The next WWE PPV on the calendar is Money in the Bank on May 19 (don’t say it to Kane) from the XL Center in Hartford, CT. It’s a weird time for WWE right now because it’s the post WrestleMania season where they just did the Superstar Shake-up, so there’s been a lot of changes. It’s also been very unorganized with most people moving on the April 15 and 16 editions of Raw and Smackdown, but we also saw more moves in the two weeks since then as well.
There’s also been a lot of news about the ratings for Raw and Smackdown going down with each show averaging under two million viewers this past week. Those numbers are likely going to go down even more as the NBA playoffs get deeper. Let’s not forget about all the backstage news about people requesting their releases, most of them being denied and it feels like it’s just the start of wrestlers being unhappy. With AEW Double or Nothing set to take place on May 25th, a lot of attention will be on that company too.
When I look at the Money in the Bank card, which has eight official matches right now, I think it’s a strong lineup. The Universal and WWE Championship matches are both fresh and they should be outstanding. I like both ladder matches too. There are also two Becky Lynch matches, which are intriguing. I’m not as thrilled about Reigns/Elias and Miz/Shane, but at least they are trying to build them up. It’s a good card. I understand fans being down about the WWE product and that’s fine. I just feel like Money in the Bank is going to be great, so that’s worth getting excited about.
Just like I did last week, what I’m here to do is ask ten questions that I have going into the show and then I’m going to answer those questions in the most logical way that I can. It’s something I have done in the past. I will also do it next week when we are one week away from Money in the Bank. The week after is when we’ll have the Money in the Bank preview on the site, so there’s no need to do it at that point. Before we get started, here’s the lineup for Money in the Bank.
Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. AJ Styles
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Kevin Owens
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Baron Corbin, Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, Ricochet, Ali, Randy Orton, Andrade, Finn Balor
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Alexa Bliss, Natalya, Naomi, Dana Brooke, Bayley, Mandy Rose, Ember Moon, Carmella
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Roman Reigns vs. Elias
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans
Steel Cage Match: Shane McMahon vs. The Miz
Let’s get to the questions and answers.
1. Is it possible that AJ Styles turns heels before or after the Universal Championship match against Seth Rollins?
The ending of Raw this past week saw Styles and Rollins get into a brawl after their contract signing. During the promos in the segment, Styles had a bit of an edge to him, almost like a heel. Styles ended up winning the brawl when he hit a Phenomenal Forearm that put Rollins through the table that was in the ring. I thought Seth did a great job of taking that bump.
I don’t expect Styles to be a heel going into the match, but I think there could be a twist after the match or on the Raw following Money in the Bank. By that I mean it wouldn’t shock me if Styles turned heel after he put over Rollins. It would be similar to what Shinsuke Nakamura did last year after WrestleMania when he turned heel because he couldn’t beat Styles.
If Styles turned heel post Money in the Bank, it might hurt Raw a bit on the babyface side, but they could also have AJ’s friends Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson with him as a heel stable. (I know G&A don’t have new WWE contracts yet, but maybe if they are used better they would re-sign.) It would also allow WWE to do more Rollins vs. Styles matches over the next few months. I liked Styles as a heel on Smackdown in 2016. I think he would do well in that role again.
2. Should Daniel Bryan be added to the WWE Title match between Kofi Kingston and Kevin Owens?
There was some good news earlier in the week when we found out that Daniel Bryan was at Smackdown and he was cleared to return to the ring from whatever injury issue he had. It may have been a concussion, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
Since Bryan is expected back at Smackdown this week, it would be his first time on the show since he lost the WWE Title to Kofi Kingston last month. That led to speculation that maybe Bryan will be added to the Kingston vs. Owens match.
I think they should do it. By doing that then we get a story where the odds are stacked against Kingston since it’s a triple threat. They can also do Kingston vs. Owens at another show and we can get the Kingston vs. Bryan WrestleMania rematch down the road. Money in the Bank doesn’t have a triple threat already, so we might as well see it here. Plus, if Daniel Bryan chooses to sit out the Saudi Arabia show on June 7 like he did last November, then WWE can do Kingston vs. Owens there. It works out.
3. Is there a chance that a former Money in the Bank winner will win a MITB contract again?
There are five former winners in the two MITB matches, so let’s break down their Money in the Bank reigns.
Braun Strowman (2018 winner) – Strowman won last year in dominant fashion, the fans loved it and then failed to cash in successfully. Strowman challenged Roman Reigns at the 2018 Hell in a Cell PPV that ended when Brock Lesnar beat up both guys. It was terrible booking. Strowman’s brief heel run was a bad idea too.
Randy Orton (2013 winner) – Orton won Money in the Bank in July 2013, held the briefcase for five weeks and cashed in after the SummerSlam 2013 main event. Daniel Bryan was the new WWE Champion after beating John Cena clean and when Bryan was doing his celebration, Triple H turned heel and gave Bryan a Pedigree. Orton capitalized with the MITB contract to become the new WWE Champion. It was the start of The Authority angle that would dominate WWE for many more years.
Baron Corbin (2017 winner) – Speaking of terrible booking, after Corbin won the 2017 Money in the Bank as part of Smackdown, he failed miserably. He tried to cash in the Money in the Bank contract on Jinder Mahal on the August 15, 2017 Smackdown, lost in six minutes (because the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! is so deadly) due to a John Cena distraction and Corbin never really recovered from that.
Carmella (2017 winner) – Carmella won the first women’s Money in the Bank in June 2018 in controversial fashion thanks to James Ellsworth. Two days later on Smackdown, they did the match again and Carmella won again. It was 287 days later when Carmella cashed in the contract to become the Women’s Champion when she beat Charlotte Flair.
Alexa Bliss (2018 winner) – Bliss won last year’s Money in the Bank match. She cashed in later that same night during a Raw Women’s Title defense from Nia Jax against the “rookie” Ronda Rousey. It was a shocking attack from Bliss, but it worked out great for her because she became the Raw Women’s Champion just 2 hours and 52 minutes after she won the title.
Out of those names, I think Strowman is the most likely winner just because he’s booked so strongly all the time. Alexa Bliss is possible too since she hasn’t been doing much so far this year, so it would push her back into the spotlight.
Am I picking one of these people to win? Probably not, but I think it’s worth talking about as a possibility.
4. Is there a clear favorite in the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match?
Drew McIntyre stands out the most to me. I think he will be the most popular pick to win since he’s a guy that WWE has pushed hard over the last year although he hasn’t really reached that level of being a title contender. Maybe now he can get there. I know people will say he doesn’t “need” it, but really that’s irrelevant. Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss didn’t “need” it last year and they won. I think what matters is picking the right person at the right time. Drew is probably that guy. Plus, he’s a heel and Seth Rollins is the babyface Universal Champion on Raw, so it makes sense for Drew to win.
Strowman is an option just because he wins nearly every match he’s in, but I wouldn’t go with him.
I think the younger, newer guys like Ricochet, Ali and Andrade are there to hit some cool looking moves along with Finn Balor. I don’t think any of them are going to win, but I would love to see Ricochet as the winner.
Randy Orton and Baron Corbin are there as heels that are former winners. I doubt either of them will win.
To me, McIntyre is the big favorite to win here.
5. Is the women’s match wide open in terms of a potential winner?
It is because I don’t see a clear favorite in the group. The names that jump out at me the most as favorites are Bayley, Mandy Rose and Ember Moon.
I think Bayley might be a popular pick because WWE moved her to Smackdown to try to get her going as a singles wrestler again. They could easily set up a Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair rivalry on Smackdown with Flair as the champ (she’ll probably get it back at some point) and Bayley could be one of the top contenders. Bayley doesn’t “need” MITB since she’s a former Raw Women’s Champion, but I think it would help her.
Mandy Rose is kind of like what Alexa Bliss as in July 2016 when they did the roster split. After a few months, she was put in the spotlight and over the next two years, Bliss became a big deal in the women’s division. Great worker? Not really, but as a character thanks to her talking, Bliss got over as a heel. I think Mandy can do that and I think if she wins Money in the Bank then that would help her get over as a big deal sooner rather than later.
Ember Moon is more of a wildcard because I don’t know if WWE management is high on her, but I think she’s so talented.
The foursome of Alexa Bliss, Natalya, Naomi and Carmella are all former champions, so they add some credibility. I don’t think any of them should win. Dana Brooke is there because she replaced Sasha Banks. I guess they can try to say she has a chance, but I doubt anybody will believe it.
My pick is Bayley just ahead of Mandy right now. That pick might change by May 19.
6. Who are the biggest snubs that are not in the Money in the Bank ladder matches?
I’ll pick four for each. For the men: Sami Zayn, Robert Roode, Cesaro and Aleister Black.
Zayn was given this new gimmick where he cuts promos ripping on the fans, which is fine, but it would be nice to see him in big matches too. If Zayn was in the Money in the Bank match, I would want him to win more than anybody else. Roode beat Ricochet two weeks ago on Raw, yet Ricochet is in the match instead of him. Weird booking. Cesaro is back to being a singles wrestler, so putting him in Money in the Bank would have been smart. Aleister Black has just been part of brief backstage promos. I think it’s a case of WWE wanting to work on his character until he’s unleashed in the ring.
The four women would be Ruby Riott, Nikki Cross, Mickie James and Sonya Deville.
I think all four of those women are very good performers in different ways. They would all add something interesting to the match. It’s just hard for WWE to narrow it down and pick only eight women.
7. Should Becky Lynch lose both the Raw and Women’s Title at Money in the Bank?
It’s not what I would do, but it would be a way to shock people. I assume that if they did that, a lot of Becky fans would be extremely pissed off about it. The reality is, when nearly every champion in WWE is a heel, the shows can get boring. It’s more fun to watch a babyface chase a heel. Becky was more popular in the build up to WrestleMania than she has been since she won the titles.
My answer is no, Becky should not lose both titles. However, if she lost one of them, I think it will be the Smackdown Women’s Title to Charlotte Flair in a match that will take place after Becky retains against Lacey Evans. That way, Becky looks strong even in defeat if she has to have two title matches back to back.
I don’t expect Becky to have three title matches due to the Money in the Bank winner challenger, but that’s another option to make it a more difficult night for Lynch.
8. Last week you said Roman Reigns should lose to Elias, do you still feel that way?
I do. I don’t like to repeat questions, but last week I had a few people ask me about my feeling that Reigns should lose to Elias. It’s simply a case of wanting to give Elias the biggest win of his career because he needs it.
If Reigns wins then that’s nice, but so what? It’s not like WWE is going to rush to put him in the WWE Title picture. Elias is there to keep Reigns busy for a few months until Reigns is going for the WWE Title around SummerSlam and when Smackdown moves to Fox in October. That’s why Elias should win because it will allow them to have two or three PPV matches instead of just one.
9. Will Samoa Joe defend the US Title against Rey Mysterio at Money in the Bank?
Probably. Last week on Raw, Rey beat Joe in a non-title match in a WrestleMania rematch. That usually leads to a title match based on WWE’s typical booking.
At WrestleMania, Rey’s ankle was sore, so they did a match that went only one minute. I think they’ll do the rematch at Money in the Bank and we’ll see what kind of match they could have had at WrestleMania.
Since Rey and Joe are not in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match that also makes it more likely for them to have a match.
10. Should The Viking Raiders win the Raw Tag Team Titles at Money in the Bank?
Yes they should, but I’m not sure if WWE is going to add it to the card. The match isn’t advertised right now. However, it seems like only a matter of time until the title change happens.
While The Viking Raiders name isn’t the greatest, I enjoy Erik and Ivar a lot. The team of Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins isn’t that interesting anyway. I doubt that many people would care if they lost the title. Put the titles on The Viking Raiders at Money in the Bank (or on a Raw episode before the PPV) and book them as dominant heel champions on Raw. Long term, The Viking Raiders vs. The Usos should be a great rivalry on Raw.
That’s where I’ll wrap it up for this week. Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow for a live WWE Raw Deal review.
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