Let’s not sugar coat this, WWE TV this past month has been awful.
Raw is currently the worst it’s been in a long time, thanks to the superstar shakeup being rather underwhelming and taking 3 weeks for everyone to get in the right places. Then one week later we’re told that actually, it didn’t matter because the “Wildcard Rule” means people could just come and go from either show as they please. Smackdown’s been better, with at least a couple of fun and entertaining segments a week, but it’s still not as high a quality show week to week as it used to be.
That said, WWE are yet to produce a bad PPV so far this year, and Money in the Bank is one of those gimmicks that has a fairly high base quality. Rumour is that WWE are actually planning to make a star of the Money in the Bank winner this year, rather than burying them 6 feet under like they have done for the past couple of years. The rest of the card looks hopeful too, with what will hopefully be done dream matches.
Not all of them though, so let’s take a look at them all, break down the storeys and pick a winner.
Daniel Bryan & Rowan vs The Usos
The article on WWE.com doesn’t make it clear if this is a title match or not, but given it’s on the pre-show, I’m going to assume it isn’t.
I could sit here and complain that the best tag team in WWE, the best wrestler in the world and his friend who’s improved a surprising amount of the past few months are slumming it on the pre-show, but honestly, I’m just thankful Daniel Bryan can still wrestle after his injury scare following Wrestlemania.
Plus, this match is still going to be great even if it doesn’t get tonnes of time. Bryan & Rowan have formed a lot of chemistry together since they began their partnership in January, and I think they were the perfect team to have carry the titles once Jeff Hardy suffered his leg injury. It’s entirely possible that The Revival use this match as an opportunity to get some petty revenge on The Usos for filming them shaving each other’s backs and making their balls itch…yeah, wrestling’s shit sometimes…
Given that The Usos are on Raw, Daniel Bryan & Rowan are definitely winning this match, whether it’s for the titles or not. If it is for the titles then they won’t lose the belts this quick to someone on the wrong show, and if it isn’t for the titles then I can’t see the newly crowned champions losing a match on PPV so soon after winning the titles.
Tony Nese(c) vs Ariya Daivari
Guess who’s actually been watching 205 Live this past month and a half.
I decided to commit to watching 205 Live on a regular basis following Wrestlemania, and honestly, I’m glad I did it, there’s a lot of good matches on there every week and some pretty interesting minor storylines, unfortunately, I wouldn’t really describe this as one of them.
Don’t get me wrong, both these guys are great wrestlers and I’m sure the match will be just as good as the Cruiserweight Championship matches always are, but this build has been super generic in its premise. Ariya Daivari has been on a winning streak as of late, this has been rewarded with a title match and now Nese and Daivari have been passive-aggressively watching each other’s matches and staring down after every single one.
I like a simpler build from time to time, but this is just a bit too basic for my taste, especially if this is going to be what all of Nese’s title feuds are going to be like until someone like Oney Lorcan comes along and spices things up. Regardless, I’d say Tony Nese is a pretty safe bet here, he looked really good in victory over Buddy Murphey at Wrestlemania and it would be a really bad decision to have him lose the title this quick so this will be a solid defence for the new champion.
Samoa Joe(c) vs Rey Mysterio
(United States Championship)
A United States title match? On a Pay-Per-View? Well I never…
After the absolute destruction of the US Title that came at the start of the year, Samoa Joe has done a pretty good job so far of showing bringing some level of prestige back to the belt. A solid defence of the title at Fastlane followed by beating Mysterio in under a minute at Wrestlemania has been great for both Joe and the title, and hopefully, that momentum will keep on rolling through Money in the Bank.
Admittedly the justification for the rematch was a little lazy, given that Rey pinned Joe in a non-title match on Raw, which we’ve all seen hundreds of times. That said, since then we’ve seen a pretty decent build, getting Rey’s son Dominick involved didn’t seem like it’d be a great idea at the time, but Joe’s promo ability and confrontations with both Rey and Dominick have done a good job of adding some animosity to the build so hopefully this one will get a bit more time than it did at Mania and we’ll get a good match.
I’m going back and forth on the winner though, because as much as I think Joe should win, Mysterio is one of those guys like Jeff Hardy, who could realistically win a secondary title at any point. The thing is, there are a lot of face champions on Raw and Smackdown right now, in fact, the US, Women’s Tag and Smackdown Tag titles are the only ones currently being held by heels so I don’t see Samoa Joe losing his title until that changes.
Roman Reigns vs Elias
Roman Reigns’ move to Smackdown is a great one as far as I’m concerned, with Seth as the Universal Champion there wasn’t going to be any room for him in that title picture for quite a while, and even though he probably won’t be challenging for the WWE Championship for a good few months yet, the mid-card on Smackdown are generally much better wrestlers who can put on great PPV matches with Reigns, and not be hurt too much by losing.
As for this feud in particular, it’s been a bit up and down up until this point. The introduction on the night of the superstar shakeup was great, seeing Vince McMahon get punched in the face will never stop being fun and using Elias and Shane as a proxy has made for some pretty entertaining promos. On the flip side, it has also brought out the worst in Reigns’ character, with him beating the B-Team two on one, despite the fact Elias was there as an extremely biased referee.
This match should be ok, Reigns is a perfectly solid wrestler and Elias is always surprisingly good on the rare occasion he actually wrestles, so as long as this doesn’t fall into the trap of spending 10 minutes of the two men “wearing each other down” using rest holds it should be pretty entertaining. Roman Reigns is definitely winning though.
Becky Lynch(c) vs Lacey Evans
(Raw Women’s Championship)
The first of two title defences Becky will be taking part in on Sunday, this is the one where I really don’t think the result is in question.
Evans is still pretty untested when it comes to big matches in WWE. In the matches she had on NXT, she was fine, but she never had a big singles match at a Takeover and she hasn’t competed nearly enough since coming to main for us to really have an idea of what she’s like. I think she’s good enough for Becky to carry her to an entertaining match though, partly because Becky’s great, but also anyone who can have a halfway decent match with Natalya has got to have some talent behind them.
Like I said at the start though, I have no doubt about who’s walking away from this match victorious. Becky Lynch is not losing that Raw Women’s Title anytime soon, for two reasons. Firstly, there’s a good chance she could lose the Smackdown Women’s Title sometime soon, and secondly, the women’s division on Raw is pretty weak right now, and Becky needs to be at the top to anchor it until a certain Queen of Spades shows up.
Shane McMahon vs The Miz
Who would’ve thought that this would end up being the best-built feud coming out of Wrestlemania?
I honestly don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this has been the most interesting storyline on TV week to week the past month or so. We all know The Miz is one of the best promo guys around, and when he gets fired up as a face he can do some incredible work, and I think we all knew Shane would be great once he finally turned heel, given how hateable he was as a face. The two of them colliding each and every week has been great fun to watch.
That said, I’m sure how great of a match this is going to lead too. Steel Cage is generally one of my least favourite stipulations, and neither Shane nor Miz are wrestlers who can really benefit from this environment. This leads me to think it’s going to be full of interference from all corners of the roster, it wouldn’t surprise me if Reigns and Elias both got involved, maybe even Bobby Lashley will show up to try and screw Miz in the process. If that happens then it might be a fun watch, in a chaotic sense, because if it’s just a straight match the whole time, I don’t think it’s going to be anything to write home about.
I feel pretty confident in saying that The Miz is going to win here though, since I don’t really see any benefit to Shane winning again, even by accident. It seems to me like Shane is going to fade back into being less of a wrestler and more of an authority figure over the summer, and Miz will probably Samoa Joe’s next challenger, so Miz needs the win a lot more than Shane does here.
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
This lineup is quite a hit and miss one, on the one hand, there’s Bayley and Ember Moon, on the other hand, there’s Natalya. It makes it a little easier to predict (I hope), but I’m not sure if it’s going to lead to an entertaining match. There’s probably going to be some sort of crazy spot from someone, probably Ember, but a Money in the Bank ladder match needs to be more than that. Either way, let’s look at each of the competitor’s chances, shall we?
Natalya – This past couple of years I’ve gone right off Natalya as a wrestler. She used to be able to hold her own and even stand out as a competitor, but in this era of women’s wrestling where WWE has some of the best female competitors on the planet, she just can’t keep up. It’s entirely possible that Natalya will hold championship gold again before she retires, but something like Money in the Bank wouldn’t rest well on her shoulders.
Carmella – Since losing her Smackdown Women’s Championship last year, Carmella has come on leaps and bounds as a wrestler. Her character turned out to be much better suited to being a face than a heel and this turn has also allowed her to loosen up her wrestling style a lot more, without having to rely on crap like James Ellsworth to get victories; not the mention the Code of Silence is a great looking finisher. I think she’s destined to hold a championship again in her career, but given the landscape of the women’s division now I don’t think it’s going to be for a while, so she’s not picking up the briefcase here.
Dana Brooke – No.
Naomi – Naomi is someone who has all the makings of someone who could potentially carry one of the women’s divisions in WWE at some point in her career. I know she’s already been champion before, but I never felt like the creative team were fully behind her, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if in a few years we saw something akin to Kofi’s ascent earlier this year. Like I say though, in a few years, with Becky Lynch sitting pretty holding both women’s championships there’s just no room for her to be skulking around that scene right now.
Mandy Rose – If Asuka was still Smackdown Women’s Champion, I’d say she had a pretty good chance, but that’s not the case, so there’s not a lot for me to say. I can’t help but feel like WWE have backed the wrong horse out of Fire and Desire, don’t get me wrong I like Mandy Rose, even if she is still a little bit green, but I think Sonya Deville really has the makings of an all-time great female wrestler if they’d just give her a shot. Regardless, Mandy isn’t winning this match, because I don’t really see her being a champion anytime soon.
Nikki Cross – As announced on Thursday via WWE’s social media pages, Alexa Bliss wasn’t medically cleared to compete, and Nikki Cross is here replacement because…she sorta helped Alexa out on Monday? As far as reintroductions go, a Money in the Bank ladder match could be really good for Nikki if she’s given some time to stand out in it. Perhaps having her as the last person to be thrown off of the ladder before the actual winner climbs would be a good spot for her, and hopefully some form of story with Alexa Bliss will keep her on TV for the next few months. There’s no way she’s going to be winning this match though.
Ember Moon – Out of everyone in this match, I think this is who I want to win the most. Since coming over to Smackdown she’s been positioned perfectly for a meteoric rise in the coming months, but I’m really sceptical about WWE actually pulling the trigger on it. However, for that rise to happen, I really don’t think she needs to win Money in the Bank, it would help of course, but I think a more organic rise, similar to the one Becky Lynch saw last year would leave her better off in the long run. Ultimately, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ember won it, but it’s not what I think is going to happen.
Bayley – Time for a totally mad theory.
As much as I’ve loved (almost) every Charlotte vs Becky match, I’m at the point where I’d rather see someone else challenge Becky for once, which WWE illuded to a number of weeks ago when Becky proclaimed she also wants to face new people. In addition to this, Bayley has been made to look a million bucks since coming over to Smackdown last month, taking it to everyone she’s come accross.
So let’s put two and two together here, WWE seem to have loved pulling the “same night cash in” trick on a number of occasions, so why not do it again? Except this time, instead of making it a cheap sneak attack, have this match go on early, and once Bayley has unhooked the briefcase, she grabs a mics and inserts herself into Becky vs Charlotte, making it a triple threat. I’ll get into what happens in that match in a moment, but I personally think that would be a great way for things to play out.
Even if that doesn’t come to pass, I still think Bayley’s the one to go with here. She’ll likely announce her cash-in in advance because that’s what faces with the briefcase do, but I think it will be a good way to keep her in everyone’s minds while Becky goes off to face anyone and everyone on the Smackdown roster.
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Orton aside, I’d be perfectly happy with any of these men winning the coveted briefcase. There’s a great mix of big guys and high flyers in this match, and as previous years have shown us, that usually makes for the most entertaining of ladder matches. Ricochet and Ali are gonna try and out crazy each other which Balor & Andrade go at it, Drew & Braun try to murder each other, Orton doles out RKOs left right and centre and Corbin is also there.
Ricochet – I love Ricochet as much as the next guy, but let’s face it, he’s only in here to do some cool ladder spots. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure we’ll be raving about whatever it is he did come Monday, but he doesn’t have any real chance of actually winning the thing. It’s hard to tell where Ricochet’s going right now, which makes me worry that it’s nowhere, hopefully, a good showing here will stop that from happening.
Randy Orton – Much like Bliss in the women’s match, he almost certainly won’t win, but there’s a tiny chance he might because it’s Randy Orton. Orton is another guy who feels pretty directionless right now, he hasn’t done a great deal of anything since Wrestlemania, thanks to AJ jumping ship, so he’s just been doing what he always does between storylines which is RKOing people with no rhyme or reason until one of them gets pissy about it. He doesn’t need the briefcase to do that though, so let’s move on.
Baron Corbin – This seems very much like another opportunity for everyone and their grandmothers to mug off Baron Corbin with ladders right at the start of the match. I can’t say I’d be pissed off if Corbin won, but I certainly wouldn’t be that pleased about it. I’m sure Corbin will win a world title at some point over the next couple years – no matter how much we don’t want him to – but the Universal Title scene really doesn’t feel fit for him to drop in right now. It could look very different come November-January time, but somehow I doubt it.
Ali – I really hope Ali has a good showing here, he kicked ass in the WWE title match at Fastlane and he’s disappointingly faded back down the card a bit since then. With Buddy Murphey on the way to Smackdown as well, it’s getting a little worrying for Ali, as it’ll be really easy for him to get lost in the shuffle and have a really mediocre year, like that of Andrade in 2018. He’s not picking up the win here, but I imagine him and Ricochet will try and outdo each other and Ali will really show off his stuff.
Sami Zayn – I don’t really know what to make of Sami being put in this match in place of Braun. The way they did it was fine, Corbin and Mcintyre getting in there to take Strowman out of the picture made sense for both of those characters, and heel Sami Zayn is exactly the type of character to take advantage of it. That said, I don’t think Sami has any chance of actually winning the thing, I’m glad he’s getting a spot in a major match like this of course, but I can’t see him doing a great deal of note other than getting killed by Braun Strowman, that is if Strowman doesn’t take Zayn out before the match and reclaim his spot anyway.
Finn Balor – Balor seems like the prime candidate in this match for a whole host of “almost” moments. I imagine he’ll be much like face Dolph Ziggler was, where several times in the match, he’ll be fingertips away from unhooking the briefcase only for someone to snatch it away from him. I also think he can afford to not do a great deal of consequence in this match and still come out of it looking great. There are plenty of people lined up for Balor to face for the IC in the coming months and here would be a really good place to sow the seeds by having someone like Ali or Andrade stop him from doing it. At the end of the day though, he’s the Intercontinental Champion, so he really doesn’t need the Money in the Bank briefcase
Drew Mcintyre – If I were a betting man, this is probably who I would put my money on. As I mentioned in the intro, apparently the plan is to properly try and make a star out of this year’s Money in the Bank winner, and we’ve all known it was only a matter of time until Drew was a world champion when he resigned with NXT a few years ago. Drew really does seem like the easy pick to win this briefcase, but I’m not sure he actually needs the briefcase in order to get to the Universal Championship. All it takes is multiple months of Drew absolutely murdering dudes left, right and centre. Ultimately, I will not be surprised in the least if Drew walks out with the briefcase, but he’s not the horse I’m backing in this race, because…
Andrade – 2019 might be a “now or never” year for Andrade, not just because there are multiple reports of him being disgruntled, but also because of how he was treated throughout most of last year. He had great matches with top stars yes, but with the exception of Rey Mysterio, he lost all of them. Those matches did a great job to raise his stock and Vince is reportedly really high on the guy, but if he spends another year doing the exact same thing there might not be any way for him to recover.
If Andrade was still on Raw I’d say he didn’t have a chance, but now he’s back on Smackdown all bets are off, and Andrade could be the perfect person to hold the briefcase and eventually become champion. Andrade is a Wrestlemania main event level guy, and all it will take is management to get behind him and he’ll soar. He’s like Alberto Del Rio but not a massive douche, and about 60 times better at wrestling.
Kofi Kingston(c) vs Kevin Owens
This is going to be the next few months, isn’t it? Us all being terrified that Kofi is going to lose the title way too soon every time he defends it.
As much as I’d wish they’d saved this feud for the summer, I can understand why they put the rush on it given Daniel Bryan’s uncertain health at the time. As it turns out, what we’ve got so far has been pretty good, I personally would’ve kept the whole “Kevin Owens as part of the New Day” thing going a bit longer, but the turn was still shocking enough to create a memorable moment and the promos in subsequent weeks have put some real fire behind this feud.
As for the match itself, these two seem like their styles will mesh really well in a high profile match like this. Kofi has proved to be the ultimate underdog wrestler this year and Owens is always at his best when he gets to dominate someone and really enjoy rubbing it in their faces. It does have a slight problem in that this feud definitely isn’t going to be a one-and-done so we could get some kind of wonky finish that really takes the wind out of the sails of the great match that preceded it, Styles vs Owens is a pretty good example of this.
While it’s entirely possible they hot shot the title a couple of times in this feud, I’m going to stick with my guns and say Kofi Kingston is going to retain for now. The moment at Wrestlemania will live on forever in the history books, but I feel like losing the title in his first PPV defence like this would undercut it a bit too much.
Becky Lynch(c) vs Charlotte Flair
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)
Please be the last one.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve liked almost all of the matches these two have had together, and I’m sure this will be no exception, but I’m pretty tired of seeing it for a good while. The story’s been pretty solid, and while these two are both great on the mic they’re kind of out of insult to throw at each other by this point. We know that Becky thinks Charlotte was handed everything, and we know that Charlotte thinks Becky is just a flash in the pan still, we’ve heard all these points over and over again for almost a year now, which is why I think this match needs something to spice it up.
So that’s why I’m proposing the scenario where Bayley wins the Money in the Bank and uses it to insert herself into this match. It makes sense from a character perspective because not only would face Bayley not want to sneak attack with the briefcase but since Bayley’s come over to Smackdown, she’s had a massive chip on her shoulder and desperate to prove she can still do it on her own, so what better way to prove that to everyone than taking out both Becky and Charlotte on the same night?
If that scenario comes to pass, I think Bayley will walk away the winner because they just can’t have another Money in the Bank winner lose their title match, plus it opens up new and fresh opportunities for both a Becky vs Bayley and Charlotte vs Bayley feud for over the summer. If my scenario doesn’t happen though, Becky Lynch is pretty much a lock to retain, they can’t undermine Becky’s Wrestlemania win by having her drop one of the titles back to Charlotte at the first opportunity.
Seth Rollins(c) vs AJ Styles
I think I may be dreaming.
Before you say it, I know. Getting this excited for this match is only setting me up for a disappointing non-finish, but just let me have this one. I don’t care if almost every match AJ had as champion last year ended up performing below expectations when Seth was IC champion last year almost every one of his matches far surpassed expectations. Rollins vs Styles has been the one dream match I’ve been begging for ever since Styles came to WWE, so until it’s proved otherwise, I’m going to be optimistic about it.
The feud itself has been alright I guess, although nothing special. Touching on the two’s past was a nice little touch, but nothing they’ve said on the mic has caught my imagination a great deal. Not to mention there wasn’t really any build for the match on Monday outside of a video package, it would’ve been much more beneficial for the contract signing to have taken place this past Monday instead of 3 weeks ago, but oh well.
There is a chance that this will end in some kind of DQ, dirty finish if WWE wants to keep the feud going for another few months, but regardless of what actually goes down, Seth Rollins is walking away with the title, and he’s holding onto it for quite a long time.
So, those are my predictions for Money in the Bank 2019! What do you think is going to happen on Sunday? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo, and make sure you come back early next week for my review of the show!