John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Money in the Bank preview. It’s the second straight WWE pay-per-view in this empty arena era that we’re in due to the health crisis following last month’s WrestleMania show. An event like Money in the Bank is normally one of the biggest and most important WWE events of the year, but there’s definitely a bit of a different feel this year. The runtime should be around three hours on Sunday with The Undertaker’s “The Last Ride” documentary special immediately following MITB on WWE Network.
There are only six matches announced following this week’s WWE TV. They might add more by the time we get to Sunday night, but we can only preview what we know. The big news about this show is that the Men’s and Women’s Money in the Bank competitors (six people in each match) will have their matches take place simultaneously at WWE Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. The wrestlers start at the bottom, then they fight their way to the top of the building and then on the roof of the build there’s a wrestling ring with two Money in the Bank briefcases hanging above the ring. All we really know is that WWE taped the matches several weeks ago, then they’ve edited it together and we’ll see how it is presented on Sunday. I’m definitely intrigued by it because the Boneyard Match at WrestleMania was really produced, so if it has a cinematic feel like that then it could be a lot of fun. The issue with this is that there are 12 wrestlers involved, so it’s going to be hard to cover all of the action. Since they have had several weeks to edit the footage, I’m sure they’ll create something that WWE management is pleased with.
As for the non-Money in the Bank ladder matches, the card is okay, but not great. Several of the titles on Raw and Smackdown are not on this show with some of the champions barely appearing on TV since WrestleMania. I think the big selling point with this event will be the two ladder matches. If those matches are a big hit with fans the way the Boneyard Match then people will react to this show favorably. If those matches do not live up to expectations then it’s going to be tough for this to be a good show because the rest of the lineup isn’t that interesting.
Joining me for the preview are Alex Podgorski and Mike Sanchez. Here are some thoughts from Alex and then we’ll get to the preview.
Alex: Like WrestleMania, this is going to be a weird show. Money in the Bank is usually about insane, high-risk moves that elicit loud reactions from the crowd. But since no fans will be there, and since WWE haven’t copied AEW and put random wrestlers in the audience to make some noise, this show won’t be as exciting as it should be. But this show, like the zeitgeist of the year 2020, is about people doing their best to make the most of an otherwise awful situation. With that in mind, this weird show has the potential to be fun. It just depends on whether the matches we witness are new and exciting or more of the same of what we have already seen so many times before.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.)
UPDATE: WWE added two more matches on Saturday afternoon.
* Jeff Hardy vs. Cesaro on the Kickoff Show
* R-Truth vs. Montel Vontavious Porter on the main show.
I don’t know how they decided what match is on what show, but that’s what they announced today.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Tamina
Alex: There is nothing that WWE can do to make me interested in Tamina Snuka wrestling. She has been there for over a decade and has accomplished absolutely nothing. More often than not, she was used to ‘fill out the numbers’ in tag matches and have one medium-sized moment in which she tributes her father with a diving splash. To that end, she has no credibility to me as a challenger for Bayley’s title. I hate to say it, but this will probably the worst match on the show. Bayley will have to carry Tamina to a halfway decent match that’ll probably go too long to begin with. I predict this will go between eight and twelve minutes in length, and much of that will feature Tamina hitting moves slowly and Bayley using rest holds. I’m trying my best to be positive here, but there are so many other people that Bayley could defend her title against that would make for a more worthwhile wrestling match.
Winner and STILL SmackDown Women’s Champion: Bayley
Mike: Biggest lock of the night for me. Bayley all the way. I don’t think WWE have ever used Tamina to her strengths, although she’s been around for ten years without ever reaching the higher tiers of the division. I like that she’s been the subject of a mini-push, but I don’t see any long term impact from it. Bayley will continue on with the belt around her waist. Sasha Banks is waiting down the line.
Winner and still Smackdown Women’s Champion – Bayley
John: It’s difficult to get excited about a Tamina match. I’m sure she’s a good person and I know she’s well liked by her peers that are happy for her getting a title match push, but as a fan there’s just not much there. From a booking perspective, they have done well in terms of presenting Tamina as a threat due to her size and having the advantage over Bayley multiple times in the past.
I think the finish will be something like Tamina dominates the whole match, then Bayley uses Sasha Banks to help Bayley win perhaps by having a spot on the floor where Bayley pulls Banks in front of her leading to Tamina taking out Banks. That’s when Bayley can capitalize on that to win. Something like that would work. The Bayley/Banks feud is coming soon, so they just have to keep building that story by having Bayley survive as champion against the other women on the roster.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Big E (c) vs. The Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake w/Jackson Ryker) vs. Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik) vs. The Miz and John Morrison
Alex: I hate telling bad jokes, but up until I started writing this preview, I had forgotten about The Forgotten Sons. I have no idea who Steve Cutler is, Jaxson Ryker sounds and looks like someone Randy Orton would play in a crappy straight-to-DVD action film, and Wesley Blake looks like the twisted love child of Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin. These guys have no chance against either The New Day or Miz & Morrison, both of which are well-established tag teams with world-champion-level wrestlers. And since the Lucha House Party never wins when it matters, they’re probably just going to be in this match to hit some big flippy moves to excite the (non-existent) crowd. The real story here is the rivalry between New Day and Miz & Morrison. And given how these two teams have done well in previous matches with one or both sides fighting desperately for something, it would be a bad time to start playing Hot Potato with the tag titles now.
Winners and STILL SmackDown Tag Team Champions: The New Day
Mike: I think there’ll be one title change in the show and it’ll be here. Lucha House Party will jump and fly all around the arena and make the other teams look great. I expect some sort of insane high spot from them at some point. The Forgotten Sons are still relatively new, so though I doubt they’ll come out on top. They will gain great experience from this match and could be a threat – especially with an extra man at ringside. New Day are New Day and we know what to expect – great action and top class wrestling. Miz and Morrison will always be in the title picture and I think they’ll sneak a win here and escape with the titles.
Winners and new Smackdown Tag Team Champions – Miz & Morrison
John: The way this match has been built has seen all three teams get wins in TV matches in the last three weeks, but not New Day, who are the champions. Lucha House Party beat Miz and Morrison, then Forgotten Sons beat New Day non-title (of course) and then this week on Smackdown, Miz got the win for his team in an 8-man tag. Everything seems to be lining up for New Day to retain the titles.
With that said, it wouldn’t surprise me that much if Miz and Morrison got the titles back. It’s also possible that the Forgotten Sons win as WWE tries to build them up as a credible team. There’s also Heavy Machinery waiting in the wings and I figure they’ll get a title win at some point this year, so Miz and Morrison are the right team for them to beat. For this match I will go with New Day, but it’s not a lock. This match is first fall wins, so look for a lot of believable nearfalls through the match and I think it will be a pretty good match that gets 12-15 minutes.
Winners: The New Day
Women’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match: Asuka vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Nia Jax vs. Dana Brooke vs. Lacey Evans vs. Carmella
Alex: Looking at this as a match, it’s hard to predict who could win. Asuka is awesome, but WWE books Japanese talent about as well as they do their own movies (Hereditary notwithstanding). Baszler is basically Ronda Rousey with Vladimir Kozlov’s charisma, and fewer and fewer people actually care for her as a wrestler. Nia Jax likely won’t win because Baszler will try and murder her for criticizing Baszler’s friend Rousey (the irony of that whole fiasco being completely lost on Jax). That leaves us with three random blondes, and only one of them has a half-exciting personality. Since WWE are desperate to pump some fresh blood into increasingly-stagnant divisions mired by repetitive booking and stale match-ups, I’m going to predict a dark horse victory here. As Asuka, Evans and Carmella try their best to keep Jax and Baszler down, Brooke will steal the briefcase away in a surprise victory.
Winner: Dana Brooke
Mike: I’m torn with this one. A MITB win for Baszler would mean she could go right back up the card, perhaps focusing on Smackdown instead of a rematch with Becky Lynch, which did not reach the heights I expected it to. I also would like to see Asuka come out on top as I think she’s a great match for both of the current champions. I’ll rate each challenger’s chances:
Dana Brooke – I’d be astounded if she won.
Lacey Evans – Ditto.
Carmella – She has form as a previous winner, but I don’t see lightning striking twice here.
Nia Jax – The ladder could be the hindrance here as she’ll have to incapacitate her opponents prior to that slow climb to the briefcase. Can see her being pushed in the coming months, but not here.
Shayna Baszler – She had her chance at Wrestlemania, but she could be a threat.
Asuka – I’m an Asuka fan, so I want her to win. I think she comes out on top after a brutal battle with the other women.
Winner – Asuka
John: The uniqueness of this match makes it hard to predict. Not only are they wrestling in the WWE HQ building, but they are having this match while the men are having their match. It’s going to be difficult to keep up with everything although I admit I have a lot of faith in WWE’s production team doing a good job. For matches like these, I like to break them down with thoughts on the competitors in order of least likely winner to my pick to win.
Carmella – As a former winner that has won twice when they had to redo the match due to cheating (shoutout Ellsworth), she has credibility in a match like this. It’s possible that she wins to give her some momentum and a new push, but I don’t think she’s that interesting as a face. I doubt she wins.
Dana Brooke – You would think at some point WWE will try to push Brooke since she recently signed a five-year contract extension. The problem is when there were fans out there, she would barely get a reaction. I have a tough time believing that management is ever going to push her that hard. Dana is a good athlete. I just don’t see her winning here.
Asuka – In terms of overall talent, Asuka is my favorite woman in the match. I just don’t see her winning this after putting over Becky Lynch multiple times this year already. Asuka has been entertaining in this empty arena era. I’m a big fan of her. That doesn’t mean I think she’ll win here.
Lacey Evans – In late 2019 and earlier this year I thought Evans was going to win the Smackdown Women’s Title at WrestleMania. It felt like her babyface push made her WWE’s pet project, but then WWE didn’t push her all the way. Having her win Money in the Bank could give her a boost she needs. I think Evans has the best chance to win out of the babyface women here.
Nia Jax – I’m sure Jax will be booked in a dominant way by destroying the other women, but there might be a spot in the match where the five other women work together to take out Jax. Whether Jax wins this or not, she’ll be feuding with Becky Lynch soon. There is obviously a backstory with Jax and Lynch since Jax broke Lynch’s nose with a punch on Raw in November 2018. You know that when they feud, WWE is going to replay that moment in slow motion many times. Jax winning is very possible. I wouldn’t do it, though. Somebody else needs it more.
Shayna Baszler – The way Baszler’s WrestleMania match against Lynch ended made me think that they would go back to it soon. Lynch found a way to win, but it was not a decisive victory. I think WWE loves having the Money in the Bank briefcase on a heel like Baszler and I think the reason Baszler lost is because she was going to win Money in the Bank at the next PPV. I expect Baszler to win this match while also being the woman to beat Lynch for the Raw Women’s Title at some point in the next few months. Baszler isn’t that exciting to me, but she’s new on Raw and a good talent that should get the win here. Baszler has been my pick for this match for several weeks now. I’ll stick with that prediction.
Winner: Shayna Baszler
Men’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Aleister Black vs. Rey Mysterio vs. King Corbin vs. Otis vs. AJ Styles
Alex: This year’s MITB match has the potential to be great, if done in a very specific way. You have six wrestlers that’ll be fighting through an office building to reach the top and grab the briefcase. But this isn’t just any office building; it’s WWE’s office building. This is a golden opportunity for the wrestlers involved to put on a cinematic-style brawl complete with slapstick comedy and ridiculous action. Imagine if the Boneyard Match from WrestleMania mixed with the Steve Austin/Booker T supermarket brawl from 2001. That is what we could have on our hands here, and it’s what I’m really hoping for. I mean, having six men brawl in an empty office building and make it all serious and super professional-like will make it come across as boring and tepid (see Edge vs. Orton from WrestleMania as an example). But if these six men can add some humor to it, the match could end up being that much better. I also really hope someone manages to throw King Corbin through Vince McMahon’s desk, just for the sake of telling that story. As for a winner, well, this is a completely random guess, given that any pretense of long-term booking in WWE has long since been thrown out the window.
Winner: Aleister Black
Mike: Here are my thoughts on all the competitors in this match.
Otis – If there was a live crowd for this event, then every time Otis climbed the ladder, there would be huge cheers. But there isn’t. Expect some comedy and perhaps something will happen to cause him to be distracted and kicked out of contention.
King Corbin – The ‘king’ gimmick is becoming stale now, although Corbin plays it well and continues to irritate the fans. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he won, but I doubt it happens due to another, more deserving competitor.
Rey Mysterio – Expect some high spots and amazing leaps into the air. No chance of winning.
Aleister Black – I don’t think the MITB suits his approach. He’s not an opportunist. Perhaps this is a little too early for him. I expect some great spots and a solid performance, but I don’t think he comes out on top.
Daniel Bryan – A favorite for sure, but I think he will just miss out. I expect him to be one of the last men standing.
AJ Styles – My pick. Styles may not have his OC buddies alongside him anymore, which makes me think he’s standing alone in the company and will step up to be a more determined and successful. Styles has continually shown he’s one of the best wrestlers in the world today. If he wins, I expect him to hold the briefcase for a while.
Winner – AJ Styles
John: It’s a unique group of talent in the match. The guys that stand out the most are Bryan, Mysterio and Styles as three of the best wrestlers in the world over the last 20 years (or 25 years in Rey’s case). They’re the veterans that will help carry this match even though it’s going to be ludicrous as they battle in WWE HQ. As I did with the women, I’ll break it down in terms of who I think is going to win.
Otis – The big man is there for comedic purposes. We saw the spot on Smackdown when he broke the ladder step trying to climb up so if he gets to the roof there will probably be a bigger, Big Show style ladder to allow him to climb. I can see him doing some funny spot in Vince McMahon’s office or breaking some table while trying to hit a splash on somebody and the guy moves, so Otis breaks the table. It would be a surprise if Otis won.
Rey Mysterio – I’m sure Rey will have fun in this match with some creative spots. There have been comments by wrestlers as well as rumors that there’s going to be some big spot where somebody gets thrown off the roof. It’s obviously just a spot to create a high spot and get people talking while not actually hurting the wrestler. I think if that happens it will probably be Rey that does that spot.
Daniel Bryan – It would be great to see DBry win Money in the Bank for the second time in his career after winning in 2011. It just feels like Bryan is at the point in his career where WWE is going to keep him in the upper midcard and they don’t see him as a guy that needs to win MITB again. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love it if it happened. I just get the feeling that there are better options in this match. I also hope Bryan doesn’t do any crazy bumps onto furniture considering his concussion history.
King Corbin – We all know WWE management loves Corbin after pushing him heavily last year by beating Kurt Angle, then having a long (and boring) feud with Seth Rollins on Raw followed by a long (and boring) feud with Roman Reigns on Smackdown. While that was going on, they gave him the King gimmick too. Winning Money in the Bank for the second time would give Corbin a huge boost. I hope it doesn’t happen, though. There are better choices.
Aleister Black – My original pick before I changed my mind over the last week. A heel winning Money in the Bank is a more realistic option, but if there’s a face that should win it this year then that is Black. I like the way Black has been booked as a face on the rise that can hopefully become a main eventer within the next year. Since he’s a superstar on the rise, a Money in the Bank win would help him a lot. I can see Black nearly winning and when he just barely fails, he’ll feud with the winner.
AJ Styles – As soon as it was reported last week that Styles was returning to Raw, I figured he would win the Gauntlet Match to qualify for MITB. It’s the perfect way to rejuvenate his career after losing to The Undertaker at WrestleMania in the Boneyard Match or fight or whatever you want to call it. Styles is also the kind of crafty heel that would be interesting as the Money in the Bank briefcase holder and he’s also the right kind of future opponent for Drew McIntyre. They can also do a Styles vs. Black feud after Black nearly wins this match. I know they’ve wrestled before this year, but having them in a proper rivalry will be good for both guys. Styles is my pick here.
Winner: AJ Styles
Universal Championship: Braun Strowman (c) vs. Bray Wyatt
Alex: I feel like WWE booked themselves into a corner yet again with Bray Wyatt. Here he is facing Braun Strowman, a man he introduced to WWE. Both of them are among two of WWE’s most popular wrestlers with loyal fan followings. Both guys need a win here, but it’s most logical that Strowman will be victorious, and for two reasons. First, he just won the WWE Universal Championship a month ago, so to lose would damage him beyond repair. Secondly, he’s fighting ‘ordinary’ Bray Wyatt and not ‘The Fiend’, which means he’s fighting Bruce Banner and not The Hulk. I think this’ll go ten minutes max, with Wyatt trying to play the ‘old friend’ shtick a few times, only to eat a handful of powerslams from Strowman. Then towards the end, Strowman will make some symbolic gesture to signal that he has ascended above and beyond his association with the Wyatt Family without a doubt.
Winner and STILL Universal Champion: Braun Strowman
Mike: Was the dual personality of Wyatt supposed to be that the kid-friendly persona was the ‘weaker’ of the two and that the Fiend was the dangerous one? Perhaps the cheery, smiling one is the more dangerous and ruthless one of the pair? It’s creepy, I’ll admit. Strowman has dominated since his win over Goldberg and though I’m intrigued as to how Wyatt will approach this match and how WWE book that side of his character, I can only see Strowman retaining.
Winner and Still Universal Champion – Braun Strowman
John: I think the build to this match has been poor. I like both guys a lot, but the promos haven’t been that interesting. There is history there because Strowman debuted in WWE five years ago as part of the Wyatt Family. The problem is there was no split. Strowman was simply drafted to Raw in July 2016 while Bray was on Smackdown, so that was the end of the association and there’s no angle we can look back on to say that’s when they split. When Bray said that Braun left him, did he really? No. It was the draft that split them up. That’s why the story hasn’t worked.
What I expect to happen is for Strowman to win in about ten minutes and if it goes longer than that then it’s a bad idea. It might only be a five minute match. After the match is over, when Strowman is celebrating in the ring or walking to the back, I expect to see The Fiend appear on the video screen with a defeated Wyatt laughing about it. That will suggest that the feud continues except next time, Wyatt will compete as The Fiend and that may lead to a title change. For this match, I fully expect Strowman to win since he only won the Universal Title one month ago. There’s no reason for a title change here.
Winner: Braun Strowman
WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Seth Rollins
Alex: WWE is trying to make McIntyre into a huge star. He won the Royal Rumble last eliminating perpetual (failed) golden boy Roman Reigns, he had several WWE Network shows dedicated to him, and he almost decapitated Brock Lesnar with his foot. It stands to reason, then, that he would continue that upwards momentum by beating Rollins, a man associated with the RAW main event more than almost anyone else. To that end, this’ll be the longest and most competitive in-ring match on the show. Drew’s big matches in the title picture thus far have all been short and relatively decisive, which made sense given he was facing Lesnar. But now he’s facing Rollins, who isn’t likely to be felled in under five minutes. This will be Drew’s big chance to show he can hang with the top ‘regulars’ on RAW. He and Rollins will have one hell of a match in the ring, but Drew’s riding too big a wave to have it all come crashing down so soon.
Winner and STILL WWE Champion: Drew McIntyre
Mike: Like Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre has been booked like a dominant champion, and I like it. Seth Rollins is a better heel than face and I like his ‘Monday Night Messiah’ persona – the ‘holier than thou’ attitude is a good one to use for heels. CM Punk did similar to great success. Rollins will no doubt hold his own and bring his best against the giant Scot. Expect a hard-hitting match with high-impact moves. I think this will be the best match of Drew’s so far in 2020. I think he retains, but it won’t be easy.
Winner and Still WWE Champion – Drew McIntyre
John: I think the build for this match has been pretty good. It’s refreshing to see how well WWE is booking McIntyre as a dominant babyface WWE Champion. You don’t see that very often. When McIntyre has been vulnerable, it was only because Rollins attacked him in a cheap manner. Rollins is getting this WWE Title shot even though he lost clean to Kevin Owens at WrestleMania. Owens is out with an ankle injury, so maybe WWE felt like they had no choice but to put Rollins in this spot. When KO come back, maybe it can be a triple threat feud.
This will probably be the best match in terms of the star ratings that I use to rate matches since I doubt I’ll use those ratings for the ladder matches. The four team tag team match could be better, but I trust Drew and Seth to put together a very good match. Rollins put on a good showing against Kevin Owens at WrestleMania. McIntyre has had shorter matches, but I think they’re more likely to go to around 15 minutes in this match. It should be a win for McIntyre as he continues his dominance as the WWE Champion. I can see Rollins getting another PPV match after this, but if not there’s Randy Orton and AJ Styles as future options for the babyface champ McIntyre. I think this has the potential to be the best WWE match in this empty arena era so far. They’re talented enough to do it.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most
Alex: The Men’s MITB match. I think they’ll have more time and freedom to do crazy stuff than the women, which’ll lead to more unexpected hijinks and thus a more entertaining match.
Mike: The Men’s MITB match. The pre-taping should allow WWE to do what they want and put on a spectacle. Also, the Women’s MITB just to see Asuka and Baszler go at it with ladders in the mix. I also wonder if, considering both matches are going on at the same time, if there will be interaction at some point between the men & women?
John: I’m with my friends here in picking the men’s Money in the Bank match because I’m curious to see how it looks. The women’s match is intriguing too and it’s happening simultaneously, so I really pick both matches. I do like McIntyre vs. Rollins as well.
The Match I Care About The Least
Alex: Bayley vs. Tamina Snuka. I’m not a fan of Bayley’s new character and Tamina is about as exciting as watching Donald Trump ‘wrestle’ Rosie O’Donnell.
Mike: Bayley vs Tamina. Low excitement and expectation.
John: Bayley vs. Tamina as well. It’s not that interesting.
Longest Match (Not Counting the two Money in the Bank Ladder Matches)
Alex: Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins. One is RAW’s golden boy with considerable support from the company and the other just won the WWE title. There’s no way these guys won’t go less than fifteen minutes.
Mike: Smackdown Tag Championship.
John: I expect McIntyre vs. Rollins to go 15 minutes or more, so that’s my pick.
Shortest Match (Not Counting the two Money in the Bank Ladder Matches)
Alex: Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt. Neither man is known for excelling in long matches. And given Bray’s gimmicky nature, this’ll probably go between six and eight minutes.
Mike: Bayley vs Tamina.
John: I think Bayley vs. Tamina going under eight minutes is the right call.
Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)
Alex: 5.5 – Not only is this show happening on Mother’s Day, but the actual build to the event itself hasn’t been that good. Drew vs. Rollins will probably good and the possible theories surrounding the MITB matches have made me curious. But other than that, everything is WAY too predictable to make me that excited. The show won’t be bad, but it won’t be great, either. That is, unless the show’s main selling point – the MITB matches – really deliver in terms of uniqueness.
Mike: I’m about a 7. I like the MITB gimmick and with two on show, it should be good. The race to the top of the building is also an interesting twist and I want to see how WWE play that out. I also want to see if Seth Rollins can get a four or five star match out of Drew McIntyre. Drew has been dominant since Wrestlemania, so I want to see how he does when the match is likely to be longer and his opponent more of a threat.
John: I’ll go with 6 because ever since this empty arena era started, most of my scores for Raw and Smackdown have been around 6 most weeks. It’s tough to get excited for some of the matches with no fans in the crowd. As I said in the open, I think the key thing is the quality of the two Money in the Bank Ladder Matches. If those are great matches that are produced well and liked by the majority of the fans then this show will be a success. If those matches fail miserably then it’s going to be a bad show. I’m trying to be optimistic about it, so we’ll see how they do on Sunday.
John: I’ll be back with a review of WWE WrestleMania 36 on TJRWrestling.net on Saturday and Sunday, so check that out during the show or after it’s over.
If you want to send an email, send it to me at [email protected] as well. Thanks for reading.