WWE once again finds itself changing up plans due to the coronavirus pandemic, as this Sunday's Money in the Bank pay-per-view will once again take place primarily inside the empty WWE Performance Center. The show has your usual championship matches, this time it's Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt, along with a smattering of undercard matches. But the main event has a special twist, as the two Money in the Bank ladder matches will take place at the same time as WWE's latest cinematic match with WWE Headquarters as the setting.
The 12 men and women will have to battle from the ground floor up to the roof, where the two briefcases are suspended above a wrestling ring.
As always, we've assembled ComicBook's team of wrestling writers to give their predictions on the biggest matches of the night, as well as answer the big questions about where WWE goes from here. Check out their predictions in the list below!
Who do you think will win the Money in the Bank briefcases? Let us know down in the comments!
Will the Money in the Bank Match Be on the Same Level as the Boneyard and Firefly Fun House Matches?
Connor Casey: I think it can be. Since the start of the year we've seen what the good versions of Cinematic Matches look like (i.e. WrestleMania), but we've also seen what the lazy version looks like (Gargano vs. Ciampa's "One Final Beat"). The biggest takeaway from Boneyard and Firefly Fun House should be that when you go all out on production and don't take yourself too seriously, you'll get a great finished product. If this match is full of crazy, innovative, office-based spots full of different camera angles, choreographed scenes and a well-designed overall narrative, it will be fantastic. But if it's just 12 people all throwing punches and kicks down hallways, elevators and stairwells, it won't matter how good the action will be once they make it to the roof ring.
Ryan Droste: I believe so. The build toward this PPV has been less than stellar, to put it lightly, but I am legitimately excited to see what they come up with for this match. I think the scenario they have set-up is creative and making the best out of the current situation. With the high level production we saw at WrestleMania for this kind of thing, my hopes are high.
Matthew Aguilar: You know, it really depends on which way WWE approaches it. I have to agree with Connor on this. If WWE goes all out in the over-the-top nature of the premise and has fun with the battle through the building, then it could be just as good if not better than the Boneyard Match. These matches need a constant influx of energy throughout to keep them entertaining, as seen with Boneyard (which dragged in the middle in a big way). If you can keep the craziness up with battles in offices, cubicles, and other inventive environments and just let them go nuts with the weirdness, it has the potential to be great. If it's another Randy Orton and Edge slog though, then not so much.
Evan Valentine: I would certainly hope so and I have to think that the sheer response from fans would have Vince and the rest of the WWE thinking that this is a format that they needed to keep. "Necessity is the mother of innovation" and with Money In The Bank running into the same pandemic issues that Wrestlemania encountered, I'd believe that the company has some tricks up their sleeves. If I had to put my money where my mouth is, I would imagine that the Braun Strowman/Bray Wyatt fight will fill the itch of those looking for the next Boneyard match.
Nick Valdez: At this point we've hit the ceiling in terms of how far WWE can take these special matches, so there's going to be a ton of pressure in order to keep this innovative. I'm hoping that the variety in settings teased over the last few weeks (Otis better tear through that cafeteria), and the fact that everyone will be gunning for it at the same time means a variety of fun moments crop up for it. Organized chaos is what this will need.
Who Takes Home the Men's Briefcase?
Connor: My dude AJ Styles. Unless they want to do a "one final title run" story, Rey and Bryan aren't winning. I love Otis, but he's too much of a comedy character for something like this. Corbin has already held it once and that was a train wreck and the visual of Aleister Black running around with a neon green briefcase just looks too goofy — plus he's a babyface and the briefcase is a natural fit for heels. That leaves Styles, who could have a blast trying to pull a fast one on either Drew or Braun. It'd be like Brock's run with the briefcase last year, only with more dancing and less of me hating it.
Ryan: This is a tough call, but I'm going to have to go with AJ Styles. I've always believed that the briefcase gimmick works the best with a heel and Styles fits the bill. While I love Aleister Black and would love to see him become world champion one day, I just don't think that he needs the briefcase based on his character. It just wouldn't fit. So give me AJ Styles. He's been out of the world title picture for well over a year at this point. It's time. Plus, if Styles doesn't emerge Mr. Money In The Bank, what do you do with him at this point?
Matt: My first inclination is to say Otis, because obviously. That said, he's already got momentum thanks to a great storyline with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, so to me someone like Aleister Black would benefit most from the briefcase. You can build up the man in the shadows having all the power suddenly, and his unpredictable nature can really act as an asset if WWE will just commit to pushing him. For some reason, I can't help but feel like Corbin will get it, especially with all the barbs from Bryan about his last run with it recently, but hoping the former happens instead.
Evan: I'll agree with Matt on this one and say that the first place my head went was with Otis. There's something so compelling about the character in that you can't help but root for him in every match he's in. If I had to choose a second it would definitely be AJ, as this would be a good "bounce back" following his defeat at the hands of the Undertaker. Aside from either of those two, I think the others are a wash and I can't imagine someone like Corbin managing to get it when all is said and done.
Nick: It's obviously going to be King Corbin. Ever since winning King of the Ring, we've seen how well Corbin does with just a faux sense of accomplishment. With how much he's developed over the last couple of years since getting the Constable bump, there's a good chance he'll have a much better run with the briefcase than he had last time.
Who Wins the Women's Briefcase?
Connor: Shayna Baszler. I thought that finish between her and Becky Lynch at WrestleMania was super weak considering the story they were trying to tell, and I think her getting the briefcase is how she'll get the title off Becky. Then you've got Becky chasing, which even Matt has to admit is a more interesting story for her.
Ryan: Baszler and Asuka seem like the best bets to me. Her personality fits the briefcase gimmick perfectly while someone like Baszler doesn't so much. That being said, I could totally see Baszler winning and using it to get back at Lynch. However, I'm going to stick with Asuka as my prediction (but also wouldn't be surprised to see Lacey Evans walk away with it!).
Matt: I think Shayna Baszler walks away the winner here, as if you're going to push her as a threat you need to actually book her like one. That said, my dark horse pick is Dana Brooke, who has won over the crowds as an underdog and WWE could ride that momentum and give her a shot to have a Christian-like run where she finally gets her moment as it were. My money is on Baszler, but last time I thought that was a forgone conclusion it ended up being far from.
Evan: I'm giving this one to Asuka. I think with the current status of the WWE having their matches in empty stadiums and auditoriums, the energy that exudes from Asuka simply can't be denied here. She gives a 100% not only to the physical side of the sport, but the pageantry as well. It's time for Asuka to start climbing the ranks once again and I'd imagine this would be a big step in that.
Nick: Shayna Baszler needs that runback following that terrible match with Becky Lynch during Mania. That confrontation wasn't the best either of them could do (accounting for multiple real world limitations), and nearly killed off Baszler's momentum. Lynch hasn't really done much through her title reign over the past wrestling year, and a back and forth against Baszler would be a good way to spark her up again.
Is Either World Champion Dropping Their Title on Sunday?
Connor: If Wyatt was competing as The Fiend I would assume he was winning the title back so SmackDown could reset back to before the Goldberg debacle. But since he's not, this feels like it's already setting up for a rematch for later on. No chance Seth beats Drew.
Ryan: Agree with Connor. I can't imagine Wyatt winning the title while not in his Fiend gimmick, and there's no way McIntyre drops the belt already to Seth Rollins in one of the most predictably set-up matches in some time. The only way it happens is through a cash-in outside of the advertised matches, but I'm going to say no to that too.
Matt: Neither of these seem like good bets for title switches, especially Drew. Think if one did change hands it would be Braun, but taking it off him this early seems like it would be a mistake, so saying no to both.
Evan: I can't see a world where Drew has the belt taken from him by Seth Rollins so soon after finally achieving his dream following the defeat of Brock Lesnar. Now I really believe that Strowman is about to lose the belt against Wyatt on Sunday, as the Wrestlemania match had to be essentially made on the fly following Reigns not being able to wrestle against Goldberg. With the reception of the Firefly Funhouse match still booming on social media, we have to believe that the WWE will take the opportunity to capitalize on it.
Nick: No way! It feels like titles are being built up even less so thanks to the new limitations of the pandemic, so I want Drew and Braun to hang onto their titles for as a long as possible. Drew of all the chosen people deserves to have the title around his waist when/if the crowds ever make their comeback. Let him truly enjoy being a champion before taking it away!
Right Now June Doesn't Have a Pay-Per-View. Should It Stay That Way?
Connor: I'll say yes. The viewership for both Raw and SmackDown keeps on tanking, and even the best versions of Raw are a chore to get through with no crowd to work with. I think one way they could turn that around is to take a page out of NXT's playbook and build up special episodes of Raw and SmackDown with pay-per-view-esque cards. Don't give the episodes a theme, but announce a card with at least two weeks advanced notice that has a couple of title bouts and matches people would get excited for. That sounds a heck of a lot more interesting that four weeks of wheel-spinning.
Ryan: Yes, please. The television ratings prove that nobody is clamoring for WWE content without a crowd right now. Five hours of television each week within the present situation is already too much, we absolutely don't need another PPV just because. I love Connor's idea above, special shows every few weeks while focusing on building to them in the interim, ideally with more sit-down interviews and video packages hyping the matches rather than more matches in front of nobody just to do them.
Matt: It's hard for me to separate should from will. I think the TakeOver method on Wednesdays works really well, but WWE just isn't going to dump their proven method for that, especially as some states start to reopen (whether that's a good decision or not). So, for me, the answer is yes there will be one in June, and I'm okay with it.
Evan: I'll also believe that it's happening. I think following the success of Wrestlemania, perhaps they are taking a chance to see how Money In The Bank does before pulling the trigger but at the end of the day, I feel it's a sure thing with a "captive audience".
Nick: Oh yeah, as mentioned with my bit about the MiTB super match, there's only so much you can do with the current limitations. Raw and SmackDown have already reached this limit with the weekly shows, and this upcoming pay-per-view will probably run this last bit out. Outside of a full break for the entire WWE operation, putting a hold on at least the pay-per-views for a while will give everyone a chance to refill those batteries.
We're Getting Edge and Orton Again on Monday. Should Their Feud Keep Going?
Connor: Nope. Their match was at WrestleMania was good but it was really long and it bookended the story they started the night after the Rumble. There's not much else to say, so give Edge another feud to work with.
(Hi Seth, remember when you tried to kill Edge to bring back The Authority? Well...)
Ryan: It is time to end it after this. I actually thought the match at WrestleMania was far from good so here's there chance to make good. I'm not sure there was any match on the WrestleMania card hurt more by the fact that there was no crowd and the show was in a different venue, because it changed the entire nature of the match (and not for the better). We would have got an entirely different match at Raymond James Stadium, and there's probably no other match on the show (outside of the cinematic ones) that you can say that for. Let's see them wrestle more time, this time in the ring, and then let's move on to something new.
Matt: Ugh, I'm already over this, so no, I hope it ends and Edge and Orton both move to something else.
Evan: No. It's over. Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.
Nick: We've already gotten their finale! The two of them aren't really a "fight forever" that I want to see, and this really can't be all Edge was brought back to do.
Pitch Me Three SummerSlam Matches Right Now:
Connor: Edge vs. Seth Rollins, The Fiend vs. Roman Reigns (but only if it's safe for him to be back), Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn (Don't ask how, I just want it again).
Ryan: This questions shows you what is wrong with WWE right now: no long term storytelling. In most of WWE's best years, you could tell what direction they were going and have a pretty darn good idea what SummerSlam would bring by this point. This year? Not so much! Because the long term storytelling just isn't there for most of the roster. I'd have to say Edge vs. Rollins would make sense. Maybe get to a Becky/Shayna rematch since Becky's WrestleMania victory wasn't all that decisive. And probably Sasha vs. Bayley, which we have seen developing.
Matt: Hmm, really like Edge vs Seth, so I'm stealing that one from Connor. After that going with Sasha Banks vs Bayley (a culmination of this will or won't they feud they are on), and then Keith Lee vs Brock Lesnar. Lee wouldn't be going to Raw or SmackDown mind you, so it would just be a one-off, but man I just want to see it. It's the only way I'll care about a Lesnar match for the foreseeable future.0comments
Evan: Undertaker Vs The Fiend (Could you imagine smashing Firefly Funhouse together with the Boneyard Match??), Drew McIntyre Vs John Cena (who comes back different after his Firefly match), Asuka Vs Charlotte Flair (putting the NXT belt up against the MITB one).
Nick: Well, Edge vs. Rollins sounds super neat but not great for a number of reasons. I'd still like to see that though. Roman Reigns should be facing off against whoever has the title at that point. I wouldn't mind finally getting that Fiend and Roman match, but a Roman and Strowman runback would be great following their cool back and forth some time ago. Asuka vs. Baszler would also be fun and brutal.