John: The third WWE special event (or pay-per-view) in the last four weeks takes place this Sunday night and it’s the annual Money in the Bank show, which is typically one of the better WWE events every year.
This one really snuck up on us after only two weeks of build since just had the Elimination Chamber show on May 31. We also had Payback on May 17. That’s three shows in 28 days in case you can’t figure it out. That also means a lot of previews and reviews to write!
It’s going to be a show full of heavy hearts as the WWE crew puts on the best show possible just days after the death of the legendary Dusty Rhodes, who meant so much to so many people. I wrote a tribute to Dusty too. I would imagine there’s a graphic at the start of the show and a ten bell salute as well. There will probably be more tributes on Monday’s Raw as well.
Joining me for the preview are Christian Michael and Matty J. Douglas with Heather Hickey sitting this one out because life is busy although you should read her new Kevin Owens article too! As always, the match order isn’t the order that we necessarily think will happen on the show. It’s just a format to use for this preview.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.com. The banner is courtesy of our friend Steve Melo.)
Kickoff Match: R-Truth vs. King Barrett
Christian: This will be the most boring seven minutes you spend watching a WWE match this year. King Barrett despite a boat load of potential is just so boring. He’s boring to me because WWE has pegged him as such a loser and I can’t invest my time in a loser. R-Truth is R-Truth; I’ve just never been a fan of his. He can be entertaining at times like this past Monday when he thought he was in the Money in the Bank match. I’ll pick Barrett because at some point he has to win a match, right?
Prediction- King Barrett
Matt: So I guess this match is happening because R-Truth has beaten King Barrett a couple times over the last few weeks. Here’s the thing… I don’t care about King Barrett, and the little I do care about R-Truth has nothing to do with his win/loss record. Either this match will be funny, which will be a disservice to King Barrett, or it will be way too serious, which is a complete disservice to the strengths of the R-Truth character at the moment. I guess I’m saying this is a bad pairing simply based on who the characters are. This might be the only match I see live ironically enough because of the NBA Finals Game 5 and Game Of Thrones Finale happening during Money In The Bank.
Winner: King Barrett (because he’s lost to R-Truth more times than any man should)
John: It’s just a way for Barrett to get a meaningful win since he loses so many matches. He actually won on Smackdown over Jack Swagger since poor Jack never wins anymore. I like funny R-Truth, but it’s not like he should be going over Barrett, who is booed terribly as King of the Ring just like he was as IC Champion. Why don’t they ever really want to push this guy as a bigger star? I don’t get it.
Winner: King Barrett
Tag Team Titles: The New Day vs. Prime Time Players
Christian: I hope this match get a chance to be good meaning it gets 10-12 minutes. I have always liked the Prime Time Players as a team and think they work well off each other. The New Day are still growing in their heel roles so this is a nice match-up.
Part of me thinks that the PTPers will win because a Tag Title run for them is super overdue, but it still feels too soon for The New Day to lose despite the fact that I picked them to lose two weeks ago.
Dream scenario: PTPers and win and are only transitional champions to get the titles on Harper and Rowan and that leads to the return of the Dudleys at SummerSlam and a battle between Harper and Rowan and the Dudleys for the Tag Team Titles at SummerSlam.
Prediction- The Prime Time Players win the Tag Team Championship
Matt: I’m excited to see Xavier get to work a little in one of these Tag Title defences for The New Day. I really like him as a worker, and while he is the WWE’s greatest hype man, it’s been disappointing to see him solely take that role for a while. The guy can wrestle, and if he were a few feet taller, he’d be the brightest star in the WWE right now.
I’m also happy that Titus and Darren Young are getting a shot to do a program with The New Day, rather than do those goofy insult videos that they were doing. They are both pretty charismatic performers. That being said, I wish The Prime Time Players wrestled more like tag teams i.e. tandem maneuvers. They basically wrestle like two singles competitors in a tag team match, which shouldn’t be the case if you’re a long term tag team.
Winners and Still WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day! (because it’s still not the time to take their shine)
John: I’m happy for the Prime Time Players getting a mild push to earn a Tag Team Title shot because I think they deserve that. I just don’t think they’re ready to win the gold or that The New day should be losing the titles. It hasn’t even been two months since they won them. They’re such an entertaining act too, so why hurt them by doing a title change? That doesn’t make sense to me.
I assume it’s Big E and Woods working the match with Kofi outside the ring if they do this before the ladder match. They’ll probably do a distraction finish leading to New Day retaining. What I would do is keep the PTPers close to the title hunt and do the title change at SummerSlam since that’s a bigger show with a hotter crowd in New York. Plus, I don’t want New Day to lose. They’re too much fun as champions.
Winners: The New Day
Divas Title: Nikki Bella vs. Paige
Christian: The whole WWE Divas Division is so stale right now. That’s why Nikki needs to retain and her and Brie attack Paige after the match and let WOOOOOO Charlotte make the save. Some new blood in the Divas Division and hopefully a rematch or two with Natalya that goes longer than two minutes.
Prediction- Nikki retains the Divas Championship
Matt: Why do the Divas storylines have to be so confusing? Nikki was babyface two weeks ago. Now she’s heel, without any real turn… but she beat Summer Rae on Raw who last I checked was a heel, and Paige took the time to commiserate with Summer, despite the fact that she is supposed to be the babyface of the feud (I think?). I just don’t get any of it. Writing this stuff shouldn’t be this hard should it?
Winner: Nikki Bella (because I’ve learned my lesson. Nikki Bella will be champion until she breaks AJ’s record as longest reigning Divas Champion)
John: I’m not sure how many times I’ve previewed or reviewed with these two, but it sure feels like a lot. The Bellas are heel again, which is better for them. They did the title match two weeks ago on Raw with Nikki winning thanks to the lame “twin magic” bit with Brie.
I don’t think it would be smart to have Paige lose again by pinfall, so I think they’ll do the disqualification finish where either the ref spots the Bellas doing “twin magic” or Brie blatantly interferes for the disqualification. Then they can do the post match deal with Charlotte debuting to save Paige or maybe save that for Raw with Paige saying she has a friend with her now.
Winner by disqualification: Paige (Nikki is still champion)
Intercontinental Title: Ryback vs. Big Show
Christian: I, like many others, was shocked when they gave away the Shellshock spot on RAW as I thought that would be a key point of interest for fans in the match. Now we know Ryback can Shellshock Show so that intrigue is gone. What is likely to happen here is Ryback gets Show up for the Shellshock, Miz jumps in and causes a disqualification and we get a Triple Threat Match at Battleground.
Prediction – Ryback by disqualification
Matt: I’ve tried to care about this feud, this match, this story for two weeks. I’m not going to be able to do it. I just don’t like Ryback, I don’t care about Big Show, and now that they’ve had Ryback lift Big Show for Shellshock on Raw, I have nothing to look forward to in this bout. Actually that’s not true. The Miz might show up in his ridiculous outfit (which is awesome by the way). Other than that there is literally nothing for me here.
Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Ryback (because he just won the damn title)
John: Ryback just won the title two weeks ago, so it would be foolish to take it off him already. Big Show’s just a veteran heel that Ryback can beat. It’s similar to Show’s feud with Reigns in that he’s really only there to just put the guy over. I think Ryback gets the pinfall here, but I also feel like they’ll continue the feud because Big Show will attack him the next night on Raw to keep it going.
Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match: Neville, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Kane, Dolph Ziggler & Kofi Kingston
Christian: Out of all the guys in this match doesn’t it seem like the only possibility to win is Roman Reigns?
Kofi Kingston and Neville are there to provide the high flying spots. Dolph Ziggler is there to take a suicidal bump or two. You got Sheamus and Randy Orton there as former Champions so it doesn’t appear as such a cake walk for Reigns. Kane rounds out the field because WWE thinks we care what he’s up to these days. Whether he’ll decide the winner like he did last year or he’ll win it himself and go after Seth Rollins is his story.
I don’t like Reigns grabbing the briefcase in the same year he won the Royal Rumble. I didn’t like it when Alberto Del Rio did it in 2011. A guy wins the Rumble and can’t get the job done at WrestleMania, so he needs a cheap way to the title, which let’s face it, Money in the Bank is. Guys always cash in when the Champion is hurt or distracted. Only John Cena and Rob Van Dam have cashed in their contracts in matches announced ahead of time. Even though I didn’t like it with ADR, it was okay because he was a heel. Reigns is not and it could be a bad look for him unless that is what WWE is going for here.
Despite the promotion of Kevin Owens, WWE still needs strong heels and this could be the start of that sort of run for Reigns. They can always make him the babyface superstar they envisioned in 6-12 months.
Prediction- Roman Reigns
Matt: The end of this match has been very much telegraphed, but let me touch on a couple things before we get there. The MVPs of this match will be Neville, Dolph and Kofi. The other 4 guys will have moments here and there, but none of them will do anything that puts them in any real danger. Neville, Dolph and Kofi will have cool spots, bump like maniacs and walk out losers, despite being the MVPs of the match. Without them this Money In The Bank Ladder Match would be a real snoozer.
If I were to pick who I wanted to win this match, it’s Kofi. New Day with the MITB could be the best, plus rewarding Kofi for his years of service in these kinds of matches would be nice. There’s no way in hell he wins, but I’m rooting for him.
Now to the obvious winner, Roman Reigns. There’s literally no way they don’t put the briefcase on him right? The question then is how do you play it going forward. Conventional wisdom says have him hold the briefcase until Wrestlemania 32, where he’ll cash in to right the wrong of Wrestlemania 31. If you wanted to shock people, have him cash in at Money In The Bank on Dean Ambrose, after he shocks the world by winning his Ladder Match with Seth Rollins. That’s the unconventional, electrifying ending to the show. Doubt it happens though.
Winner: Roman Reigns (because it’s obvious)
John: The booking of the match is pretty simple. You’ve got the three really athletic guys in Neville, Kingston and Ziggler to do the crazy spots and then the guys in Kane, Sheamus and Orton to work a very safe match. Remember two years ago when Sheamus got injured in the MITB match doing a big bump on his shoulder and missed six months? He’s not going to do that again.
Then there’s Roman Reigns, who is the future as well as the heavy favorite in the match. I’d be shocked if he didn’t win. He is WWE’s golden boy and we all know it. They want him to be a top babyface and if you’ve listened to the crowds they don’t boo him too much. He’s pretty likable even when he’s shoved down our throats like two weeks ago when he wrestled three times in one night. I don’t see WWE turning him heel anytime soon either.
Most Money in the Bank matches are very good and this one should be too mainly because of the three high flyers that are in there. In the end, the obvious winner will be holding the coveted briefcase to earn himself another WWE Title shot any time he wants it.
Winner: Roman Reigns
John Cena vs. Kevin Owens
Christian: Can the sequel live up to the standard their first match set and with only two weeks separation between the matches? It’s a lot to live up to but if any two Superstars can do it, I have faith in Kevin Owens and John Cena. Their first match was contested in the ring for the most part, I expect this one to be more of a wild brawl to try and differentiate the two bouts.
Cena has done some of his best promo work while dueling with Owens, which is great to see. It’s admirable that Cena is putting a lot of effort into this feud that is designed to make Owens a star. Probably for the first time in ten years, it isn’t about John Cena and he seems to be ok with that. Cena realizes that he isn’t the future of WWE any longer and more so than the 15 World Titles, his legacy hinges on what he can do to prepare WWE for the future and helping make a new star like Owens is part of that.
I expect this feud to go a third match, but you have to stop with the “50/50” booking. Cena can’t beat Owens clean or it erases the good that the win at Elimination Chamber created. That’s why I see this match being more of a brawl leading to a DQ finish leading to a third and final showdown at Battleground in some sort of Street Fight/No DQ match.
Prediction- John Cena wins via Disqualification
Matt: On Raw, John Cena called this rematch the most anticipated rematch in WWE history. Statements like that are what make me hate the John Cena character. This match isn’t even the most anticipated rematch in his career. It’s as if he doesn’t remember that he had a pretty highly anticipated rematch with The Rock, and year after their first match. Or a rematch with Brock after he had been decimated by The Beast at Summerslam. This rematch doesn’t even chart on the WWE’s top 20 most anticipated rematches list, and the fact that he said it is the most anticipated rematch ever, really stuck in my craw.
Annoyance with that aside, this match should be really good. Their first match was nothing short of spectacular, and while it will be hard to top that, I think they just might. If there is one thing that hurts the match as far as I’m concerned, it’s the two weeks between. That’s really soon to be doing a rematch, with nothing on the line no less.
If it were up to me, Kevin Owens would go over again, stunning John Cena and emboldening Kevin Owens. Cena would ask for a rematch again and Owens would say no… that John has to earn it. Now I don’t think that scenario is likely, but I really just hope that these two men deliver, and can top what they did at Elimination Chamber.
Winner: John Cena (because this feud’s going through to Summerslam)
John: I picked Owens two weeks ago and I was right although admittedly I wasn’t sure about it. I’m picking Owens again while admitting that I’m less sure of my prediction this time. If WWE really wants to make Owens into a top heel then he needs to beat Cena again so that people can really believe this guy is a force to be reckoned with. If Owens doesn’t win then I hope it’s a disqualification finish because Owens getting pinned would be stupid. Please just let him look strong.
I’ve liked the build for this match, but like the others have said it’s too soon for a rematch. From WWE’s perspective, they’re doing it as a major selling point in the match to see if Cena can avenge his loss. I don’t think he will, which should be a compelling story because then it can lead to people wondering if “Super Cena” still has it or if his best days are behind him. That could lead to some interesting stories in the months ahead.
Their first match was excellent. One of the best of the year, no doubt about it. I hope they can top it because when you work with somebody more than once things usually get better although the anticipation of the first match isn’t there. When you see something for a second time it’s not as cool as the first – that’s just how it is in wresting and a lot of things in life.
Some of my favorite feuds in wrestling have had the “this guy can’t beat that guy” story. Trading wins is boring and far too common in WWE. Let’s see something different. That’s why I’m predicting that Owens beats Cena again.
Winner: Kevin Owens
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match: Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
Christian: I get why everyone thinks that Seth Rollins has to win this match. That is because the big money match is with Brock Lesnar. While that is true, who says it has to be over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? Logic would dictate that when Lesnar comes back he is going to want to try and get his title back. Or he could just want to assault the guy that basically cost him the title and got him suspended without giving much merit to whether he gets his title back or not. Because I use logic such as that I think it leaves the door open for Dean Ambrose to win the Championship, officially.
If Reigns is going to win Money in the Bank, he’d almost have to go heel. I think the contract works better with a heel carrying it since it’s such a sneaky thing they are trying to accomplish by cashing in. Of course that is my opinion; I don’t expect others to agree with me. What better way to get him heel heat than turning on the guy that should be the top babyface in WWE in Dean Ambrose.
Of course this totally kills Rollins’ first title reign and makes it one of the worse first title reigns since CM Punk or Rey Mysterio since he didn’t beat anyone clean. However, if it ends with him somehow knocking off Brock Lesnar, I don’t think it will matter much in the long run.
Prediction- Dean Ambrose wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Matt: There isn’t much I can say about this match that I haven’t said before. These guys work great with one another and I’m expecting them to knock this match out of the park. I’m a little worried because Dean’s gimmick matches have tended to be a bit too goofy for my liking in the past. He’s a good brawler, but I tend to like his matches way more when he gets to just wrestle straight up, because he’s really f’n good at that.
With that said, he and Seth’s chemistry is almost always on point. I doubt things get too goofy or off the rails with these two. They balance each other very well, and I’m expecting a hard hitting but technically proficient Ladder Match to crown the true WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Dean has looked great with the title for the last couple weeks (so if it was a test run for the real thing, he’ll definitely look the part) and I really would love for him to win this match. But if I’m being honest with myself, I don’t see this being his time. It will come eventually, but not at Money In The Bank, most likely due to some outside interference.
Winner and Still WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Rollins (because he’s going to be Champion when Brock returns)
John: If Rollins loses the WWE Title here it would hurt all the booking that WWE has done over the last year to build him up as a top guy. He won Money in the Bank a year ago, then he won the WWE Title at WrestleMania and losing the title less than three months later will make it all look like a big waste of time. I like Dean Ambrose a lot, but he’s not winning here.
The other thing to remember is that face champions are boring. Heel champions are boring. With Rollins holding the gold he’s got a huge target on his back because he’s dealing with a returning Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose is still around. If Ambrose wins, then what? I doubt Owens feuds with him and who knows if Bray Wyatt will be used again. It’s better to keep the gold on Rollins.
I expect the match to be great. Their chemistry is amazing and every time they get 15 minutes or more they can deliver a four star match (out of five), so I have high hopes for this one too. The story is that Rollins has to win on his own with no help and I think he will. That’s why they have pushed it for the last two weeks because they need him to get a meaningful win before the match with Lesnar, so this is the right way to do that.
Winner: Seth Rollins
I don’t see a Money in the Bank cash in on this show although I think Reigns will try it. Then The Authority will come out to save Rollins from losing the gold. Remember that they said they won’t help Rollins during the match. After he proves he can win on his own, they can save him after.
What can happen from there is you do Rollins vs. Lesnar at Battleground, have a cheap ending and then set up a rematch for SummerSlam. However, instead of doing that match again you have Roman Reigns say he wants in at SummerSlam, so it become a triple threat that is like a WrestleMania rematch except this time they have a full match.
John: It’s going to be a very good show in terms of in-ring action because the Ladder Match, Cena/Owens and the MITB match all have a chance to be excellent if they are given time, which I expect for all three matches. The rest of the card is pretty average. When you can have three matches that really stand out, though, that’s what matters more than anything.
I won’t be seeing Money in the Bank live because of a combination of being at a family birthday party and also watching NBA Finals game 5 live with my hoops loving family. Warriors in 6 is still the prediction by the way. I’ll start Money in the Bank after the game and hopefully get a review up really late Sunday night. If not then it’ll be Monday morning.
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