easily see WWE wanting to put her back in the spotlight with this briefcase, and I’d be all for it too.
Liv Morgan – Normally, I’d discard Morgan as someone with no chance, but on Smackdown, she actually has been making some waves in her story with Sonya Deville. It would be awesome to see it go somewhere, but I can’t really convince myself it will. I certainly hope it does because, as I’ve said, Smackdown is in desperate need of more top talent in the women’s division; I’m just unsure.
Alexa Bliss – On the surface, Bliss seems like the only legitimate pick, but I’m not so sure. I think Bliss will get a women’s title match at Summerslam (assuming Becky goes to Smackdown, as I have previously predicted), but I don’t think she needs the briefcase to get there. She’s been slowly building since Wrestlemania, and even if her stuff is just a poor man’s Bray Wyatt, it’s more interesting than Charlotte going after the title for generic reasons.
This is a really tough pick because the field is so open, and I’m not behind the seemingly obvious choice. I’m going to go with the only person with a solid story going into this match and pick Liv Morgan.
Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match
What an incredible lineup this is. I’ve really got nothing more to say, this is eight of the best out there right now, and we could be in for one hell of a match when they all get together in the ring. It’s made it a very tough match to call too.
Ricochet & John Morrison – The “no chance” club, as I like to call them. They’ll no doubt both get some great spots, and the rivalry they’ve built for themselves has been fantastic. The Falls Count Anywhere match on Raw was a great watch and showcased both men to their fullest. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’re going to get even close to winning this thing. The only way I could see Morrison winning is to further drive the wedge between him & Miz.
Drew McIntyre – Normally, I rank these in order of how much chance I think they have, but honestly, all six of these remaining guys have an equal chance as far as I’m concerned. Drew has only just got out of the WWE title scene, and I don’t see him going back into it anytime soon. He’s not even allowed to challenge Lashley anymore, so I see little point in giving him the briefcase.
Riddle – He’s got the tag team with Orton waiting in the wings, which will be a good story whichever way they go. Personally, I hope they challenge for the tag titles at Summerslam, but Riddle winning the briefcase and then feuding with Orton would be a good way to push him to the top as fast as possible. Like almost everyone in this match, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he won.
Shinsuke Nakamura – It looked like he was going to receive a substantial push at the start of the year, but it ended up going to Cesaro instead, so maybe Money in the Bank would be a way to make that up to him. He’s been on quite the hot streak recently, and it’s put him in the forefront of people’s minds in regards to this match. I just can’t quite see it.
Seth Rollins – This top three is so hard to pick between. Ultimately, what’s made me move away from Rollins is that I think he’s going to stay on Smackdown after the shakeup. As I’ve said, Roman is not losing that title anytime soon, so having a Smackdown guy win it is pointless. Whoever wins it will end up on Raw after the shakeup, which I think both of these next two guys will do.
Big E – The man who seems to be the sentimental favourite to many (myself included) Big E’s time in the spotlight feels like it’s so very close. I think a switch to Raw and a New Day reunion is in the works for the shakeup, and he would be arguably the perfect candidate to eventually take the title from Lashley. There’s a really compelling argument to be made here.
Kevin Owens – Like Big E, I feel pretty confident that Owens is switching to Raw soon. He’s done all there is for him to do on Smackdown. He wrapped up his feud with Sami Zayn, feuded with Roman at the start of the year and has been everywhere in between. There’s nothing left for him to do on the blue brand. His face run is absolutely deserving to be in the world title picture, and Lashley vs Owens is a nice, fresh matchup, which Raw is desperately lacking. On top of that, Money In The Bank has always felt like a gimmick that’d suit Kevin Owens perfectly.
This is such a tough choice. There are six viable candidates, and I could honestly be talked around to the other two as well if someone conjured a compelling enough argument. This is going to be one hell of a match where I will be on the edge of my seat.
I want it to be Big E, but I think it’ll be Kevin Owens.
Man, I’m excited.
Thanks for reading! I’ve been a lot less active on here lately because I’ve been writing for Game Rant! Check out my stuff here: https://gamerant.com/author/ryan-woodrow/