WWE MONEY IN THE BANK PPV PRIMER 7/18: Javier’s preview & predictions for Reigns vs. Edge, Lashley vs. Kingston, both MITB ladder matches, more

BY JAVIER MACHADO, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

PHOTO CREDIT: WWE

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

The fans are back for Money in the Bank 2021. On July 18, 2021, Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas will see fans in attendance for a WWE PPV for the first time since WrestleMania. Champions throughout the company will have to look over their shoulders once again as the winner of the Money in the Bank contract can call their shot at a time and place of their choosing, usually when said champion is at their weakest. Will one of the contracts be cashed in during the event itself?

Roman Reigns (c) vs. Edge – WWE Universal Championship Match

Story in a nutshell: Edge returns to challenge Roman Reign to a one-on-one championship match that Edge didn’t get at WrestleMania due to Daniel Bryan getting inserted into the match.

In a Universal Championship address on Smackdown, Roman Reign’s special counsel, Paul Heyman, stated that Reigns had defeated all worthy contenders on Smackdown leaving no one to challenge him. Enter Edge. After attacking Reigns, Edge confronted Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville and demanded to get the one-on-one match he earned by winning the Royal Rumble. A match that was denied to him when Daniel Bryan was added to the match at WrestleMania. After being granted the match, Edge emphasized how he almost made Roman tap out at WrestleMania.

Prediction and analysis: Reigns wins. It is possible that a (ultimately aborted) Money in the Bank cash in attempt is what distracts Edge long enough to get taken out, but more on that later.

Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Kofi Kingston – WWE Championship Match

Story in a nutshell: A newly focused Bobby Lashley spells trouble for Kofi Kingston as Kofi attempts to win the WWE Championship.

MVP, disgusted by what he considers a “clown show” in the New Day, made overtures to Kofi Kingston to drop Xavier Woods and maybe join the Hurt Business. After refusing MVP, a war of words erupted into violence when Xavier Woods was brutalized by Lashley inside a Hell in a Cell match. Kofi responded to MVP’s insults of the New Day by countering that MVP was making Lashley soft as MVP surrounded Lashley with women and drink and the highlife. Kofi might have been too successful in his argument when, after a surprise loss to Xavier Woods, Lashley told MVP in no uncertain terms that the party was over, and that they were to concentrate on the “hurt” part of Hurt Business.

Prediction and analysis: It’s Lashley. The real question is if Kofi lasts longer against Lashley than Kofi did against Brock Lesnar.

Men’s Money in the Bank Match

Story in a nutshell: A briefcase containing a contract for a WWE title “opportunity” is suspended in the air and eight wrestlers vie to retrieve it in a ladder match.

Ricochet, John Morrison, Riddle, Drew McIntyre, Big E, Kevin Owens, King Nakamura, and Seth Rollin all qualified for the match. The goal is to climb a ladder and retrieve a briefcase suspended above the ring. Inside is a contract that grants the holder a title shot at a place and time of their choosing.

Prediction and analysis: Ricochet and John Morrison are in the match for their ability of do flippy… stuff, so there is no chance they win. The newly rechristened “King” Nakamura has a new toy to play with so he’s out too. Kevin Owens is there to take insane bumps to entertain us and not get pushed the way he deserves so no go there either.

This leaves us with Riddle who is doing it for Randy Orton and wants to cash it in for the tag team championship. After Aleister Black was cut, Big E was left adrift without a program and holding the briefcase can give him some direction. Drew McIntyre can no longer challenge Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship so with the Money in the Bank contract, he can go after another brand’s champion, or jump to the head of the line when Lashley loses his.

But I’ve got Seth Rollins. “Subtle” foreshadowing has hinted that Seth Rollins’s next program is with Edge. And if you don’t realize that by putting “subtle” in quotes I was being sarcastic at the blatant signposting, I’ll spell it out plainly. All neon signs in the red-light district say, “Rollins vs. Edge for Summerslam”. With Seth Rollins and Edge having the most famous/infamous Money in the Bank cash-ins, a feud over the briefcase at Summerslam makes sense. If an attempt by Seth to cash in during the Reigns-Edge match is what causes Edge to lose the match, Edge can go after Seth’s briefcase as recompense.

Women’s Money in the Bank Match

Story in a nutshell: A briefcase containing a contract for a WWE title “opportunity” is suspended in the air and eight wrestlers vie to retrieve it in a ladder match.

Asuka, Naomi, Alexa Bliss, Nicky Cross… I mean Ash (I’m NOT hyphenating it), Liv Morgan, Zelina Vega, Natalya, and Tamina all “qualified” for the match. The goal is to climb a ladder and retrieve a briefcase suspended above the ring. Inside is a contract that grants the holder a title shot at a place and time of their choosing.

Prediction and analysis: Natalya and Tamina are a tag team right now, so they are out. Alexa Bliss looks like is feuding with Eva Marie so that crosses her off. Naomi has been floundering and nothing the WWE has done with her makes her seem as anything of a threat. Nicky Ash is a low tier gimmick as currently constituted. Zelina Vega just returned after being fired and has only had one match, one that she lost, and what might be one of the most annoying guest spots on commentary in recent memory with Liv Morgan.

This leaves me with Asuka and Liv Morgan. Asuka can win it and immediately cash it in on the winner of Ripley and Flair to win the title. Then a returning Becky Lynch can challenge Asuka for the belt she never lost and instead gave to last year’s Money in the Bank winner, Asuka. This is pure fantasy booking since Asuka has been greatly diminished by the WWE as of late so that leaves Liv Morgan by process of elimination. Despite being portrayed as a loser for the most part, the emphasis has been on her attempt to overcome adversity and she’s had a bigger spotlight as of late.

Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair – WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match

Story in a nutshell: Two heels try to out-heel each other as an annoying Charlotte Flair challenges an equally annoying Rhea Ripley for Rhea’s WWE Raw Women’s Championship

To think how hyped I was back at WrestleMania 36 when I was thinking about a future match between these two and the path Rhea Ripley would take to get her win back from Charlotte Flair. Instead, one year and several months later they are mired in a feud that makes me question “why”. Rhea Ripley lost to Charlotte Flair at Hell in a Cell by disqualification but remained champ since the title doesn’t change hands on a DQ. Ripley defended herself saying that that’s what Charlotte would do. Charlotte agreed with Rhea’s assessment and the two continued to try to prove who was the smarter heel. Sonya Deville scheduled this rematch.

Prediction and analysis: I don’t care who wins this. Becky Lynch can’t return soon enough. I can only assume both Rhea and Charlotte are being kept heels for Becky to feud with. I’d rather Charlotte be first to give time to build up Ripley more so I’m going with Charlotte here.

AJ Styles & Omos (c) vs. Erik & Ivar – WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match

Story in a nutshell: After costing AJ Styles a spot in the Money in the Bank match, Erik and Ivar are now challenging Styles and Omos for the Raw Tag Team titles.

AJ Styles and Omos had several run ins with the Viking Raiders backstage. This led to the Viking Raiders distracting Styles as he tried to qualify for a spot in Money in the Bank. AJ Styles called the Viking Raiders smelly. One of the Viking Raider’s ate a turkey leg. I was watching some of the best of AJ Styles on Impact the other day. I miss that AJ Styles. I also remember the Viking Raiders when they were War Machine in the indies. Sigh… good times.

Prediction and analysis: Omos is big and tall ergo he must win.

Pre-show: Rey & Dominik Mysterio (c) vs. Jey & Jimmy Uso – WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match

Story in a nutshell: Rey and Dominik Mysterio evened up the odds for Edge when Jimmy and Jey Uso tried to waylay him and now they face each other for the title.

Rey and Dominik Mysterio were out of action after being brutalized and embarrassed by Roman Reigns. Unwilling to let Reigns and his family get away with the humiliation, the Mysterios returned to help Edge even the odds against Reigns and his family, Jey and Jimmy Uso.

Prediction and analysis: This is a litmus test to see where the WWE is on Jimmy Uso after his recent DUI arrest. Storyline wise, it makes all the sense in the world for the Usos to win the tag team titles but that could be seen a rewarding Jimmy despite his infraction. This being a pre-show match I think the Mysterios retain.


CATCH-UP: HEYDORN’S SMACKDOWN RECEIPT 7/16: The return of live audiences leads to big pops and reactions consistent with booking

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