By Mike “Sarge” Riley, 98.5 The Sports Hub
BOSTON (CBS) – Last summer when the WWE made the Raw and Smackdown brands exclusive, we knew Wrestlemania, The Royal Rumble, Survivor Series and Summerslam all would be “inter-brand” shows.
I personally thought Money in the Bank would feature both shows, especially with the championships on each show, but it is an exclusive Smackdown event.
The two MITB ladder matches guarantee the winner a championship contract from the briefcase hanging atop the squared circle. As Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon has said before, “Smackdown is the show of opportunity” and a couple Superstars will have their chance at “opportunity” when they take home the contract in the briefcase.
Sarge’s MITB Predictions
The Hype Bros (Zacky Ryder and Mojo Rawley) vs the Colons. Its good to see Zack Ryder back in action after recovering from an injury, but I don’t think these two will be teamed up for a while. Ryder had his moment at Wrestlemania 32 winning the Intercontinental title ladder match, and Mojo took home the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 33 with the help of Patriots Tight end Rob Gronkowski! That’s a foreshadow for their future individual careers and the writing is on the wall that these two will break up soon, but not this Sunday. One more win for the Hype Bros before they go their separate ways.
Sarge Says: Hype Bros
WWE Tag Team Championship
The Usos (C) vs. The New Day. Exactly what Smackdown needs is an injection to its tag team division and The New Day are the solution when they made the move from Raw last month. Afterall, they are longest reigning tag team champions in the history of WWE, but you can’t be a newcomer and steal the show. Smackdown rides with the Usos success in this one.
Sarge Says: The Usos
WWE Women’s Championship
Naomi (C) vs Lana. If Lana wasn’t married to Rusev, I’d be asking her out on a date, but we can all wish right? As good as her looks are, her in ring looks don’t cut it yet. I’d be shocked if she wins, Naomi will hold onto the belt until the MITB winner challenges her.
Sarge Says: Naomi
Jinder Mahal (C) vs Randy Orton. I absolutely love how the WWE put the belt around Mahal taking down Orton last month at Backlash. They shocked the world with this win, and there is no reason for him to lose to Orton who’s at the point of his career “been there done that.” Mahal is a great heel, and when John Cena returns next month he would be a great challenge for the current champ.
Sarge Says: Jinder Mahal
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch vs Natalya vs Carmella vs Tamina . History in the making with the first ever women’s MITB match. Charlotte, and Becky Lynch both do not need the match as much as the three other contenders to get a push. What’s obvious on this card is Natalya is running out of time – and it would be good for the storyline if she had the contract to hold over someone’s head and cash in. But, for the opportunity theme it would make most sense for Tamina or Carmella to win. I think Tamina will give everyone a run for the money, but Carmella – who’s been on the main roster for less than a year will make history during this inaugural match.
Sarge Says: Carmella *AND she cashes in and wins the championship later in the night*
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Kevin Owens vs Dolph Ziggler vs AJ Styles vs Baron Corbin vs Shinsuke Nakamura vs Sami Zayn. Similar to the Women’s MITB match, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and Shinsuke Nakaumura all do not need this victory as much as the other three vying for a championship contract. They are all top competitors for Smackdown and can be slotted into a championship match at almost anytime.
I think this is now or never for Sami Zayn, he hasn’t panned out to be the same superstar he was in NXT, and if he doesn’t get the push now, I don’t know when he ever will, and unfortunately for him I don’t see that happening.
Baron Corbin doesn’t seem like the type to carry a brand as it’s Champion down the line, but WWE might ride out their “shock” effect here. If they don’t I think it would be beneficial for Corbin to get teamed up with someone, and maybe on the next draft have him join the Wyatt family.
Dolph Ziggler’s heel turn might be the best resurrection for his character, especially since the brand split in 2016. I’m excited to see Dolph showcase his talent over the next few months as the number one contender for the WWE Championship.
Sarge Says: Dolph Ziggler
And don’t forget locally, the Ring of Honor “Best in the World” show takes place this Friday night at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium (a great venue for pro wrestling!). My colleague Jimmy Stewart (Executive Producer of Felger and Mazz show) spoke with Matt Taven previewing the event.
Mike “Sarge” Riley can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ NewsRadio 1030. Find him on Twitter @Sarge985.