It’s time for my fantasy booking series to return! We’re rounding off the month of May with more of the build to Money In The Bank. Did anybody else remember that there was a six week gap between Backlash and MITB? I didn’t. If you’re wondering where I left things, read the articles for the last PPV (Backlash) and the last article. Anyway, let’s fill out those ladder matches! Continue reading Fantasy Booking Series: The card for Money In The Bank takes shape
I’ve spoken before about how the Money In The Bank contract is one of my favourite gimmicks every year, because of the storytelling options and the unpredictability it can often lead to. Tomorrow night at Summerslam, with the anticipated main event of Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship again, it seems to be a prime opportunity for a cash in.
The fans are not going to like Roman Reigns. If anything is a certainty on this show, that’s about as close to it as you’re going to get. But I don’t think Reigns can lose to Lesnar again. I’ve said it before, but the longer it goes without Reigns getting that ‘W’ the worse it gets. A cash in gives WWE the opportunity to give Reigns his win, but also send the crowd home happy, protect their man and give themselves a new main event feud all in one fell swoop.
But the question is, who will be holding the Money In The Bank contract by the time that match begins? Continue reading Summerslam 2018 Spotlight: Braun Strowman vs Kevin Owens
It’s been about a month since I updated for my fantasy booking series, and while it’s coming along I thought I should post a couple of week’s worth of shows to keep it ticking over. Last time round we covered the entire nine days between Greatest Royal Rumble and Backlash, so next on the calendar is Money In The Bank. Who’s going to qualify for the ladder matches? The first competitors are revealed here!
Monday Night Raw, 7th May
Results: Bobby Lashley defeats Elias by pinfall, Ember Moon defeats Mandy Rose by pinfall, Alexa Bliss defeats Natalya by disqualification, Jimmy Uso defeats Shelton Benjamin by pinfall, Finn Balor defeats Sami Zayn
Promos: – Sasha Banks comes down to the ring to open the show. She says that for a week, WWE have been promoting a tell all speech from her. Banks says that ever since she attacked Bayley, people on Twitter have been asking her why. Banks plays the clip of her attacking Bayley after their match three weeks ago. People have told her that Bayley didn’t deserve that. Banks says it wasn’t about Bayley. Banks plays the clip of her attacking Naomi two weeks ago. Banks says that people told her Naomi didn’t deserve the beating Banks gave her, but it wasn’t about Naomi either. Banks says that people have been demanding that she explains her actions, she says that Kurt Angle didn’t ask her to explain her actions, he told her she would. Banks says she doesn’t have to explain herself to anybody. She pretends to leave, but then goes back to the centre of the ring and says she’s in a good mood, so she’ll throw the WWE Universe a bone. Banks says she’s in a good mood because she reclaimed her own fate. She says that for too long she pandered to the fans and the corporate sponsors and did whatever people wanted her to do, and whatever they asked her to do. Banks says people say she snapped, but she just got real. She says she attacked Bayley because she wanted to. Nothing more, nothing less. Banks says that she is writing her own story again, and now The Boss is back.
– Ronda Rousey and Natalya are backstage in Kurt Angle’s office, with Rousey asking for a title match against Nia Jax. Alexa Bliss walks in with Mickie James asking who Rousey thinks she is – she has only had one match and she is asking for a title shot? Bliss says she is a four-time Women’s Champion, and that means she’s ahead of Rousey in the queue. Rousey responds saying she’s been a champion before herself, and if Bliss doesn’t think she can win she should get in the ring with her. Things threaten to get physical, so Angle interjects saying that tonight there will be a number one contender’s match between Alexa Bliss and… Natalya. Bliss and James leave, and Angle turns to Rousey apologetically, saying that Bliss was right, Rousey has only had one match and he can’t go giving her title shots just like that, even if she was ready.
– Nia Jax is asked by Renee Young about the number one contender match Kurt Angle set up for later tonight. Jax says that she doesn’t know why Bliss is getting another opportunity after Nia beat her twice, but if Nia has to beat her again she will, with pleasure. Nia puts over Natalya’s experience and ability, saying that being in the ring with someone will make Nia a better performer, but that being in the ring with Nia will make Natalya hurt. Young asks Nia about whether she thinks Rousey should have gotten the opportunity, and Nia looks at her and leaves.
– Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt are backstage in their lair. Hardy says that they have now seen off the man with red hair and his partner, because their mortal vessels lost control after the red mist descended upon them. Wyatt says that it doesn’t matter who is next to challenge them, because the expedition of gold will live on. Wyatt says that they will turn any thoughts of taking the red straps from them sour, and teams would be better served by doing one thing… run.
– Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman come down to the ring, with Heyman carrying the Universal Championship. Reigns gets on the mic and laughs at the fans for booing, says that it’s getting old and they should really be more original. He gives the mic to Heyman, who says that in nine days, Roman Reigns beat two of the toughest guys to ever have stepped foot inside the squared circle. Heyman says that last night’s match didn’t have to be for the title, but after a year of the former champion running from challengers at all costs, Roman Reigns stepped up like the big dog he is and put his money where his mouth is. Paul Heyman says his client took an unnecessary risk, and that usually he would advise someone not to do it, but he doesn’t have to worry about Roman Reigns losing the title, because there is nobody who can wrestle the belt from Reigns’ vice-like grip.
That brings out Samoe Joe. Joe says that he wants another shot at Reigns. Reigns grabs the mic from Heyman to ask if he wanted another match just so that he could say he lost to Roman twice? Joe says he doesn’t even care about winning or losing anymore. Joe says that last week, Reigns and Heyman treated Joe like he was nothing. Joe says that nearly 20 years of wrestling all around the world is not nothing. Joe says that he’s accomplished more than most of the chumps in the back can ever dream of. Reigns says that Joe can only dream of getting a win over him, and that last night all of Joe’s years of experience counted for nothing.
Bobby Lashley then comes out. Lashley says that he thinks the Universal Championship picture needs some fresh blood. If only there was someone who has been on such a roll that they haven’t lost since coming back to WWE. Oh wait, there is, and he’s standing right here on stage. Reigns says that Lashley has been beating nobodies since he came back because he’s been scared of getting too close to Reigns. Reigns says that he’ll gladly put that first loss on Lashley’s record, but he needs to beat somebody that has a reputation first. Kurt Angle comes out, and says that Reigns can disrespect everyone around him, but they need to find the next challenger for the Universal Championship. So next week, Bobby Lashley will face Samoa Joe, with the winner facing Roman Reigns at Money In The Bank.
Storyline: – It is announced that there will be qualifiers for both the men’s and women’s money in the bank ladder matches over the next few weeks on Raw and SmackDown, starting tonight with Finn Balor vs Sami Zayn and Ember Moon vs Mandy Rose.
– Mickie James and Ronda Rousey each interfere in the Bliss vs Natalya match, but the referee only catches Rousey and so disqualifies Natalya.
– Braun Strowman vs Kevin Owens and Sasha Banks vs Sonya Deville are announced as next week’s Money In The Bank qualifying matches, as is AJ Styles’ return to Raw.
SmackDown Live, 8th May
Results: Bayley defeats Sarah Logan by pinfall, Sanity squash local talent, Seth Rollins defeats Mike Kanellis to retain the Intercontinental Championship, Jeff Hardy wins a battle royal
Promos: – Shinsuke Nakamura saunters down to the ring to open the show. He makes a point of standing at every corner holding up the WWE Championship. Nakamura says that AJ Styles got a knee to the face. Daniel Bryan got a knee to the face. And now Nakamura is the WWE Champion. Nakamura says AJ Styles doesn’t matter, Daniel Bryan doesn’t matter, he is the best. Daniel Bryan then comes out to the stage with a mic of his own. Bryan says that Nakamura didn’t pin him two nights ago at Backlash. Bryan says that people told him he was making a mistake by using his title shot from the Greatest Royal Rumble in a triple threat match, but he felt it was a risk worth taking. Bryan says things didn’t go his way, but he was never pinned. Bryan says he thinks that entitles him to another shot at the WWE Championship, and asks if the fans would like to see Daniel Bryan vs Shinsuke Nakamura to get them chanting yes. When the crowd dies down Nakamura tells Bryan that he doesn’t deserve it. Bryan says that he and Nakamura go way back, but he didn’t fight to be able to resume his in-ring career for two years to sit back and wait for chances to come to him, and he wants to be WWE Champion. Paige comes out and joins Bryan on the stage, and tells him that she understands where he’s coming from. But she reminds him that while he was battling to get medically cleared for two years, he was GM of SmackDown, and he always used to tell people that they had to earn their opportunities in the ring. Paige said that with AJ Styles permanently on Raw, there is no obvious candidate to be Nakamura’s next challenger. So in tonight’s main event, there will be a battle royal, and the winner will face Nakamura at Money In The Bank.
– Charlotte is with Renee Young backstage. Renee asks her how it feels to be SmackDown Women’s Champion again, and Charlotte says it feels right, because she belongs at the top of the mountain. Renee asks about the prospect of another Money In The Bank contract holder coming after her saying potentially it could be Charlotte’s friend Bayley. Charlotte says that when there’s a contract holder around, you always have to have eyes in the back of your head. She notes that Bayley just qualified for the match, and she has faith that Becky Lynch will join her next week. Charlotte says that she knows first hand how MITB works, but that knowing Becky and Bayley they would want her at her best. Carmella interrupts them to ask if Charlotte is already looking past her, because she still has a title rematch, and she’s going to take it at Money In The Bank. Charlotte responds by saying she’s surprised Carmella would want another shot, knowing that she’s not in Charlotte’s league. Charlotte says she assumed Carmella would try to worm her way into the MITB ladder match so that she could carry a contract around for another 300 days. Carmella says that she always has a trick up her sleeve, and leaves.
– Eric Young gets on the mic after Sanity’s win. He introduces the rest of the group – Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dain and Nikki Cross. He says that they are a force like no other in WWE. He says that most people try to stay away from destruction, but they embrace it. He says that the Bludgeon Brothers walk around with their hammers trying to strike fear into everybody, but they are the true creators of chaos.
Storyline: – Becky Lynch is in Bayley’s corner, and the Riott Squad are in Logan’s corner for their Money In The Bank qualifying match
– Before the battle royal, Baron Corbin attacks Daniel Bryan on Bryan’s way to the ring. He throws Bryan into the barricade and steel steps, and then dumps him over the top rope first when the bell rings. Jinder Mahal eliminates Seth Rollins, but the final two are Bobby Roode and Jeff Hardy.
– Becky Lynch vs Billie Kay and Daniel Bryan vs Andrade “Cien” Almas are announced as the Money In The Bank qualifying matches for next week.
Monday Night Raw, 14th May
Results: Braun Strowman defeats Kevin Owens by pinfall, Jey Uso defeats Chad Gable by pinfall, Sasha Banks defeats Sonya Deville by submission, Tye Dillinger defeats Goldust by pinfall, Nia Jax squashes a local talent, Bobby Lashley defeats Samoa Joe
Promos: – The Deleters of Worlds are in their supernatural room looking up at a light. They talk about the duality of white light. They said it can mean a genesis or a finality. It can mean clarity, or a clouded fog of mystery. They say that in the present, the next challengers for their championships are unclear. But mysteries always have a way of finding a resolution, and whoever attempt to wrestle the titles away from then will be facing an obsolete task.
– Alexa Bliss and Mickie James come down to the ring. James conducts a mock interview with the number one contender. James asks Bliss how she feels about her win last week – Bliss answers by saying that she doesn’t know why anybody would have doubted her. She says that she calls herself a goddess for a reason, she’s just that much better than anyone else on the roster. Bliss says that Nia Jax has clearly gotten lucky against her twice, and that at Money In The Bank she will finally regain her title. James asks Bliss about Ronda Rousey wanting to be in the match last week, and Bliss laughs. Bliss says that Rousey must have been dreaming if she thought she could jump ahead of Bliss in the line. Bliss says that she may have gotten fights based on her reputation in UFC, but that’s not going to cut it in WWE. Bliss says she worked for years through NXT, SmackDown and Raw to get to where she is, and Rousey is not about to get the same opportunities without putting in the same amount of work. Bliss calls her a rookie, and says that even Rousey was in the match last week, it would still have been Alexa Bliss standing here as your number one contender. That brings Ronda out, and she storms down to the ring. Bliss throws James in front of her, and Rousey takes her out. Rousey then chases down Bliss who tries to run away, and lays her out too.
– AJ Styles comes down to the ring to discuss losing the WWE Championship at Backlash. He says that he’s pissed off. Styles says that Kurt Angle gave him last week off because he was scared of how Styles would react, but he’s still not happy about how things went down at Backlash. Styles said he knew he could beat Shinsuke Nakamura. All he wanted was one last opportunity to prove it fair and square. But Daniel Bryan changed the game. Styles says he respects Daniel Bryan, and he doesn’t blame him for taking the opportunity to try and win the WWE Championship, but if it weren’t for his presence Styles would still be standing here as your WWE Champion. Styles says that the match was made with the promise that it would be the last time AJ Styles would face Shinsuke Nakamura with the WWE Championship on the line, and he’s going to honour that. He still wants to be able to call himself a champion, so now that he won’t get a rematch for the WWE Championship, he’s coming for the Universal Title. Styles says he’s not expecting to walk straight into a championship match, but there is a PPV called Money In The Bank coming up. Styles says he has a qualifier next week, and he is going to win that, cash in and become your next Universal Champion.
– Nia Jax is stopped by Renee Young just behind the curtain as she heads to the ring for her match. Renee asks her about Bliss’ comments earlier. Jax says she said it last week and she’ll say it again, it didn’t matter who won last week because Jax isn’t giving the title up anytime soon. Young asks about what Rousey did, but Jax’s music plays and she excuses herself for the match.
– The Miz is in his dressing room with The Miztourage. He tells them that it was a disgrace that Kurt Angle couldn’t find a place for him on the show last week. Miz says he may not have regained the Intercontinental Championship that is rightfully his, but he is still the biggest star on Raw. Miz then turns his attention to AJ Styles, saying you wouldn’t know it because Styles never mentioned him, but it’s AJ Styles vs The Miz next week in a MITB qualifier. Miz says that Styles has never respected him, but that suits him just fine. Miz says that he has been proving people wrong his entire career, and next week he will beat AJ Styles and go on to grab the MITB contract.
Storyline: – Naomi vs Mickie James and The Miz vs AJ Styles are announced as next week’s Money In The Bank qualifying matches
SmackDown Live 15th May
Results: Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Big Cass by pinfall, Becky Lynch defeats Billie Kay by submission, Seth Rollins defeats Baron Corbin by pinfall to retain the Intercontinental Championship, Heath Slater & Rhyno defeat The New Day, Andrade “Cien” Almas defeats Daniel Bryan
Promos: – Carmella approaches The IIconics backstage, and asks if she can count on their help at Money In The Bank against Charlotte. Kay asks why they would do that, since she can’t offer them anything. Royce says that while she was champion, it was good for their image to be seen with her, but they have their own ambitions and Carmella has already shown that she can’t beat Charlotte. Kay tells her that they’re focusing on the MITB ladder match, and when the contract becomes iconic, they are going to take Carmella’s spot.
– Jinder Mahal appears on stage after Seth Rollins’ victory. Mahal says that he was the last man to beat Rollins, and he eliminated him from the battle royal last week. Mahal says that he is the better man, and he will take the Intercontinental Championship from Rollins. Mahal says that he is already a champion to the people of India, and at Money In The Bank the Maharaja will wear gold again.
– Renee Young catches Seth Rollins backstage after his match, where he accepts Jinder Mahal’s challenge for MITB.
Storyline: – The Revival’s music hits during The New Day vs Slater & Rhyno, distracting New Day and costing them the match.
– Zelina Vega distracts the referee during Almas vs Bryan, allowing Baron Corbin to attack Bryan with a chair leading to Almas getting the win.
– Peyton Royce vs Liv Morgan and Drew McIntyre vs Baron Corbin are announced as the MITB qualifying matches for next week.
And I’m going to leave it there for now. That’s two weeks of Raw and SmackDown covered, but it’s a lot of words to get through. My hope is that I can get to the stage where I’ve caught up to real time and I can do Raw and SmackDown as separate articles each week, going back to the format I used with the Superstar Shake-Up. But until then, I’m going to be putting up a couple of weeks at a time as often as I can.
I do want to make a point of saying though, I have the whole thing broadly planned out through to Wrestlemania. It’s just a case of filling in specifics for each show, which is actually quite time-consuming, at least at this stage. I just want this to be clear, because I’ve noticed some pairings or things being hinted at on actual Raw and SmackDown that I’ve already planned, so I don’t want any confusion over whether I’m just copying what’s actually happening, which would then defeat the point of me doing this.
Current Money In The Bank card:
Roman Reigns (C) vs Bobby Lashley for the Universal Championship
Shinsuke Nakamura (C) vs Jeff Hardy for the WWE Championship
Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match – Finn Balor vs Braun Strowman vs Andrade “Cien” Almas vs ? vs ? vs ? vs ? vs ?
Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match – Ember Moon vs Bayley vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch vs ? vs ? vs ? vs ?
Seth Rollins (C) vs Jinder Mahal for the Intercontinental Championship
Nia Jax (C) vs Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship
Charlotte (C) vs Carmella for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
Bludgeon Brothers (C) vs Sanity for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships
I said in yesterday’s Women’s MITB Spotlight that I’d previewed every Money In The Bank match since I started this blog, so I couldn’t leave out the men’s match in 2018. I was looking back through old previews and noticed I used a slightly different format last year to what I’ve normally done, and I’m going to use it here too. So let’s break down the match!
How can he be the star of the match?
By playing the spoiler role. Whenever any of the faces in the match get anywhere close to the top of the ladder, The Miz can be the one to stop them grabbing the contract. He should avoid all the high risk spots and just appear at the worst possible times for the fan favourites. Miz should also be around at the end, either to win the match or to finally get his comeuppance by getting literally knocked off his perch by the winner.
Will he actually win?
He has every chance. The Miz has proven his worth in the last two years, and it’s very possible that he can get back into a world title picture via the contract. He would actually have been my pick to win this match last year, but it was a SmackDown-exclusive PPV and Miz was moved to Raw post-Mania. A year later, it’s a tougher field with superstars from both brands, but Miz hasn’t cooled off too much. It could still be his time. Continue reading MITB 2018 Spotlight: Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match
I love the Money In The Bank concept. It adds a storytelling element like nothing WWE had before it. It was originally designed to be that final push for superstars to get over the line to main event level. It was a way of elevating people. It was a way of putting guys who had been at the top of the mid-card for years the opportunity to finally break through. And of course, once the gimmick got established, it could be used in other ways.
It was a featured part of Wrestlemania for years, and eventually it evolved to the point of getting it’s own PPV, and having two contracts. Last year WWE took that a step further by having the first ever women’s Money In The Bank ladder match, and then just over a week later, the second. Now we’re here, just over 24 hours away from Money In The Bank with the strongest line up on paper yet.
It has evolved yet again this year, with the number of competitors rising from six to eight, and also with the match becoming dual-branded. Since I started writing about wrestling, I’ve gone through the MITB competitors every year. So let’s get to the 2018 edition, starting with the women’s line up.
Sasha Banks has racked up an impressive list of firsts in her time under the WWE umbrella. She was in the first iron woman match, the first women’s hell in a cell match, the first women’s matches to main event both a WWE PPV and NXT TakeOver, and she was the first ever entrant into the women’s Royal Rumble. But being on the Raw brand, she missed out on being in the first women’s Money In The Bank match last year. With the arrivals of Ronda Rousey and Ember Moon on Monday nights, and the face turn and championship reign of Nia Jax, Sasha has been pushed way down the pecking order.
Something is missing from The Boss. A heel turn may help that. But getting back in the title picture may also do the trick. And the MITB contract is an immediate opportunity to put her back in that conversation. With Banks’ track record, she is always going to be in with a chance in these situations, because she has instant credibility whenever you want to throw her into a top position. Banks is likely to be the workhorse of the match, all over the shop and involved in spots with everybody. But I think her role will be to be the nearly-woman that never quite gets there.
Chances of winning: Possible
Look, Naomi is good, but I was surprised that she got the escape spot at the Royal Rumble, and I was surprised that she won the battle royal at Wrestlemania. It’s not that I don’t think she deserves the spots, it’s just that this year there’s been so little follow up that those moments have seemed… forgettable. She seems to be very clearly the fourth face on Tuesday nights, and without the backing of the NXT fans that Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Asuka have, unless something radical happens that’s not going to change.
Because of that, I don’t feel like she’s a threat to win. I could be wrong, because as I said before, she has been put in spots to stand out before. She even won the title at Wrestlemania last year. But as far as this field goes, I have Naomi right near the back of it.
Chances of winning: Unlikely
Granted I lost track of Raw and SmackDown for a while there, but why? Just… why? Like… why?
Chances of winning: (Surely?) None
A year ago Natalya was exactly who this match would have been created for. She was a long tenured superstar who was always seen as being good, but for whatever reason never got her opportunity. But then she finally got her run as SmackDown Women’s Champion last year that was arguably well overdue.
Since moving to Raw in the Wrestlemania aftermath, she became a de facto face by virtue of her history training with Ronda Rousey. And that has meant she has been one of the more prominent characters on the show. More than that, with Rousey being in a title match tomorrow night it has given Natalya a really obvious storyline with the contract. It makes Natalya a red hot pick to scale the ladder, with the only thing stopping her is that it’s not really a necessary prop to go into that story. But it is the best way to protect all parties.
Chances of winning: the favourite.
If last year I might have said that Natalya was the kind of superstar MITB was designed for, Becky Lynch comes the closest this year. It’s already been two years since Lynch was Women’s Champion, back when she was riding the crest of the SmackDown post-draft wave. Her line on this week’s SmackDown about being sick of saying “I was”, and being ready to say “I am” again summed it up perfectly. She has never lost that much popularity, but first Alexa Bliss, then Charlotte, and now Asuka has taken over her mantle.
For me, Lynch is probably the person who could benefit most from a win here. She is the one with the biggest up-side who is most likely to get lost in the shuffle. She would be a reliable champion, able to work with pretty much anyone. At the very worst Lynch is a solid option, but potentially she can be much more than that.
Chances of winning: Possible
Bliss is in danger of getting lost in the shuffle on Raw. Having been champion for so long across both brands, I get that she needs to take a step out of the title picture for a while. But she needs to be kept relevant, and at the moment looks like she could become a victim of WWE’s perennial lack of ability to create secondary and tertiary storylines for anything other than it’s main event scene. On a show as long and with as much filler as Raw, that’s really unforgivable.
But at the same time, Bliss has an advantage over everybody else in this match. Her character fits the archetypal cash-in more than anybody else, and that will keep her in with a shout regardless of who else is in the mix. Having a contract in her possession would also keep her in the spotlight without having her directly chase the title. And really, with her gimmick, she should be in no rush at all to get involved when the title scene currently involved Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey.
I can echo some of my other sentiments here with Charlotte. She is proven as the leader of the division, she’s a safe bet, her resume means you can throw her in the mix at any time with credibility. But because she was champion as recently as two months ago, there is also a sense that Charlotte doesn’t need this win as much as the others do.
There are some story points that I quite like with a Charlotte win though. I would find a poetry in Charlotte trying to cash in against Carmella, who won the title so recently by cashing in on Charlotte. And obviously there would be the threat of another loss to Charlotte hanging over Asuka should she become champion tomorrow night. That paranoia could lead to some development for the Empress of Tomorrow. All that being said, while there would be some cool off-shoots to a Charlotte win, I’m not really expecting to see it.
Chances of winning: Unlikely
Ember Moon is the person that I think has the most to gain from this match. She is the most recent addition to the main roster out of these eight women, and while the Eclipse will always be spectacular, it feels like the right stage for Moon to have a show stealing performance. An Eclipse off a ladder anyone?
Because she’s so new, to an extent it seems to early to be talking about Moon as a title contender. That’s why MITB is perfect for her. It would be a sign of faith from WWE that she is a big deal, that she is going to be a star, but an acknowledgement that right now is not her time. 2019 should be Ember Moon’s year in terms of main roster gold, and carrying the contract around for the forseeable future should safeguard that.
Chances of winning: Dark horse
So much has happened in WWE over the last week, I couldn’t contain it all in one article. I had to split up the Wrestlemania part of the week from the weekly shows, which this article covers. The post-Mania Raw is always one of the highlights of the year, they’re attempting to make SmackDown the same way and NXT is always solid whether it’s Wrestlemania season or not. So what happened? There were loads of highlights, let’s get to it!
One Ember sparks the fire
It hasn’t always worked out this way, but if an NXT Champion loses their title right before Wrestlemania, they’re an obvious candidate to be called up. Ember Moon lost the NXT Women’s Championship Saturday night, and debuted on Raw Monday night. I’m really excited to see what Moon can do on the main roster, and her being there should allow for a big name or two to move to SmackDown, because the Raw women’s division is now stacked. With the Eclipse and her presentation, Moon can stand out and be a key player.
Wrestling is an incredibly dynamic industry where everything can change in a matter of days – if not hours – and 2017 has really typified that in WWE. From wholesale roster changes, to walk outs and injuries, you can never predict what’s going to happen next, not that I won’t keep trying. As the year draws to a close, what better opportunity than to look back and reflect on the memorable moments WWE gave us in 2017?
This is the third part of my 2017 recap, find the links to the previous two parts below:
Extreme Rules – Fatal-5-Way
The thing about multi-matches is they can be so chaotic that there isn’t a cohesive story to the match. But at the same time, put enough talent in there, and it can be all action and constant entertainment. The latter scenario certainly applied to the Extreme Rules main event between Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Finn Balor and Samoa Joe in a match to decide Brock Lesnar’s next challenger. With five of the top guys on the brand in one match there were always going to be fireworks, and use of chairs, stairs, a broken barricade and a broken announce table delivered in that regard. In the end, it was Samoa Joe who came away with the win, as he turned his attention to the Beast Incarnate.
I’m back! Paige reference aside, it’s been a little while but with SmackDown presenting Clash of Champions tonight, it’s time for another Spotlight! And actually quoting Paige is fairly appropriate, because with all the turnover of personnel in the Women’s division since Survivor Series, I’m focusing on the SmackDown Women’s Championship Lumberjack match between Charlotte Flair and Natalya.
First things first – it’s a Lumberjack match. At the very least that means there is a depth in numbers that is unprecedented in either show’s roster since the brand split. For me that s both a good thing and a bad thing. It establishes more women on the main roster, which opens up possibilities. Bear in mind that tonight we have eight women on a SmackDown PPV, and Becky Lynch is away filming a movie. Suddenly we have a really strong women’s roster.
Making predictions is something all wrestling fans love to do. Whether it’s predicting something as immediate as PPV results, predicting what the next Wrestlemania card will look like or who the next Royal Rumble winner will be, or as cataclysmic as who the next face of the industry will be. So when I start this column by making a prediction with an incredible number of variables, and that I wouldn’t have dreamed of making this time last year, it may surprise you to find it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Road to Wrestlemania. Instead I’m saying The Miz will win a Money In The Bank Ladder match in 2017.
When I say there are variables, we know there’s going to be a Money In The Bank PPV next year. We don’t know if it’s going to be dual branded, and if it’s not we don’t know whether Raw superstars will compete or SmackDown. On top of that, we don’t know which show Miz will be on because there could very well be a draft before then, and even if there isn’t Miz’s ongoing storyline with Daniel Bryan could see him traded to Raw at some point. We don’t know where on the card he will be, if he will still be Intercontinental or any other champion, and – crucially – we don’t know if he will be in the Money In The Bank Ladder match itself. Continue reading The Miz – WWE’s Money In The Bank?
This is the first in a new monthly-ish feature I’m starting up. Back when I used to do predictions for each PPV, I found I would have literally a line to say about some matches, and paragraphs to say about others. So instead of going through every match, I’m going to pick out one match on the day of a PPV, and give my thoughts on it. For Money in the Bank, I’ve actually kind of cheated, because I’ve already written about the ladder match. But here, I’m going to focus on AJ Styles vs John Cena. Continue reading MitB 2016 Spotlight: Cena vs Styles