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WWE enters this year’s Money in the Bank truly needing to spark its summer.
A rash of injuries and Sasha Banks and Naomi’s suspension has taken a number of big names off the board for WWE, and leaving the title picture with a dearth of challengers. The championship match contracts in the briefcase hanging above the ring give the company the chance to potentially catapult two new faces in the main event scene. Who will hang over undisputed champion Roman Reigns and will a new women’s star emerge? It’s all about the ladder matches as the rest of the card feels like a bounce of very good Raw or SmackDown matches.
The Post’s Joseph Staszewski will try to provide the answers for how things will shake out at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday (8 p.m., Peacock.)
Theory (c) vs. Bobby Lashley (United States championship)
This match is harder to call than it looks on paper. Sure, you want Theory looking his strongest going into a potential match with John Cena at SummerSlam or in the near future, but that clash doesn’t need to be for the U.S. title and it should be about more than that considering the rich backstory WWE would have to draw from for it. So maybe WWE splits the difference? Theory wins here by some nefarious means to get him a win over someone of Lashley’s stature and somewhere along the line Cena returns to cost Theory the championship and serve the youngster a humbling before their clash.
The Usos (c) vs. The Street Profits (Undisputed WWE Tag Team championship)
The Street Profits should be the team to dethrone the Usos as they would gain the most from it. But I think there is a better chance of that happening at SummerSlam where it can be a bigger moment. The Usos either beat them clean or with help from Sammi Zayn in a match that will likely be one of the night’s best.
Pick: The Usos
Bianca Belair (c) vs. Carmella (Raw Women’s championship)
Carmella is filling in for the injured Rhea Ripley in this match, so unless she isn’t returning anytime soon or WWE just wants to throw us a curve, I’d expect Belair to be walking out of Vegas with the gold. WWE can then deliver the feud Ripley fans have been waiting for at SummerSlam instead. They would be smart to make it look like Carmella has this match won multiple times to further put over Belair’s resilience and toy with the audience’s emotions at bit.
Pick: Bianca Belair
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Natalya (SmackDown Women’s championship)
The Sharpshooter vs The Arm Bar or the Ankle Lock, which one do you think is going to win? If it was Bret Hart on the other side of Ronda Rousey, I’d say the Sharpshooter has a chance. WWE had never made the move feel special when it comes to Natalya, who is a perfect stepping-stone opponent for Rousey until hopefully Bayley returns for a SummerSlam match or WWE turns Raquel Rodriguez heel. I’m expected a good match here. One thing to keep an eye on is Rousey posted a video on her social media account of her arguing with friend Shayna Baszler – Natalya’s tag team partner — over her not wanting to pick sides in this match. It will be interesting if that plays into the story we see on Saturday, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Pick: Ronda Rousey
Lacey Evans vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Liv Morgan vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Asuka vs. Shotzi vs. Becky Lynch (Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match)
The only person fans may not be happy with winning here is Becky Lynch, as she’s just had a long title reign and doesn’t need the contract to get another one started. A victory would however push forward her ‘comeback story.” Anyone else would add a fresh-feeling face to the main event scene – even Asuka hasn’t been a singles champion since last April.
The winner feels less likely to come from SmackDown as WWE will probably want to keep the title with Rousey until next year’s WrestleMania – thought I could see Rodriguez winning and looming as a major threat to both title holders. To me, that leaves either Liv Morgan or Alexa Bliss. Their loose friendship has had the most build of anything on the women’s side and could awkwardly continue should one of them grab the briefcase. They would likely cash-in on Ripley to a big pop after she beats Belair at some point. Morgan’s time, which fans are behind, feels long overdue.
Pick: Liv Morgan
Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Omos vs. Sami Zayn vs. Riddle vs. Madcap Moss (Men’s Money in the Bank ladder match)
There are three very, very intriguing options for a potential winner here. WWE was able to have Big E cash-in on Bobby Lashley last year and avoid the Money in the Bank winner operating around Roman Reigns. This time around it’s all about the Tribal Chief and the Undisputed WWE Universal championship. So that leaves Seth Rollins, Riddle and Sami Zayn – all of whom have clear ties to Reigns. Riddle just lost an epic match on SmackDown and could avenge friend Randy Orton’s injury by cashing in on Reigns. Zayn is an honorary Bloodline member and would be a less serious winner as he already said he won’t try to cash-in on Reigns, but would if Brock Lesnar wins at SummerSlam.
That doesn’t mean he keeps his promise and it would be fun to see that tension play out weekly. Still, there really is only one clear choice here and that is Rollins. He has a deep history with Reigns, is the only person with a television “win” over him as Tribal Chief and WWE could play up the cash-in history potentially repeating itself at SummerSlam when Reigns faces Brock Lensar. Also, Rollins has kept his feud with Cody Rhodes still warm, setting up so many other possibilities when it comes time for the American Nightmare to finally challenge for the world title.
Pick: Seth Rollins