SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE gets two thumbs up for how they built the 2023 Money in the Bank event.
Typically, this show is essentially a replica of a mid-2000s Royal Rumble PPV. Back then the thought process was, “well, we have the Royal Rumble match, so who in the blazes cares what else is on the card.” Money in the Bank was the same way for a long, long, long time. “We’ve got the two ladder matches, who cares what else is on the card?!”
This year’s show is remarkably different and for the better. Obviously, WWE has both the men’s and women’s Money in the Bank ladder matches, but it also has other big time matches to help round out and significantly enhance the show overall. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor for the World Championship, a fun Dominik vs. Cody Rhodes bout, and the first of many blowoff matches between The Bloodline now that the civil war within that faction has started.
That’s a lot. Add in a scorching hot UK crowd and the result is going to be one of the better WWE shows of the year.
Call this a preview, a calm look into the distant future, or a gaze into a wondrous crystal ball; just don’t hold me to anything, ok?
Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor – WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Look, we’ve seen a lot of Rollins vs. Balor matches throughout the years. Lots. Most of them never mentioned the history both men had together after Rollins injured Balor’s shoulder when they competed to become the first-ever Universal Championship. The fact that they went through that history and leveraged it this time around gave the match a new life and made it significantly more intriguing. Balor has been great throughout the build and the dark heel gimmick continues to fit him. Rollins is Rollins. Is it the song, is it not? That’s a fun debate to have, but right now it doesn’t matter. Audiences are behind him and they’ll get to sing him to AND from the ring as the champion. It’s way too soon for Rollins to lose the title and he won’t here.
Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler vs. Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Liv Morgan returning to WWE and her teammate is a nice story, but Rousey and Baszler are the only women that can even attempt to repair those titles. Paul Levesque is going to let them do that. So, the story may be nice, but the business is better. Rousey & Baszler retain.
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Iyo Sky vs. Bayley vs. Zoey Stark vs. Trish Stratus vs. Zelina Vega vs. Becky Lynch
The best part about this match is that it can go so many ways in the end. You can reasonably make an argument for any of these women to win the briefcase, but I won’t. This has Iyo Sky written all over it. The Money in the Bank briefcase has been a point of drama between Sky and Bayley. Sky winning it gives that story more juice and elevates a women’s star at the same time. Sky’s likely to have a strong showing the match itself as well.
Gunther vs. Matt Riddle – WWE Intercontinental Championship
Are squash matches allowed on PPV? If yes, this will be one. If not, it’s going to walk as close a line as possible to being one without crossing that line. This is a Gunther win. That part is 100% obvious. The question is how much of a threat will Riddle be? The answer is not much. This is all about Gunther now and will still be when the match is over. Gunther retains.
Cody Rhodes vs. Dominik Mysterio
The build for this match has been fantastic. Both are clearly in their lanes as characters and getting the strong reactions that they are looking for. It’s a perfect holdover feud for Cody Rhodes as he waits for the third Brock Lesnar match and it may help Dominik get even more over as a heel at the same time. Look, I can see Lesnar interfering here and Mysterio getting the win because of it. They’ll want Cody to stay strong, though. Cody wins and then we see The Beast.
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Logan Paul vs. LA Knight vs. Ricochet vs. Santos Escobar vs. Butch vs. Damian Priest
I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but Logan Paul is winning this match. Short term, that may sting for LA Knight, but long term he’s better off not being saddled with the briefcase. I expect a huge Ricochet spot, a huge Logan Paul spot, and LA Knight getting screwed. Paul takes it and starts his world WWE social media branding tour soon after.
Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa vs. The Usos
One of the biggest matches of the year for WWE. The Bloodline story has been a wonderful piece of business and as soon as the bell ring for this, it ceases to exist in the same way as it has for the last two years. So, these guys need to deliver here and they will with the match of the night. We’ll see big time drama between Solo/Jey/Jimmy and of course fireworks between Jey and Roman. In the end, the story has a longer shelf life if The Usos are chasing the win over Roman. Reigns and Sikoa take this with some underhanded tactics.