On our Kickoff match for this PPV we have the SmackDown Live Tag Team Championships on the line. The tag team division in WWE is in need of revamping and creating compelling teams. The pieces are there but as seen in BBQs and battle royals and the fact that the RAW tag champs aren’t even on the card indicate that WWE does not take this division seriously. I’ll continue to advocate that you have one set of championships with a team that can travel between both brands to defend the titles. I am a fan of Luke Harper and anticipate we’ll have a physical match between these two teams but look for the Bludgeon Brothers to retain.
WINNERS: BLUDGEON BROTHERS
The premise of the feud is that Big Cass is taller than Daniel Bryan making the returning Big Cass an incredibly one dimensional character. Furthermore, with Daniel Bryan already picking up a victory over Big Cass it is hard to see Cass as any sort of threat. Look for Cass to cheat to get the upper hand on the smaller Daniel Bryan. Contrast Braun Strowman who is the monster among men (of all sizes) and Big Cass who struggles to definitively defeat smaller competition. Hopefully this is the end and Bryan is featured as a prominent main event guy that fans clamored to see return to the ring.
WINNER: BIG CASS
I am a fan of Carmella as champion and would not have her lose on this night. Fact of the matter is I would not have booked this match to begin with as I would not want Carmella to beat Asuka. I don’t think the SD Live Women’s Championship had to be on this match as the Ronda Rousey RAW Women’s Championship match is overshadowing this match. I would have had Carmella on commentary during the women’s ladder match and even interfere to ensure no women from the SD Live roster wins the contract to surprise her with a cash-in. As far as this match goes the easy pick and believable pick is Asuka but I can’t see the title reign of Carmella coming to an end, after all MELLA IS MONEY!
What on earth is the WWE doing with Bobby Lashley? Was it that hard to portray him as a main event star? All they simply had to was re-introduce Lashley to fans who did not see him almost a decade prior. A proper sit down interview would have been to have Lashley explain he was young and surpassed expectations too quickly before having time to mature. Now Lashley is back as a more mature and seasoned veteran having wrestled and fought all over the world. When Lashley was in WWE a decade ago he felt he was behind the likes of Cena, Batista, Orton, Undertaker, and Triple H and now of that bunch Lashley is at the front of the line and here to lead the charge and will do so as Universal Champion! He’s never faced Brock Lesnar and is here to slay the Beast. Was this so hard to write as the direction for Lashley? Poor Sami Zayn has been tied to this abysmal story and is simply the body standing across a Lashley squash.
WINNER: BOBBY LASHLEY
Elias is easily my favourite superstar on RAW and I would love nothing more than to see him walk out with the Intercontinental Championship. Unfortunately for Elias, Seth Rollins is perhaps the top superstar in the WWE. He is having incredible matches with different superstars and has brought prominence to the work horse’s title. It isn’t time to dethrone Rollins and I think he needs to build momentum to Summerslam where he should challenge the Universal Champion Brock Lesnar in a winner takes all championship match.
WINNER: SETH ROLLINS
The only thing of interest to me in this match is the Chicago crowd’s reaction to these “pushed” superstars.
WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS
This match is perhaps coming a bit early in the career of Ronda Rousey. I also think this is a tough first opponent for Nia to continue her reign against as she has done a good job so far as champion. I liked the anti-bullying and self-image promoting nature of the Nia Jax character as it is easy to root for her. I was impressed and enjoyed Ronda’s match at Wrestlemania. Given Ronda’s inexperience I have reasonable expectations and will tune in to see how she fares. I’m not sure the outcome but I think I’d prefer Nia remain champion on this night. I’m guessing there will be some interference or shenanigans and a possible cash-in on this night.
WINNER: NIA JAX
I continue to enjoy the villainous nature of Shinsuke Nakamura and especially enjoyed him during the contract signing segment. I hope on this night Nakamura will be the Last Man Standing and have a fantastic match with an actual conclusion.
WINNER: SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
Since watching the Money in the Bank Ladder match debut at Wrestlemania 21, this has been a match type and PPV I look forward to annually. What works in the match’s favour is when all the competitors have a realistic chance of walking out with the briefcase and will be of interest as a possible challenger to their respective brand’s champion. Let’s look through the competitors to see who may walk out as the second Ms. Money in the Bank.
LANA: No offense to Lana but her inexperience makes her the least likely to win this match but stranger things can happen in the WWE. I am concerned that her inexperience may impact her safety as a ladder match can be brutal given limited experience. I’d be shocked if she walks out with the briefcase
NAOMI: Look for Naomi to showcase some athletic feats involving multiple ladders. With her win at Wrestlemania in the Battle Royal she could very well walk out with briefcase and rack up her accolades. I wouldn’t be disappointed if Naomi won this match especially with a glowing briefcase.
BECKY LYNCH: My favourite in the match. I’d love to see Becky pick up a big victory and win the briefcase and build some momentum. I did want to see Becky change scenery and land on RAW. I would build towards a battle of Becky versus Ronda in a battle of the armbar with Becky growing in frustration over the hoopla around Ronda.
ALEXA BLISS: The smallest woman in this dangerous match could be a dangerous affair for Little Miss Bliss. Look for her to take some brutality and keep going. Bliss would be another good candidate to win the briefcase with her arrogant promos and deceitful tactics.
EMBER MOON: A win in this match would be a great way to help Ember pave the starting ground for her career path. In fact, I could see WWE going with Ember and giving her the chance to sink or swim. Look for Ember to possibly steal the show with some great moments. Imagine an Eclipse from the top of a ladder?
CHARLOTTE: The one superstar in this match that I don’t think needs the money in the bank briefcase. She is a worthy challenger and can always win a #1 Contender’s match. It has proven more impactful to cash-in on Charlotte rather than to have her cash-in.
NATALYA: I think Natalya has the best the chance to win the briefcase on this night. I could see her cash-in as the lead to the break-up of her friendship with Ronda Rousey. Natalya could cash-in on Nia and ruin Ronda’s first single’s, championship match and steal her glory or even worse, should Ronda win; Natalya cashes in on her friend both embarrassing Ronda’s first reign and handing Ronda her first loss (and we all know how Rousey handles losing).
SASHA BANKS: I wouldn’t mind seeing Sasha win this match either. Her character is in need of refreshing and walking around with the briefcase could very well do that. Her feud with Bayley has seemingly stopped and so perhaps she’ll refocus on the championship scene.
Let’s take a look at each competitor and rate their chances of walking out with the Money in the Bank briefcase.
KEVIN OWENS: I would have no complaints if Owens walked out with the briefcase. I would look forward to the promos and the calculated and underhanded ways he would plot to cash-in and weasel his way into being champion. Owens is a main eventer and is deserving of a title reign and what better way to kickoff a reign than with setting yourself for the best title win possible!
BOBBY ROODE: Roode is in desperate need of a character change. Money is the root of all evil and a win here could lead Roode to a more villainous path and underhanded way of racking up wins which he has been short on as of late. I’m surprised he qualified for this match given how far he has appeared to have fallen down the card. A big win here for Roode would be absolutely…GLORIOUS!
THE MIZ: It’s time for the Miz to once again get serious and look to be in the main event scene on SD Live. So put away the pancakes and keep your eyes on Daniel Bryan and the WWE Championship. The predictable route is for Miz to lay in wait until Bryan challenges for the WWE Championship and go out of his way to ruin the life of Bryan to build to the match we’re waiting for between Miz and Bryan.
FINN BALOR: The only reason I don’t see Balor winning is because the MITB often works best in the hands of a cowardly superstar with low character. Balor could very well win and do the honourable thing and let his opponent know when the challenge is coming.
BRAUN STROWMAN: Can’t say that Braun needs the briefcase because he’s in that main event scene and should be the next challenger after Rollins but certainly ahead of Roman Reigns. I’m excited to see the path of destruction he carves out in this match.
RUSEV: My pick for this one is Rusev. It is very simple: Rusev announces he will cash-in on Rusev Day. During championship matches that Rusev isn’t involved in and a champion looks vulnerable, crowds will erupt with Rusev Day chants which will play mind games with the given champion. No one will be ready on Rusev Day and on that momentous day our champion will be crowned on his day of celebration!
SAMOA JOE: Similar to Braun, Joe is at a main event level and doesn’t really need the win here. Joe should be the next challenger for the title, even ahead of Daniel Bryan. Joe has been dynamite on the mic and his brutality also has me excited for how he will fare in this match.
NEW DAY: Who? Who? Who? Who? Who? Who? The series of questions we are asking of who will compete on behalf of the New Day in this match. Kofi Kingston has had his chances and so I could see it being Big E or Xavier Woods. If Big E is selected to compete then I believe there is an increased chance of a New Day member walking out with the briefcase. There is some massive competition (size alone) and so sending in the muscle of the New Day may be the best strategy. Smart strategy to wait until bell time to announce who is taking part and it could pay off (no pun intended) with a Money in the Bank contract for ya boys…THE NEW DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!