You would have to go back 17 months to find a WWE PPV held outside of Florida. From WrestleMania 36 onwards, where every WWE show was held in the Performance Center or the ThunderDome. But that is all a thing of the past, as WWE can finally go back to doing what they do best; hitting the road and bringing their shows to sold-out arenas of live fans all over the world. The first destination is Fort Worth, Texas, who will play host to this year’s Money in the Bank.
The pandemic era has certainly tested the creativity of the world of professional wrestling. The concept of the ThunderDome seemed innovative and a great way for fans to interact with the live experience from the comfort of their own homes. Last year’s Money in the Bank seems like a distant memory now, where both the men’s and women’s matches happened simultaneously. The participants had to make their way to the roof of WWE HQ in order to retrieve the briefcase. As creative as that was, surely nothing will compare to a more traditional Money in the Bank match, inside a sold-out arena of screaming fans.
With twenty-four previous winners, the Money in the Bank contract can certainly provide the launching for many a career. Edge, CM Punk and the Miz have all successfully cashed in twice to capture a World Championship. Carmella was the first-ever Miss Money in the Bank, successfully cashing in to win her first Women’s Championship. Seth Rollins may still be considered the most memorable contract holder to cash in, when he pulled off ‘The heist of the century,’ when he cashed in during the main event of WrestleMania 31. Then there are the likes of John Cena and Randy Orton, who were already multiple time World Champions, but winning the contract will certainly cement their respective legacies in the Hall of Fame. Now WWE fans around the world will speculate who will be next to join such a prestigious company.
Note: Predictions are purely that, predictions. Nobody at SteelChair has heard of anything ahead of time, we promise.
KICKOFF MATCH – SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
Rey & Dominik Mysterio (c) vs The Usos
Universal Champion Roman Reigns hasn’t been shy about sharing his grand vision for SmackDown, and that vision includes his cousins hoisting tag team gold for the seventh time. The Usos will have an opportunity to do exactly that when they challenge The Mysterios for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles this Sunday at WWE Money in the Bank.
The Mysterios only recently returned to the blue brand, but the two premier tandems have immediately become embroiled in a nasty rivalry, as Rey and Dominik have routinely provided backup for Edge during The Rated-R Superstar’s ongoing crusade against Reigns. At the conclusion of a recent SmackDown, all six Superstars exchanged haymakers, but the evening ended with The Mysterios holding down Jey Uso as Edge applied an excruciating chair-leg assisted crossface.
With animosity at a boiling point, what will happen when The Usos attempt to capture the SmackDown Tag Team Titles for the fifth time against the first father-son Tag Team Champions in WWE history? And will Edge get involved?
Danny Cause’s Prediction: The Mysterios – The most recent SmackDown was the first time ever that Dominik wrestled in front of a live crowd. He deserves to do so as a Tag Team Champion for at least a little while longer.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: The Mysterios.
RAW Tag Team Championship Match
AJ Styles & Omos (c) vs The Viking Raiders
There must be a very exclusive list of individuals who wrestle their first-ever match at WrestleMania and win the Tag Team Championships in the process. Nicholas and Omos are the only ones who spring to mind. Despite having held the Championships for over three months, it feels like Styles and Omos have done very little with them, and that seems a shame, considering the quality of AJ. It also seems surprising that Omos only recently had his singles match, on the last episode of RAW. While it’s early on in the career of Omos, it’s pretty clear what WWE have with him. He can be a big dominating monster, but right now is obviously quite inexperienced, which is where it helps having him paired with AJ Styles.
It doesn’t feel like there’s much to this feud. The Viking Raiders won a number one contenders match, but it feels like anybody put in this position. They’d been absent from TV for some time and there was a distinct lack of hype to their return. There’s a feeling right now that WWE may be treading water as far as the RAW Tag Team division goes. Perhaps that’s because of waiting until the regular return of live crowds. Or waiting for a Draft in order to shake up the divisions. Quite likely it’s a mixture of the two.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: AJ Styles & Omos – I think this could be a case of Omos doing much of the hard work before Styles picks up the scraps.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: AJ & Omos but next PPV, they are defeated.
RAW Women’s Championship Match
Rhea Ripley (c) vs Charlotte Flair
Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair will look to settle their unfinished business in a RAW Women’s Title rematch at WWE Money in the Bank. The Nightmare unleashed her brutality at WWE Hell in a Cell, and even Charlotte Flair had to tip her cap to her tactics to retain the title. The Queen scored a disqualification victory, but Ripley retained due to her champion’s advantage.
On the ensuing RAW, Ripley was summoned to the ring by Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville to address her actions. Flair was quick to interject, and Deville was even quicker to grant her another opportunity at the RAW Women’s Title. Which win-at-all-costs competitor will claim victory at WWE Money in the Bank?
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Rhea Ripley – I think Ripley finds one last way to outsmart Flair and escape with her title intact.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: It has to stop. “Mami” Flair will finally grab it and stop…
Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Ricochet vs. John Morrison vs. Riddle vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Big E vs. Kevin Owens vs. King Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins
There is quite a mix to the lineup of this match, where it feels like there’s a couple of names who seem unlikely to win but are only included because of what they can do in the ladder match environment. But then again, who’d have expected an Otis victory last year, even if that was an error that was later rectified. There are three former World Champions (Rollins, Owens & McIntyre) in the match, who arguably don’t need the win here, but the win could help them get back into the main event picture. Then there’s like the likes of Riddle, Nakamura and Big E who feel like they’ve been knocking on the door for some time, but just need that little something extra to take that next step.
Of course, the ladder match environment can be absolute carnage, even in just a one-on-one situation, but eight men in the same match seems sure to make this completely unpredictable. There are no rules, no disqualifications. That means outside interference could come into play (we’re looking at Jinder Mahal and his current beef with Drew McIntyre). Could WWE pull off another swerve, just like two years ago when Brock Lesnar entered the match and won. What makes this so wonderful, is that you could make a case for almost any of these entrants to win, even if a feud with either of the current World Champions doesn’t make any sense, due to the fact that the holder has up to a year to cash in, so they can hold on and wait for the perfect opportunity.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: If RAW: Drew McIntyre – due to the stipulation of his match at Hell in a Cell (where he’s no longer allowed to challenge for as long as Lashley is WWE Champion) this is a loophole that gets McIntyre back in the title picture.
If SmackDown: Big E – it’s certainly long overdue. One of the best big men on the roster and a loyal servant to WWE for over a decade, it’s time to pull the trigger.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: What a match it will be… Because of all the feuds already teased (Mahal vs McIntyre, Rollins vs Edge, Riddle vs Orton?), WWE tried to drown the fish to let think a Lesnar or Goldberg could get out of the woods…
If RAW, I go for John Morrison. But I definitely think it will be for SmackDown and Seth Rollins.
Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Asuka vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki A.S.H. vs. Liv Morgan vs. Zelina Vega vs. Natalya vs. Tamina
The field for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match is now set with the huge announcement that WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Tamina will take part in the action this Sunday after Natalya was tabbed as the latest addition by WWE Official Sonya Deville. In light of the news of Bayley’s injury, Deville announced that Carmella would challenge Bianca Belair for the SmackDown Women’s Title in her place. As a result, Deville named Liv Morgan as Carmella’s replacement in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Morgan will join a returning Zelina Vega in representing the blue brand in the high-stakes matchup on July 18.
Alexa Bliss, Nikki A.S.H., Asuka and Naomi will represent Raw in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match after scoring qualifying wins in tag team action. Old teammates with new looks found success against Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax, as Bliss & Cross combined uplifting spirit and hypnotizing darkness on the path to victory. Asuka & Naomi found instant chemistry as they teamed up to topple Eva Marie and her newly-named sidekick Doudrop.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: If RAW: Alexa Bliss – although she’s a former winner, with this new gimmick it would feel like something fresh.
If SmackDown: Liv Morgan. She’s on her own again, and I want to see WWE make another star in the Women’s division. Liv Morgan could be that star, and holding the Money in the Bank contract could ensure a slow and smart build to the top.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Compared to the Men’s match, this match is so flat… Bayley’s injury has been the cherry on the cake of the last few weeks. The women’s division is just so lacking talent Vince McMahon stole Toni Storm, Tegan Nox, and Shotzi Blackheart to NXT who have plenty of great female wrestlers in their roster.
Charlotte is englued in a feud with Rhea Ripley, Becky is on maternity leave, Bayley is sidelined and Sasha is somewhere only she knows. Add to that all the recent firings, another maternity leave. I will soon regret the Lana in the announce table era…
If RAW, Nikki Cross would be fun. What about Becky Lynch who would start again where she left last year. With a cash-in on Charlotte?
WWE Universal Championship
Roman Reigns (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. Edge
The Head of the Table may be the most intriguing case from the ThunderDome era. For too long, Roman Reigns was a square peg forced into a round hole as Vince continued to insist on marketing Roman as a top babyface, when it was clear for the world to see that just isn’t a natural fit for him. When Reigns made his shock return at SummerSlam last year, he did so as a heel, and quickly became the biggest villain in the company. With no live fans in attendance, WWE have had the last six months or so to refine and experiment with this character. On Sunday, at Money in the Bank, with the return of a packed out crowd, it will be the true test of how Roman Reigns is now received by the WWE Universe.
Then in the opposite corner is Edge. The Rated-R Superstar. The Hall of Famer. The man who spent 9 years on the shelf before being cleared to return. The man who won this year’s Royal Rumble match from the number one position. Yet, Edge feels he was robbed of his one-on-one opportunity at WrestleMania when Daniel Bryan was added to the match, making it a triple threat match. Of course, triple threat rules changed the entire dynamic of the match, thanks to the no disqualification stipulation, and Roman Reigns can thank Jey Uso for the assist that ensured he left Raymond James Stadium with the Universal Championship.
Now Edge is back, with a chip on his shoulder, and he’d finally been granted the singles match with Roman Reigns that he should’ve had in the first place. If nothing else, a fan favourite like Edge should ensure that Roman is booed out of the building here. And you can forget the old adage of the unstoppable force and the immovable object. On Sunday, we’ll find out what happens when Spear meets Spear.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Roman Reigns, but it won’t be pretty. Just when it looks like we’re closing in on another Rated-R era, I think Seth Rollins will cost Edge the match.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Whoever, cash-in from Rollins.
Bobby Lashley (c) (with MVP) vs. Kofi Kingston (with Xavier Woods)
Bobby Lashley closed the door on one former champion at WWE Hell in a Cell, but another one has his sights on The All-Mighty at WWE Money in the Bank. Lashley will go head-to-head with Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship in front of the WWE Universe in Fort Worth, Texas on Sunday, July 18.
Fresh off a WWE Title Hell in a Cell victory over Drew McIntyre, Lashley was met with a challenge from The New Day combatant. The WWE Champion accepted with one condition – Lashley demanded a Hell in a Cell matchup with Xavier Woods. The night on the red brand closed with Woods putting up a valiant effort, but Lashley unleashed a crushing final assault inside the locked doors of the steel structure that left his opponent bruised and battered.
Kingston already holds one pin-fall victory over Lashley on RAW with a well-timed assist from McIntyre, but at WWE Hell in a Cell, he’ll have to go it alone with Woods barred from ringside after his defeat at the hands of The All-Mighty. Will the vicious beatdown of Woods serve as notice? Or will Kingston shock the world and usher in a new era of KofiMania?
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Bobby Lashley – the All-Mighty one has been set up as so dominant that I just can’t buy Kofi as a realistic challenger. But that’s also a factor of the Money in the Bank match, elsewhere on the card, which needed to be packed full of stars. So I can see the necessity of using Kofi here.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: I don’t believe in miracles… Lashley.
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE