CHICAGO—After 5 weeks (or something that felt like 5 weeks) it’s finally here. It’s time for this year’s Money in the Bank, and you know what that means. Time to predict the show.
What’s the big story for this one? Not much, really, other than we’re just setting the table for who’s going to be elevated next. Brock Lesnar is still missing in action, so the Universal Championship is out of the picture for the moment—and we all know it’s Roman Reigns’ to win, anyway, despite the seeming hesitation on the WWE’s end to pull the trigger.
AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura are still going at it, and this may finally be the moment Nakamura wins the title he’s been chasing since January. It’s tough to tell which brand really needs the reset button this year, so it may be an off year for whoever’s going to be Mr. Money in the Bank. It may just be RAW, as a backup plan for if—or when—the Roman Reigns experiment turns sour.
Nevertheless, Money in the Bank has never really been about the brand the holder’s on, but about the man with the briefcase, and how the briefcase reinvents him (or her). The odds may be stacked, but it’s not always a foregone conclusion. Let’s take a look at how I think the show’s going down.
Gallows and Anderson vs The Bludgeon Brothers (c) in a kickoff match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The tag team division on SmackDown has now become an afterthought after the New Day were put in the Money in the Bank ladder match, Jimmy Uso’s backing his wife up against Lana, and Sheamus and Cesaro are somewhere in the background. It’s just another Sunday for the Bludgeon Brothers.
Winner: The Bludgeon Brothers
Daniel Bryan vs Big Cass
After Bryan won the first round in their feud, I think it’s time for Cass to get his win back, especially if they’re pushing him as the #2 or #3 heel on SmackDown Live. Let Bryan win a big match at the next PPV.
Winner: Big Cass
Bobby Lashley vs Sami Zayn
Same thing as Cass—if they’re building Lashley up as a big-name singles star one day, he’ll likely be beating Zayn at Money in the Bank.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
Elias vs Seth Rollins (c) for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
One could say that this is just another routine Rollins defense to help build up his reign as well as Elias’s stock, but this feels like one of those matchups that could go a completely different way just because WWE could. Not that Elias is in any way ready for it, but he seems well-liked enough to even warrant this shot. I’ll play it safe, though—just keeping that thought in the back of my head.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Roman Reigns vs Jinder Mahal
This has all the potential to be a low-key match of the night, just because of how similar both men’s styles are. Of course, people will be looking to turn away from it because Reigns and Mahal are still two of the most polarizing figures in the company. If they’re smart, though, they’d let Mahal win here and dominate the rest of the feud so Reigns can walk into SummerSlam strong, and the Modern-Day Maharaja could still look decent.
Winner: Jinder Mahal
Asuka vs Carmella (c) for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
Carmella’s had a nice summer as the SmackDown Women’s Champion, but I think we all know that she’s really keeping the belt warm for the more talented ladies in the division. Her reign’s done enough to solidify her as a big player in the SmackDown Live women’s division, and the more we keep the title from Asuka the more it hurts her. Of course, she could hold on to it a little longer and make Asuka chase, but why wait?
Winner: Asuka (new SmackDown Women’s Champion)
Ronda Rousey vs Nia Jax (c) for the RAW Women’s Championship
Well, this is certainly a tough pickle they’ve gotten for themselves. If Ronda Rousey brings legitimacy to pro wrestling, how does she lose to a far more experienced Nia Jax? I feel like there’s going to be a no-contest finish happening here; if Rousey wins, she’s going to need a whole lot of help making her reign watchable. She won’t always have Kurt Angle and Triple H in her corner. Then again, we’ve been wrong about her once, and let’s see if there could be something here.
Winner: Nia Jax
Shinsuke Nakamura vs AJ Styles (c) in a last man standing match for the WWE Championship
It’s Nakamura’s time. It has to be Nakamura’s time. He’s spent every week simply owning the last man standing gimmick that there’s no way he loses this time. It’ll be a huge waste of Nakamura’s Royal Rumble win if we don’t see the man get the championship. Be like NJPW, guys. Give the fans what they want.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura (new WWE Champion)
Ember Moon vs Charlotte Flair vs Alexa Bliss vs Becky Lynch vs Natalya vs Lana vs Naomi vs Sasha Banks in the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match
The beauty of a co-branded PPV—and therefore, a co-branded main event—is that there are hardly any throwaway participants. Well, for the most part. There are still some expendable ladies here, and I’m going to call Alexa Bliss as a clear favorite to be Ms. Money in the Bank this year. SmackDown already had it last year, plus it’ll be much more fun to watch Bliss circle around the title picture.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
Braun Strowman vs Finn Balor vs The Miz vs Rusev vs Bobby Roode vs Kevin Owens vs Samoa Joe vs one member of the New Day in the men’s Money in the Bank Ladder match
Here’s where things get a lot interesting. All of these men—yes, even whichever member of the New Day it’s going to be, and I’m calling Kofi to be in the match due to his tenure—are viable candidates to be future world champions. I really, really want it to be Rusev, but I feel like they’ll give it to Kevin Owens, whose personality makes sense for the briefcase. I’d be happy to be wrong, though.
Winner: Kevin Owens
Who do you have to win the Money in the Bank briefcases this year? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
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