Posted June 17th, 2017 by 1Wrestling News Team

By Don Murphy

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads! I hope each of you has a wonderful day with your families and are then able to settle in on Sunday night, as the WWE’s Smackdown brand presents the annual “Money in the Bank” pay-per-view, emanating from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. This is one of my favorite shows, and this year, in addition to the traditional “Money in the Bank” match, the event also includes the first Money in the Bank” match to feature the top contenders from the women’s division. Now, if you’ve read my previews for any length of time, you know that I’m not a big fan of multi-person matches, as they tend to become very “busy,” which ultimately impacts the ability to tell a compelling story. This year, however, given the players in both matches, there’s enough intrigue to tell several interesting stories. Both matches feature current rivalries, in addition to older feuds that are being renewed. There are several entrants that are competing in this match for the first time and, of course, there’s the interest around the winners, and when they will decide to cash in on the championship opportunities that comes with winning the matches. In addition to the two “Money in the Bank” matches, I’m also looking forward to watching the WWE Championship match and seeing if the WWE’s tradition of having the hometown favorite lose will stay true to form. And, I’m particularly interested in seeing the in-ring debut of a female competitor, who, up until this point, has served as a valet, but will add depth to the women’s division. So, across the board, I think we’re in for a night of good action and some surprises. Let’s run down the card….

WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal defends the WWE Championship against Randy Orton

Analysis: Accelerating Jinder Mahal to the main event level has been a work-in-progress. It appears that the creative team has been taking the classic, tried-and-true approach of presenting him as the foreign menace, focusing on anti-American rhetoric in his promos. It’s definitely a way to get heat, and I like a good throwback as much as the next person. But, I’m concerned that the character, in its current form, won’t be able to stand the test of time as Jinder moves forward. I’d also like to see the creative team give some more context and personality to the Singh Brothers. Why are they there? What are their goals? – beyond helping Mahal. On the other side, I do like the story they are telling with Randy Orton, focusing on his father and his other mentors in the wrestling business as preparation for the match. And, since Orton mentioned that his father, Cowboy Bob Orton, will be sitting ringside for the match, I am selfishly hoping that we see the “Ace” deliver a shot to either Mahal or one of the Singh Brothers with his famous cast. Ultimately, as rumors are circulating that John Cena will be returning to face Mahal at SummerSlam in August, I don’t see Orton regaining the title here. Since he’s in his hometown, I am sure we will see an RKO to satisfy the fans, but Mahal will find a way to hold on to the title.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Jinder Mahal retains the WWE Championship

Money in the Bank Ladder Match Featuring Kevin Owens, AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler and Shinsuke Nakamura

*The winner receives an automatic WWE Championship match, to be cashed in at any time*

Analysis: It’s a safe bet that this match will deliver in terms of action. And, traditionally, it’s also a safe bet that whoever wins the briefcase will wait until the most opportune time to cash in, which basically guarantees that we will have a new champion. While I don’t see the winner cashing in on Sunday night, the traditional formula lends itself to a heel winning the match. They can obviously change course, have a babyface win and have him announce when he will cash in. But, I don’t think it’s quite time for that yet. In the end, I see this match tailor made for Baron Corbin’s current character. First, Kevin Owens and AJ Styles are already well-established in the title picture, so they don’t necessarily “need” the briefcase. Nakamura has just debuted on the main roster. His time will come, but I think they are building steadily to that moment. Sami Zayn is always a possibility, but I think they are still going to portray him as the lovable underdog who gets close, but never wins the big one. Ziggler is there for high spots, but his stock has rapidly declined in recent years. We know that management is high on Corbin and that his character is not afraid to cut corners to succeed. Plus, he’s also lost several matches recently, so if and when he wins the title, he can be presented as a vulnerable champion who can be defeated.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Baron Corbin wins the Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Money in the Bank Ladder Match Featuring Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Tamina, and Natalya

*The winner receives an automatic WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship match, to be cashed in at any time*

Analysis: There’s always the risk of over-exposing a match concept, but I like them adding the “Money in the Bank” stipulation to the women’s division. And, for me, the path forward, in picking a winner was not as easy as it was in picking the men’s match. The big picture sees Charlotte on top of the mountain on Smackdown, but I think the plan is to hold that off for a bit. Carmella is a solid option, but I think she may still be too green to be a credible contender. Becky Lynch is another example of someone who will always be in the title picture and doesn’t need the briefcase to be a contender. That leaves Natalya. This is a character who will not only cut corners, but who can also put on excellent matches. Down the road, having her as the heel champion, with Charlotte chasing her will be a showcase title feud on Smackdown, thus making Natalya my choice to win the match and eventually take the title.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Natalya wins the Money in the Bank Ladder Match

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos defend the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship against the New Day

Analysis: The New Day has been a nice addition to a depleted Smackdown tag team roster and the match will likely be very entertaining. I have two issues here. The first is an issue I have had for over a year, in that, I’d like to see the New Day find a way to not always rely on comedy. They are allowed to get serious when the situation warrants it, such as pursuing tag team gold. Secondly, the Usos have so much more potential as a heel team, and the way they are currently presented, I have a hard time determining whether I am supposed to cheer them or boo them. I do think that they will hold on to the titles here, as I don’t see the New Day winning in their first attempt. But, the bigger question is what the long-term plan is for both teams, as right now, it’s just not clear.

“The Predictor” Predicts: The Usos retain the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Naomi defends the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship against Lana

Analysis: This is going to be interesting. Naomi isn’t the best worker on the roster, but she has steadily improved over the last couple of years. It will be intriguing to see how she works with Lana in her first match. From watching “Total Divas,” it appears that these two are close friends, so I am sure this match will be well planned out to protect both. In the end, I see a classic swerve, where Lana wins the title, only to have the “Money in the Bank” winner cash in. This would protect all parties involved and create natural title scenarios, with Lana and Naomi each deserving rematches.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Lana wins the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship

Pre-Show/Tag Team Match: The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley) meet the Colons (Primo and Epico)

Analysis: This match was announced late this week. I like that they’re giving all four a role on the show, but it begs the question of why they had Rawley win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. One might assume there’s a heel turn coming for one of them, but as they have already done something similar on Raw, I don’t think that’s the plan for now. Also, it’s unfortunate that they really have nothing better for the Colons at this stage. I was not a fan of their “time-share salesmen” characters on Raw and felt that Smackdown would give a fresh start and a chance to be elevated. That hasn’t been the case and there are no signs that they’ll be advancing anytime soon. This will be pretty standard with the babyface team going over.

“The Predictor” Predicts: The Hype Bros defeat the Colons
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