WWE’s Money in the Bank (Sunday, June 18, St. Louis, MO) has turned into one of the company’s must-see pay-per-views and has taken “climbing the corporate ladder” to a whole new level.
In case you are not familiar with the event, which has run since 2010, Money in the Bank features a briefcase that hangs above the ring and the only way the participants in the match can get their hands on it is by utilizing a ladder. Inside that briefcase is a contract which “Mr. Money in the Bank” can cash in for an instant title shot anytime he wants within the next year.
Did I say “Mr.”? This year’s event also includes a Money in the Bank match featuring the ladies, which has been a long time coming. The same stipulations apply: climb the ladder and grab the briefcase of opportunity.
Both ladder matches feature the best of the best from the SmackDown Live roster. Of course, with the use of ladders, insanity ensues and the matches rarely disappoint.
In the past, the WWE has used Money in the Bank to anoint and elevate a future star, but there have been the rare cases (pun totally intended) of cash-in fails, like the unfortunate Damien Sandow attempt.
The card isn’t just about luggage and ladders. There is also a title rematch between WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton. Just a few weeks ago at Backlash, Mahal took the title from Orton in shocking fashion. Now Orton looks for revenge and sets out to prove that Mahal was nothing more than a fluke and a terrible marketing ploy.
That isn’t the only gold on the line. The Smackdown Tag Team Titles will be up for grabs when The Usos defend against The New Day in what should be a great bout. Who wins? Let’s start the educated guesswork.
Below are my predictions along with the odds on the upcoming Money in the Bank event.
WWE MONEY IN THE BANK 2017: ODDS AND PREDICTIONS
NB: one or two minor matches may be added over the next week.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens
This should be an outstanding match, but it’s difficult to predict a winner for a couple reasons. First, each guy has a legitimate argument on why he should be booked to climb the ladder and grab the briefcase.
Second, the WWE loves to swerve viewers in this ladder match, so a semi-long shot like Sami Zayn could surprise us all and be that feel-good story that the WWE likes to do from time-to-time. Since Zayn moved from RAW to SmackDown in the recent roster shakeup, he has been riding some winning momentum. He is definitely primed to be the dark-horse here.
But if I was a betting man, and I am, I see names like Nakamura and Corbin, and reason that the WWE wants to elevate one of them into the main-event picture.
While Corbin is a real threat to win this match, I wonder whether he is ready to be vaulted into the title picture so early in his career. Meanwhile, Nakamura is becoming a huge star and a guy who I am pretty sure the WWE would love to anoint as a future champ.
Kevin Owens and AJ Styles are two proven vets who have already shown they can carry the show. I just don’t think either needs to be in the WWE Championship picture at this moment. They are firmly established superstars who could find some great feuds on the midcard.
Then there is the long shot, Dolph Ziggler. Even though Ziggler has won this match in the past, it’s highly unlikely he will win it again this time around. But it’s great that Ziggler is involved because he’s awesome at ladder matches and is useful for big spots.
So who will climb their way to the top?
Odds to win Money in the Bank 2017
- Shinsuke Nakamura: 2/1
- Baron Corbin: 2/1
- Sami Zayn: 17/3
- AJ Styles: 9/1
- Kevin Owens: 15/1
- Dolph Ziggler: 50/1
Predicted winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Randy Orton
When these two met at Backlash, I predicted Randy Orton would retain the WWE Championship but mentioned that it wouldn’t surprise me if Jinder Mahal shocked the wrestling world by beating Orton and becoming the new champ.
Sure enough, that’s exactly what the WWE did and now we have a surprise champion who is playing the typical evil foreigner role that a lot of ethnic pro wrestlers get typecasted as in Vince McMahon’s world.
Outside of the politics, it would seem like a big waste of time to have Mahal win the title at Backlash but lose it on the very next pay-per-view.
Something tells me that the Canadian is going to continue to get a push until maybe someone like John Cena returns on July 4th to challenge Mahal. Then, everyone can chant “USA! USA!” as the American hero returns to defeat the evil brown guy with a turban because xenophobia runs wild brother.
Sorry, getting a little ahead of myself.
Randy Orton will put Mahal over at Money in the Bank and, hopefully, this storyline will also be over.
Predicted winner (and odds): Jinder Mahal (2/3)
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: The Usos vs. The New Day
This is a really tough match to call. Both tag teams have a lot of history with the tag belts, so there would be no argument no matter who wins.
The New Day just made their debut on SmackDown and were granted an immediate title shot which makes sense considering they hold the record as the longest-reigning world tag team champions.
But will they beat The Usos, who are having a career renaissance as heels? SmackDown needs to keep building its tag-team division and having a long and consistent heel run could be great for storylines.
Truthfully, I’m not sure where this feud is going. Will it be a one-time thing or last all the way to SummerSlam? Going on a hunch here, I feel it makes sense for The Usos to retain.
Predicted winner (and odds): The Usos (1/1)
Money in the Bank Women’s Ladder Match:
Natalya vs. Carmella vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Tamina
Last year, there were some rumors that the women would be getting their very first Money in the Bank ladder match but it didn’t happen. So when SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon made the big announcement this year, it was met with a positive reaction.
The safe bet in this match would be Charlotte Flair because the WWE likes to put her at the center of history. But in my opinion, she doesn’t really need the briefcase. I do expect Flair to be a featured player in this match and it’s totally plausible she could walk out as the winner (and maybe even cash in that same night). “Whoo!”
Becky Lynch is another woman the WWE likes to push accolades upon. It wouldn’t be out of the question to give her the win here, but these types of matches are usually won through conniving ways and I think it’s possible Lynch comes close but loses due to some sort of outside interference.
Could Lynch’s opportunity be stolen by the nefarious Carmella and her little sidekick Ellsworth? These types of matches play right into a heel’s strength.
In my mind, Tamina is the darkhorse. She has been building some momentum as of late and, personally, I think people are overlooking her as the possible “Mrs. Money in the Bank.”
Natalya is the veteran and will be a vital part of how this match plays out. She’s a hard worker, technically sound, and like Dolph Ziggler in the men’s match, she’s there for entertainment value. She’s a wrestler who can set the pace and help direct the action. I don’t think she wins, but as someone who roots for her, I would love to see it.
Although the odds are favoring Flair and Lynch, something just tells me that it will either be Carmella or Tamina as the WWE would probably like to use this as a way to prop up those two profiles. My money is on Carmella.
Odds to win Money in the Bank 2017
- Charlotte Flair: 2/1
- Becky Lynch: 3/1
- Carmella: 4/1
- Tamina: 17/3
- Natalya: 15/1
Predicted winner: Carmella
WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship: Naomi (c) vs. Lana
I’ve got to say, I don’t really care for this match. Lana, who used to be the valet to Rusev, showed up on SmackDown demanding a title match. Shane McMahon said no, but Lana used her heel tactics to piss Naomi off and now here we are, a championship match between Naomi and a woman whom I have never seen wrestle on live TV before. (She has been in the development ranks at NXT learning the trade.)
It’s not like the WWE hasn’t put belts on relative unknowns in the women’s division before. They took the strap off one of their biggest stars in Becky Lynch and put it around Alexa Bliss’s waist when she was unknown and untested. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility to give Lana a huge push. Maybe she wins with the help of her husband, Rusev, who has been mysteriously kept off TV for over two months. Because, you know, Russians cheat.
Naomi is the favorite to win but those odds are not overwhelming due to the WWE’s recent trend of going against the grain.
If Naomi wins, I could see the Money in the Bank winner cashing in on her immediately, leading to a title switch. I just get the sense Naomi doesn’t leave the pay-per-view with her belt, but I will take her in this match.
Predicted winner (and odds): Naomi (2/3)
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