“MONAY! Money, money, money, monaaaaay!”
If you’re a diehard wrestling fan, then you know which WWE PPV adopted the theme those lyrics belong to. It used to back Donald Trump’s entrance when he popped up for a few WWE appearances back in 2007, but it’s been the Money in the Bank event theme for several years now. For 2019, the Superstars of Raw and SmackDown will vie for championships and, most importantly, a title opportunity encased within the MITB briefcase.
Becky Lynch has to defend both her women’s titles on the same night, Seth Rollins will put his Universal Championship on the line against AJ Styles, and men’s and women’s MITB matches are set to wow the crowd. Here’s a primer of every match on the WWE MITB 2019 card and my predictions for who’ll walk away as the biggest victors.
Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso)
Predictions & Winners: I was pleasantly surprised to see the former WWE Champion and his most trusted giant claim the SmackDown Tag Team titles. Daniel Bryan made for a great champion before dropping the strap to Kofi Kingston, so I’m open to him winning any other title on either WWE brand. What irks me is how the convoluted “Wild Card” rule has muddied the waters within WWE and led to this championship rematch. The Usos recently moved to Raw and I was excited to see what they could co on Monday nights. That excitement has morphed into pure disgust at the company’s horrible attempts at comedy attempted with The Usos/The Revival storyline. At the same time, The Usos have popped back up on SD to get embroiled in a ho-hum “Shane McMahon vs. The World” storyline.
I like my wrestlers to stay on their associated brands and get a new lease on life. But the already screwed up Wild Card Rule has thrown The Usos right back onto Tuesday Nights, which makes them feel stagnant to me. The violent environmentalists (that’s a great name, if I do say so myself!) are new and interesting as SD tag team champs. Their challengers? Not so much. Even though Daniel and Rowan are the true blue tag team champs, they need a reliable high-tier team to contend against. The Usos are that team and, by winning here, will provide Daniel and Rowan with a ready-made rivalry for a good while.
Tony Nese (c) vs. Ariya Daivari (WWE Cruiserweight Championship)
Predictions & Winner: I was genuinely surprised at Tony Nese’s big WrestleMania 35 win over Buddy Murphy for the Cruiserweight Championship. Murphy ran wild as the king of 205 Live and accrued a long list of awesome matches to back up his claims. I figured there wasn’t really anyone major enough to take the title from him on the purple brand at the moment. Murphy running roughshod over the competition as champion for a few more months before dropping it to someone hot could have worked (Kushida or Albert Christian Hardie Jr. getting called up to take the title from Murphy sounded like a real possibility). But Nese ended up being the next man to win the title and send Murphy off to the Blue Brand.
Now that Nese is champion, everyone’s been gunning for him and his newly won prize. His first official PPV challenger comes in the form of Ariya Daivari, a Superstar who’s pretty unremarkable and lower on the 205 Live totem pole. I’d have much rather seen Nese lock up with Humberto Carrillo or even Oney Lorcan! Nevertheless, Nese gets to defend the Cruiserweight Championship on PPV and I’m sure he’s ecstatic at that fact. He’ll get past Daivari pretty easily and continue his title reign for the rest of the summer, at least.
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio (WWE United States Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Rey-Rey has every reason to do away with that embarrassing loss he took at WrestleMania 35. An injury he sustained before his meeting with Samoa Joe severely weakened his chances at claiming the United States Championship. A shockingly quick squash match saw Joe choke out “Mr. 619” and leave the ring without even breaking a sweat. Now Rey Mysterio’s finally getting the chance to redeem himself in this rematch against the very man who dealt him such a devastating loss.
I’m sure Rey’s going into this match with a stronger battle plan. And I’m also pretty sure that he’s taking on Joe in a much healthier state. This match should go a lot longer than both men’s previous meeting (which shouldn’t be all that difficult to do). Both men are a now a part of the Raw roster, but I see Joe as the one being prepped for bigger things as a part of the Red Brand. Joe will hold onto his US Championship here after a more hard-fought title defense against the feisty luchador.
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans (WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Becky “Two Belts” Lynch certainly has her work cut out for her. At this year’s Money in the Bank, she has to defend both her titles against WWE’s most dangerous blonde bombshells. First up is the All-American Woman, Lacey Evans. Lacey’s actually a pretty solid worker (I’m an NXT connoisseur, so I got to witness some of her previous developmental work). Her whole “walk down the ramp in some beautiful attire, then leave” shtick got pretty tiresome, so I’m happy to see her finally get into some physical activities. Her major push is evident since she’s Becky’s first Raw Women’s Championship challenger. I always enjoy a fresh matchup like this one, especially on a major PPV.
This match should give us a glimpse into the near future. Lacey’s certainly in line for a strong 2019 and this looks to be her first major test as a main roster Superstar. Becky’s a good worker in her own right, so she should have no problem gelling well with her glamorous opponent. I don’t see Lacey walking away with the Raw Women’s Championship so soon, however. Becky’s fresh off a major WrestleMania win and it would be pretty silly to have her “Two Belts” moniker get dropped so soon. Becky’s retaining her Raw Women’s Championship here. Lacey’s loss won’t hurt her in any way, though. If she performs at a decent to high level here, this match will do a ton to help her in the long run.
Ricochet vs. Sami Zayn vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Baron Corbin vs. Finn Bálor vs. Ali vs. Randy Orton vs. Andrade (Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Championship Match Contract)
Predictions & Winner: So the men’s MITB 2019 lineup has been set. This year’s group of ladder match participants includes three former MITB briefcase holders and a slew of fresh faces. Just by taking a quick peek at the full gamut of competitors on display here, I can already eliminate Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, and Randy Orton as the possible winner. Orton’s a veteran who’s already had his time in the sun as a MITB holder and former world champion. Zayn’s more of a punching bag these days (his recent promos are a constant highlight, though). And the less said about Corbin’s MITB run’s, the better. These three men are simply the extra star power and bodies a multi-man ladder match like this one needs.
As for the rest of the pack, Ricochet and Ali are obviously there to provide the high-flying shock and awe moments ladder matches are known for. Ricochet’s a relative newcomer at this point – it would be way too early to christen him “Mr. Money in the Bank” so soon. Ali’s a credible talent who’d do great with a win here, but I don’t think it’s his time to shine with the briefcase just yet.
Finn Bálor, Andrade, and Drew McIntyre are my top three picks for the ultimate victor of this bout. But as we all know, there can only be one. The man I’ve got to go with here is Andrade! His Superstar Shakeup move from SmackDown to Raw (and right back to Smackdown) makes me think he’s in line for some big things this summer. The same can be said about Finn and McIntyre, but I think they’d still do well without having the MITB briefcase in hand. Andrade’s the one who would do well and get over with the fans even more as the latest briefcase holder. With Zelina Vega by his side, Andrade’s MITB run could be one for the ages. He’s going to be the chosen one on this evening!
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Predictions & Winner: And here’s the less interesting MITB matchup for Miss Lynch. Her old buddy/hated rival Charlotte Flair has become the #1 Contender for the SD Women’s Championship all over again. She ended up defeating Bayley to earn the opportunity, who happens to be someone I’d have much rather seen go head to head with Becky. Becky vs. Bayley is a matchup we haven’t seen since their NXT run – having them revisit their past feud would have been far more entertaining than this recycled matchup. The Blue Brand’s women’s roster is a lot stronger now thanks to the Superstar Shakeup, so I don’t understand WWE’s decision to head back to the “Charlotte as title challenger” well so soon.
There’s a sliver lining to this rematch, however – at least we’ll get a definitive ending this time around to make up for the crappy one we got at this year’s Fastlane. I’m sure the match itself will be a good one – Becky and Charlotte have developed a great in-ring chemistry with each other this past few year’s. Becky will be the one to claim a final, decisive title victory over Charlotte here and hopefully move on to some newer opponents. Becky and Charlotte need to stay far away from each other for the remainder of the year after this. With so many top women’s contenders on SD Live now, both women should have enough distractions to keep them from bumping into each other for a while.
Natalya vs. Dana Brooke vs. Naomi vs. Nikki Cross vs. Bayley vs. Mandy Rose vs. Ember Moon vs. Carmella (Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a Women’s Championship Match Contract)
Predictions & Winner: I’m going to keep it a stack with you guys – this has to be the weakest collective of women for a MITB match I’ve ever seen. Bayley’s damaged goods, Mandy Rose is still unpolished and uninteresting, and Carmella already had her run as the very first women’s MITB holder. And judging by how that went, I’m sure WWE doesn’t want to go that route ever again. As for Natalya, Dana Brooke, and Naomi, they’re non-factors who’re pretty low on the current women’s roster totem pole.
Now that leaves Nikki Cross and Ember Moon. I’ve been a Nikki super fan since her NXT days. Her main roster run has consisted of far too many backstage vignettes and not enough in-ring time, however. Her current status doesn’t really present her as a viable victor here, honestly. Ember Moon easily stands out as the freshest and most exciting prospect as the winner of this match, though. And that’s exactly who I’m selecting as the winner. With a move to SmackDown, it looks as if Ember is getting set up to be one of the Blue Brand’s hottest stars. A win here could go a long way towards establishing her brand new spot on Tuesday nights. Ember’s an easy favorite to stick by as this year’s MITB victor!
The Miz vs. Shane McMahon (Steel Cage Match)
Predictions & Winner: The Miz and Shane O’Mac are back at it again! I had the lowest of expectations going into their WrestleMania 35 match, but it turned out a bit better than expected. The ending was pretty deflating for the live crowd, though. With such a disappointing finish, I had a feeling that this feud wasn’t over just yet. Turns out I was correct as The Miz made his way over to Raw and immediately targeted Shane upon his arrival. Hardcore rules are still being applied to this heated grudge in the form of a Steel Cage. My expectations are a bit higher this time based on the surprising quality of their last matchup, especially with the addition of a dangerous structure being put in place.
If there’s one thing we know and love about Shane McMahon, its that he loves jumping off tall things. The Miz may up the ante this time around and get a bit more reckless so he can keep up with Shane’s daredevil approach to wrestling. The usual steel cage spots will pop up here as expected – faces and backs will get slammed into the sides of the cage, someone’s going to get Superplexed off the cage, and the cage door will probably get swung into someone’s face. The one moment I know we’ll see is Shane coming off the very top of the cage to land a crazy move of some kind on The Miz. I think this wild move attempt will end up being Shane’s downfall and lead to Miz nabbing the victory over his current foe.
Roman Reigns vs. Elias
Predictions & Winner: So it turns out SD’s major Superstar Shakeup acquisition wasn’t Elias – it was actually Raw’s former “Big Dog” Roman Reigns. Since learning that WWE’s Tuesday night show will be moving to Friday nights on Fox in October, I figured the Blue Brand would get a major Superstar to bring them into the new age of SD Live. And I was right! Reigns is Mr. McMahon’s latest favorite, so he’s going to do everything in his power (in the real world of course, not on TV) to make sure he’s presented as the #1 face in the company.
While I appreciate Elias, he’s pretty much a jobber to the stars. His live instrumentalist gimmick keeps him strong in the fan’s eyes though, so all the big losses and beatdowns he’s taken lately haven’t done anything to diminish his stock in the company. The winner for this one is pretty easy to predict here – Roman’s obviously claiming victory. Elias is merely being placed here as a pit stop for Reigns before the “Big Dog” makes his way to an expected WWE Championship match at this year’s SummerSlam. For the months of June and July, I’m sure Roman will be pitted against two other “Flavor of the Month” foes to build him up before his big August title shot.
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Kevin Owens (WWE Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Never trust Kevin Owens. Time and time again, Owens has shown himself to be one of the most untrustworthy Superstars on the WWE roster. And that’s what makes him so endearing – watching him play the good guy act before reverting back to his vicious self never grows old. Upon his return to SD Live, he played the part of the humble babyface who appeared to be proud of his status as an everyman who just happens to wrestle. But I figured he’d revert back to his evil ways sooner rather than later. While it was sad to see him abandon his newly gained New Day spot so soon after claiming it, I’m all for seeing Owens get another WWE Championship opportunity.
Kofi Kingston certainly has a tough task ahead of him – Owens as his very first championship challenger sounds like a scary endeavor. But Kofi’s a battle-ready individual who’s running high as the current WWE Champion, so I’m sure he’s fully prepared for such a major foe. Even though Owens would make for a great WWE Champion, Kingston’s 1st WWE Championship run is still underway and newly minted. I don’t see him dropping the title anytime soon, so I’m definitely picking the current champ as the man who’ll claim victory here. I don’t see this feud coming to an end at the end of this match, however. A vindictive Owens is a hungry Owens who’ll grow enraged with this loss and destroy Kofi with a post-match assault.
Seth Rollins (c) vs. AJ Styles (WWE Universal Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Wow! Here I was thinking that Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles was going to be saved for the main event of SummerSlam. Indie wrestling diehards and WWE fans alike both realize how much of a dream matchup this is. Rollins and AJ have similar styles that could mesh very well together and easily provide everyone with a bonafide Match of the Year candidate. I’m of the opinion that both men should have stayed away from each other until August – an out of left field MITB opponent such as Ricochet, Rey Mysterio, or even Bobby Lashley would have been a nice pit stop before Rollins’ eventual meeting with the “Phenomenal One.”
I won’t complain too much about getting this matchup earlier than expected, however. Rollins and AJ are known to be WWE’s most trusted workhorses who’re capable of getting a good match out of anyone they’re pitted against. This match should most definitely get the main event spot and have the benefit of having 20-minutes or more given to it to really get going. Rollins will most likely be the one leaving with the Universal Championship after all is said and done here – Rollins run as Raw’s #1 guy just got started, so there’s no way he’ll drop the title so soon after winning it. A quality matchup such as this one will do a lot to make Rollins’ Universal Championship reign a clear highlight of 2019.