By Jason Powell
These predictions were made with no help from the betting lines because what fun would that be? Join me for live coverage of WWE Money in the Bank beginning with the needlessly long Kickoff Show at 6CT/7ET. Dot Net Members are listening to my audio review later tonight. Join us on the ad-free version of Prowrestling.net to gain access to over nine years of audio content via the Dot Net Members’ Signup Page.
First off, happy Father’s Day to my dads (divorced family) and all the other fathers out there. I won’t be dedicating this opening to griping about poor build to a WWE pay-per-view. It wasn’t flawless, but the company did an effective job, particularly when it came to hyping the women’s MITB match, of making the event feel important. Meanwhile, the loaded men’s MITB match sells itself on paper. My level of enthusiasm was blow par for recent WWE events, but I am looking forward to this one. Meanwhile, I am taking a page out of former Dot Net staffer Marv Hermanstyne playbook by including confidence picks approach for both of the MITB matches.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler in a Money in the Bank ladder match: Four internet darlings, one former internet darling, and so Baron Corbin wins. This was my initial reaction to the announced lineup and I’m sticking with it. I’m not a conspiracy theorist (well, at least not in this case) in that I don’t think they are out to screw with the online fans. Rather, Corbin feels like a logical long term contract holder. Furthermore, his recent string of losses makes it feel all the more likely that he will win. My second favorite to win is Shinsuke Nakamura if they want to go short term with the cash-in. Nakamura could win and then take the confident or noble babyface approach by announcing that he will cash in at SummerSlam. However, I have John Cena penciled in as Jinder Mahal’s SummerSlam opponent, so I’m going with Corbin.
Confidence Picks (least to favorite): 6. Dolph Ziggler. 5. Sami Zayn. 4. Kevin Owens. 3. AJ Styles. 2. Shinsuke Nakamura. 1. Baron Corbin.
Baron Corbin wins Money in the Bank.
Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship: WWE wisely played up the match being in Randy Orton’s hometown. After all, casual viewers surely think of Jinder as a fluke champion, and thus feel like there’s a strong chance they will see a title change take place. I would actually be disappointed if WWE pulled the plug on Jinder now. Orton regaining the championship feels flat. Plus, I still enjoy watching the process of creative attempting to make Jinder even if I have not been overwhelmed by their efforts thus far. I’m not suggesting Jinder should have a long leash given the Smackdown ratings, but WWE should at least try to make an honest attempt for the next month and reassess where things stand heading into SummerSlam. Jinder went out of his way to mention that Bob Orton Jr. will attend the show (hopefully wearing a cast on his hand). Are they foreshadowing some type of finish involving Randy’s father or just playing up the hometown aspect? Either way, I’m up for at least another month of JinderMania. Here’s hoping that he and the WWE Championship become the primary of focus of Smackdown, as it’s felt like he and Orton have been on an island away from everyone else since Jinder captured the strap. I also hope that creative will take the time to establish characters for the Singh brothers, who could really enhance the act if they were positioned properly.
Jinder Mahal wins.
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Carmella in a Money in the Bank ladder match: This feels like the toughest of the two MITB matches to predict. WWE loves billing Charlotte as the first woman to (fill in the blank), so she is a candidate. Lynch’s babyface persona is tailor made for the proper babyface cash-in of announcing her intentions ahead of time. Natalya holding the contract would give her heel persona some needed juice. Carmella has a couple of recent non-title wins over Naomi and this would increase her and James Ellsworth’s stock. It’s hard to make a strong case for Tamina, but stranger things have happened. It’s worth nothing that I have heels winning the other MITB match and the WWE Championship. I’ll let that break the logjam.
Confidence Picks (least to favorite): 5. Tamina. 4. Becky Lynch. 3. Natalya. 2. Carmella. 1. Charlotte.
Charlotte wins Money in the Bank.
The Usos vs. The New Day for the Smackdown Tag Titles: This feels like the first match in a lengthy program between the two teams. It would be a mistake to have New Day take the titles rather than remain in chase mode.
The Usos retain the Smackdown Tag Titles.
Naomi vs. Lana for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: There’s been some grumbling about Lana getting a title shot in her first match, but I’m fine with it because they had Shane McMahon emphasize that her character doesn’t deserve it and he gave in to Naomi’s request. There’s strong appeal in seeing how Lana will do in the ring. Throw in the fact that she’s now a threat to win the title and it’s a nice double hook, especially since Smackdown creative conditioned viewers to expect the unexpected via the Jinder Mahal title win. I’m leaning Naomi to retain, but it’s not a confident pick.
Naomi retains the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Primo and Epico Colon vs. Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley: It seems like everyone had the same reaction when Ryder returned – he’s turning heel. After all, there’s not really a need for another babyface comedy tag team on Smackdown when American Alpha can’t even get television time. Even so, I would be surprised if the turn took place on the Kickoff Show. Perhaps they plant a seed for a Smackdown television show turn, but the actual turn would be completely overshadowed by the MITB matches and bigger events on the show. If they are turning Ryder, then there’s no need to have The Colons lose yet again. This really goes against WWE’s usual strategy of having the babyfaces win the majority of the Kickoff Show matches, but…
The Colons win.
Prowrestling.net Live returns Monday at 3CT/4ET at PWAudio.net. Will Pruett and I will be taking your calls during the live audio show, which airs the Mondays after each WWE pay-per-view event.
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