The dust has settled from WrestleMania 35. WWE looks ahead with its first PPV after WrestleMania, and it will be the Money in the Bank event. This event features two Money in the Bank Ladder matches—one for the men and one for the women—with a contract hanging above the ring. The contract, contained inside a briefcase, allows the winner to have a Championship match against their brand’s Champion at any time. Over 80% of Money in the Bank winners have “cashed in” their contract successfully, which makes the contract one of the most coveted prizes in WWE. Previous Money in the Bank contract winners include: Edge, Randy Orton, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, The Miz and Seth Rollins. Six of the previous winners used the contract to win their first Championship.
With WrestleMania ushering in new Champions, this year’s Money in the Bank event looks to shake things up. Speaking of shaking things up, my co-host of Double Play CLE was kind of enough to join me in picking last month. Jay won our head-to-head picks last month. He finished 12-4 while I ended the long night of WrestleMania at 7-9. We have an 11 match card to pick from this month. Here is our look at Money in the Bank.
The Usos vs. SmackDown Tag Team Champions Daniel Bryan & Rowan
The Usos moved to Raw during the Superstar Shake-Up. However, the Wild Card Rule allows them to also compete on SmackDown Live. The Wild Card Rule was created by WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon. The Rule allows up to four superstars and/or teams from the rival brand to crossover and appear. Four Raw stars can appear on SmackDown and vice versa. The Wild Card Rule stopped Shane McMahon from simply awarding the vacated SmackDown Tag Team Championship to Daniel Bryan and Rowan two weeks ago on SmackDown. Instead, The Usos implored McMahon to put the Titles on the line in a match that night. He agreed and Bryan and Rowan picked up the win to become the new Champions. This non-title rematch will take place on the Kickoff show, one hour before the main show begins.
Stunningly, Jay is picking against his favorite tag team. He is a dyed in the wool Usos fan. Down since Day One Ish as Jimmy and Jey Uso would say. Which makes it all the more weird, as I am down with The Usos here. Maybe they can earn a SmackDown Tag Team Championship match… as Raw superstars? The Wild Card Rule is really making the brand split muddy.
Jay’s Pick- SmackDown Tag Team Champions Daniel Bryan & Rowan
My Pick- The Usos
Tony Nese (c) vs. Ariya Daivari
Tony Nese won the Title in the first in-ring action of WrestleMania Sunday. He defends for the first time against Ariya Daivari. If the match is not moved to the Kickoff Show, this will be the first time since Survivor Series in November the Cruiserweight Title will be defended on the main PPV card.
It is very likely many of our readers were not aware of this match. The only promotion of this match was on 205 Live. However, the Cruiserweights put on a great show each week. This should be no different. This looks like a great way to start the reign of the new Champion.
Our Pick- Tony Nese
Roman Reigns vs. Elias
Both superstars were moved to SmackDown in the Shake-Up. Elias was touted by Mr. McMahon as the greatest acquisition in the history of SmackDown. Roman Reigns took offense to that statement and leveled McMahon with a Superman Punch. Reigns has since drawn the ire of Shane McMahon, who continues to stack obstacles in Reigns’ path. On Tuesday’s SmackDown in London, McMahon won a 4 on 3 Handicap Match, teaming with Elias, Daniel Bryan and Rowan to defeat Reigns and his cousins The Usos.
Elias is a sitting duck. Reigns is slowly building up to Championship form. There is no better way to do that than to oppose the McMahon Family and their chosen one, Elias. This could lead to a Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon match at Summer Slam in August. Regardless, the Reigns/McMahon story is only just beginning at Money in the Bank.
Our Pick- Roman Reigns
Steel Cage Match:
The Miz vs. Shane McMahon
After a controversial ending to their Falls Count Anywere match at WrestleMania, The Miz wanted a rematch. To ensure a definitive winner and no outside interference, he requested a Cage Match. Both superstars spent the past month attacking each other with a steel chair on both brands. Miz was moved to Raw during the Shake-Up, but took advantage of the Wild Card Rule to continue surprising Shane McMahon on SmackDown. Miz also came to the aid of Roman Reigns on multiple occasions, which could be something to keep an eye on.
The repeated use of the steel chair in the past month is interesting. There are no rules in a Cage Match. Elias could throw in a chair for McMahon. Roman Reigns could also run in and cause chaos. I look for this Miz/McMahon story to end here. Jay thinks it may last all the way to Extreme Rules in July.
Jay’s Pick- Shane McMahon
My Pick- The Miz
United States Championship:
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
Samoa Joe locked in the Coquina Clutch on Rey Mysterio less than three minutes into their match at WrestleMania. Mysterio won a non-title rematch on SmackDown to earn this Title rematch. Mysterio’s son, Dominick appeared after the win to celebrate with his father. This drew the ire of Joe, who tracked down Dominick and intimidated his in the backstage area two weeks ago on Raw. If Mysterio is victorious, he will become a Grand Slam Champion. A Grand Slam means holding a combination of: a World or Universal Title, the Intercontinental or United States Title, and the either brand’s Tag Team Title. The list of Grand Slam Champions includes: Jeff Hardy, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Daniel Bryan, Chris Jericho, The Miz, Big Show, Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero and Edge.
The allure of the Grand Slam is too great to ignore. Mysterio needs to add his name to that exclusive list. His list of accolades in WWE and WCW are numerous and great. He needs the final in-ring accolade before ending his Hall of Fame career. However, Jay feels this is part of the dominance of Samoa Joe. He sees Joe as an unstoppable force that Mysterio cannot overcome. We both agree that Dominick is going to be choked out by Joe at some point in the story. Perhaps before this match.
Jay’s Pick- Samoa Joe
My Pick- Rey Mysterio
Money in the Bank Women’s Ladder Match:
Natalya, Naomi, Dana Brooke, Nikki Cross, Carmella, Ember Moon, Mandy Rose, & Bayley
For the fourth time in WWE history, women will compete in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Originally, last year’s winner Alexa Bliss was scheduled for the match. However, she is not medically cleared to compete. Nikki Cross was named her replacement on social media Thursday. Of the eight women, only Carmella is a former winner of the match. She won the first two matches in 2016. Both women to win the contract were successful in their cash in. Carmella waited nine months to cash in. Bliss cashed in the night she won the contract. Natalya will be the only woman to compete in all four Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder matches once the bell rings on Sunday. Naomi and Ember Moon competed in last year’s match.
It is difficult to pick a winner in an eight person match. Add ladders to the mix and it is nearly impossible! I think no matter who wins, they will cash in at Money in the Bank. The Raw & SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch is defending each Title at Money in the Bank. She will have two matches. Which makes her ripe for the picking from the Money in the Bank winner. Jay looks towards Bayley to win this match. I recommend keeping a close eye on her throughout the match. Bayley winning and subsequently cashing in would be an interesting story. The Hugger picks her moment, waiting for the Champion to be at her weakest to cash in and win. Bayley has never been a villain in WWE. This could be a fun twist for her. Jay’s dark horse pick is Dana Brooke. She’s spent the last couple months looking for her opportunity. What better way than to make your own opportunity? Jay sees Nikki Cross as nothing more than a fill in replacement. I sense something more. Cross is popular and just recently appeared on TV with Bliss as a fill in on Raw in a battle of Raw’s Money in the Bank competitors. She picked up the pinfall victory over Natalya. That doesn’t just happen to a fill in. She’s my dark horse pick. My pick from SmackDown is Mandy Rose. Because if God’s Greatest Creation doesn’t win, we riot!
Jay’s Picks- Bayley or Dana Brooke
My Picks- Mandy Rose or Nikki Cross
Money in the Bank Men’s Ladder Match:
Ricochet, Sami Zayn, Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, Randy Orton, Andrade, Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor, & Ali
The Men’s Ladder match features a little bit of everything. There are veterans, former winners, fresh faces, and plenty of high flyers! This year has not been kind to last year’s winners, as Braun Strowman lost his spot in the match to Sami Zayn on Raw in London on Monday. Randy Orton and Baron Corbin are looking to win the contract for the second time. Corbin was unsuccessful in his cash in back in 2017. Finn Balor is the current Intercontinental Champion. He could add his name to the list of double Champions in WWE this year. Andrade won a Fatal 4-Way match on SmackDown in London on Tuesday, pinning Balor. He then attempted to symbolically climb a ladder and unhook the Money in the Bank briefcase. However, Ricochet sprinted to the ring, springboarded onto the ladder and beat him to the punch!
Another exciting match to pick! Jay is leaning hard on “The Scottish Psychopath” Drew McIntyre. He feels McIntyre is right on the cusp of a Heavyweight Championship and this would be a great way to get there. McIntyre spent most of 2018 destroying members of The Shield as well as Hall of Famer Kurt Angle. Great pick by Jay. His dark horse pick is Sami Zayn. Zayn is getting under the skin of the entire WWE Universe by criticizing them for criticizing WWE. He even blamed the fans for creating “a toxic environment” in WWE. All of this is helping him build momentum. Imagine Zayn running around with the Money in the Bank contract. While I am not a fan of him, I have to go with Andrade. He’s been red hot the past few weeks, including a win over the Intercontinental Champion. It’s difficult to deny his in-ring work, and he has the ace in the hole with his business partner Zelina Vega at ringside. Vega could be the reason Andrade wins the contract. My dark horse is Finn Balor. He keeps collecting accolades. The Money in the Bank contract is one of the biggest of this era of WWE. Plus, the idea of two Irish double Champions is interesting.
Jay’s Picks- Drew McIntyre or Sami Zayn
My Picks- Andrade or Finn Balor
Raw Women’s Championship:
SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans
Call her “The Champ Champ!” Or “Becky 2 Belts!” Many simply call her “The Man.” Regardless, Becky Lynch made history at WrestleMania when she became the only person to pin “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey in the main event. Since then, Lynch learned she has a target on her back. Lacey Evans, who spent most of 2019 walking out and doing a twirl, leveled the Champion with her finishing move The Woman’s Right. After winning a match over Natalya to earn this match, Evans continued to vow victory in her first Title match. Evans worked in tandem with Lynch’s challenger for the SmackDown Women’s Title, Charlotte Flair, to powerbomb Lynch through a table on Raw in London on Monday.
Evans is not ready to be Champion. She sounds wooden on the microphone. She needs more work. No better test of readiness than the Champion, however! We just don’t see Lynch losing the Title here. Look for this match to potentially open the main card.
Our Pick- “The Champ Champ” Becky Lynch
SmackDown Women’s Championship:
Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
“You are the web that management will not untangle me from!” –Becky Lynch
The ongoing rivalry between Lynch and Flair seems to never end. Flair lost her SmackDown Women’s Championship to Lynch in the Triple Threat main event of WrestleMania. Flair took exception to the fact she was not pinned to lose her Title. She demanded a rematch. Bayley put her name in the hat for a Title opportunity also. Flair then beat Bayley in an impromptu match to earn the rematch. Lynch expressed a desire to move on from Flair after this match.
Lynch will compete twice at Money in the Bank. This will likely be the second match for her as it has more substance and story. Flair is looking for her ninth Title reign, which would extend her own record for most Women’s Championship reigns. Lynch looks to put her greatest nemesis behind her. We look for “Becky 2 Belts” to survive both encounters.
Our Pick- “The Man” Becky Lynch
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Kevin Owens
Kofi Kingston gave us the feel good story of the year when he vanquished Daniel Bryan to win the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. It came at a cost. Big E ended WrestleMania weekend with an injury which required surgery. This leaves The New Day to just Kingston and Xavier Woods. Kevin Owens looked to fill the Big E void, christening himself Big O. Just two weeks later, Owens revealed his true colors. He turned his back on Kingston, blasting him with a Super Kick and powerbombing Woods on the apron of the ring. Owens spent the last weeks getting into the head of Kingston, enlisting Owens’ best friend Sami Zayn to attack him also. Meanwhile, Kingston successfully defended his Title on consecutive nights of Raw and SmackDown two weeks ago against the previous two men to hold the Title, Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles.
It’s a rare occurrence when Jay picks against Kevin Owens. But here we are. I’m not sure anyone wants Kofi Mania to end! Keep in mind the match order on the night. If this match goes on after the Men’s Money in the Bank match, we could see a cash in.
Our Pick- Kofi Kingston
Seth Rollins (c) vs. AJ Styles
Seth Rollins slayed “The Beast” Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania in the opening match of the main card! AJ Styles was moved to Raw during the Shake-Up. He earned this match winning a Triple Threat Qualifying match on Raw a week later, followed by a one on one match in the main event of that same episode of Raw. During a contract signing a week later, Rollins and Styles came to blows. Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm, sending Rollins through a table. A battle which was born on respect has spiraled into anything but. Rollins blamed Styles for a miscommunication in a tag team match which led to yet another Phenomenal Forearm and Styles walking out on Rollins. This is the first time these two will meet in a one on one match in WWE. They faced each other only one previous time. It was at an NWA No Limits Wrestling independent show in 2006.
This is a dream match! It’s also the culmination of the brand split. This is the best of Raw vs. the best of SmackDown from this iteration of the brand split. SmackDown losing Styles was a significant blow. It was known as “The House that AJ Styles built” after all. This should be one of the best matches of the year. We look for the Champion to retain and possibly set up a rematch down the road.
Our Pick- Seth Rollins
Money in the Bank is this Sunday, May 19, 2019 from the XL Center in Hartford, CT. The event streams live on WWE Network at 7:00 p.m. The Kickoff Show will start one hour prior and can be viewed across all of WWE’s social media platforms. Check out our Preview Show on the Double Play CLE Facebook page this weekend! And tune in this Tuesday from 7-10 p.m. here on Redline Radio LLC for Double Play CLE!