Money in the Bank is right around the corner and match-wise, is looking to be an interesting event. I’ve come to think of Money in the Bank as something of a successor to the old King of the Ring pay-per-views, where it’s one of the bigger events that WWE puts on each year and generally gives an indication of where the company is headed over the next few months and we get an idea of who is in line for a push. If the Royal Rumble kick starts the Road to Wrestlemania, then you could perhaps say that Money in the Bank starts the “Road to SummerSlam”, as many feuds from this event carry over to to the big August pay-per-view. That being said, this year’s Money in the Bank has had something of a rushed and lacklustre build, which could be attributed to the two week build instead of the usual four week build. This means a lot of rivalries haven’t had a chance to breathe or grow in between events, and it also makes certain matches a bit more predictable.
Nevertheless, the card looks good on paper. The Money in the Bank Ladder Match always tends to deliver. If Owens vs. Cena II is anything like their first match, then we should be in for another solid bout. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins also have great chemistry together, and in a ladder match, it could be a Match of the Year candidate if given enough time. On top of that, it now seems like it may be an emotional show for many, given the sudden and unexpected passing of Dusty Rhodes. I would expect that Raw on Monday will be some form of tribute show, but it’s likely that there will be a lot of mentions of Dusty at the pay-per-view as well.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Neville vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus
This year’s Money in the Bank match has a solid and varied array of competitors from the high flyers like Neville and Kofi Kingston to the powerhouses like Roman Reigns and Sheamus. While this match has four former world champions and three former Money in the Bank winners – there’s only one man that can believably win this match given the recent booking: Roman Reigns.
It’s no secret that Reigns is still Vince’s golden child, and the company can’t wait to put the gold around his waist. His coronation of sorts would have taken place at Wrestlemania earlier this year, if they hadn’t forced his push too hard leading to a vicious fan backlash. Since Wrestlemania, WWE creative has been very delicate in their handling of Roman Reigns, trying to rebuild him to gradually gets the fans behind him whilst still keeping him near the main event scene. And it seems to be working as more and more audiences are giving Roman Reigns a solid babyface reaction. There is still the chance of the fans flip flopping on him though, as Dean Ambrose is still very much the top babyface on Raw at the moment (second to perhaps only John Cena), and Reigns taking that position could cause another backlash. Nevertheless, they could go a lot of different routes with Reigns. They could easily turn him heel and have him cash in over Dean Ambrose, or they could go the more straight forward route and have him cash in on Seth Rollins. It’s also known that Brock Lesnar is on his way back, so we could possibly get a Wrestlemania rematch should Lesnar capture the title.
OR WWE blows our minds and Kofi Kingston wins, and we get some insanely entertaining segments involving The New Day arguing over when and who is going to cash in Money in the Bank. I know… it’ll never happen.
Prediction: Roman Reigns wins
WWE Tag Team Championship
The New Day (c) vs. The Prime Time Players
The Prime Time Players have been building steam over the last few weeks, and with Tyson Kidd on the shelf from a spinal injury, they seem to have stepped in as the top babyface tag team for the moment. Titus O’Neil generally gets good reactions and The New Day is a great heel team for them to challenge. But, in my opinion, they’re too great. The New Day is one of the best acts in WWE right now and it feels like there are no other teams quite at their level, with the exception of Cesaro & Kidd who are out of the picture for the time being. Thus, I think taking the belts off of New Day would be somewhat pointless. The Lucha Dragons are a team that could also potentially be built up as highflying underdogs to challenge The New Day in time, but they’ve really made very little impact since being called up to the main roster.
It’s worth noting that creative have been pushing Erick Rowan & Luke Harper recently, so there is the chance that they make the Prime Time Players into transitional champions to drop the belts to them, but that seems counter productive for the tag division when The New Day are so much more over as heels at the moment. So expect Big E and Xavier Woods to bring the gold home again.
Prediction: The New Day retain
WWE Diva’s Championship
Nikki Bella (c) vs. Paige
Nikki has been the Diva’s Champion since Survivor Series in November last year, and since then, her and Brie have basically steamrolled everyone in the women’s division. In my opinion, they should have pulled the trigger on Naomi a month ago. She was proving herself to be a stronger heel and an all around better promo than both Bellas. But as it stands, The Bellas are the stars of Total Divas, and Nikki is John Cena’s girlfriend. Needless to say, she has a fairly secure position in the locker room. Nikki is actually decent in the ring, and she’s only gotten better over the last year. However, it’s difficult to really relate to or even care about her as a champion or a character in general. The Bellas jump from face to heel so frequently that it’s hard to follow them or even understand their motivations half the time. It actually makes me wonder if anyone on creative gives any thought as far as The Bellas go in terms of storyline and character (I know, of course they don’t).
Paige has been feuding with The Bellas on and off for most of the year, scoring only one meaningful win over them in a tag match at Wrestlemania. Since then, Paige has generally come up short in most matches. The unfortunate thing is, the more she loses, the less credible of a challenger she becomes. They might do a dodgy finish to keep the feud going another month, but there seems to be so little interest in this feud that it would make me wonder what the point of it would be. The only conceivable reason for them to do yet another Nikki vs. Paige match after Money in the Bank is if Paige wins and Nikki gets a rematch. But I get the feeling that Nikki’s title reign may exceed that of AJ Lee’s 295 day reign with the title (and it’s possible that that’s the intention). I’ll try to avoid rambling on much more here, but I feel as though Nikki’s continued reign is “bad for business” when her constant face/heel turns kills her momentum as a character and a champion, and having The Bellas go over just about every competitor on the roster is something that can only harm the women’s division. But I can think of at least four women in NXT right now that are more than ready for a call up and could certainly breathe new life into the division.
Prediction: Nikki Bella retains
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Ryback (c) vs. Big Show
Ryback came out of Elimination Chamber two weeks ago as the new Intercontinental Champion, in an unexpected turn that surprised most viewers. While you could argue that the belt would be better served on someone like Sheamus, Ryback is at least a fresh face for a stale championship. The following night on Raw, Ryback was immediately thrust into a storyline with Big Show and The Miz with little rhyme or reason. Regardless, Ryback needs an opponent, and Big Show could actually be a good first opponent for him. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect this to be a particularly good match. But Ryback is an impressive powerhouse and he and Big Show throwing each other around the ring for five minutes could be entertaining on a certain level provided they keep it short and simple.
Expect The Miz to get himself involved as well. Early indications seemed to point to this match being a triple threat, but that didn’t end up being the case. Still, they have nothing else going for The Miz, so we might see him run in to cause a messy finish or some kind of post-match attack. As far as the result goes though, Big Show is well beyond the point of being a guy that wins championships and Ryback needs a strong first win to establish his first reign, otherwise the Intercontinental title remains as worthless as ever.
Prediction: Ryback retains
Kevin Owens vs. John Cena
Kevin Owens and John Cena have had a great feud for such a short amount of time. But it is concerning that the WWE is pushing them into a rematch only two weeks after their first encounter. The build has been intriguing based on who’s involved as well as some fantastic mic work from both Cena and Owens. But I think this is a feud that needs time to really grow before having the big matches. I would have preferred that they didn’t wrestle this show, then you could have the rematch at Battleground or SummerSlam. But nevertheless, Owens vs. Cena II is happening this Sunday.
Owens made a huge impact by beating Cena clean in the ring in his main roster debut. But the list of wrestlers that have defeated John Cena clean in back to back pay-per-views is very, very slim and exclusive. While it’s hard to think that they would give Owens such a strong debut, only to have him take a loss two weeks later, it’s equally hard to think that they would have Cena do the job clean twice. Which is why I think we can expect a dodgy finish to this match. It may end with some kind of draw (i.e. a double count out), or perhaps a DQ. There is the chance that Owens wins – but in typical heel fashion. Perhaps the ref gets bumped when Cena has the win in the bag, or maybe Owens gets a low blow or some kind of cheap shot to win. That way Owens can still come out and brag about his two big John Cena victories while Cena gets to have an excuse for losing and a reason to seek another rematch. But for me, I’m seeing Owens getting himself disqualified or a similar finish to progress the story.
Prediction: DQ (or draw)
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
Seth Rollins has been one of the best reasons to watch the WWE over the last year. Watching him work with The Authority and his antics with J & J Security have been brilliant, and he’s consistently delivered good matches. His promo work has improved by leaps and bounds as well and he’s slipped very comfortably into the role of arrogant heel champion. The downside is, he has been booked as a rather weak champion. He loses far more often than a world champion probably should lose, and he hasn’t won a single clean championship match since Wrestlemania. Now that they seem to be separating Rollins from The Authority, it will be interesting to see how they handle him. Everyone knows that Rollins is fantastic in the ring, but when left alone without Kane or J & J as backup, he’s typically booked to lose and appear as the weaker competitor. And as such, he’s going into Money in the Bank as a weakened champion, coming off a loss against J & J on Raw and repeated humiliations by Dean Ambrose. Losing this match makes Rollins’ stock as a main eventer go down considerably.
On the other hand, Dean Ambrose is hugely over with the fans. He’s a great babyface and the audience loves him. On top of that, I feel like creative are actually using him properly now as something of a crazed, unpredictable anti-hero, not entirely unlike Steve Austin. Ambrose has been doing well since Payback, and he’s generally come out looking good against Rollins in most of their matches.
The outcome of this match also largely depends on Roman Reigns (who is likely to have the Money in the Bank briefcase). I feel as though WWE has been foreshadowing a Roman Reigns heel turn to an extent while he’s been playing second fiddle to Ambrose in recent weeks. It’s possible that Ambrose wins so Reigns can cash in and turn heel. But that somewhat leaves Rollins in the lurch. With Brock Lesnar on his way back though, it seems like the obvious thing is to have Rollins retain the title for his inevitable encounter with Lesnar. Regardless of what happens with Roman Reigns and Ambrose, I think we’ll be seeing Seth Rollins walking out with his title once again.
Prediction: Seth Rollins retains