After a brief 8-month hiatus, I think it's time to break down a WWE PPV again. WrestleMania season is behind us and Money In The Bank is really the first chapter in the next book WWE will try to tell this year, ultimately culminating at WrestleMania next year in Met Life Stadium. We've got a 10-match card tonight, which is absurd but I love it. Why not make long PPV cards if you have the WWE Network? I say the same thing about WrestleMania....make it 10-hours for all I care. I'm watching it.
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
I'll preface this by stating that I would guess the WWE will have the Bludgeon Brother retain here. And I'll counter that by stating that would be a terrible decision.
WWE has put a lot of time and effort into putting the Bludgeon Brothers over the past half year. They've destroyed the New Day and they've decimated The Usos, the two premiere tag teams in all of WWE. And the Bludgeon Brothers made it look effortless. But it's also made the tag team division less entertaining in the process. There is a reason why this match is on the Kickoff Show and not the main card. It's hard to get invested in the Bludgeon Brothers. We've seen this same version of Harper and Rowan for 5 years now through their various forms, whether they were Wyatts, creepy guys without Bray Wyatt, or now Bludgeon Brothers. We get it, they are big creepy dudes with no personalities. Let's move on.
The move is to put the tag team titles on Gallows and Anderson. They remind me of a hot-shot AA prospect that the major league team refuses to bring up. There is so much potential but the main club refuses to tap into. So they just sit there waiting for their moment. If given the opportunity, they could become a big star. That's Gallows and Anderson. They are athletic, accomplished, skilled, and funny. A perfect combination for a WWE tag team. It's time they get an opportunity to show it. I hope that opportunity comes tonight.....but I doubt it will.
Winners: The Bludgeon Brothers
This has been a solid introductory feud for Daniel Bryan. It reestablished him to the WWE Universe while he came back from his doctor's appointed sabbatical and gave him a big, nasty heel to play off of. It checked every box it needed to check. Now it's time for him to move on from this feud and start setting the stage for his SummerSlam program. It's hard to imagine Daniel Bryan not getting a featured role at that event. I mean, that Miz/Bryan storyline is sitting right there. Bryan should win here and move on.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
I've heard a lot of negativity on this storyline from podcasts and internet wrestling sites but I just don't see it. I think this feud has been pretty entertaining. You have to do something to make people invest in storylines that don't involve championships or stipulations. There's a case to be made that bringing in Bobby Lashley just to have him feud with Sami Zayn with no championships on the line is a bad play....but that's a different debate.
What they've done to invest me in this storyline has been great. Sami has played the arrogant antagonist very well and Lashley has come off like a badass beast. Wins all the way around. I don't see many scenarios that don't end with Lashley dominating this match and moving on to his next venture. Maybe WWE tries to extend this feud but I think this is the right stopping point. Lashley wins here convincingly and starts a new program on Monday.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
Seth Rollins vs. Elias
I don't know if there are any other males on either roster that are on the roll these two men are on at this moment. Which should lead to a highly entertaining matchup. This is the match on the card I'm most excited to see. Seth Rollins has put on a series of 4-star matches from right before WrestleMania 'til now that we haven't seen in the WWE for ages and Elias is a heat-seeking missile on the mic and guitar right now. How could anyone NOT want to Walk With Elias at this point?
It's time to make a move with Elias though. He has the crowd in the palm of his hands each and every Monday night. Make this guy into a star. This is his moment, let him run with it. Give him the Intercontinental Championship and let various good guys make runs at him....with Elias sneaky or cheating out a victory each time. Seth can lose this match and effortlessly move into another program or even into the main event scene. An Elias loss keeps him treading water and puts him dangerously close to that "always loses the PPV blow-off match" area that WWE routinely puts heels in. Let's not do that with Elias. Let him steal a victory over Rollins here and see what he's made of.
Carmella vs. Asuka
Is it just me or has Carmella quietly become a Top 3 heel in the company over the past 3 months? She's cocky, she's smug, and she's aggressive. She isn't cowering to Asuka or Charlotte during her post-Money In the Bank cash-in. She is talking and acting like someone who fully believes in herself and thinks she's the best woman on the roster. WWE heels never get to do that. She's the female equivalent of The Miz at this point. I'm not sure why WWE is letting Carmella show that brash confidence but I love it. If they'd let more heels in WWE do the same thing we'd have much better television on our screens each week.
And that's a long introduction into my thought that Asuka is going to win this match in under a minute. It just has to happen. Carmella was a nice bridge to get the championship from Charlotte to Asuka while getting the briefcase used before this year's Money In The Bank. Get the belt on Asuka in a dominant fashion, rebuild Asuka as a badass, and start building toward Charlotte vs. Asuka at SummerSlam. It's sitting right there.
This has been a perfect spot for both of these guys. If Roman Reigns isn't going to be the Universal Champion then some time away from the main event scene is perfect for him. If not, he really just brings the entire scene down. It felt like he spent all of 2017 and the start of 2018 in the main event picture without ever capturing the Championship. And the product suffered as a result.
So a nice run in the mid-card is just what Roman needs at this point and it also gives Jinder a big name to feud with. It makes Jinder seem important in the meantime, which will give the next person Jinder faces off with a nice rub as well. A Roman/Jinder feud for the Universal Championship would have been absolutely terrible. But Roman/Jinder in a solid mid-card feud? Sign me up.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey
Everything I said above on the SmackDown side of things about Asuka should hold true for Ronda Rousey as well, but doubled. This match needs to have that sudden impact feel that many of her UFC fights did where she overwhelms her opponent from the start and quickly makes her submit. Neither women in this match is good enough in the ring to make this into a 10-minute contest. So don't go down that route.
Rousey has the potential to be an enormous star for WWE. Everything they do with her needs to be done to make her into that. Don't get cute here. Have Ronda get two quick jabs or crosses in on Nia to rattle her, have Ronda take Nia to the ground, and then put the arm-bar on for the quick submission. This match should bring back images of Ronda in the UFC where she was a monster badass. She lost a little of that in her last couple UFC fights and her WrestleMania tag match was great but never had that feel. A quick, dominant victory over NIa Jax tonight would get some of that buzz and allure back.
Winner: Ronda Rousey
Last Man Standing Match
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
It's amazing to look back to 2017 and recall that Shinsuke Nakamura lost to Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship. The decision was confusing then and even more confusing looking back at it now. And then Nakamura won the Royal Rumble...only to lose his next shot at the WWE Championship at WrestleMania to AJ Styles. Another loss here would be big time trouble for the Nakamura character in the WWE. I don't see how he'd recover from it. Shinsuke winning here really seems like the only option unless WWE is really ready to punt on Nakamura. I don't think we are to that point so Nakamura can find a way to win with the Last Man Standing stipulation and take the title into SummerSlam.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Natalya vs. Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Ember Moon vs. Charlotte vs. Naomi vs. Becky Lynch vs. Lana
I think this is a 3-horse race between Natalya, Sasha and Becky. My cases against the other 5 women winning:
Alexa Bliss just had a long run in the title scene so I think putting her back in it with the briefcase seems rash.
Ember Moon isn't established enough yet on the main roster to legitimately hold the briefcase, especially coming off of Carmella holding it for so long when she wasn't exactly the most credible holder herself.
Charlotte seems above the briefcase. She can get in the title picture at any point and her needing to use the briefcase to win a championship seems beneath her right now.
Naomi doesn't have a lot on the table right now. So maybe giving her the briefcase would give her a story but I just can't imagine what a Naomi cash-in would even look like and it does nothing for me.
Lana has the outside possibility of winning and becoming Mr. and Mrs. Money in the Bank if Rusev would win but again, coming off a Carmella Money in the Briefcase run I don't want to see another women with the briefcase who doesn't seem ready for it yet.
So that leaves Natalya, Sasha, and Becky.
Becky was actually my original pick but without Brock Lesnar ever being around on RAW I just don't think it makes sense for a RAW male wrestler to win the briefcase. And I can't see SmackDown getting both briefcases, unless that leads to some type of angle where Stephanie is mad at her GM Kurt Angle for not winning either briefcase. But since I think SmackDown wins the men's ladder match, I have RAW winning the women's ladder match.
Which leaves it to either Natalya or Sasha in my mind. Natalya makes a lot of sense storyline wise. She is right in the middle of the Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey feud. So no matter how that ends up, she could slide right in...especially if its Ronda. Natalya's sudden friendship with Rousey came out of nowhere, which leads me to think it was planted there for a turn later. That could easily be Ronda's SummerSlam angle. Rousey can win tonight and then Natalya cashes in on her...either tonight or tomorrow on RAW or anywhere between now and SummerSlam.
But I think Sasha will actually be the women to retrieve the briefcase. She needs something to do or something to turn her character around. There is just so much potential in her character that's seemed to have been squandered the past couple of years. Winning the briefcase could get her back to her "Boss" ways and give her character the swagger she's been so desperately missing the past two years. That's the best use of the briefcase in my mind.
Winner: Sasha Banks
Braun Strowman vs. Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Roode vs. The Miz vs. Rusev vs. Samoa Joe vs. New Day
An outstanding field for this year's Money In The Bank Ladder match. You could seriously make a legitimate case for any of the 8 participants winning (nine if you count Big E or Kofi Kingston.....I can't make a case for Xavier Woods). But as I stated above, the lack of the Universal Champion ever being on RAW cuts the field in half for me. I think a SmackDown member wins this match tonight. It just doesn't make sense for someone on RAW to win it if there is no one there to cash it in on. Unless it's Strowman who just uses it to challenge Lesnar for a 1-on-1 match at SummerSlam. That would work but I don't see it as likely, so I'm sticking with SmackDown.
And while I could see any of those four winning....and I'd really want it to be Big E.....I think it has to be The Miz.
The Miz has been outstanding for the better part of the past two years. Just top notch work. He deserves to be in the main event championship scene. He's an outstanding heel that makes every segment so much more enjoyable to watch. Miz TV is literally Must See TV for the WWE.
But admittedly, he does need something extra to get him to the main event scene. If he would just randomly challenge AJ Styles for the WWE Championship....it would be tough for me to buy him as a legitimate threat. But if he has the Money In The Bank Briefcase??????? Now we are talking.
Again, just like my prediction for the women's match I think you have to think what is the best use of the briefcase. What's your best return on investment? Getting The Miz to the championship scene and giving that title picture a truly hatable heel is that move for me.
Winner: The Miz