John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling preview of WWE Money in the Bank, which takes place this Sunday night in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It’s a show that is carried by three major matches: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins, John Cena vs. AJ Styles for the first time ever and the Money in the Bank ladder match. If those three matches are as great most of us expect then the show will be considered a tremendous success. If they disappoint for whatever reason then it will be a let down.
Regarding the rest of the lineup, they made some changes on Friday afternoon by moving Sheamus vs. Apollo Crews and Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler off the Kickoff Show to the main card. In their place on the Kickoff Show are The Dudley Boyz vs. Lucha Dragons and The Golden Truth vs. Breezango. Why does this happen? Disorganization mainly. I figure they timed out the matches on Friday and that’s why they added in some new matchups.
Joining me for the preview are Matty J. Douglas and Mike Holland. Our regular teammate Heather couldn’t join us this time. She should be back for the next one. Here’s Mike with some opening thoughts.
Mike: With infinite discussions resulting from WWE’s decision to conduct another brand split, it seems Money In The Bank 2016 has even more implications than usual. MITB has shot up the ladder (pun intended) since its introduction as a stand-alone PPV, with the question of what the winner will do with the spoils being just as important as who comes down with the briefcase. This year’s installment not only brings us one of the more loaded lineups ever for that match, but two additional main event caliber battles with Seth Rollins attempting to reclaim his gold from former Shield buddy Roman Reigns as well as John Cena and AJ Styles going one on one. Perhaps that amount of solid action overlooks the fact that neither the new Women’s Title nor the Intercontinental Title will actually be defended Sunday. Lots of question marks bring lots of opportunity to prognosticate, however, and that’s perfect for a preview.
John: No Matt predictions for the first two matches because he didn’t have time on Friday after they were announced. Let’s get to it.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.com. The banner is courtesy of our friend Steve Melo. Go visit his website prowrestlinglinks.com for convenient links to all kinds of different wrestling related websites.)
Lucha Dragons vs. Dudley Boyz (Kickoff Show)
Mike: Just so we’re clear, Damien Sandow got canned so we could watch stuff like this on the pre-show. I think it’s pretty evident by now to all involved that The Dudley Boyz were brought back as a nostalgia act to get folks over, and they’ve only mildly accomplished that feat thus far. They are better as heels, but their edginess has eroded in this new era of PG. You know you’ve reached a new nadir when cries of get the tables are met with ennui. We’re a long way removed from attitude.
The Lucha Dragons, on the other hand, were both a solid team and very enjoyable to watch during their run before the WWE inexplicably made the odd decision to focus on Kalisto as a singles competitor and champion. With that brief detour concluded, the Dragons can get back in business with a win this weekend and make us look forward to the time when they compete with some of the folks scheduled to work the Cruiserweight tournament. Or have Paul Ellering show up.
Winners: The Lucha Dragons
John: This was added on Friday afternoon with no hype or build from television. It’s just a way to get more guys on the show. I think the Dudleys are in a spot where they are going to lose more than they win as an older team. In this case, though, I think it’s better to put them over just because the Lucha Dragons have lost whatever momentum they once had. A win for the Dudleys could help those guys get back into the mix a bit. Then again, WWE doesn’t care to set these matches up, so I probably spent more time thinking about it here than they have.
Winners: The Dudley Boyz
The Golden Truth vs. Breezango (Kickoff Show)
Mike: If you’re one of those folks who worry that the upcoming brand split can’t possibly have enough time and real estate to allow every talented individual a place at the table, witness this match. The Golden Truth angle has provided Santino Marella-like merriment to otherwise stolid goings-on, but just like Monsieur Marella that’s about all you get with it. Now that we’ve spent seemingly endless passages of time determining whether these two star-crossed goofballs would tie the knot, we’re treated to watching their hapless Marx Brothers Lite efforts to actually win a match. Ho and hum want their shtick back.
As for Tyler and Fandango, their gimmicks are so similar that the team actually works in all respects except for their atrocious sobriquet which won’t be uttered at any point by me. It’s ironic that the efforts to get Golden Truth established have actually resulted in the strange bedfellows that oppose them looking stronger by the moment. It’s a sorry state of affairs when we get no American Alpha in order to further the carnival agenda so ingrained into Chez McMahon.
Oh, the match? Golden Truth lose again. To what end? The Shadow knows.
Winners: The team with the dancing selfies
John: The backstory here is that it took a while for The Golden Truth to become a team, then when they finally teamed up they lost to Breezango a couple of times. Then the story just kind of went away in this last month. Now WWE wants people to care again. Do we? No, not really. I’ll go with a win for The Golden Truth while hoping both teams have success even though they’re likely going on a path as comedy teams.
Winners: The Golden Truth
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
Matt: The only thing that could get me interested in this pairing again is if they started making out mid-match on Sunday. Seriously though, these guys might be better off as allies than enemies. Michaels/Diesel pairing for a New Era (excuse me as I deposit this cheque the WWE just handed me for assisting their branding).
Winner: Baron Corbin (because either way, we as fans lose)
Mike: To quote the immortal Monty Python, now for something completely different. Or, you know, not. Once again it’s Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin locking up in the feud that’s captured the hearts of nary a soul, and once again it’s taking place before the real event even gets started. This showdown should have been a breakout for Corbin, who came into the WWE and made an immediate impact before getting stuck in neutral like so many NXT grads before him. Instead it hasn’t really done any favors for either combatant, as they’ve traded blows and barbs in largely underwhelming fashion.
Ziggler’s campy B-list face act is going nowhere fast, and therefore it makes little to no sense for him to beat Corbin here. In addition, maybe it’s the Jim Beam Apple talking, but I’m hopeful that this puts an end to the program with the dominant victory Baron should have gotten from the outset. Both guys are frankly too talented to keep running into each other when the spark just isn’t there. Corbin should be a solid second tier heel for either Raw or Smackdown. Hate to be a heckler, but the comic loses.
Winner: Baron Corbin
John: When will this feud end? Nobody really knows. It’s the third straight PPV with this match except this time they got bumped off the Kickoff Show, so that’s fresh at least. Corbin’s the younger guy, so he should get the win. I’d love to see Ziggler turn heel once the brand extension happens because he’s not going anywhere as a face. At least if he turns heel he might get an opportunity again.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Apollo Crews vs. Sheamus
Matt: I totally get this feud, and it’s nice to see Apollo featured in an actual rivalry after more than a month on the main roster. I also think this is a great use of the Sheamus character, as a “has-been” bully desperately clinging to relevance by trying to subjugate the New Era (another cheque!) guys. Sure it could have been more intense and featured more inspired writing, but given its place on the card, it has actually come together more competently than a lot of the stuff WWE does.
Winner: Apollo Crews (because he needs to look great in the first match, which will only piss Sheamus off more)
Mike: Here’s a matchup that is sporting a much more compelling feud as old guard stalwart Sheamus faces NXT call-up Apollo Crews. I love the story behind this, because it’s simple and makes sense, two rarities these days when dealing with the WWE creative team. Sheamus is jealous because of the so-called “New Era” coming in and taking his payday, and he’s lashing out at one of the guys he holds responsible for stealing the spotlight. Crews has looked very solid in the ring, but his character hasn’t been explored one iota thus far. We know the fans like him, and we know he smiles more than a dental commercial. Where’s the edge?
That question needs to be answered, and MITB is the place to do so. Sheamus is back to old form after the failed lab experiment that was the League of Nations, and it’s nice of WWE to remind us every ten seconds about his crappy movie, but his presence here is to serve as the perfect springboard for someone the company is high on. It’s possible Sheamus wins to set up another go, but I’m calling Crews to pick up the victory and show some depth.
Winner: Apollo Crews
John: Sheamus works well as the heel that doesn’t want a new guy like Crews taking up a spot on the roster. I’ve said for the past two months that Crews needs to do more than just smile all the time and win three minute matches against midcard heels. I feel like this will be the kind of match where Sheamus dominates much of it, Crews hits a few moves to come back and Crews wins on some counter. I don’t see him winning with his spinning Powerbomb. It will be more like a rollup or some kind of counter. That way it leads to a rematch because in today’s WWE they love rematches.
Winner: Apollo Crews
United States Title: Rusev vs. Titus O’Neil
Matt: I really want to muster up the energy to give a damn about this match, but honestly I don’t. Titus targeting Rusev has been uninspired and him receiving a championship match makes no sense, even by WWE’s standards. I don’t really know what to say here. I don’t even think the match will be good.
Winner and Still United States Champion: Rusev (because they’re not giving Titus the damn belt)
Mike: In one of the stranger turns of events in recent memory, Titus O’Neil went from the blacklist for pushing Chairman Vince McMahon to getting pushed BY McMahon. My personal feeling has been that WWE always reacts to anything newsworthy, so perhaps that’s as good a reason as any for immediately booking him against the new United States champion Rusev. A larger factor, though, is the simple fact that Rusev needs to look dominant in his new role after being backpedaled in the League miasma for far too long.
Rusev and Lana’s real-life relationship is the stuff Titan Tower’s TMZ branch’s wet dreams are made of, and it’s more than evident that both are in the immediate and long range plans of management. This could be an olive branch handed to Titus for the ridiculous amount of time he couldn’t cash checks, but expect the glory to be short-lived. Don’t count me among those holding my breath for the inevitable O’Neil/Young showdown featuring life coach Bob Backlund. The outcome also won’t make me any more excited about the Bulgarian Brute as champ. Can’t we make the United States Title great again?
Winner (And Still US Champion): Rusev
John: This is one of the most confusing title feuds I can ever remember. I like that O’Neil is in the spot because he is a fresh face, but they have done nothing to really build him. I can’t even remember him being in a match on television in the last month. He earned a title match by saving other people from getting attacked by Rusev. Shouldn’t people have to earn it? Just win one match, say it’s for the number one contender for this title and that’s enough. Instead, they did absolutely nothing to build it up.
Rusev is likely going to be a long term heel champion. O’Neil’s just a guy that Rusev can beat. I think that WWE knows that Rusev is a good talent that they need to invest in long term, but they need to give him more compelling feuds than this.
Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Natalya & Becky Lynch
Matt: These first four matches are incredibly boring on paper. The best of the bunch is easily Apollo vs. Sheamus, which doesn’t speak highly of the other three. So what to say about this Women’s Tag Team Match? It’s… it’s… a match. Here’s a question: why do neither wrestler with a famous family name gets to use it, while their considerably less famously named tag partners get last names?
I’m going to level with you guys, absolutely nothing here has piqued my interest and I really can’t pretend it has. This match and all the segments spent setting it up have been bad television… like the final episode of Dexter bad.
Winners: Charlotte and Dana Brooke (because apparently there’s some kind of stipulation that I couldn’t care less about, but is in all likelihood making this outcome the only possible one)
Mike: The disappointment for me with this match is palpable, and it’s no fault of the four ladies involved. When the Divas belt was rebranded, it was supposed to signal in a new era where gender had nothing to do with things. That’s a great advertising campaign, but the reality is all it’s resulted in is a typical family squabble storyline and a bunch of rage and fury signifying nothing. Now we’re reduced to a tag team match without the important title even up for grabs. Depressing and predictable.
If they don’t care, why should the viewer? Charlotte’s days are numbered, and they’ve made it clear she even has to watch her own back with the strong booking of Dana Brooke out of the gate. Both Natalya and Becky Lynch are destined for the sidelines, so this battle lacks any degree of must-see excitement unfortunately. This is less about what happens this weekend as what is likely to happen after. Sasha Banks’s ascendance is the poorest kept secret in wrestling, and now that she’s healed it’s a countdown to the inevitable. Brooke and Charlotte implode, faces score a meaningless win, and we keep waiting for promises to be kept.
Winners: Natalya & Becky Lynch
John: When this match was announced, my immediate reaction was to pick the face team to win because if the champion (Charlotte) is in a tag match that usually means they will be on the losing side. The idea is that if the champion loses in a tag it can set up a future title match.
I’m going with the face team getting the win. I’m not sure if Natalya or Becky gets the next title shot or if it will go to Paige since she beat Charlotte non-title recently. They can do something where the faces win, the heels attack and Paige makes the save. Sasha Banks making the save would be even better, but for whatever reason she’s been out of the picture and that sucks. I think Charlotte will lose the Women’s Title at SummerSlam, hopefully to Banks.
Winners: Natalya & Becky Lynch
Fatal 4 Way for the Tag Team Titles: The New Day vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. The Vaudevillains vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass
Matt: This match will without question be a lot of fun in the ring. You have two incredibly over babyface tag teams in Cass/Enzo and New Day, a pair of bruisers in Gallows and Anderson, and a team to eat the pin in The Vaudevillains. Everybody has a role to play and will likely play it to perfection come Sunday night. That being said, there’s something missing. It just feels like the stakes should have been raised.
Imagine that night that New Day interrupted Steph and Shane talking about the draft, inquiring about their future together. Imagine that Steph and Shane had informed them that as long as they were the WWE World Tag Team Champions, that their futures would forever be intertwined. However, if they were to lose those championship before the Smackdown goes live, there is a chance that their team could be split up in a draft. With uncertainty in the air, the only thing that keeps them bound together is the titles, so they cling to them. That being said, several other teams want the immunity that the titles provide come draft night, thus why all these teams come gunning for the belts at Money In The Bank 2016. Isn’t that better? Let’s just pretend that’s the story we’ve been watching play out.
Winners and Still WWE World Tag Team Champions: New Day (because they are so very close to a record, and having them pin The Vaudevillains keeps Enzo/Cass and The Club strong for future dates with The New Day)
Mike: On the flip side of the coin, the tag division is heating up as suddenly there’s plenty of contenders and even more poised on the doorstep. That makes it a dangerous moment to be The New Day, as they approach history with their lengthy and solid reign. This is really the first time in quite a while that TND has been in very real danger of dropping the straps, and that’s a good thing (apologies, DDP!) as it makes the importance and buzz surrounding this battle larger indeed.
I expect this match to potentially steal the show, as all teams can go and both Enzo & Cass and the champs garner big reactions from live crowds. For those hoping for E & C to walk away with the belt, it won’t happen here. I’m unconvinced that they are done with the Vaudevillains, and what better reason for a feud than a real injury? As for Anderson & Gallows, both pedigree and logic dictate they become champions soon, but I feel like that will be at SummerSlam. These matches are always booked to make you feel like the champions are at a disadvantage, and that’s the point. New. Day. Lock.
Winners (And Still Tag Team Champions): The New Day
John: I think there are two ways this could go: The New Day winning or Gallows & Anderson winning the gold. I don’t see the other two teams getting the win because WWE has to keep building up Enzo & Cass while The Vaudevillains just aren’t ready.
I’m leaning towards G&A getting the win just because it would really legitimize them as a team if they were to win the gold in their first matchup for the titles. I think it’s important for WWE to establish them as a go to heel team. It’s not like New Day really needs the titles at this point. They’re establish. If they hold it until SummerSlam then it’s a year long reign. Is it really that big of a deal? Not to me. They’re over. They get reactions. Use the titles to elevate somebody else. This is a way to do it.
If Gallows & Anderson win the titles, you can easily do a couple of PPVs with The New Day trying to get the titles back. Then if there’s the brand extension and two separate titles in place (we don’t know for sure about that) then there are other ways it can go. I just think for now, putting the titles on G&A would help them a lot. That’s why I’d do it.
Winners and New Tag Team Champions: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Money In the Bank Ladder Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho
Matt: I wrote a piece about the depreciating value of the Money In The Bank Briefcase as a narrative trope earlier in the week, and in that piece I stated that the only winner of interest here is Dean Ambrose. With all due respect to guys like Owens, Cesaro, Zayn and Jericho, who have all been on fire as of late, the fact is that any of them winning is business as usual.
They’ll come to the ring with the briefcase every week, lose a bunch of matches until they eventually cash in “when we least suspect it” after a match and become Champion the exact same way that 13 of the 16 Money In The Bank Briefcase holders have. As much as I like Owens, I just don’t care to see him fall into the narrative rut that him as Mr. Money In The Bank would be until he cashes it in.
Ambrose makes the most narrative sense. Ambrose opens up the most storytelling opportunities. His relationship with the current Champion, not to mention the current challenger, is a treasure trove of great stories waiting to be told. The temptation to cash in on his best friend (imagine him doing it and screaming “how long was I supposed to wait for my turn to be CHAMPION!!”). The paranoia it would put into the mind of Roman Reigns, knowing his best friend holds the instrument that could topple his Roman Empire. The jealousy of a Seth Rollins. There’s just so much narrative potential. It’d be a shame to see it go to waste for a run of the mill MITB winner squatting on the contract for months as they do essentially nothing of interest.
Winner: Kevin Owens (because a lot of people seem to want him to win. I really don’t see the upside. It’s a narrative trap, but the WWE tends to fall into those a lot)
Mike: The caliber of the combatants almost makes me forget that WWE seems to have done a stop short on this match, originally planning seven entrants and then scaling it back without a word for whatever reason. Speculation has arisen that someone may be added, and should that happen it would be exciting and a cool moment, but likely doesn’t change what follows. You’d like to think that each one of these individuals has an equal shot at winning the briefcase, but of course that’s nowhere close to reality. Jericho was booked solidly on Raw, but there’s little reason to give him the title shot with his schedule and age. Del Rio is a solid heel without chasing a belt, and hasn’t really had any fanfare heading into this thing. Sami Zayn and Cesaro are way over with the majority of the crowd and therefore exempt from any chance. That leaves just Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens as possible winners, and there are significant reasons why each would work.
Ambrose’s involvement in this match is notable on several levels. There is the Shield connection exploited to the fullest during his interview segment this past Monday, and that adds a layer to the later World Title match that can’t help but be acknowledged. He also appears to be getting booked a bit more consistently after spending the last few months getting run over by truck after truck. All of that said, Owens is money right now and over as a heel. That can’t be underestimated, as he brings the sort of frenzied attention to the “cashing in” component that Titan Tower craves. It would also make perfect sense for him to prevent Sami Zayn from his big moment.
It’s a bit more fun for a heel MITB winner, as they have no reservations about being opportunistic. Owens can and should be a focal point for whichever brand he’s drafted to, and this moves him on from the Intercontinental Title scene to bigger and grander things. Cash, Owens, cash.
Winner: Kevin Owens
John: I’m excited for this one. I like all six guys a lot although I think WWE overdid it in terms of how many different matches they had on television over the last month. I think they did nearly every singles match and tag match possible with these six guys.
In terms of a winner, I think Owens and Ambrose are the clear favorites. Jericho and Del Rio are just there to add a veteran presence as guys that have been World Champion before. While Jericho’s story about creating Money in the Bank yet he’s never been able to win it is compelling in a way, he’s really just the veteran guy that’s going to put over the younger wrestlers. Del Rio is barely relevant at this point and I would assume they have learned from their Sheamus mistake.
I’m intrigued by the possibility of Zayn or Cesaro winning mainly because I’m a huge fan of both guys. It just doesn’t feel like one of them is going to get that “out of nowhere” type win. If it does happen then Cesaro is more likely because of his tenure in WWE. I think both guys have a bright future.
Owens makes the most sense to me because they really need top heels. He’s a guy that may have had to prove himself a lot to Vince McMahon because of his body type, but if you can get past that you can see he’s a tremendous all around performer. Owens is arguably the best talker among wrestlers in WWE (Paul Heyman is best overall), so if he had the briefcase in his position he would rub it in all the time while threatening to cash it at any moment. I also hope it leads to him winning the WWE Title fairly soon after because he deserves it. I’d be genuinely happy for the guy.
Ambrose would be a great choice as the winner because he’s such a talented performer that could really benefit from holding the briefcase. His character as a “lunatic” would present scenarios of unpredictability leading to a possible cash in attempt. It would be even better if he turned heel while holding the briefcase, but I doubt they are going to do that. I just think it would be really cool to see him cash in to win the title that his other Shield “brothers” have already win. It would fit his persona really well.
Another factor worth mentioning here is that WWE could add somebody else to the match whether it’s a returning Bray Wyatt or Randy Orton if he’s ready. I hope they don’t do it because I believe in only having the six guys that won matches to get in the match, but if WWE does add somebody then that person might win.
I don’t always mention the “lose on TV, win on PPV” theory as much anymore, but Owens got pinned by Ambrose in the six man tag match on Smackdown. Ambrose also got a win over Jericho on Raw. WWE wants you to think that Ambrose has the momentum, but it doesn’t mean a win. I’m going with Owens. As a bearded, large Canadian myself, I’m all about the KO train. Full steam ahead.
Winner: Kevin Owens
John Cena vs. AJ Styles
Matt: I really think this build has been stellar, save for a couple unsavoury moments here and there. I loved Styles’ turn and the execution of it. I’ve really enjoyed Styles’ mic work as a heel. I’ve enjoyed serious Cena promos, and while I haven’t enjoyed the way he’s denigrated AJ Styles’ abilities and accomplishments in moments, I think for the most part he’s been great building toward the bout. I even appreciated the wrinkle they threw into the contract signing on Raw. Helped make it feel a little less like every dumb contract signing segment.
The match will be stellar, as these are two of the best big match performers in the world today. This will be the best match of the night I reckon, which says a lot considering the top 3 matches on the card. I’m not worried about Cena burying AJ, but I do think that AJ winning is the right way to set the table, especially considering this is only the first of what I expect to be several encounters.
Winner: AJ Styles (because he’s come up short on so many PPVs, we need to see him victorious at one to remind us that he’s threat)
Mike: This battle might actually be harder to predict than the match just discussed, as fantasy booking is made reality when John Cena returns to PPV to go head-to-head with AJ Styles. While I wasn’t a fan of the decision to flip Styles to heel, it makes sense and gives him one hell of a confrontation as well as a more prominent role on whichever brand is lucky enough to land his services. WWE in so doing landed themselves in a bit of a pickle, however. Styles came up short each and every time in his contests against Roman Reigns, and Cena has always been booked more strongly than just about anyone. How to resolve this Sophie’s Choice?
A couple of hints were given with the well-done contract signing on Raw, as AJ chose the solitary path when confronted by Cena. The best part about that decision is that it likely got some fans back on board for Styles as an honorable man, but of course as we all know, #HeelsLie. Styles is free to ignore the contract he signed and allow his Club running buddies to assist him in doing the unthinkable, beating the face of the WWE at the most unlikely of times and elevating him right back to elite status.
I would not expect this match to be the last time these guys square off. It’s a money feud, and there’s no reason to rush either one out of it just yet. Cena can absorb the loss if it advances the storyline, particularly now when he’s just getting back after such a long absence. Styles would be more hurt here, as he needs a win to go with the big turn. It places him in great position, and lets it feel more like the new era we’ve been bombarded with talk about. Styles deserves it, and JC’s the one to do it for him. Whether he wins the feud is, unfortunately, another story.
Winner: AJ Styles
John: This might be my favorite match of the night just because it truly is a first time ever match that a lot of us thought we’d never see. Styles has been outstanding since he showed up in WWE at the Royal Rumble and I think the heel turn will cause him to perform even better. Plus, being in the ring with WWE’s biggest star in Cena should be a lot of fun for Styles. This match has a big feeling to it. They’re going to get 20+ minutes most likely and it’s going to be an incredible atmosphere in front of a hot Vegas crowd.
It’s a tough match to predict. Having Cena go over would be an easy call, but Styles has lost three straight PPV matches. Shouldn’t he get a win here? Yes he should. I know the contract states no Gallows or Anderson. They could still do something where they show up at ringside, Styles capitalizes on the distraction with a Pele Kick and Styles Clash and wins the match. That’s really all it has to be.
I think Styles will win in a manner that isn’t totally clean, but if they went the clean route that would be really cool too. It’s just when Cena is involved it’s hard to envision a clean loss especially after he’s been out of action for nearly six months.
Winner: AJ Styles
Is it dangerous that all three of us picked against Cena? You damn right.
WWE World Heavyweight Title: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
Matt: I feel bad for these guys. The reaction that they’re getting in comparison to AJ/Cena is night and day. As big as this match is on paper, and as great as the video packages hype it up to be, the live in arena segments really took a lot of the electricity away from this match.
It doesn’t help that the fans so desperately want to cheer Seth Rollins and boo Roman Reigns. I’ve entered the phase where I really pity the position Roman is in. I don’t hate him, but I certainly do not like what they’re doing with him. I honestly can’t remember a time where I was this indifferent towards a WWE World Heavyweight Champion. I honestly just don’t care that he’s Champion or about the title at this point. They definitely need Ambrose to win the Briefcase to spice up the proceedings in my humble opinion. Unfortunately, the WWE has an aversion to spicing things up (it upsets their ever irritable bowels).
It’ll be a good match, but at the end of the day, the feud just lacks an energy that you can’t fake. Playing into how the fans feel is a huge part of fostering such energy.
Winner and Still WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Roman Reigns (do I really need to spell out why?)
Mike: Few things have been as looked forward to as the return of Seth Rollins, and while he can take credit for some of that, it’s actually been the presentation of Roman Reigns that has made his absence make hearts grow fonder. Reigns hasn’t taken as champion despite the company’s best efforts, and even Rollins vamping it up as an uber-heel with a series of solid promos has been ineffective at changing the odd paradigm. It’s clear a good bit of the Universe want Rollins as their champion, heel or no, and equally clear that an even larger portion wants anyone but “The Guy” as their representative. And no amount of sycophantic social media catchphrase ranking can alter that reality.
This is McMahon’s world, though, and his will is all that matters. Many have learned that at their expense, and the fans are not immune. It will be interesting to see where they go with Rollins, but I have no reason to believe they short-circuit their wrestling Frankenstein at a second-tier event, especially with the brand split looming. Rollins can continue to pursue Reigns for a while until the next chapter, and assuming Owens does land the briefcase, logic dictates he’s chasing a face champion.
As to whether the title shot is cashed in, that’s the beauty of my predicted ending. It’s the perfect opportunity to tease Owens cashing in on Reigns after a long, brutal battle, only for Roman to overcome adversity and chase the potential titleholder away for a better time and place. There are a lot of fascinating and fun ways for things to go down at MITB, but unfortunately the status quo is too common a route for me to assume the road less traveled.
Winner (And Still World Champion): Roman Reigns
John: I’m going with Roman Reigns because I think Vince McMahon is so keen on making him “The Guy” that he is going to ride with him as WWE Champion until SummerSlam at least, if not longer. Just because it worked for other people in the past doesn’t mean it’s working for Reigns. They should probably pay more attention to ratings being down, attendance being down and Roman’s merch not really setting the world on fire. He’s a good performer, but when he’s in the spot he is in I feel he should be more of a difference maker.
Rollins is the best all around performer in WWE. I know he hasn’t wrestled on television in about eight months, but he’s been back on live events for a few weeks and apparently looks as good as ever. I don’t doubt it. The guy is a workaholic that loves the business, so he’s going to continue to improve on what he’s done in the past.
They’ll probably get a lot of time (over 20 minutes is likely) and I doubt it’s going to be a clean finish. This feels like the first in a series of matches whether the follow up is a singles match or a multi-man match.
I also get the feeling that Triple H is going to return here. He’s got a history with both guys, so what I think he might do is tease helping Rollins (since Seth is the heel) and then end up dropping Rollins with a Pedigree. Reigns can retain that way while people wonder if Reigns is working with Hunter or if he was just capitalizing on the situation. It’s a way to build a story, which is what they sorely need with Reigns. Then all of it can lead to Rollins turning face like he should be and he can face former mentor Triple H at SummerSlam.
Reigns retains as business continues to remain stagnant while we all hope that the brand extension next month leads to the kind of positive change we can get excited about.
Winner: Roman Reigns
John: That’s all for Money in the Bank. I think the three top matches will be excellent (that means four stars out of five level with possibility for being higher) and because of that, this will be one of the best PPVs of the year.
I’m not going to see this show live because the NBA Finals game 7 is on at the same time. I’m going to watch that live with some family and then check out Money in the Bank. Look for my MITB review up on Monday.
Matt – @MJDP_GSE
Mike – @DharmanRockwell
John – @johnreport
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