By John Moore
Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: The closer we get to Money in the Bank and the closer we get to the WWE brand split, the more I get convinced that this match ends in some type of finish to split the WWE Title. WWE’s obsession with protecting Reigns along with the awkward framing of Seth Rollins as a sympathetic babyface in video packages push me towards this. Maybe they want both wrestlers to come out of this match looking good. I see Dean Ambrose influencing this match to help lead it to a draw, but I do not see him as an active contender for the title. In fact, I see Dean Ambrose’s presence being more so mind games to back up his wild card character. That’s all contingent upon Ambrose winning Money in the Bank, which I’ll get into in my next prediction.
Prediction: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins will end in a draw to justify splitting the title in two.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match: WWE might be going the obvious route this year with Dean Ambrose picking up the case. There’s money in The Shield dynamic and that’s what most of the main event promotion has been built around. WWE has been also recapping classic Shield moments on their social media and network recently. I’m not sure what the “Shelton Benjamin athletic moment” of the match will be, but I’m predicting that it will involve Sami Zayn. Since this is such a big multi-man match, I’ll also throw in my dark horse pick of Kevin Owens since it will be just plain fun to see him walking around with the briefcase. Bray Wyatt is a possibility if WWE adds a seventh entrant, but I don’t have confidence in WWE to do him any justice as the case holder. It will also remind me of that lame “anyone but you” storyline that played out when Reigns was the favorite to win last year’s.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose wins the Money in the Bank Ladder Match
John Cena vs. AJ Styles: The Franchise vs. Franchise Match. The Face of WWE vs. The Face of TNA. AJ might seem to be the slight favorite, but I see this match being the hardest to predict. What’s easier to predict is this match is probably going to be the match of the night due to AJ being AJ as well as Cena possibly picking up where he left off in 2015 as far as work rate is concerned. Cena and AJ were the faces of their companies the past ten years, but in 2015 AJ and Cena might arguably have been two of the hardest working wrestlers in the business. I want to pick AJ to win this match, I really do. He could use a meaningful win. If I were booking WWE though, I would have John Cena win actually in their opening encounter. I only would do this if I can guarantee that WWE would follow through correctly to allow AJ’s loss to build his character. I reference AJ’s transformation to the “No Phenomenal One” lone wolf character post-Claire Lynch and Christopher Daniels where AJ became the silent assassin that was so great at the end of his TNA run and New Japan run. A loss in AJ’s case can help him build character, to “level up” in the eyes of the WWE fans. This is an extremely risky route to take with AJ as it has a higher fail potential if not pulled off correctly. If WWE allows AJ to input his thoughts on his character, I feel the main event potential being much higher with this route just because we are getting a journey with AJ.
Prediction: John Cena over AJ Styles via pinfall.
New Day vs. Enzo and Cass vs. The Club vs. The Vaudevillains for the WWE Tag Team Championship: This match either has the potential to either be really good or passable filler. Kofi Kingston and Big E are the my picks for the New Day with Xavier at ringside for this one so expect Kofi to do some cool flips and flying while expecting a dangerous spear topé from Big E. Enzo will sell a lot while Cass will get the hot tag. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows will do the solid wrestling. The Vaudevillains might fade into the background here or be cannon fodder. I’ll go with New Day retaining here, but my mind will go on alert if Michael Cole mentions how many days New Day have been champs. I expect Gallows and Anderson to pick up the win if Paul London and Brian Kendrick’s record is mentioned. That said, I can also see Gallows and Anderson ending New Day’s reign in the weeks leading to the brand split, possibly on a later Smackdown. Simon Gotch might be the one that takes the pin in this match.
Prediction: New Day defeat The Vaudevillians, Enzo and Cass, and The Club via pinfall to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
Rusev vs. Titus O’Neil for the United States Championship: Rusev is the easy pick here with is latest U.S. Title run just beginning. While this pick should be a slam dunk on everyone’s prediction board, I wouldn’t be surprised if WWE swerves us. WWE might want to reward Titus for toughing out his odd suspension and Titus already has the reputation of being the WWE Charity guy, which gives them good PR. It’s also Father’s Day which has me feeling more afraid that WWE might pull the trigger on a Titus O’Neil title reign given that he was honored as father of the year by a group last year. I’ll feel bad for Rusev and the U.S. Title if that happens since it will both decrease the prestige of the title as a hot potato title while also damaging Rusev who is already in character rehab mode.
Prediction: Rusev over Titus O’Neil via submission to retain the United States Championship.
Charlotte and Dana Brooke vs. Natalya and Becky Lynch: I can’t help but feel like this match would fit better at the end of the first hour of Raw as opposed to being a PPV match. The story that WWE’s telling on television points to Brooke eating the loss here to protect Charlotte while giving Charlotte an excuse to berate Dana in upcoming episodes of Raw. My pick to pick up the victory over Dana would be Lynch with her Fujiwara armbar. Lynch has become the mainstay scrappy and energetic babyface that the women’s division had in past iterations when Trish Stratus and Mickie James were in that position. I feel like Natalya’s time has passed and she still has to shed Bret Hart away from her act. She will keep Charlotte in check though keeping her from breaking up Lynch’s submission. The story in the end will be focused more on Dana Brooke taking the loss as opposed to Lynch being built.
Prediction: Becky Lynch and Natalya defeat Dana Brooke and Charlotte via submission.
Apollo Crews vs. Sheamus: This match will either be as simple as Crews picking up the win just so Cole and JBL can say that Crews beat a former WWE World Heavyweight Champion, or they can use this match to be the launchpad to rehab Sheamus while inserting Crews in his first meaningful program. How do I see WWE getting to the latter route? This match might end in a double count-out with Sheamus and Crews brawling on the outside and possibly through the crowd. If that happens, it might have me questioning my main event prediction since WWE writers might find it unnecessary to have two stalemate finishes on one show.
Prediction: Apollo Crews vs. Sheamus ends in a double countout.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin: It feels like Dolph’s latest feuds overstay their welcome. [Play the Lambchop Credits Theme in your head for the next few sentences] This is the feud that doesn’t end, it just goes on and on my friends, Dolph Ziggler, keeps on wrestling without knowing who he is, and he’ll continue wrestling forever just because (repeat song)… Baron Corbin will win to end this feud that never ends? Maybe after an End of Days? The End of The Feud?
Prediction: Baron Corbin over Dolph Ziggler via pinfall.