As already mentioned, this year’s Money in the Bank PPV event, exclusive to the SmackDown Live brand, is the biggest event ever. All they had to do to innovate, it turns out, was to make it brand-exclusive.
You already know this, but just in case there’s anyone out there who still doesn’t watch current WWE programming, SmackDown Live is holding the first ever women’s Money in the Bank ladder match on Sunday, June 18 (Monday morning in Manila). Like I said before, I’m surprised that it’s taken them this long to think of it, but then again they’ve only just moved past catfight women’s wrestling recently with the Revolution. I hope it opens up a tag team variant of the ladder match, but that’s a story for another day.
The WWE Championship feud between Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton is also being overshadowed by the two ladder matches, and right now that’s okay with me. The story’s winding down in its momentum as it’s starting to look clearer that Mahal is going to retain the championship and keep it for a while, so they just need to get this out of the way before they move on, perhaps for Cena to be the next challenger.
Now, on to the rest of the predictions:
The Hype Bros vs. The Colons in a kickoff match
This should be a lot of fun. All of a sudden, the SmackDown Live tag team division is reignited with Zack Ryder’s return—in addition to mainstays the Usos and Fashion Police, jobber team the Colons (who were quickly pigeonholed into that role after arriving strongly), the New Day and the Hype Bros are here to strengthen the babyface side of the scene. The only problem now is that American Alpha is nowhere to be found, but who would have thought that SmackDown would still end up looking better than RAW in this regard?
Winner: The Hype Bros
Lana vs. Naomi (c) for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
This match should be mercifully short, but I have a feeling whoever wins here is going to get supplanted by whoever’s winning the women’s Money in the Bank match right away.
The New Day vs. The Usos (c) for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Ideally, the first thing you do with the New Day in a situation like this is to give them the championships, because they’re the biggest draw you have in the division. That’s what I expect to see happen at Money in the Bank, but the Usos have been doing such underrated work as villains that I would make them hold on to it a little longer. People had suffered so much from New Day fatigue on RAW, where they were so dominant that fans knew they’d win every title defense they’d walk into. I trust SmackDown to give New Day a good chase.
Winner: The Usos
Becky Lynch vs. Tamina vs. Carmella vs. Natalya vs. Charlotte Flair in a Money in the Bank ladder match
First things first—rumors are stating that there’ll actually be 6 women in this match, because WWE is suddenly advertising one more. Going by other rumors, I think the sixth woman is none other than former WWE superstar Maria Kanellis, who is said to be rejoining the company along with husband Mike Bennett, who you might know from TNA, ROH, and NJPW. There’s no other woman, anyway, unless they’re calling up Asuka from NXT, which is still unlikely. That said, if they’re going to do that surprise return, it would be senseless if Kanellis isn’t winning it. They also do need a top heel in the women’s division after slotting Charlotte as their top babyface.
If that doesn’t happen, though, I’d say it’s Becky Lynch’s to lose. Charlotte can easily stake a claim for a title shot, so can Natalya, so best to give it to someone who needs a low-key guarantee for a title opportunity.
Winner: Maria Kanellis
Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a Money in the Bank ladder match
This is just about anyone’s game, as almost everyone in this match is bigger than the current WWE Champion. That said, like the Becky Lynch prediction, someone not as obvious or high up in the totem pole would need a guarantee in their back pocket for their opportunity. So as much as I’d like to give it to Shinsuke Nakamura, I think the odds are coming through for Baron Corbin this year. It also helps that last year’s winner, Dean Ambrose, immediately cashed in—it’s been a while since we’ve had a Mr. Money in the Bank storyline going on, and it would be refreshing again.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal (c) for the WWE Championship
The Mahal party is staying for quite a while, it seems. I also want this to last longer for the inevitable John Cena feud, which is sure to produce better matches than with Randy Orton.
Winner: Jinder Mahal
Do you listen to podcasts? Would you want to listen to a local podcast about pro wrestling? If the answers to those questions – especially that last one – are yes, then you should check out the cleverly-named Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast, featuring PWR General Manager Stan Sy, wrestling writer and Wrestling God Romeo Moran, and all-around multimedia person and former voice of PWR Raf Camus! This week, the boys have the Beautiful Billy Suede back on the podcast, who talks about his misadventures in the Philippines and how he sees local wrestling after four months in the country! Listen to it here!