WWE Money in the Bank 2017
June 18, 2017
Scottrade Center
St. Louis, Missouri

Watch: WWE Network

Meet our previewers:

  • Barry Hess: Voices of Wrestling columnist; all he wants for Father’s Day is the ability to watch his fake sports in peace. Follow him on Twitter @BFHess171
  • Suit Williams: Resident WCPW reviewer for Voices of Wrestling. He also reviews PROGRESS Wrestling for PWPonderings. Follow him on Twitter @SuitWilliams
  • Jeff Martin: Maker of fine comics, some of which are about wrasslin’. You should check out his new book, Wrestlemon, available for pre-order now. You can also follow him on Twitter @HEATcomic.

WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Naomi © vs. Lana

Barry Hess: At first I thought this would be the pure babyface shine moment of the card; a simple way to keep Naomi propped up as the rest of the Women’s Division battles in the ladder match. But now I’m thinking this may be the start of a program between the two. I wouldn’t be opposed to that. Lana is the second heel on the blue brand to be positioned as an unassuming underdog-type character in recent weeks. The gut reaction is to balk at that type of backwards booking, however, I’ve quite enjoyed it. It allows for a compelling moment of re-evaluation when the heel turns out to be more dangerous than originally presented. Lana’s in-ring skills are that of a novice, however, the character’s underhanded tactics have long since been established from her association with Rusev, which does provide a conceivable path for her to steal the title. If this is the beginning of a program between the two, I don’t see Lana walking out with the title, but rather earning a fruitless countout victory; something that protects Naomi but also establishes a conflict to continue the story. Prediction: Lana

Suit Williams: Naomi is pretty good, but she’s not good enough to carry someone through a match. And then you have Lana, who is having her first ever televised match in a PPV title match. This match has a high trainwreck potential. As for who wins, I have a feeling that Lana is going to get the title. I think WWE sees dollar signs when they see Lana, so I think they’re gonna go all in with her. Prediction: Lana

Jeff Martin: Naomi has been characterized as a woman who humbly gives her opponent their due, but believes in her ability to beat anyone across the ring from her. Her reaction to Lana’s challenge was uncontrollable laughter. Naomi couldn’t maintain her humility in the face of someone with one match on their record thinking they could beat her. That’s a cool place to start a story, and there is a lot of emotional depth to be explored there. I’ll be shocked if this goes further than being a placeholder defence to get Naomi on the show, though. Prediction: Naomi

Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Carmella

Barry Hess: I’ve quite enjoyed the simplicity of the story that led to this match. Six women vigorously competing for a shot at the title; it’s direct and makes the title feel important. That said, I would have liked to get more individual character development. I find myself hesitant to invest in Charlotte’s success. The Queen was a well-established heel on Raw, however her character has been much more ambiguous since joining SmackDown Live.I don’t mind ambiguity if it’s presented in such a way that allows me the freedom to chose a side (Roman Reigns circa 2016). Is Charlotte a morally ambiguous character or a dastardly heel simply waiting for the right moment to show her true colors? This somewhat unpolished character development has created a distracting backstory in my mind (although to some degree it does add a bit of complexity to the character). Becky Lynch is slotted in the fiery babyface, an all too familar role that she has been stuck with since joining the main roster. Likewise, Natalya is our prototypical heel – though her personality makes her interesting. Tamina is likely to play the monster heel role, which is fine. Carmella is our wildcard. James Ellsworth is taking at least one significant bump in this match and it will be great. The question is whether or not Ellsworth will ultimately cost Carmella the chance at the briefcase or lead her to victory. Im curious to see how all the performers fair in the uncharted territory that is a women’s ladder match. I would expect Charlotte and Becky to be entrusted with delivering the more risky high spots while the others take turns playing dead on the outside. Prediction: Becky Lynch

Suit Williams: Much like the other women’s match on this show, this match has a very good chance of falling apart if things go wrong. But, I think all five women will be motivated to make this match fantastic and be held in equal regards to the men’s ladder match later in the night. The big brawl they did a few weeks ago to set up this match was very well done, so that does assuage my concerns a bit. Picking a winner for this one is harder than I thought it would be. Automatically, I’m counting out Tamina and Natalya. Tamina is just a body to fill out the field, and I don’t see Natalya ever being a serious contender for the Women’s Title. I can see Carmella winning, if only to swerve people, but that’s more of a dark horse pick than a serious suggestion. That leaves Becky Lynch and Charlotte, and out of the two of them, I gotta go with Charlotte. It would continue the Charlotte/Naomi story that was teased after the draft, it could tease a Charlotte heel turn down the line, and it would give Charlotte another history-making moment that WWE are so fond of giving to her. Prediction: Charlotte Flair

Jeff Martin: I think it’s really cool that this match is happening at all, and it’s got a high ceiling, but also a very low floor. If this goes bad, there are going to be a lot of cringe-worthy “that girl might be crippled now” moments. There’s potential for the image of the winner of this match pulling down the briefcase to be part of video packages for years to come, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if these ladies’ ambitions for the match are heightened by the hype. In a WWE environment where moments endure far longer than title reigns, becoming the first Ms. Money In The Bank is going to be worth more than the title reign it precedes, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Charlotte Flair adds another “first” to her ever-growing list of accolades. Prediction: Charlotte Flair

WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The Usos © vs. The New Day

Barry Hess: It didn’t take long for The Uso’s to find their groove as heels. Similar to Natalya’s heel turn, they have clearly embraced their new roles and are having fun with the more villainous personas. Performers are always more fun to watch when it’s clear they are having fun out there. Likewise, allowing me to miss New Day for a few weeks sparked some new life into the trio just as the act was beginning to get redundant. This match-up has all the ingredients for a sustained run and so my spidey-senses are telling me to expect some good old fashioned pro wrestling tomfoolery, especially in terms of the finish. I wouldn’t be surprised is Breezango (or are we just calling them Fashion Police now? Can we just go with Fashion Police, please?) gets involved and inadvertently costs New Day the titles. If so, I’d be fine with that. Prediction: The Usos

Suit Williams: I’m really liking the new coat of paint on the Usos. They turned heel last year on American Alpha (remember them?), but it hasn’t been until the last few months where they have really been able to shine in this new gimmick. The back-and-forth promos they cut are a welcome change from the highly sterilized, patterned WWE speech that everyone else does. And now with the New Day returning to TV, these guys have something they can really sink their teeth into. I think people have forgotten how good the New Day are in-ring, as their goofiness can overshadow their talent. Both of these teams should put together an exciting and fun tag match with a finish that can hopefully continue the feud. Usos retain via shenanigans. Prediction: The Usos

Jeff Martin: The Usos’ current characters are the most interesting they’ve ever been. Their hip-hop-inspired promos and intensity have created a contrast between them and the other teams, which has served as the defining feature of the division of late. The Usos, serious and dangerous, are frustrated by the gang of goofballs that make up the rest of the division. The New Day’s arrival has amped up the absurdity of the Smackdown tag team scene, creating even greater frustration for the champions, who have been dealing with the Fashion Police for months. As much as I dig the Usos, the New Day haven’t been worth much between the bells the past few years, so unless they go full-on comedy like the Usos/Breezango match at Backlash, I’m more interested in the characters involved than the match. I don’t think the New Day winning accomplishes much, so I’m leaning toward the Usos retaining and continuing to be surrounded by ridiculousness. Prediction: The Usos

Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a WWE Championship Match
Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Barry Hess: Correct or not, I’ve always viewed the Money in the Bank match as a contemporary version of the King of the Ring tournament which, more often than not, was a device to increase the creative equity of a mid-card performer. That takes AJ Styles out of the running. The briefcase, like the crown and scepter, is a useful prop to add a creative wrinkle to the character that possess it. Kevin Owens is the current United States Champion so he already has a prop; that rules him out. Shinsuke Nakamura can walk out and brush his teeth in the center of the ring and still get the audience to go crazy. He doesn’t need to win this match; that rules him out. Dolph Ziggler is a previous MITB winner and in my mind that rules him out. That leaves us with Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin. It just so happens that Zayn and Corbin find themselves in a bit of an angle at the moment (great forward thinking or lucky coincidence, you decide). Zayn has two victories over The Lone Wolf in recent weeks and that, combined with the odd blend of a feisty underdog and a neurotic Woody Allen-type character he’s currently portraying, leaves Corbin atop the ladder holding the all important briefcase in the end. These six guys will have to work pretty hard to have a bad match. I look forward to getting another dose of the Zayn/Owens blood-feud (like we did last year, as well as a typical OMG moment from Styles. Im curious to see how Nakamura handles the ladder; he looked a bit shaky up there as SmackDown Live went off the air this past Tuesday. Prediction: Baron Corbin

Suit Williams: Despite how meh I feel about some of these guys, this match should be fantastic. So let’s pick a winner. Styles and Owens both had lengthy world title runs last year, so winning Money in the Bank wouldn’t help them. Ziggler is so far-gone that giving him the briefcase would be an outright mistake. Nakamura is over, but I think he’s too new to win the briefcase. Like Barry, I’m left with Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin. Sami would be a great choice to win. He’s one of the best wrestlers on the roster, and he’s over. Corbin is tall. Sami’s ability to connect with crowds is second-to-none. Baron Corbin…sure is tall. Sami’s ability to emote could make that cash-in a legendary moment. But Baron Corbin is tall, and you just can’t overlook something like that. Prediction: Baron Corbin

Jeff Martin: Smackdown’s roster is so much better than it was after the initial brand split, but the quality of the show has cratered into a shorter version of RAW, including a multi-man contendership match built by endless matches between the competitors. I’m most interested to see how Nakamura adapts to the ladder match stipulations, as to my knowledge he’s never worked one. His WWE run, his debut against Sami Zayn aside, has been… bad. It’s kind of amazing, really. Still, with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in the same ladder match, the floor on this one is pretty high. I’m sure I’ll think one of them has legitimately been crippled at some point, like when Owens took the half-n-half suplex on a ladder at WrestleMania a couple of years ago. Really, if Baron Corbin and Nakamura mostly stay out of the way, this will probably have a shot at being one of the better Money In The Bank matches. As far as the winner… Jinder Mahal can be WWE Champion, so can you really rule anybody out? I think Baron Corbin has the most room to benefit from the briefcase, though, so I’ll go with him. Prediction: Baron Corbin

WWE Championship
Jinder Mahal © vs. Randy Orton

Barry Hess: I’m a rare breed of hardcore wrestling fan in that I can usually experience the product (specifically WWE) with little or no cynicism. I’m not jaded in the least, and would much rather attempt to find something positive (or at least humorous) in everything rather than get angry or frustrated. Otherwise, there’s no logical reason to continue watching at all. That said, count me in with the masses who failed to see any value in the phrase “WWE Champion, Jinder Mahal.” However, you can also count me in with the very few that will willingly say that I was wrong. I’ve really enjoyed Mahal’s performance since his upset over Randy Orton at Backlash. His coronation segment was very well produced and something I found to be very compelling. He has an underlining ferocity about him, specifically in his promos, that I actually find to be quite good; almost Jake Roberts-like. He doesn’t scream and shout in his promos like he used to, his facial expressions are focused and not melodramatic; it feels as though he knows exactly who his character is in every way. That type of connection can go a long way. Conversely, as much as I enjoy Randy Orton the heel, I just can’t get invested in Randy Orton the fiery babyface. There’s something missing from his performance that tells me, unlike Jinder, he’s not in-tune with the character he’s portraying. It’s oil and water. I’d love to see Jinder retain and move on to another program. Honestly, I can see him organically transforming into a viable babyface if handled correctly. That would be a welcome surprise. Reading the tea leaves, however, I see the hometown hero returning to St. Louis to reclaim his title. I want a Bob Orton appearance. I need a Bob Orton appearance; a cast on the arm, cowboy hat on the head-type Bob Orton appearance. Also, expect at least five Sam Mushnick references from JBL during this show. It’s going to happen. Get over it. Prediction: Randy Orton

Suit Williams: We have Randy Orton, who is coming off of one of the worst WWE world title runs in recent memory. We have Jinder Mahal, who despite my Twitter circle’s ironic love for the guy, is still a preliminary fuckin’ wrestler. This match should have the tagline from Alien vs. Predator. “Whoever wins, we lose.” I have no interest in this match. I have no interest in either of these men. I pick Jinder, because JOHN CENA is coming back on the FOURTH OF JULY. Prediction: Jinder Mahal

Jeff Martin: Randy Orton might be my least favourite long-term main eventer in WWE history. All of the charisma in the Jinder Mahal act comes from Harv Sihra Singh Brother #2. I think it’s really cool that WWE is trying to appeal to India, and that a good ol’ Canadian boy (™ Don Cherry, who would not endorse this use of his verbiage at all) is getting the biggest run of his career, but… I just don’t want to see these dudes wrestle. Our best case scenario is another gif of Randy Orton looking like a goofy asshole after nearly murdering a Bollywood Boy. I think Jinder is going to retain, because… honestly, I never need to see another Randy Orton title run. I have no actual read on the narrative of this feud. Prediction: Jinder Mahal