WWE Money In The Bank PPV– XL Center Hartford, Connecticut
The pieces have fallen and the board is set in the WWE. Six weeks on from Wrestlemania we find ourselves at the next PPV in WWE’s hectic schedule in the form of Money In The Bank. Andy Spoors has the lowdown…
Heralded as one of the most exciting nights the company can offer, fans could be excused for losing their focus on the current product. Other cultural phenomenons such as Game of Thrones and Avengers have dominated headlines since that magic night in New Jersey. Thankfully the pedigree on show throughout MITB’s card can get people talking about the company for all the right reasons.
Weeks of stagnant and at times woeful writing has left fans turning off the weekly shows in droves. Raw, in particular, has experienced some of its lowest ever ratings as the post Mania funk well and truly set in. The news that WWE is moving to BT Sports after a very long and fruitful relationship with Sky Sports is worrying on many levels for an audience that has remained loyal even in the leanest years.
Back on the match card, it’s not all about the titular Money In The Bank matches this year. The concept, for those unaware, is competitors must climb the ladder and unhook a briefcase suspended above the ring. The winner can then cash in the briefcase (containing a contract) for a shot at the Championship – whenever and wherever they choose. With both women and men’s matches taking place again this year we should see the now expected explosive action bookending the show.
Becky ‘Two Belts’ Lynch will defend both her titles in separate matches, with perennial thorn in her side Charlotte and new kid on the block Lacey Evans challenging. The aforementioned complication of someone winning a championship shot anytime anywhere, could mean Becky will fight three times in the same night and two belts may well be no belts by the time the show is out.
Mouthwatering matches between Seth Rollins and AJ Styles as well as Kofi vs KO, show the level of talent on display. Let’s take a quick look at each of the matches…
Universal Championship – Seth Rollins (c) vs AJ Styles
How many times have fans said the words “on paper this should be a great match” before? AJ Styles has had dream match-ups against Shinsuke Nakamura and Daniel Bryan amongst others that just haven’t fully delivered against lofty expectations. But all of those pale in comparison to a championship match against Seth Rollins. The action should be slick, fast paced and full of unforgettable moments. Whether this is the reality depends solely on the chemistry between the pair. Although it may be unfair, this match could change the landscape of the current product. Deliver a match that gets wrestling fans talking for all the right reasons and those turning off will be back. No pressure…
Reese Burrows (RB): Seth
John Burrows (JB): Seth
Andy Spoors (AS): Seth
WWE Championship – Kofi Kingston (c) vs Kevin Owens
Ahh Kevin Owens. Its confusing how anyone in WWE could trust Kevin Owens following the sheer amount of “friends” he has attacked over the years. Since his return from injury, Kevin Owens has remained around the main event picture with the notable exception of Wrestlemania itself. It’s encouraging that rather than throw him into a random match or rivalry, Owens has been booked strong and the attempted and methodical targeting of each of the New Day members. This one is difficult to predict, although Kofi has already enjoyed some stellar championship defenses, he may be an undeserving victim of the ratings drop.
AS: Kevin Owens
Raw Women’s Championship — Becky Lynch (c) vs Lacey Evans
With Becky defending twice in the same night, it feels like it could be all or nothing for the Irish Lasskicker. Which way it goes all depends on the card placement of the matches. Back to back, bookends of the show, before or after the MITB match. As for Lacey Evans, receiving such a huge spot so early in her career speaks volumes for the confidence the company has in her talents.
SmackDown Women’s Championship – Becky Lynch (c) vs Charlotte Flair
Another PPV, another chapter in the never-ending story between Becky and Charlotte. As Becky recently commented to Flair, “You are the web that management won’t untangle me from”. The pair have fought through NXT, the first ever women’s only PPV and the main event of Wrestlemania. We can draw comparisons between The Rock vs Stone Cold or Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels, as a rivalry that defines a career. No matter what the result here, you can bet your house this isn’t the last time the pair will face off.
AS: Becky (but there may be a cash in)
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match feat. Ricochet, Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, Finn Balor, Ali, Andrade, Sami Zayn and Randy Orton
A mix of high flying and hard hitting talent makes this a fascinating field of competitors. After Sami Zayn’s upset over Braun Strowman to replace him in the match, a near seven foot shadow seems to have been cast over the match. He may be carrying an injury and not officially included here anymore, but Strowman will in all likelihood be involved at some point in the match.
RB: Baron Corbin
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match feat. Nikki Cross, Naomi, Natalya, Dana Brooke, Bayley, Mandy Rose, Ember Moon and Carmella
Technically the fourth women’s Money In The Bank match, there are still plenty of opportunities to create history. Unfortunately Alexa Bliss once again misses out on in ring action, a rumoured concussion seeing her swapped out for a very game Nikki Cross. With no obvious candidate to name as favourite, this could be the perfect opportunity for an emerging talent to stake their claim.
RB: Ember Moon
JB: Nikki Cross
AS: Mandy Rose
Roman Reigns vs Elias
The Superstar Shake Up promised matches the WWE Universe had never seen and a real movement from brand to brand. Those points are debatable, however a move can inject some momentum into misused talent. Elias could be one of the biggest winners of the Shake Up. Having been cast as a comedic character for much of his main roster run so far, it’s arguable that the company’s drifter has the most potential of anyone in the business. Musically talented, excellent mic skills, great image and the ability to hold the audience in the palm of his hand. The fact he was trusted to work with John Cena and The Undertaker in consecutive nights speaks volumes. Here he faces off against Roman Reigns. The Big Dog will most likely emerge victorious, but it’s great to see Elias finally get some serious competition.
The Miz vs Shane McMahon (Steel Cage Match)
Before Wrestlemania most fans weren’t expecting much if anything from The Miz and Shane Mcmahon. The moment the pair fell from the camera rig, that all changed. It may not be a wrestling exhibition, but the build has been amongst the most personal in recent months, so a payoff match was always likely. With Shane drawing heat, he may pick up a final win over Miz but it’s hard to see where the latter can go if he loses to a part time talent again so soon.
JB: The Miz
AS: The Miz
United States Championship – Samoa Joe (c) vs Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio will be chomping at the bit to gain some level of revenge over Samoa Joe. A blink and you’ll miss it match between these two at Mania ended with Joe retaining the US Championship. As we mentioned in our preview ahead of that match, Rey’s son, Dominic has been more and more present on camera. It wouldn’t be the biggest shock to see him get involved here as his wrestling training has been continuing.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship – Daniel Bryan & Rowan vs The Usos (Kickoff Show)
Now on Raw rather than Smackdown, The Usos shouldn’t have a chance at winning the titles. It would make even more of a mockery out of an already paper thin shake up. It should however prove to be an impressive match up. The Usos are one of the best tag teams in the business and Bryan seems intent on creating history every time he enters the ring. The placement on the kick off means it may get more time than it would have on the main show, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this case.
RB: Bryan & Rowan
JB: Bryan & Rowan
AS: Bryan & Rowan
Cruiserweight Championship – Tony Nese (c) vs Ariya Daivari (Kickoff Show)
Tony Nese will need to put his stamp on the cruiserweight division. Capturing the title at Mania, he took over from one of the best champions 205 Live has seen in Buddy Murphy. Despite being a title match, the cruiserweights feel resigned to the pre-show unless something big changes. That’s no knock on any of the competitors that give it everything they have to prove their talents every Tuesday night either.