MITB 2017 Spotlight Pt1: Women’s MITB Ladder Match

Money In The Bank is here! And for the first time I think ever, only one brand is featured on the show. We’ve had brand specific MitB ladder matches before, but this is the first time we’ve had two briefcase matches both from a single brand before. It is also notable because, as you may have heard, tonight we see the first ever women’s Money in the Bank ladder match!

In previous years I’ve done columns looking at the participants in the briefcase matches, looking at their chances of winning. This year I’m going to add one more thing into my thoughts – how you could potentially make them the star of the match, if that’s even possible. So, starting with the women’s match in this article, let’s get to it!

Carmella

Carmella

How can she be the star of the match?

In all honesty, by not doing much. In this sort of match, in this field, Carmella may have the least credibility to win. She is the smallest competitor, she hasn’t been presented as a star so far in her run on the main roster, and she (alongside James Ellsworth) may be the most genuinely annoying female superstar on SmackDown. So use that to her advantage. Play up to it. Have her actively roll out of the way of dangerous situations. Keep her in the eye of the crowd, but make a conscious effort to have her avoid taking any serious punishment. Carmella can be the opportunist of the match, picking up the pieces by staying out of the way while everyone else kills themselves for the opportunity. And that’s including Ellsworth – if he “sacrifices” himself in a big spot leaving Carmella to have a free run at the briefcase, then afterwards she claims to have done it all on her own by being the smartest woman there, that’s got to rile people up. My only worry with this strategy is if a 2017 crowd would see through it, but I really think it’s the best bet for Carmella.

Will she actually win?

No. With all that being said, I have her down as fourth most likely to win out of five. In reality, I expect her to just kind of be there for the match, getting a brief flurry of offense and the typical briefcase tease that they’ll all get but to a minimal reaction. I think she’s there to catch other people and take their big moves. Same with Ellsworth, he’ll probably take something big and that could get the biggest pop of the match. I’m not really sure where Carmella goes from here, I think in hindsight it was a big mistake to move Mickie James to Raw and leave Carmella on SmackDown, because she could do well as part of a duo on a larger women’s roster or by linking back up with Enzo and Cass for however much longer that’s going to last. But here tonight, I’m not completely ruling it out, but I don’t think it’s at all likely Carmella walks out as the first ever Ms. Money in the Bank.

 

Becky Lynch

Becky Lynch

How can she be the star of the match?

By never giving up. Tonight Becky has to show that “Straight Fire” is more than just a moniker, and power past whatever gets thrown at her. She has to keep coming back time and time again to climb that ladder one more time. Becky has long been the most popular woman on SmackDown but with the rise of Alexa Bliss and the arrival of Charlotte earlier in the year it’s time for Becky to remind everyone why she was the blue brand’s first female draft pick last summer. Just showcasing that never say die attitude in a match like this should be enough for someone with her ability to connect with the crowd, who already respect and like her going in. I think the beauty of this role is that Becky doesn’t even have to win, if a heel comes in and sneaks a victory after Becky has already been inches away several times it would get both of them over and make both of them bigger stars than they have been, plus it sets up their next programme to potentially distract from the imminent possibility of a cash-in.

Will she actually win?

Maybe. I think Becky is definitely in contention, but I think there’s one other superstar who needs it more, and a third superstar who I think WWE would be more likely to give it to. But after the Mrs Nice Girl act of the last six months or so, winning the briefcase could also be a chance to give her a bit of a mean streak again, or even turn her heel in pursuit of gold. I actually think Becky’s story options should she win are the most interesting of all the participants. I just think there are other routes WWE are more likely to go down. But she’s definitely the dark horse of the match.

 

Tamina Snuka

Tamina

How can she be the star of the match?

This is one I’m not sure can happen. My best bet is to have her be far and away the most destructive presence in the match, putting people through tables and maybe even a ladder. But Tamina has been around for so long getting such quiet reactions I’m not even sure that’ll be enough. I think it’s possible, if this ends up as the beginning of an extended period of violence we’ve never seen from her before (ala Mark Henry’s Hall of Pain in 2011), that it could work, but I just can’t see it happening. Hey, she’s the biggest and most powerful woman in the match, so play to those strengths. Have her beat people up and hurt them worse than we’ve seen before, and have her withstand more punishment than anyone else was able to take. That’s got to be the way if there is one.

Will she actually win?

Look, I’m not ruling out anyone winning over the two matches, because this is a show that has Jinder Mahal as it’s world champion. So anything’s possible, but I do think Tamina is the least likely to win. I see her being in the glorified Carmella spot, mostly being there to take big bumps but also getting a bit more of a look in as a threat because of her size. And I could be wrong, and this is actually the start of a dominant Hall of Pain style run that launches Tamina to the title via the briefcase, but I just don’t see it.

 

Natalya

Natalya-1

How can she be the star of the match?

It’s actually quite a similar theory to the Becky angle, but just have Natalya never go away. Instead of coming back from anything and everything though, have her dishing it out. She’s the one who’s never giving anyone else a moment to breathe, never mind climbing the ladder. She’s the one who get in everyone’s way to halt them in their tracks when they gain some momentum. She’s the one who’s taking on all comers and dispatching them, the true all-round talent in the match. She can brawl with anyone, incapacitate anyone with her technical and submission ability, and she’s not afraid to use weapons either. Crucially for her though, if Natalya is really to be seen as the star of this match – regardless of how it’s done – she needs to win.

Will she actually win?

She would be my choice to win if I was booking this match. Money in the Bank as a concept was designed as a way for talent on the cusp of main event status to break through, and I feel like over the last year at least that has been Natalya’s role in WWE. She hasn’t always won the big matches, so winning the briefcase and having a good run with that before the title could put her right back on the same level as the four horsewomen have been. In my opinion, she is the perfect example of what this concept was created for. But this is WWE, not me, making the decisions. Natalya is, I think, slightly ahead of Becky Lynch as a contender for this match because of the heel-face dynamic assuming Naomi retains the SmackDown Women’s Championship. She’s definitely right up there, and definitely a contender, even if not quite the favourite.

 

Charlotte Flair

Charlotte

How can she be the star of the match?

This is definitely the easiest scenario to come up with, because Charlotte is already the biggest star in the match. She will be seen as the favourite by the crowd, and the biggest threat by the other competitors, and that’s all the story they have to tell. That and maybe a big corkscrew moonsault off a ladder or something. If Charlotte pulls off a highlight reel moment and doesn’t seriously injure herself in the process, her job is done for the match such is her star power already.

Will she actually win?

I think so. It seems as though WWE are determined to give Charlotte as many feathers in her cap as possible so that they can call her the greatest women’s wrestler ever by the time she’s done, and being able to call herself the first ever Ms. Money in the Bank would be just another accolade they can laud at her. Not only that though, Charlotte is already a four-time Women’s Champion, so having her be the first female briefcase holder gives the briefcase instant credibility. From a logic and legacy point of view, for wrestler and gimmick, it’s a win-win.

 

So there we have it. I would imagine we’re going to see all the stops pulled out in this match to make the “first ever” as good as it can possibly be. On one hand, you have a clean slate, but on another, as with any ladder match, there is so much pressure to live up to the men’s matches as well as expectations. I foresee good things coming out of this though, with the potential for multiple stories to be set up for the coming weeks and months. Let the ladders commence later tonight!

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