Sometimes referred to as the fifth major PPV event of the year behind the traditional “Big Four” of WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, SummerSlam and Survivor Series, Money in the Bank is one of the most exciting traditions in WWE’s yearly lineup. Two eight-person ladder matches are fun enough on their own, but the implications are huge — one man and one woman will grab a briefcase containing a contract that allows them to make a WWE/Universal/Raw Women’s/SmackDown Women’s Championship match at any time of their choosing, including after or even during title matches. Add to that some genuinely interesting matchups like Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles and Kevin Owens vs. Kofi Kingston, and you have a pretty intriguing PPV, despite Raw and SmackDown‘s woes as of late.
Daniel Bryan and Rowan vs. The Usos (Kickoff Show)
When the Hardy Boyz were forced to vacate their SmackDown Tag Team Championships just weeks after winning them because of Jeff Hardy suffering an injury, Shane McMahon decided to crown new champions by having The Usos face off against Daniel Bryan and Rowan. Bryan and Rowan came away with the victory, declaring themselves the Planet’s Tag Team Champions. However, The Usos will have another shot at the champions this Sunday.
Patrick: This is all so convoluted. I hate the wild card rule. The Usos, Raw Superstars, are getting their second opportunity in as many weeks at SmackDown’s Tag Team Championships. Hopefully the belts not appearing on TV this week means they are working on more eco-friendly versions.
Winners: Daniel Bryan and Rowan
Brian: And thus dieth the Brand Split. Let’s just assume for the rest of my predictions that I’m mad about the Superstar Shake-up, the current state of storylines, and the inability for WWE to stop tripping over its own flights of whimsy. OK, this match will be good because a) The Usos, b) Daniel Bryan. That’s it. Rowan is doing his best and is being used in a great role right now. Enjoy the ride and the new eco-titles.
Winners: The Planet’s Tag Team Champs D-Bry and Rowan
Jay: This was slap-shot thrown together with little background story. No reason for The Usos not to be facing The Revival but Vinny Mac gonna Vinny Mac. D-Bry and Rowan are going to take it.
Winners: D-Bry & Rowan
Tony Nese (c) vs. Ariya Daivari for the Cruiserweight Championship
Tony Nese captured the Cruiserweight Championship from Buddy Murphy at WrestleMania. Now, he’ll have the opportunity to defend his title at the first network special event since winning it. Will Nese’s dream continue, or will The Persian Lion take what he believes is his?
Patrick: Tony Nese, I guess?
Winner: Tony Nese
Brian: I feel bad that I don’t watch 205 Live. I still don’t watch 205 Live.
Winner: Tony Nese and his 16 abs
Jay: Nese is going to go over to establish his reign.
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio for the United States Championship
Samoa Joe defeated Rey Mysterio in convincing fashion at WrestleMania in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it beatdown. Since then, his familial mind games have continued as he has tried to get into Rey’s head by confronting his son, Dominick. But will this only incite Rey Mysterio even more?
Patrick: I actually like this pairing quite a bit. Mysterio has both the legacy and the physical stature that can really help sell Joe as an unrepentant monster. And while “a full-grown Dominick Mysterio would appear in WWE storylines again in 2019” certainly wasn’t on my storyline bingo card, it adds a nice wrinkle to Joe’s character, who has gone after family members in the past (Oh Wendy…..).
Winner: Samoa Joe
Brian: I love giving Rey the chance to shine against some fun opponents and Joe the chance to show off his real skills. The soap-operaness of it all with Dominick etc. is stuff I don’t particularly need, but sure, let’s go with it. I think Dominick turns on Rey and mocks his dad for being small and having dumb masks to hide his dumb face. That’s how kids talk, right?
Winner: Samoa Joe
Jay: I hope Joe wins to continue his streak of constantly threatening people’s families to win championships. It was AJ’s wife during Summer Slam, Dominick’s son for Money in the Bank, and I fully expect him to threaten someone’s grandparent for Extreme Rules. Just imagine Joe’s promos during a Universal title feud with Rollins – “Seth!!! Your grandfather sucks!!!!”
Winner: Samoa Joe
The Miz vs. Shane McMahon (Steel Cage Match)
Shane may have technically won the match between the two at WrestleMania, but Miz definitely proved his point. However, Shane has remained a thorn in Miz’s side, even attacking and injuring his father. There’s only one way to settle this blood feud: Inside a steel cage.
Patrick: This feud has been pretty decent, but I’m about ready for it to end. I enjoyed the ending at Mania where Miz looked strong but technically lost the match, but I don’t really see why the feud needed to drag on for another month and a half. Miz gets the decisive victory and can move on from Shane.
Winner: The Miz
Brian: Why is this still happening? I guess since Shane “won” at Mania we have to finish off the feud. Assuming The B-Team don’t get involved (really? really?), Miz wins.
Winner: The Miz
Jay: This will likely be a highlight of the night. I really enjoyed their Mania match and they will likely up the ante for the blow-off match. Miz will likely get his win back.
Winner: The Miz
Roman Reigns vs. Elias
When Mr. McMahon said he wanted to personally introduce the biggest acquisition in SmackDown history as a result of the Superstar Shake-up, everyone thought he was referring to Roman Reigns. But out came Elias, followed shortly by the Big Dog himself, who knocked the chairman out with a Superman Punch. Since then, the Drifter has aligned himself with Mr. McMahon’s son Shane, and look to make the Big Dog miserable in his new yard.
Patrick: Elias has to just be filler for Roman to find his footing on SmackDown, right? Although, does he even need that, considering he’s also on Raw every week now? I’ll say it again: I hate the wild card rule. This feels pretty low stakes, but I can’t see Roman losing to Elias, who is in this weird spot of being prominently featured every show, but presented as jobber to the stars inside the ring.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Brian: When do we have the “guitar on the pole” match part of this feud? Elias is great in his role as a high mid-tier antagonist, but does anyone believe he’s a threat to Roman Reigns? Without fighting for a title, Reigns is going to be stuck in these feuds for a while without an opponent who actually poses a threat to him.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Jay: Roman’s gotta look strong during his first SmackDown feud that has primarily taken place on Raw.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE Championship
Kevin Owens seemed like he was happy for Kofi Kingston after he won the WWE Championship, even becoming an honorary member of the New Day under the name “Big O.” But that didn’t last long, as jealousy and lust overtook Owens’ usually black heart. Will it be enough to negate the Power of Positivity, or will Kofi’s unlikely run at the top continue after Money in the Bank?
Winner: It’s too bad, I feel like this could have been a way more engaging story if they stretched it out some more. It felt like they got cold feet after Bryan’s status was up in the air for a couple of weeks and fast tracked KO’s heel turn, lessening its impact. But hey, New Day and Kevin Owens are two of my favorite acts of the past few years, so who am I to complain too much? Here’s my wild card (no pun intended), out-there prediction of the night: Kevin Owens wins the title, and newly crowned Mr. Money in the Bank cashes in on his former friend.
Winner: Kevin Owens
Winner: There are a lot of directions possible here. One, having Kofi drop the title this quickly can either a) look like he was a paper champ and didn’t earn it or b) get started on a new round of main eventers adding themselves to the WWE title legacy. Two, having Kofi keep the title can bring up either a) a slate of new competition or b) repeat the same old same old. Not that KO or D-Bry are going to ever have a bad match with Kofi freaking Kingston. I could see this going a ton of different ways, but Xavier and Sami are definitely getting involved somewhere.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Jay: Kofi is going to keep the title. There’s been enough investment in his title win that it wouldn’t be smart to derail it now but it might be a screwy finish to keep Owens in the title picture considering he has no viable contenders before Roman likely gets the nod en route to SummerSlam.
Winner: Kofi Kingston will keep the belt
Seth Rollins (c) vs. AJ Styles for the Universal Championship
An indie dream match, for the top prize of WWE’s flagship brand. SmackDown may be the house that AJ Styles built, but now he’s looking to conquer Raw as he takes on the Kingslayer, the Beastslayer, the Architect, first of his name, Universal Champion, Seth Freakin’ Rollins.
Patrick: Hoo boy, this match should be a good one, assuming AJ shows up for a fight. His last few “dream match” scenarios have been oddly disappointing, but Rollins almost never disappoints. After the long journey Rollins had to the Universal Title, I don’t see him losing it so soon in a match that doesn’t have much story or build behind it, but the action between the ropes should be excellent.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Brian: This is a “phenomenal” role for AJ right now, even if it seems rushed (then again, what doesn’t?). Have a great match with a top guy and give him the cred he needs. After AJ, I’m assuming it will be Drew McIntyre taking up the challenge for Rollins.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Jay: This will be a great feud to hold us over till we get to SummerSlam where they will likely have Drew McIntyre or Brock Lesnar or both face Rollins. As such, Rollins will retain the belt but I can see a Dusty finish happening (IE. AJ pins Rollins with Rollin’s foot on the ropes, etc, etc)
Winner: Rollins via Dusty finish
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans for the Raw Women’s Championship
Becky Two-Belts proved she was The Man at WrestleMania, but all she earned was two targets on her back. First up, she defends the Raw Women’s Championship that she pried from Ronda Rousey’s broken hand against the “Sassy Southern Belle” Lacey Evans.
Patrick: It feels like Lacey Evans has been on TV for eons, yet I can’t recall a single thing of note she’s said or done yet. She’s the Baron Corbin of the women’s division for me — “go away” heat of the highest order. If Becky loses to this second rate Charlotte clone, I’ll … well, I’ll complain about it online.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Brian: I don’t care about Charlotte 2.0. She bores me and right now she’s all gimmick and its all s----y. She’s a former marine! Anyway, Becky keeps the Raw title.
Winner: Becky 2 Belts
Jay: Becky. This match will happen after the one with Charlotte and Becky will tap Evans out as Evans goes for her finish.
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
The second challenge in front of Becky is far more worrisome for fans of The Man: the seven time Women’s Champion, Charlotte Flair. Dispatching a fiesty newcomer like Lacey Evans is one thing, but can Becky defeat both her and one of the greatest women’s wrestlers in WWE history in the same night?
Patrick: These two seem destined to “fight forever” and have their careers intertwined. Which is fine — I just hope it turns out to be more Austin vs. Rock than say, Cena vs. Orton. That is to say, spice things up a little bit. This match doesn’t seem to have much heat behind it, and like Charlotte’s inclusion in the Mania main event, just seems kinda thrown together last minute. I was originally learning toward Charlotte coming away with the victory so they could step away from the roaming champion situation, but with the wild card rule nothing matters anymore and everybody roams from show to show, so who knows?
Winner: Becky Lynch
Brian: Patrick is right. These two are this generation’s Rock/Austin. Buuuuuut, they need to be apart for a while. The best way to do that is to Charlotte become the 9-time women’s champion and keep them exclusive to their brands. I know, Wild Card or whatever. Both Raw and SmackDown Live, however, need to build their own tiers of women and individual champions will do that. I could easily see Becky beating Lacey 2-Gloves down hard and getting ambushed by Charlotte. Can she juice for this one?
Winner: Charlotte Flair
Jay: They need to be apart. Becky needs to establish her identity outside of Charlotte and they will likely ride the Becky 2-Belts deal. This present rematch makes sense for Becky AND Charlotte’s story arc but Charlotte winning wouldn’t make sense and they more so would have no where to go with Charlotte.
Winner: Becky with the good belts.
Nikki Cross vs. Bayley vs. Dana Brooke vs. Naomi vs. Natalya vs. Carmella vs. Ember Moon vs. Mandy Rose (Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match)
The third-ever Miss Money in the Bank will be crowned this Sunday, with Alexa Bliss looking to become the first-ever two time female briefcase winner. Problem is, there are seven other hungry women in her way, as well as bad luck — will whoever’s been messing with Alexa these past few weeks continue their games on Sunday?
Note: These predictions were written before Alexa Bliss was removed from the match and Nikki Cross was added.
Winner: Jeez, is this match light on star power. Alexa’s had like two matches in the last six months, Bayley has been beaten down so much that whatever cachet she had left is pretty much gone, Ember Moon is freshly back from injury and hasn’t been built up all that much since returning, and Dana Brooke, Naomi, Natalya, Carmella and Mandy Rose…no. I’d be most happy with Ember winning here, as she has the most untapped potential of these eight women going forward, which is pretty much what the Money in the Bank briefcase is for.
Winner: Ember Moon
Brian: There are a lot of questions about the women’s roster right now and this match won’t answer any of them. Money in the Bank works best in two ways: heel winning or establishing a new star. Right away, I’m removing Alexa, Bayley, Nattie, and Carmella from real contention in the match for different reasons. Naomi might be a popular pick, but she doesn’t fit my categories above. That leaves Dana Brooke, Ember Moon, and Mandy Rose. Dana’s been working hard, but this isn’t the moment yet. I like Ember in this match, unless some shenanigans happen with Alexa and Nikki Cross. Like, maybe Alexa can’t compete in the match because someone stole her top or whatever and she gets Nikki to replace her. In that scenario, Nikki wins and either lets her “friend” have the case, turns on her hard, or Alexa turns on Nikki. I like this one.
Winner: Nikki Cross
Jay: Mandy. History shows that the most cowardly heel character wins whenever there is no clear winner. I fully expect Mandy to take it as such. Plus, her character has the added benefit of brandishing the briefcase while her character’s status is improved on television. Kind of like the Carmella did in 2017.
Winner: Mandy Rose
Andrade vs. Finn Balor vs. Ricochet vs. Baron Corbin vs. Randy Orton vs. Ali vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn (Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match)
Alexa isn’t the only one looking to add a second briefcase to her trophy case this Sunday, as Randy Orton and Baron Corbin are both past winners of the event. This match originally included Braun Strowman, until Sami Zayn took his spot thanks to Corbin and Drew McIntyre, who both wisely would rather not have to go against the Monster Among Men. Whose life will change when they scale the ladder and grab the World Championship contract?
Patrick: This seems tailor made for Andrade, but it seems like WWE is putting a crazy amount of stock behind Sami Zayn as of late. And hey, I won’t complain about that — Sami’s great, and his promos have been a high point of the main roster since his return. I feel like he wasn’t added to this match for no reason, so I’ll go with him grabbing the briefcase.
Winner: Sami Zayn
Brian: Going with my rules from earlier, this works best with a heel or a new face moving up. Ali and Ricochet are the only “new” faces in the match, but the won’t get the bang needed from the case. Corbin wins we riot, Randy doesn’t need it. Andrade, Sami Zayn, and Drew McIntyre are the main contenders here. Wait, there are only three faces in this match? Man. Andrade has some more miles to travel before he gets up in the main permanently, but he’s on his way. I put this as Drew’s match to lose with Sami being a dark horse pick to mess with KO.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Jay: These are always easy to predict. The one times when I was legitimately shocked were the back to back CM Punk wins and the Jack Swagger and Damien Sandow wins due to the sheer “wtf?” factor regarding them. McIntyre is going to take it.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
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