WWE MONEY IN THE BANK 2023
JULY 1, 2023
THE O2
LONDON, ENGLAND, UK

Watch: Peacock

MEET YOUR PREVIEWERS:

Suit Williams: Voices of Wrestling’s WWE correspondent returns for this month’s serving of sports entertainment. WWE makes its way to the UK, as a nice little warm-up act for the real big London show in August. Check out my work on the Wrestling Observer website, covering Ring of Honor and AEW Collision. You can follow me on Twitter, @SuitWilliams.

Will Young: A wrestling obsessive who couldn’t quit this if he tried (and he has tried). Follow @CC_PW for articles, reviews, and stray thoughts. 

CODY RHODES VS. DOMINIK MYSTERIO (W/RHEA RIPLEY)

Suit: Cody needs something to do this month while Brock Lesnar is away, but he also has to sell the broken arm Brock gave him a month ago. Who is someone with so little legitimacy that Cody could beat them, but with a name that would make sense to see on pay-per-view?

Enter Dominik.

I have no use for Dominik Mysterio. He’s wholly unimpressive. Even at a meme level, he’s not even funny bad. He’s a completely uncompelling person, cornered by a very compelling person in Rhea Ripley. But, WWE has found some use for him post-Rey feud, so here he is. They’ll screw around while the London crowd has some fun, and Cody will shut this little turd up before getting back to actual business with Brock for Summerslam. Prediction: Cody Rhodes

Will: The rise of Dominik Mysterio in 2023 has been a heartwarming development. This poor guy started in the ultimately unenviable position to have to follow not just his more famous father, but an even-more famous fake father as well. I always thought the backlash against him was a bit disproportionate to how he was still trying to learn and find his footing on a global stage and, now that he’s found his niche and embraced his personality as a lowlife simp, he’s never been better.

Almost in contrast, Cody entered WWE with enormous fanfare and has suffered both physical and emotional setbacks. I have no doubt that “the story” of him winning the big one will be “completed” (see my VOW article for my thoughts on this idea), but he is still in the middle of digging himself out of the hole that his Wrestlemania loss put him into. A win here for Cody seems natural, especially as he could use a bit of heating up going into a potential third match with Brock Lesnar, but never discount the fluke B.S. win for one of the biggest heels WWE has right now. Keep those boos coming for Dom Dom! Prediction: Cody Rhodes

MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
SHINSUKE NAKAMURA VS. RICOCHET VS. LA KNIGHT VS. SANTOS ESCOBAR VS. BUTCH VS. DAMIAN PRIEST VS. LOGAN PAUL

Suit: Man, remember when Money In The Bank made a guy? People like Edge, CM Punk, and Seth Rollins have become top-line names with their cash-ins, going from guys on the cusp to main event names in the eyes of WWE fans.

It’s off of those names that Money In The Bank still has its cache. But names like Damian Sandow, Baron Corbin, and Otis have turned this match from a guaranteed star-maker into just another gimmick match. Not to mention the yearly PPV that has given us two briefcase winners almost every year since 2010, an oversaturation issue that stretches far and wide in this promotion.

This year though, there are three names that do feel like a win could make them real-deal main event players, whatever that means in 2023 WWE. Damian Priest is a fresh face on WWE television, and he’s done well as the muscle of Judgment Day. He’s got the size, and he can work well in the ring to be a higher-profile name. The Judgment Day has also had some DISSENSION lately, so he could end up as the face of that unit. LA Knight has gotten over by being smart and having a catchphrase, YEAH. He took the Bray Wyatt assignment at the Royal Rumble and tried his best to make it something watchable. And he’s gotten legitimately over with WWE crowds from what I can tell from live videos in the buildings.

Then, there’s Logan Paul. Logan Paul is legitimately famous, and legitimately good at pro wrestling. He has caught on like a fish to water, having stellar matches with the two men who just so happen to hold the World Titles right now. Given WWE’s constant need for mainstream attention, as well as their penchant for HEAT, I’m gonna pick the YouTuber to win this thing. Prediction: Logan Paul

Will: On the one hand, this seems almost academic. If you pay attention to crowd reactions, social media, and general fan reaction, the (at times baffling) popularity of LA Knight seems to be cresting a huge wave and it may never be a better time than now to strike while the iron is hot. However, never forget that this is WWE, and no matter who’s in the high tower, they will always have their own ideas. I’m in my 20th year of being a wrestling fan, and I’ve seen figures like Knight come and go. The wildly popular maverick who gets over of his own merit, despite a clear lack of willingness to push him meaningfully on TV, has a poor track record of actually meeting fan expectations.

To this, I feel that Knight is a huge red herring as to who will take home the briefcase. Without him getting the duke, it becomes harder to say for sure who will be getting it, as there are one or two in this match who are constantly bubbling under, as well as another celebrity albatross that WWE has tied themselves to (admittedly, one that is hanging in there just fine). There’s also the matter that one of these people has to look like a credible challenger to the God King Roman Reigns and, respectfully, none of these people do at the moment. Yes, the MITB can now be used for any title, but you’d ideally want to create at least some mystery that the case winner could potentially disrupt the Roman Empire. I don’t exactly get that level of intrigue from someone like Butch, y’know?

MITB has been classicly forced on lower-card guys as some sort of “Get Over Free” card, to less-than-stellar results. However, I’m more comfortable imagining WWE sticking to this tried and “””true””” method of star creation and I think that Ricochet will be the latest case-holder for this trend. Just don’t be surprised when The One And Only uses the case to get back his United States title or something. Prediction: Ricochet

MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
TRISH STRATUS VS. BECKY LYNCH VS. BAYLEY VS. IYO SKY VS. ZELINA VEGA VS. ZOEY STARK

Suit: Aside from Carmella, every Women’s Money In The Bank match winner has cashed in the title shot by the next episode of Raw. They don’t want to do the same gimmick twice with the briefcase holder, and the men’s one is the one that theoretically matters more, so this is basically picking the next champion.

Stratus and Stark are feuding with Becky Lynch, so maybe Trish can win with Zoey’s help and cash in on Rhea Ripley to set up the Summerslam title match. The tattered, rusted remnants of Damage CTRL are here, seemingly on their way to a break-up. Maybe Iyo wins, cashes in, and Bayley gets upset and turns on her for doing what she hasn’t been able to do since her return from injury last year. Zelina Vega is also in this match. Rhea feels like a longer-term champion right now, so I will pick Iyo Sky to win the briefcase. Prediction: Iyo Sky

Will: Another interesting field in this year’s ladder matches and, thankfully, no one here feels out of place. Former champions, former recent challengers, and Trish’s hanger-on will at least make these proceedings interesting. Thankfully, the women’s division doesn’t have the weight of a forever champion around it, so you can more freely make more interesting choices.

This comes down to Trish and Becky, in my eyes, as Bayley and IYO are caught up in their own story right now, Zelina already blew her shot, and Zoey is basically just Trish’s backup who is not yet ready for a featured spotlight. With these two, it would not surprise me that they want to keep the Trish comeback train rolling and have her be in the wings for either women’s champion, but I think Becky is the one to award here. Still at the top of her game and a reliable top player, the Money in the Bank is one of WWE’s annual honors that has eluded Lynch to this point, so it seems like now or never to shower her with another distinction, as WWE so like to do. Prediction: Becky Lynch

WWE WOMEN’S TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH
LIV MORGAN & RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ VS. RONDA ROUSEY & SHAYNA BASZLER (C)

Suit: This will, in fact, be a WWE Women’s Tag Team Title match between the challenger team of Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez and the champion team of Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler. If the classics between Morgan and Ronda from last year are anything to go by, this will be quite the happening.

Yeah, I think that’s enough. Prediction: Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler

Will: Congrats to Liv for recovering quickly from her injury and returning to title contention, even if it’s not singles title contention. I also continue to be low-key pleased that WWE has not completely thrown these tag titles in the garbage by now; true, they are often on the lesser end of heated on any show, but at least they aren’t seen as bait to be cut. The very nature of these titles makes it hard to predict who will win at what time, it could literally be anyone. I’ll go with the MMA Horsewomen retaining. Prediction: Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH
GUNTHER (C) VS. MATT RIDDLE

Suit: If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you’ve probably seen that meme from Akira where he’s tortured by old memories popping into his head as he shouts “leave me alone!” I am unfortunately in the position of Akira, being tortured by memories of Progress Wrestling popping into my head. Leave me alone, Smallman!

Matt Riddle and GUNTHER – then known as WALTER – had a fantastic series of matches in Progress over the Atlas Championship. Since joining WWE, GUNTHER has been surprisingly consistent in his high-level output while avoiding any WWE attempts at “giving him some character.” Meanwhile, Riddle is the town doofus, but his work can be good as well. This should be another high-level GUNTHER match, with him retaining the Intercontinental Title at the end of it. Prediction: GUNTHER

Will: A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one. Despite his at-times odious online personality, Riddle is still capable of delivering in-ring in a way that both exists safely within WWE’s style, while also feeling unique enough to make for interesting matchups. Ditto GUNTHER and then some, as he is perhaps the strongest and most consistent in-ring performer on the current roster, making any singles match of his appointment television. It doesn’t feel nearly time enough for GUNTHER to lose his title, especially in the UK, so this ought to be an entertaining title retention for the big man. Prediction: GUNTHER

WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
SETH ROLLINS (C) VS. FINN BALOR

Suit: This is a good first feud for Seth Rollins as champion. In a rare case of remembering their own recent history, Finn Balor is still mad about Rollins throwing him into a barricade and tearing his shoulder up back in 2016, causing Balor to vacate the Universal Title a day after becoming the first champion. It’s always nice when WWE plays into their history when it isn’t nostalgia-bait, as it gives these characters depth and reasoning for what they do. 

The Judgment Day have been teasing issues with each other, so I expect Balor to lose here to play that up. This will be a solid first PPV defense for Rollins, who will have London singing his song all night. Hell, they would’ve sang that shit if he wasn’t there. Prediction: Seth Rollins

Will: We find ourselves back here again, with two of WWE’s more reliable in-ring hands. Rollins certainly is at home in the top spot of a WWE brand, despite lacking any real character other than “annoying” right now, and Balor is a natural plug-in opponent for Rollins en route to a successful title defense. I think the time for Balor as any kind of sustained main eventer has passed in the eyes of WWE, so I’ll enjoy these title matches opportunities for him while I can and before we get to the sudden-but-inevitable betrayal of his Judgment Day running buddies. Prediction: Seth Rollins

ROMAN REIGNS & SOLO SIKOA (W/PAUL HEYMAN) VS. THE USOS (JEY USO & JIMMY USO)

Suit: The Bloodline finally explodes here as the Usos take on Reigns and Sikoa in a match that, by WWE standards, has been well built. Looking back on it, this has been a smartly-booked way to pivot Roman and the Bloodline story post-WrestleMania. You set up the Usos against Solo at Backlash where they had issues in the six-man tag. Roman comes back and tries to get the tag titles back with Solo to stick it to the Usos. Jimmy Uso gets sick of his brother’s mistreatment and superkicks Roman, leading to Jey siding with his brother and setting up this major tag team main event. Credit where it’s due, while this isn’t my cup of tea, it’s a good way to move Roman out of the World Title scene for a while after losing at Wrestlemania.

…wait, he won? What do you mean he’s still the champion?

My only issue with all of this is the fact that the World Title that Roman touts around has been iced in favor of doing this. He hasn’t defended it since Wrestlemania, and nobody on Smackdown seems interested in even trying to get it. They’ve all given up on the nigh-impossible task of beating Roman Reigns. And while this match could set up one of the Usos for a World Title match at Summerslam…that would mean an Uso is in a World Title match at Summerslam. It’s no use crying over spilled milk at this point, but everything Roman has done since WrestleMania would have made about as much sense without the belt. Prediction: The Usos

Will: Even without the title on the line, the Anoa’i family drama cannot be denied. It has become the talking point of anyone in the WWE orbit for the past 1000+ days and shows no signs of slowing down, especially as segments involving The Bloodline still get enormous reactions and fan buzz. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it Emmy Award-worthy or anything, but I understand its appeal and all involved are pulling their weight to make it work.

It feels like fans following this story are constantly perched and waiting for “the fall,” the moment when the walls come down for Roman en route to him losing everything. Modern audiences see the strings on the puppets and greatly anticipate what they perceive to be the correct order of operations to get from story point A to point B. That fall is surely coming, but something tells me it isn’t here. I imagine Roman and Solo dispatching The Usos, allowing the former to wash their hands clean and continue on with heads held high. Really, it would be another feather in the cap for Solo Sikoa, a young talent who is putting on solid, consistent performances and is being met with greater spotlight and acclaim, a rare example of WWE booking and star creation in sync with one another. Prediction: Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa

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