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The John Report: WWE Money in the Bank 2017 – 15 Questions & Answers

The next WWE pay-per-view is called Money in the Bank, which features the WWE Smackdown Live brand. It takes place this Sunday, June 18 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri and you can watch it on WWE Network of course. I’m excited for this show because I love Money in the Bank historically. I feel like WWE has done well to present an interesting lineup.

This is a column that I’ve been doing about a week before (six days in this case) an upcoming PPV to discuss the key matches and storylines while also offering up some ideas on what WWE could do creatively to get people more excited about the show this week.

Here’s a look at the lineup for Money in the Bank.

WWE Championship: Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton

Money in the Bank Ladder Match: AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos vs. The New Day

Money in the Bank Women’s Ladder Match: Natalya vs. Carmella vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Tamina

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Naomi vs. Lana

That’s it for official matches right now.

The reason I go with 15 questions is because the first ten questions are specific to the matches on this show and the final five are five general questions I can use for any PPV. Let’s get to it.

  1. Is it likely that Orton will win back the WWE Title in his hometown?

I’m not predicting it, but it’s always a possibility. I find it very difficult to predict WWE Title changes this year since they’ve had five different guys holding the title this year (Styles, Cena, Wyatt, Orton and Mahal). Who knows what WWE might do? It’s a guessing game, really. I didn’t pick Mahal to win the title last month and if he loses the title so soon after winning then it hurts him too much.

The “hometown curse” is a real thing in WWE except it’s not a curse. It’s something Vince McMahon has done consistently because he must get a laugh out of pissing off the local fans by having their hometown hero lose a match there. When Rich Swann got the win at Extreme Rules in Baltimore earlier this month, he and Sasha Banks talked about breaking the curse in a funny way. Believe me, the talents are very aware of it.

The belief is that Mahal will feud with a returning Cena after MITB, but those rumors aren’t confirmed at this time. It would make sense for it to happen, though.

  1. Has WWE built up the Mahal/Orton rematch well?

Nope. It’s been poor. Mahal had a big celebration that Orton didn’t crash even though I thought he would. Orton did a promo that Mahal interrupted on the video screen as they exchanged words and that was it. Last week, Mahal won a match, did a quick promo and Orton replied backstage by simply saying actions speak louder than words.

There’s not much of a story between these guys other than Mahal is the guy that got help from his buddies, the Singh Brothers, to win back the WWE Title. Orton hasn’t shown any sort of anger about what happened. No attacks. No brawls. I think that’s been a mistake because if they brawled around the arena maybe the fans would care more. Instead, they are in danger of having a match with little reaction even in Orton’s hometown.

On this week’s Smackdown I hope that something is done in the story to build up the intensity more because right now the feud feels flat. This is a match for the WWE Title. Please make us care more.

  1. Three guys in Money in the Bank haven’t been a WWE, World or Universal Champion (Corbin, Nakamura & Zayn) – which one of them has the best chance to win?

I’m leaning towards Corbin because I think he’s a guy that WWE wants to push hard. You wouldn’t know it from watching the last few months of WWE TV because he’s actually lost a lot of matches. Corbin hasn’t won a PPV match this year, he lost to Zayn twice in the last month and lost to Randy Orton too. That’s why I think he’s going to win this match because historically speaking WWE has booked MITB that way a lot where a guy lost a lot of matches only to get the big win when the ladders are involved. Then they can say Corbin has a lot of momentum. What may hurt Corbin is that there’s a heel holding the WWE Title right now, so WWE may opt to have a face win the briefcase.

Nakamura is undefeated on the main roster, but I don’t think a loss here would be damaging at all. It’s more likely that his push to the WWE Title level happens later in the year and more likely next year. Keep building him up. There’s no need to rush it by putting the briefcase on him yet.

Zayn is a possible winner because it could be the boost he needs to get to that next level. His booking has been such a stop/start thing for so long that I don’t know have a lot of faith in WWE getting behind him as much as they should. He would be the best choice if they want to go with an underdog face type winner.

  1. Do any of the former WWE major champions like Owens, Styles & Ziggler have a chance to win?

It’s a possibility because I think the briefcase would help all of them. Just because Owens has the US Title doesn’t mean he’s unable to win the briefcase. He would be even more of an arrogant jerk if he was carrying around the briefcase. It would be a lot of fun to see that. It just feels like his next feud will be with Nakamura and that’s what the focus is going to be for them.

Styles is my second pick to win the match after Corbin. By the time I write the preview on Friday he may be my official pick. The reason is that I think WWE wants to remind us that Styles is a major player on Smackdown even if he’s not in the WWE Title picture right now. If he won the briefcase it would show how he’s just one step away from being WWE Champion again. He’s the most exciting guy in the match. The briefcase brings excitement to whoever wins it, so that seems like a good choice to win.

If I had to rank everybody in the match, Ziggler would be my pick as least likely to win. His role on Smackdown these days seems to be as the guy that puts over other wrestlers in the midcard. He did it for the last few years as a face. Now he’s doing it as a heel. They know he will be able to make the match exciting and has credibility as a former MITB winner. He’s not going to win, though.

  1. Is it too soon to put the Smackdown Tag Team Titles on New Day?

I think it is. I’m such a fan of the heel Usos duo that I hope they get to hold the titles for another six months. I doubt that’s going to happen because WWE books title changes so often. The Usos are doing a great job, though. They are also the main heel team on Smackdown with nobody else close to them. Keep the gold on The Usos for another few months before they drop it.

This is another feud where it’s been about talking without much physical activity. I think their match should be great if they get time. I just want to see them build up the feud better than they have.

  1. Should we be concerned about the women in the Money in the Bank ladder match?

I have a bit of a concern because I feel like they might try to do too much in terms of the high spots to try to make it stand out too much. It’s painful to watch a 250 pound man falling off a ladder. What about a 120 pound woman like Carmella? It could hurt her. I know they aren’t fragile, but it’s common sense that it will hurt a smaller person more than somebody bigger.

What if Charlotte goes for a moonsault off a ladder? That could be bad for everybody involved, but it wouldn’t shock me if she tried it. None of the other women are known for big spots. If Naomi was part of it then she might do something crazy.

Since it’s the first women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, they could go all out to try to impress and it may hurt the match. The good thing is that Natalya, Charlotte and Becky Lynch are all great wrestlers that should be able to carry most of it. Carmella is on the rise while Tamina is average, so as long the spots are planned out in a logical way I expect it to be fun to watch.

  1. Is there a bad choice among the five women in the Money in the Bank ladder match?

I think they’re all good choices except for one name. Here’s a quick breakdown.

Charlotte Flair – She’s the biggest name in the match. She made history last year in the first women’s Hell in a Cell match (she won that) and now she’s in the first women’s MITB match. I think it would give a lot of credibility to the match to have her win it. When the match was announced, she was initially my pick to win. That’s not necessarily the case now, though.

Natalya – I’ve enjoyed her work as a heel a lot. It’s better than what she was doing as a face. The only Divas Title win in her career was seven years ago. Give her the briefcase and let’s see if she can get her hands on the title soon after. I think she deserves it based on her work in the last year especially.

Becky Lynch – She was the first woman to win the Smackdown Women’s Title last fall. It could be her time to get back in the picture by winning the briefcase.

Carmella – She’s a decent talent that is going to get better with experience. I don’t think it’s the right time to give her a bigger push. However, as a heel it’s easy to put the briefcase on her and do some cheap cash-in with the help of her buddy James Ellsworth.

Tamina – It could be her time to win something significant, but I doubt it. She’s better as an ally of a heel wrestler that has the attention on her. Tamina in the spotlight is not that interesting and I think WWE’s creative team knows that.

I’m honestly not sure about my pick right now. It might be Charlotte, but I could learn towards Natalya (who I want to win the most) or Carmella. A lot of it will depend on Smackdown booking this week.

  1. Is it possible that Lana could be like Jinder Mahal as a surprising champion on Smackdown?

I’m not predicting it, but they went there with Jinder it certainly can lead to people speculating that maybe Lana will be Smackdown Women’s Champion. The “land of opportunity” they use to talk about Smackdown has a lot of credibility after Mahal’s WWE Title win, so why not Lana? It may happen.

  1. Could there be a Money in the Bank cash-in on this show?

I think they might do it with the women’s briefcase winner just to make it feel like a big deal right away. It’s not like they need to have two briefcase holders on Smackdown for a long time. If Naomi retains then having a heel like Carmella, Tamina or Natalya cash in the briefcase on her would be a great move. Even if it’s a face like Charlotte Flair or Becky Lynch winning the briefcase then they could do it too. Why not? It gives people something to talk about in a positive way as a “history making” moment.

I feel like it will be less likely to happen for the men’s Money in the Bank briefcase just because WWE might want to keep the title on Mahal for longer, which I mentioned earlier.

  1. What other matches may be added?

It’s hard to say because they haven’t built up other stories that much. I think the Breezango team might be featured in a match since their “Fashion Police” videos have continued to air even though they aren’t in the tag title picture. Perhaps a match against The Ascension or The Colons will make it on the PPV.

There are babyface midcarders like Mojo Rawley, Luke Harper and Tye Dillinger could be put into a match as well. Perhaps a heel like Aiden English will be matched up with one of them.

I’m not sure what it might be, but I do expect another one or two matches added to the card.

  1. What match has been built up the best?

I think the men’s Money in the Bank match has been set up very well, so that’s my pick. However, the women’s MITB match has also been built up well because that five-way match they had that ended up in a brawl was well done. Those two matches stand out the most.

  1. What will be the longest and shortest matches?

The men’s MITB match should be the longest. If it’s not the longest I’d be very surprised. The longer MITB matches have topped the 20-minute mark in the past, so they could be headed for something in the 25-minute range.

For shortest match, Naomi vs. Lana makes sense. While Lana is an unknown in terms of what she can do in the ring, I doubt she’s getting more than ten minutes in her first pay-per-view singles match. I think going 7-10 minutes is more likely.

  1. What will be the best match?

I feel repetitive in giving this answer, but I need to go there again in picking the men’s MITB match again. It has the potential to be one of the best Money in the Bank matches ever if everything goes well. I think we could be talking about it as a classic after it’s over.

The women’s Money in the Bank match should be awesome as well. I doubt they are going to top the men, but they could have some cool moments that surprise us with how good the match is.

The Usos vs. New Day should be an outstanding tag match if they get 15+ minutes as well. Since it’s not a big card I think they’ll get plenty of time.

  1. Will there be any title changes?

I’m going with a no here. I think keeping it on Jinder for a few months is the right move at this point because putting it back on Orton doesn’t interest me. It’s possible that the MITB winner cashes in on Jinder as well. The same goes for the Women’s Title match as well.

There are three title matches with the US Title not on the line.

  1. How excited are you about Extreme Rules on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being low, 10 being high)?

It’s about a 7.5 out of 10. The men’s Money in the Bank ladder match is the biggest highlight for me. I’m a fan of all six guys in the match and honestly have no idea who is going to win. That’s a great thing going into a match like that. I’m also intrigued by the women’s MITB as well because there are a lot of possibilities there as well. The tag title match should be outstanding too.

It would be nice if the WWE Title match was built up better since it feels like it’s just being thrown on there rather than some big match. I’m a little worried about Naomi vs. Lana too.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back during the week with Raw and Smackdown reviews as well as a Money in the Bank preview on Friday. Next Sunday I’ll write a review of Money in the Bank live.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me using any of the methods below. Thanks for reading.

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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