John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Money in the Bank. It’s a show that has 11 matches advertised with a one hour Kickoff Show at 6pmET/3pmPT and then the main show starts at 7pmET/4pmPT with an expected run time of about four hours. As always, you can watch the show on Sunday night on WWE Network.
I have always been a big fan of the Money in the Bank ladder matches because they are oftentimes unpredictable and usually they are very good too. I like them so much that recently I created a whole section on TJRWrestling where I reviewed every Money in the Bank match. I think the two ladder matches plus, the Universal and WWE Title matches make this a potentially great show going into it, but it’s up to the wrestlers and the booking to make it memorable. I like the card a lot, though. I can’t say that about every WWE PPV.
There is some big competition for Money in the Bank on Sunday night because the Game of Thrones series finale on HBO should draw a huge audience. I don’t watch it, but obviously a lot of people do since it’s the most popular TV show these days. I’ll be watching my Toronto Raptors hosting the Milwaukee Bucks in game 3 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals and that game should draw a big audience too. I’ll watch Money in the Bank after that’s over, so if you’re looking for my review, it will be on TJRWrestling a few hours after Money in the Bank is over.
Joining me for the preview is Mike Holland. No Matthew J. Douglas due to work commitments.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE. The banner up top is courtesy of our friend Melo Man.)
Cruiserweight Championship: Tony Nese (c) vs. Ariya Daivari
Mike: We begin our MITB efforts with the usual “solid but largely ignored” Cruiserweight Championship match, in which WWE gets its opportunity to remind their general viewing public that 205 Live is a weekly thing. To say that largely falls on deaf ears would be an understatement. I like this matchup because it feels somewhat fresh to me. Daivari as a character has been presented rather well and it feels possible that he could in fact win the belt. As for Nese, given that he was the one to unseat the long-running Buddy Murphy as grand poobah (and Murphy DID get drafted to SmackDown, right?!? somebody put that guy on a milk carton), it has breathed some fresh air into what was becoming a rather repetitive defense pattern.
For this match, I tend to fall back upon the tried-and-true mantra that it’s generally not a good idea to have someone new win the belt and then have them immediately lose it to another new challenger. This is not to say WWE wouldn’t do it, especially in this era of titles having way less significance, but it’s still pretty rare. Daivari will get a run but not just yet.
Winner (and STILL Cruiserweight Champion): Tony Nese
John: This is not being advertised as a Kickoff Show match as of this writing, but I assume it will be on the Kickoff Show. I’ll keep this one short by saying that Nese just won the title at WrestleMania, so I doubt he’s going to lose the title so quickly even though I like Daivari as a solid heel wrestler. I don’t watch 205 Live every week. It’s just not that interesting right now.
Winner: Tony Nese
Daniel Bryan and Rowan vs. The Usos (KICKOFF SHOW)
This match is not for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles.
Mike: As John has pointed out, what a strange and terrible world we occupy when the fantastically gifted Daniel Bryan goes from losing the WWE Title to an “Interbrand” tag team kickoff show. You can get lost in this stuff if you choose, but I’m only going far enough down the proverbial rabbit hole to say howdy. This match is just rather silly. It would make sense for Survivor Series or some other PPV where bragging rights are on the line, but you’re telling me there isn’t a single Smackdown tag team that could challenge for these belts? The Usos just went to Raw and are basically back in a blue brand match? Well, sure, whatever.
If this match was for the titles, there would obviously and clearly be very little way the Usos would win. The fact that it isn’t, and that it’s on the pre show, helps their chances rather significantly. That said, I don’t see WWE booking champs to straight up lose to guys from another show, even when those guys were on Smackdown forever. I smell chicanery here, perhaps from a Bray Wyatt appearance? It just seems like something they are doing for some larger purpose. I hope.
Winners: Daniel Bryan & Rowan, with hijinks of some sort
John: It is frustrating that Daniel Bryan is wrestling on the Kickoff Show considering he was the WWE Champion wrestling in a huge match at WrestleMania. In WWE’s defense, he was injured for a few weeks and they didn’t know if he would be cleared to wrestle here. Thankfully, Bryan was cleared and they decided to put him on the Kickoff Show. Is it better than not being on the show? Yes. Also, this match will be on before the NBA Playoff game starts, so that means I will see it live. I guess that’s not too bad then. Since it’s not for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles (and WWE loves to book champions to lose non-title matches), I’ll go with a win for The Usos. It doesn’t really matter either way. This should be a very good match.
Winners: The Usos
United States Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
Mike: I really liked this match the first time around, as presented when part of the WrestleMania slate. I expected big things and a Samoa Joe win, and I got one of those two things. I can’t fault WWE if Rey’s injuries forced a change and turned it into a Joe squash, but we’ll just never know. It’s easily as likely they felt that was the way to go, but now we’re getting it again and it’s hard to wash the taste of the first one out to properly judge this one. Let’s hope this is the more competitive encounter we should have seen originally.
In terms of a winner, I highly doubt Joe loses here. He’s due for a big back half of the year in my view, and should be set up as a challenger for bigger belts in due course. All eyes will appropriately be on Rey’s son Dominick here, as it’s been rumored for some time that he would be getting physically involved in an angle following his wrestling training. His original angle during the halcyon Eddie Guerrero days was one of the best and most powerful. I think it more than likely he “accidentally” factors in here.
Winner (and STILL United States Champion): Samoa Joe
John: They had a pretty good match on TV a few weeks ago where Rey won non-title on Raw to earn another title shot at Joe. The question with this match is do they use Dominick to turn heel on daddy Rey or use him to have Joe take advantage of Dominick and use that to beat Rey? I’ll go with Joe using Dominick to outsmart Rey. Dominick is a trained wrestler now, he will probably get signed to a WWE deal if he hasn’t already and maybe this is the start of building him up as a wrestler. Anyway, I’ll go with a Joe win after about 12 minutes.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans
Mike: The Becky “Two Belts” situation is another head-scratcher for me in which I fully understand and support the decision for her to win at Mania, but think it just started the WWE down another blind alley where Lynch has to defend both belts on both brands and risks overexposure and potentially outright boredom. It’s further quantified by the recent Vinnie Mac plan to ship talent between shows, even further reducing the spectacle of one unique wrestler on both shows as a result of their championship status. I’ll fully reserve judgment until things get further down the track, but early returns are not great.
Of Becky’s two title defenses, this one is a much easier call. Lacey Evans has finally improved upon walking down to the ring and back, and while that intro was laughable, she’s decent enough in the ring and her character has the potential to be interesting if they ever get around to giving her something reasonable to do. I think she’ll have a more than decent showing against Lynch, but to me it’s more about setting the table for later than what’s dined upon in this first course.
Winner (and STILL Raw Women’s Champion): Becky Lynch
John: It could be argued that this is the right time to put Evans over Lynch clean because it would make Evans look like a legit competitor that won a championship in her first PPV match. While I understand wanting to do that with Evans, it just feels like it is too soon. I think if Becky holds one title for six months or however long you want to define a significant amount of time, it is probably this title since Lynch was already established on Smackdown for three years. I’ll go with Lynch winning a match that’s very competitive where the announcers will put over Evans for coming close to winning, but she will fall short.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Steel Cage Match: The Miz vs. Shane McMahon
Mike: Is this feud STILL going on? I think Miz as a face was a long time coming, but count me out for another round of Shane-O-Mac’s slapdash, overwrought offense. Fighting the boss was fine in the Austin/VKM era, but this just comes across to me as an excuse to keep shoveling Shane down our throats. I expected Miz to come out on top at WM, and I’ll be fair and say that match wasn’t as disastrous as I potentially imagined. If you’re wondering why this match is in a steel cage, I’ll assume you’ve never seen a Shane McMahon match. The cage exists purely for him to do something insane from. It’s as much a prop as Mizanin’s Pops. And just about as effective.
Miz was drafted to Raw, making his frequent run-ins with Shane even less relevant, so we can consider this the blowoff where he finally claims vengeance for his family and a healthy portion of just desserts. What is infinitely more interesting to me than this paint-my-numbers contest is Miz’s road from here. Can he continue to perform at the same solid level he achieved as a cartoonish villain? We shall see.
Winner: The Miz
John: I’m tired of this storyline and look forward to the rivalry ending here. Shane will probably go for a dive off the top of the cage, Miz will move, Shane will hit the mat hard and Miz will hit the Skull Crushing Finale to win. I just hope Shane sticks to something basic like a splash or an elbow drop. Don’t try a Shooting Star Press off the cage. It’s not smart. Also, I am all for less Shane McMahon matches. Hey WWE management, please use your younger talent better.
Winner: The Miz
Roman Reigns vs. Elias
Mike: I can’t say I’ve been clamoring for this encounter, but if keeps Roman out of the MITB match, it works for me. Reigns to Smackdown was both predictable and intelligent, particularly with AJ Styles seeing red, and positions him as an obvious challenger to whoever ends up claiming the belt from Kofi. In the meantime, we get Elias in an actual wrestling match rather than a pseudo-concert, something that’s been pretty darn rare on big match cards of late. Elias has been a victim of poor booking (nothing Strowman level, mind you, but bad) where his tween character gets the burdens of both and the benefits of neither. Sad state of affairs.
This, then, becomes a pretty obvious deal. Reigns needs some simple opposition while he bides his time, and Elias’s latest comedy chapter can come at the hands of someone meant to stay very strong in the eyes of the fans for yet another book. We should be used to this by now.
Winner: Roman Reigns
John: My feeling is that this is the first match in a long rivalry that’s going to stretch across two or three PPVs, so in order to get there then you need to have the heel Elias get the win or a screwy finish. If Reigns wins, then they can have Elias and Shane McMahon attack him leading to a handicap match at the next PPV, but Elias would have already been labeled a loser by the fans. If Elias wins this match like I want, even if it is cheap, then at least he has some credibility because he can say he beat Reigns.
Smackdown needs heels to be booked stronger than they are and if Elias is going to have a future as a potential main event guy, he should win here. Plus, Reigns needs to be kept away from the WWE Title until SummerSlam or October when Smackdown is on Fox, so continuing this Reigns/Elias feud seems likely. I’ll go with a DQ finish where Elias hits Reigns with a guitar after he realizes he can’t beat him.
Winner: Roman Reigns by disqualification
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Mike: Lynch’s second title defense is against a very familiar opponent (and part of the WM Triple Threat) in Charlotte Flair. If I had my druthers, I wouldn’t put Flair in this slot. She would make a credible MITB winner, and slowly start her climb back to an eventual rematch with Lynch, which certainly has been money in the past. Instead, we are right back in Rematchville, population two, with the unattractive prospect of another Charlotte title reign right out of the chute.
It is with those thoughts in mind that I feel confident Lynch isn’t losing to Flair here. While that may eventually be the plan, it’s simply too soon. A more likely progression of events is Flair and Lynch adding to their series of very good matches with another one here, where Lynch continues to take damage after a surprisingly hard-fought victory over Evans. She scores the win over Charlotte, pulling it out by the skin of her teeth and retaining both titles in impressive fashion, but is utterly shocked when the MITB winner cashes in her opportunity and stuns her with a fairly easy victory. If this match goes on after that one, you have your script.
Winner (and STILL Smackdown Women’s Champion): Becky Lynch
John: This is the end of this long rivalry most likely…for now…. until it starts again. This is probably going to be the Cena/Orton of this generation, which is okay since I like their matches. However, some freshness would be good for both women too. I don’t think the “Becky Two Belts” was ever going to last that long and booking her to wrestle twice in a show suggests that she might lose her, but I am picking Lynch to retain. I’m not sure about it at all. It’s just a feeling that I have. The woman that will beat Lynch for this title is probably going to be the Money in the Bank holder. It’s possible that this match goes on before the Raw match, they end it in a DQ where Flair injures Lynch and then Lynch has to overcome that injury to beat Evans, which can lead to a Money in the Bank cash in. There are a lot of options here, which makes it fun. I’ll go with Lynch finding a way to retain her title.
I think Charlotte Flair will be Smackdown Women’s Champion by the time Smackdown is on Fox in October. I don’t think she needs it right now, though.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Natalya, Naomi, Dana Brooke, Nikki Cross, Bayley, Mandy Rose, Ember Moon, Carmella
Note: Alexa Bliss was originally in this match, but she is not medically cleared and has been replaced by Nikki Cross.
Mike: I considered Alexa Bliss a pretty solid favorite here prior to her removal from the match due to injury, and the reason is obvious: heels make far better winners from a storyline perspective, and she is one heck of a heel. With her off the table, we have a Kentucky Derby-sized field of unlikely contenders and previous winners, including last year’s, Carmella. History will not repeat itself.
My personal booking strategy for MITB is it should showcase either newer talent or talent on the cusp of something better. The Royal Rumble is usually reserved for the A-list players, and rightfully so, but this event really gives you the opportunity to elevate someone to that next level in a match that is all about showcasing everyone at one point or another. There is an art and skill to the ability to do this, of course, but it is what makes this event different and fun. It is for that reason both Natalya and Naomi are out for me.
The rest of the group has a lot of interesting names. Cross was a last-minute addition, so it’s likely she won’t factor into the decision. Dana Brooke has made some waves in recent months and been a solid citizen behind the scenes, but I think it’s a bit early for a match of this importance. Ember Moon possesses the perfect skill set for a match like this, but once again I think it’s early. That leaves me with the choice of Mandy Rose, who’s been knocking on the door for an opportunity for quite some time, and Bayley, who has navigated the choppy seas of her on-again/off-again/who-knows-again association with the MIA Sasha Banks to potentially position herself as the viable challenger she should have been immediately upon NXT callup.
Either of those winners works for me, but personally I think Bayley getting her due and coming away with the briefcase gets her back into the swing of things finally, and allows for the surprising Kodak moment I mentioned previously.
John: I like to break these matches down by giving some quick thoughts on all the competitors.
Carmella – She won a few years ago as a heel and she’s a face now, so it feels different. I think she’s just there to help round out the match with the announcers trying to say she’s a favorite to win since she’s a former winner.
Dana Brooke – The biggest match of her career? Probably. I know she had that very short match against Ronda Rousey, but this is bigger. She did well on Raw with that dive off the ladder, so I hope she tries something special like that again. She has no chance of winning, but it’s big for her career because she can make an impression with a big showing. I still think she would do a lot better as a heel.
Natalya – It’s smart to put her in the match as a veteran with a lot of experience that will be in her fourth Money in the Bank ladder match. I don’t expect her to win.
Naomi – A win would give Naomi a fresh start on Raw although it just doesn’t feel like she is being used in a way that will warrant a victory for her. She could get pushed to the title level at any time, though.
Nikki Cross – As a late addition for Alexa Bliss and a “new” women’s wrestler on the main roster, it would be interesting to see Cross win. What I think may happen is Alexa Bliss may show up to try to help her win, then “accidentally” cost her the win and that could set up a rivalry between them assuming Bliss can return to the ring soon.
Ember Moon – I like Ember a lot and she impressed me in her NXT days especially when it comes to selling moves. Her offense is great, but she is incredible at selling and that helps a lot. Anyway, I hope she gets a push whether she wins MITB or not. I think she has a chance to win.
Bayley – Over the last few weeks, my pick to win was Bayley because I feel like WWE moved her to Smackdown to try to give her a fresh start. Putting Money in the Bank on her is also a way to get behind her more. She has history with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair as allies in the “Four Horsewomen,” so I’m not sure she needs Money in the Bank. They could push her without it.
Mandy Rose – My favorite woman in the match is also my pick to win. Rose was pinned on Smackdown this week, which could make it look like she isn’t doing well of late, but that’s typical WWE booking before they put somebody over in a big way. The original idea behind Money in the Bank was to push an emerging star with the briefcase. I think Mandy is the right choice this year. I’m not 100% sure on it, but she is my pick.
I think it should be a pretty good match although there are some weak links in here that may miss up some spots. As long as they plan it out well, don’t do anything too crazy and set up an exciting finish, it should be fun to watch. Going with Mandy just ahead of Bayley here.
Winner: Mandy Rose
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, Ricochet, Ali, Randy Orton, Andrade, Finn Balor, Sami Zayn
Mike: Let me be clear from the jump: this has all the makings of a fantastic match. I am a big fan of the participants of this match in general, and while the removal of Braun Strowman in favor of Sami Zayn continues the silly booking of the monster, it makes perfect sense here for several reasons. (And, let’s be fair: who wouldn’t prefer Zayn in a match like this?) The only competitors I could care less about here are quite obviously Baron Corbin, who must possess pictures of WWE corporate in flagrante delicto, and Randy Orton, who I have nothing against in this match from a talent perspective but am just sort of bored with at this point. Randy will of course RKO someone (and perhaps multiple folks) off the ladder, so get your cell phones out, but there’s where the excitement ends for him.
The remaining six are all folks who could conceivably cash, and to be honest I’ve gone back and forth on my answer. I like a heel to win this for reasons mentioned before, and on the heels of my last prediction there is no way I go face here. Finn should be used to this treatment by now, Ricochet is here to look really good while coming up short, and Ali is another guy whose time is definitely approaching quickly. That leaves the spectacularly solid trio of McIntyre, Andrade, and Zayn.
I’m not taking Sami for reasons beyond obvious: the removal of Strowman from this match does not equal his removal from the card and he is not happy about it. Those frustrations will be taken out on SZ. McIntyre is clearly being positioned for very big things very quickly, and this would mark a fitting accomplishment for a guy that’s done wonders for himself this year. I don’t know that he needs the briefcase, though, since a big part of his gimmick is just being better than everyone else. I like Andrade as the winner, giving him a lengthy amount of time to plan out the perfect moment to make himself the featured star he most definitely can be. It should be a doozy.
John: I’ll break it down like I did with the women’s match.
Ali – I think he’ll do some big high spot along with Ricochet because he’s a risk-taker and the fans are going to see what he can do. I don’t see him as a favorite to win.
Randy Orton – As a veteran presence, it’s easy to tell the story of Orton using his experience to win this match for the second time. He hasn’t been doing much post-WrestleMania. I just don’t think he should win when there are better choices in the match.
Finn Balor – The Intercontinental Title seems like a good fit for him. I don’t see a need to have him win Money in the Bank briefcase. Give us that feud with Andrade over the next few months because they should produce some outstanding matches.
Baron Corbin – After the angle on Raw where McIntyre and Corbin beat up Strowman to take him out of this match, that makes me think that Strowman will do everything he can to prevent McIntyre and Corbin from winning. They are the ones that cost him his spot at Money in the Bank, so I expect Strowman to show up and beat their asses.
Ricochet – If it was up to me, he’s one of the guys on the roster that I would push the hardest, but WWE really isn’t using hm as well as they should. Winning Money in the Bank would provide a huge boost to him, so I think he’s a contender.
Andrade – I like the idea of Andrade getting that Money in the Bank win leading to a big push. I just don’t know if this the right time for it because of others in this match. As I mentioned earlier, Andrade vs. Balor is an awesome feud waiting to happen, so I don’t feel like they need to put Money in the Bank on him. In a year’s time, he would be a great pick. Right now, I just don’t feel it that much.
Drew McIntyre – He may be the biggest favorite to win, but what I said about Corbin applies to Drew too. Both guys could be pushed as top heels on Raw anyway without the Money in the Bank briefcase. A week ago, he would have been my pick. After what they did on Raw, I changed my mind.
Sami Zayn – My favorite Money in the Bank winners are the sneaky heels that luck their way to a victory, then threaten to cash in for months and eventually they figure out the right time to do it to become champion. That fits Zayn perfectly. I think the fact that he hasn’t won a singles title on the main roster also makes him a good pick because it would give him a lot of credibility. His heel gimmick ripping on the fans for being critics is working well and we know he’s great in the ring. I really want Sami to win. The concern with him not winning is maybe Strowman will cost him too, but I like the idea of Zayn avoiding a Strowman attack and finding a way to win.
There’s a lot of talent here and if they get 20-25 minutes then they should be able to have one of the best Money in the Bank matches of the year. It’s a good mix of athletic guys willing to take risks, all around wrestlers that can do everything and big guys that will do their part too. It should be an outstanding match.
Winner: Sami Zayn
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Kevin Owens
Mike: I confess to this being a bit of a mixed bag for me, and it’s for reasons that surprisingly don’t have much to do with WWE’s booking. Kofi’s run up to WM and his big win over Daniel Bryan was magical stuff, but now that he has the belt it’s fallen a bit flat for me. I feel like it’s one of those situations where you reward a great team player with Employee of the Month, but it doesn’t make him manager material for the long haul. It’s no shot on Kofi, just a case of really having to elevate your game even more once you have what you so desperately wanted. Writing will not do that for you. Certainly not WWE’s writing.
In addition, the Kevin Owens challenge here is fine and all, but clearly forced due to Bryan’s uncertain injury status. Ad libs have to be made in this business, to be sure, but they had just scratched the surface of KO as a face character and an eventual slow burn back to his evil ways would have been just what the doctor ordered over the long summer days and nights. Instead, we got a season’s worth of television in about two weeks. It’s binge-watching gone ridiculous.
I think Kofi needs to drop the belt, but I don’t think it’s going to fall to Owens to take care of that. While solid, he is clearly a stopgap plan “B” here. It will be interesting to see how Bryan factors back into this story, and Owens may very well get some sort of rematch after the decision Sunday. These guys will deliver the mail, without question, but it’s not as exciting reading material as you might have thought.
Winner (and STILL WWE Champion): Kofi Kingston
John: This feud has been booked well. Owens is a lot more comfortable as a heel and when he turned heel on Kingston a few weeks ago, the fans reacted to it in a big way because they actually believed Owens was genuine with his “Big O” routine. This feels like the first of a few matches between them, so I can see it ending in controversial fashion somehow perhaps with a double DQ or double countout or Kingston wins while KO’s foot is under the bottom rope for the pinfall where the referee doesn’t see it. They can do the rematch at Super Showdown show in Saudia Arabia on June 7 and then later in June at Stomping Grounds (still gotta get used to that name), perhaps it will be Kingston vs. Owens vs. Bryan to switch it up a bit.
I think when you try to figure out the WWE Title scene on Smackdown, you have to look ahead and think that by the time we get to Smackdown on Fox in October, it probably means Roman Reigns or Brock Lesnar will be champion by that point. They need to keep Reigns busy until then. I could see Owens beating Kingston for the WWE Title a bit down the road, but it just seems too soon to do it now.
Kingston should have a title reign of at least three or four months to see how he does. We should welcome new people in the main picture and even though Kofi is an 11-year veteran in WWE land, he is fresh as a main event talent. I think he’s pretty damn good too. They should have an awesome match with a hot crowd. Kofi retains, but it won’t be the end of this rivalry.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. AJ Styles
Mike: It’s hard to top this as match of the night, and the reason is very simple indeed: It’s different! Saints be praised! Rollins and Styles were standout performers for their respective brands since the last roster shake, and now they have continued that momentum into a largely compelling story about Rollins having his Shield brothers gone and Styles coming for his big belt. The difficult part of this tale is both guys occupy the same role in the minds of most fans, that being a very popular performer capable of delivering a great match. While that inevitably means the quality of the contest is beyond reproach, it also is a far more difficult story to tell in a world that generally falls back the standard tropes of good and evil. Make no mistake, it can be done: but it’s a much tougher slog.
Those comments indicate what I think, that being the very slow turn of AJ into a heel character on his new Raw home. AJ is decent enough on the microphone, and clearly his work rate is exceptional, but he will really have an opportunity to cement his WWE legacy if he can effectively take the ball and run with the boos. There is no need to rush this, in fact I think it hurts the overall arc if they do, but this will be a very solid single step on that path. I feel like this sets up with both guys wrestling an excellent match and Rollins getting the win with a reversal or something of that nature. A momentary blink of an eye scenario where Styles had it and then didn’t. That will eventually prove the fulcrum for his frustration and breakdown and make for some very compelling things to come.
Winner (and STILL Universal Champion): Seth Rollins
John: I agree with Mike that a big reason to get excited about this Rollins/Styles match is that it’s different and fresh. The same thing can be said about Kingston/Owens, which means that yes WWE Universe, the creative team isn’t that bad because we are getting some great matches for the most important titles in the company. It’s not like a Jinder Mahal push! This is something worth getting excited about.
I hope this is an outstanding match that we look back on fondly as one of the best WWE matches of the year. Rollins and Styles are certainly capable of delivering a match of the year contender because they have done it plenty of times before. What I’m concerned about a bit is if this is the main event of a four-hour show (five hours if you count the Kickoff Show) then maybe the crowd in Hartford will be tired by the time these guys get out there. Another reason to worry a bit is because sometimes face vs. face matches don’t work. Remember AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania? There was a lot of hype, but it just didn’t live up to expectations. Nakamura turned after the match, they had rematches and those were disappointing too. I’m also reminded of that feud because when Nakamura realized he couldn’t beat Styles, he hit him with a low blow and Nakamura turned heel. Could Styles turn heel after he fails to win? I think there’s a strong possibility of it because if he did then this feud could continue for several more months. I don’t think Styles will turn as soon as Sunday, but a few months down the road I think it might happen.
It’s too soon to take the title off Rollins. Let’s see what he can do as a long term Universal Champion. I hope he keeps the title until at least SummerSlam because the guy deserves it after being one of the best performers in WWE this decade.
This should be an excellent match that gets around 20 minutes full of great aerial moves, a lot of quick counters to signature spots and I’m sure there will be plenty of believable nearfalls too. Trust me, all of us may be excited about this match, but I’m sure Seth and AJ have pictured it in their heads for years as well. When it’s over, I think we’ll be talking about Rollins vs. Styles as one of the best WWE matches this year. No pressure, boys! Haha.
Winner: Seth Rollins
The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most
Mike: Very close call between the men’s MITB and Rollins/Styles, but I have to go with the latter. Should be epic.
John: I’ll go with Rollins vs. Styles since it’s the first time ever in a WWE ring for them in a singles match. That’s pretty cool. I like the Men’s MITB and Owens/Kingston a lot too.
The Match I Care About The Least
Mike: Bryan and Rowan vs. Usos. Just a waste of a match with very good talent.
John: The Miz vs. Shane McMahon.
Mike: Men’s MITB. Both ladder matches will obviously be lengthy with the number of spots.
John: Men’s Money in the Bank is my pick. I think the men’s Money in the Bank match will go 20-25 minutes. Rollins vs. Styles should get over 20 minutes too.
Mike: Reigns vs. Elias.
John: Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans. I don’t think booking Lacey in a long match would be smart. Under ten minutes.
Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)
Mike: I am going 7.5. The back half of this card is very good. I think the ladder matches were well constructed, there are plenty of title matches to satisfy the traditionalists such as myself, and there’s good variety on the card plus plenty of opportunities for surprises. The card has a bit of fat to be trimmed to get to super excitement, but it’s a minor quibble frankly. This event delivers more often than not and I think this should be a good one.
John: It’s an 8 from me. I think the two major title matches will be outstanding with Rollins vs. Styles likely to be one of the best WWE matches this year. The men’s Money in the Bank should be excellent, the women’s MITB has a lot of options, Becky Lynch trying to retain both titles is a unique storyline that has my interest and I’m intrigued by how they book the finishes for some of the other matches. The WWE product on Raw is stale and Smackdown is a good show that lacks excitement at times, but when you put the talent in the ring and let them have long matches, they are usually going to deliver. I think Money in the Bank will be great. It may be the best WWE PPV of 2019.
John: I’ll be back with a review of Money in the Bank on TJRWrestling.net late Sunday night a few hours after it’s over, so check back around 2amET for the full review. Sorry, but it won’t be live.
Mike – @DharmanRockwell
John – @johnreport
If you want to send an email, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org as well. Thanks for reading.