- In the next couple weeks, Chicago will play host to NXT Takeover (June 16th) and Money in the Bank (June 17th).
- Can Braun Strowman grab the briefcase or will an A-Lister crash the party?
- Will the men’s or women’s NXT Championships change hands?
Two large WWE events will be taking place in Chicago this June. First NXT will be running roughshod at the Allstate Arena on June 16th for NXT Takeover: Chicago II where some of the sport’s brightest prospects will look to shine ahead of WWE’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view on June 17th.
Money in the Bank (MITB) is one of the most entertaining events on the WWE docket; both male and female superstars have a chance to climb the “corporate ladder” in hopes of grabbing a briefcase that grants them an instant title shot at a time of their choosing. Ever since Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon made the ladder match famous back at WrestleMania X, the stipulation has provided fans with nonstop thrills and spills.
Speaking of thrills, NXT consistently sets the bar for exciting wrestling action time and time again. That means NXT Takeover: Chicago II will make for a fantastic appetizer the night before MITB.
Let’s take a leap off our own ladder and jump right into the odds and predictions for the biggest matches on both cards.
2018 MONEY IN THE BANK ODDS & PREDICTIONS
WWE Money in the Bank 2018 will be at least five hours long, and it will be the second dual-branded PPV since WWE split its two brands, RAW and SmackDown Live, in the summer of 2016. Four big matches are already set for the 2018 show.
Men’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match
|BRAUN STROWMAN (RAW)
|THE MIZ (SD)
|FINN BALOR (RAW)
|SAMOA JOE (SD)
|KEVIN OWENS (RAW)
|BOBBY ROODE (RAW)
|ONE MEMBER OF THE NEW DAY (Rumored to be Xavier) (SD)
This is a tough match to predict. Clearly, Braun Strowman has to be the favorite. Anytime the Monster Among Men is involved in a match he towers over his competition not just in the ring but on the plus side of the odds as well. For now, Strowman is the favorite, but there are a few sleeper picks to be aware of.
There is a long awaited program brewing between The Miz and Daniel Bryan that has a ton of personal animosity that will come to head at some point this year.
Rusev is gaining a ton of momentum and is extremely over with the fans. Having him grab the briefcase would add even more excitement to his character and the SmackDown Live brand between now and Wrestlemania 35. On the RAW side of things, a win for Finn Balor would make for a great story as it would mean he would enter a program against Lesnar and it’s something that could roll right into SummerSlam. “The Demon vs. The Beast,” book it.
You could make an argument for most of the men on this list, but The Miz seems like the most logical choice. He’s just on another level as a performer right now and is the top heel in the entire company.
There is a long-awaited program brewing between The Miz and Daniel Bryan that has a ton of personal animosity that will come to a head at some point this year. The briefcase seems like a great way to bring that storyline to fruition, especially if the company puts the WWE Championship around Bryan’s waist to give the match even bigger stakes.
The A-Lister will become the Main Event Player in 2018/19 and it begins at Money in the Bank.
Predicted Winner: The Miz
Women’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match
|ALEXA BLISS (RAW)
|CHARLOTTE FLAIR (SD)
|BECKY LYNCH (SD)
|SASHA BANKS (RAW)
|EMBER MOON (RAW)
Right now Alexa Bliss is the favorite strictly due to the entertainment factor alone. She is the top female heel in the company, and her run as RAW Women’s Champion showcased how great she is at being an arrogant jerk. She was made for a match like this where her slimy tactics in the ring could see her climbing the ladder to victory. Watching her strut around with the briefcase would be entertaining to see on the RAW brand.
On the SmackDown Live side of things, you can’t ignore Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. Flair is the former Smackdown Women’s Champ and will probably find her way into the title picture sooner than later without a briefcase. Lynch, on the other hand, could use a real boost to her career. She is terribly underutilized for the skillset she brings to the ring, so the briefcase would be a welcome addition, especially if she turns to the Darkside.
The other women on the list, including Sasha Banks, shouldn’t be overlooked but since this match is extremely tough to call, Alexa Bliss seems like the safest choice.
Predicted Winner: Alexa Bliss
AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship Last Man Standing Match)
|AJ STYLES (C)
The odds slightly favor the champ because he has beaten Shinsuke Nakamura three times already. Unfortunately, this feud hasn’t been as advertised until Nakamura defeated Styles in the main event of a SmackDown Live show in what turned out to be their best match yet. With the win, Nakamura got to choose the stipulation which was a Last Man Standing match where anything goes until someone doesn’t get up.
Money in the Bank will probably be the blow off that’ll put this feud to bed, and although The Phenomenal One is the slight favorite to win, we don’t see how Nakamura could go 0-4 against Styles. In what should be an incredible match, we see the Japanese Superstar getting his hand raised and becoming a first-time world champion and maybe moving onto a feud with someone else. Daniel Bryan maybe?
Regardless of how this match ends, I hope they burn the house down and give fans the classic match they have been waiting for ala Macho Man vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat at Wrestlemania 3.
Predicted Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey (Raw Women’s Championship)
|NO CONTEST, DQ, JAX RETAINS
|NIA JAX WINS CLEAN
Is Ronda Rousey ready for the championship spotlight already? In a match that has come right out of the blue, it looks like the WWE is not going with a slow and subtle push. Instead, it appears Rousey is being shoved onto center stage and could start a title reign beginning on June 17th. Who knows if this is best for business as everything feels very rushed but there is no way Nia Jax is going to win this match cleanly.
There is a chance Jax retains with some sort of interference or disqualification that costs Rousey her win. This match could be nothing more than a Rousey title tease that leads to an entirely different program with someone else, or maybe Jax does a surprise heel turn with the help of Stephanie McMahon?
Right now it feels like this could swerve into a no contest but that’s hard to say. For now, you have to believe that the WWE is going to ride Rousey as RAW’s new Women’s Champion and plaster her face with the title all over Brooklyn, New York heading into SummerSlam.
Predicted Winner: Ronda Rousey
NXT TAKEOVER: CHICAGO II ODDS & PREDICTIONS
The WWE NXT TakeOver: Chicago pay-per-view on June 16, 2018, at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois. The card will most likely not disappoint with the likes of Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream and a street fight rematch between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa will no doubt have fans standing.
But it’s the two big men’s and women’s NXT Championship bouts where we put our prognosticating skills to the test.
Aleister Black (c) vs. Lars Sullivan (NXT Championship)
|ALEISTER BLACK (C)
It appeared that this was originally going to be a Triple Threat match with Black, Gargano, and Ciampa, but at the last minute Sullivan was thrown in the mix and now we have a one-on-one affair. That change makes this match pretty easy to predict. There is no way Black will lose cleanly to Sullivan as it just feels too soon for the challenger.
Predicted Winner: Aleister Black
Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Nikki Cross (NXT Women’s Championship)
|SHAYNA BASZLER (c)
Just like the main event of the evening between Black and Sullivan, we have a similar situation with Cross and Baszler in that this is a relatively easy match to predict. Baszler just took the belt off of Dakota Kai, and right now it appears Cross is nothing more than a placeholder of a challenger to give Baszler more time with the title. Eventually, the NXT women’s championship will be taken from Baszler in a match with Kairi Sane or Candice LeRae at either a Take Over event in Brooklyn this summer or Los Angeles later in the fall. Until that time, Baszler is hanging onto the strap.
Predicted Winner: Shayna Baszler