A longtime favorite of wrestling fans, primarily for the wildcard element that the Money in the Bank briefcase introduces into the sometimes stolid flow of superstar feuds and unopposed title runs (Brock Lesnar being a current target of internet ire), the MITB pay-per-view is expected to be the best thing since WrestleMania 34. This year the event takes place the night after NXT TakeOver Chicago II and will be held in the windy city’s Allstate Arena on June 17.
With CBS Sports reporting four titles matches set in stone for the June contest and three more to be determined, it appears as if a lot of championship gold will be on the line in Chicago – including both Women’s belts.
Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn: Towards the lower rung of the card come two competitors with superior in-ring ability and similar reasons for a push – they both deserve more attention than they are currently getting. While the obvious size advantage has to go to the incredibly buff Bobby Lashley, it would be unwise to underestimate the wily and weaselly mat technician that is Sami Zayn. On a recent cruel streak after turning heel alongside Kevin Owens, Zayn may just eke out an unlikely win, a David to Lashley’s Goliath.
Bludgeon Brothers vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship: While the former Bullet Club stable stalwarts have been getting the short end of the stick when it comes to chalking up victories, they still retain credibility with hardcore fans if not the casual audience. The Bludgeon Brothers, however, seem to be in the midst of a monster push, clobbering any opponent that gets in their way in what can only be described as squash match after squash match. They have defeated the Ascension, Breezango, and dozens of others. Look for them to put the hammer down on Gallows and Anderson as well, retaining their championship belts.
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match — Lana vs. Naomi vs. Ember Moon vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Sasha Banks: Every single woman, with perhaps the exception of Lana, seems like a credible contender to take the briefcase home in this sure to be sizzling showcase of talent. With Alexa Bliss coming off a big feud with Nia Jax, and her unending popularity drawing the attention of vocal fans, she seems a likely favorite to win the prize. Becky Lynch may be biding her time and waiting for the perfect time to strike and is also very hot with the crowd, drawing pops wherever she performs. On the outside chance that former NXT Champion Ember Moon manages to climb the ladder and snatch victory in her hands, she will likely choose to cash in sooner rather than later.
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match — Bobby Roode vs. Finn Balor vs. Braun Strowman vs. Rusev vs. The Miz vs. Samoa Joe vs. Big E / Xavier Woods / Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens: With the mystery member of The New Day as yet to be determined in the 8-man battle royal, it may just be a Rusev Day instead. Rusev and compatriot tenor Aiden English have become a sports entertainment sensation, selling Bulgarian flag emblazoned with bold letters on t-shirts and on social media. An unexpected win to climb the ladder for either the “Glorious” Bobby Roode or the recently recovered Samoa Joe would not be too far afield, both men moving up the card slowly but surely towards the top spot. Braun Strowman is an obvious contender, and alongside Rusev, the most likely monster-among-men to take the opportunity home.
Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal: A confusing pair-up and an even more ironic feud, the crowd reaction to their very entrances may be the most interesting part of the entire match. Jinder has pulled off a massive upset while under pressure before, having defeated the legendary Randy Orton last May at Backlash to secure the WWE Championship. It seems almost impossible that Jinder should defeat a red-hot Roman Reigns, treading deep water in his current angle of the eternally frustrated underdog. After a surprisingly arduous match between the two that shows the mettle of both men, expect a diffident crowd to preside over a win for the big dog.
Carmella vs. Asuka for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship: Carmella, having freshly won the belt and the respect of WWE fans worldwide, did recently defeat Charlotte at Backlash last month, giving her some much-needed credibility. Is it enough to defeat the primal force that is her challenger? It is very likely that nobody, least of all Carmella, will be ready for Asuka at Money in the Bank this year. Look for Asuka to claim the strap in a clean victory over her opponent.
Nia Jax vs “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Although Nia Jax does maintain a significant size advantage, it remains to be seen how she will fare against a stone-cold competitor in the shape of former UFC Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey. Rousey has projected an air of complete confidence and domination since first appearing in WWE, teaming up with fellow Olympic medalist Kurt Angle to defeat Triple H and Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania 34 just a few months ago. Expect Rousey to teach Jax a lesson in humility, and for a three-way feud to develop with former champion Alexa Bliss soon afterward.
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship: With AJ being a company workhorse, Nakamura being on a bad beat lately, and both men being superior athletes and two of the best wrestlers the world over, this match should prove to be interesting given that their last meeting in the Greatest Royal Rumble held a few weeks ago in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, ended in a No Contest. While critics panned the match for being somewhat slow and uneventful with an unsatisfying finish, don’t expect this duo to repeat that performance here. Nakamura might have an edge and might be just a bit hungrier to taste the big belt, despite AJ Style’s vocal opposition.
With other matches reportedly in the making, including an Intercontinental Title match between current champ Seth Rollins and Elias (with Rollins likely to retain against the drifter) and a showdown set up between the bizarre team of Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt as The Deleters of Worlds vs. The B-Team of Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel (Dallas and Axel being lucky to survive the 10-minute mark in such a pairing), it becomes obvious to any serious fan that this is a can’t miss card.