Welcome to another edition of eWN Ring Position, where we gather some of the most active writers here on eWrestlingNews and share the platform to answer some questions surrounding a centralized topic, upcoming event, etc.
This is meant to showcase the potential for both a wide range of perspectives as well as how sometimes, there can be a group consensus no matter what your viewpoint is, so we also invite all of you to join in on the discussion by answering these questions yourself in the comments section below.
Participants for this round = Anthony Mango, Richard Staple, and Ethan Absler.
1) “Who do you feel are the two biggest favorites and the two biggest underdogs in the Money in the Bank ladder matches?”
MANGO: I keep changing my mind on these, and I think there’s a difference between who WWE wants us to think fit those categories and which people actually are. For instance, Braun Strowman is the clear favorite to win, but I think he has no chance. At the moment, I’d say the two favorites are Natalya and Samoa Joe, while the two underdogs are Ember Moon and whichever member of The New Day participates.
STAPLE: I’m going to assume this is asking who are the two biggest underdogs and favorites across both MITB ladder matches (at least that’s how I interpret it). The two biggest favorites across both ladder matches are Natalya and The Miz. Natalya for the women’s ladder match because WWE is obviously planting the seeds between a Rousey/Natalya feud, and she’s played a role in the Jax/Rousey feud. The briefcase will only stir the plot. As for the men, The Miz has been a prominent figure for WWE over the years, especially with the Intercontinental Championship, but believe it or not, he hasn’t been a world champion in 7 years. I think he’s about due to become a better WWE Champion this go around. The two underdogs across both ladder matches to me are Becky Lynch and The New Day (Big E). Becky Lynch hasn’t held the women’s title in nearly two years, and this past Smackdown she showed that she was still the real deal, making Charlotte, who made Asuka tap, tap out clean. If she wins the women’s title, it could be the revival her career could use right now. Big E for the men’s ladder match simply because I believe he’s due for a push, and while it’s hard to fathom New Day splitting, Big E winning the contract will make for interesting storylines within The New Day.
ABSLER: This year, both MITB ladder matches are unpredictable which is sure to please fans. I believe that for the women’s match, Charlotte will come out victorious and my dark horse/underdog of the match would have to be Alexa Bliss. As for the men’s match, The Miz is my favorite to win with Balor as my dark horse. I am interested to see how WWE will use Braun in this match.
2) “Which superstar do you feel is the biggest omission from TakeOver?”
MANGO: EC3, without a doubt, no question. Adam Cole is a runner-up, but at least he might be ringside for The Undisputed Era’s match. EC3 is nowhere to be found.
STAPLE: I haven’t really been following NXT programming as of late because WWE’s performances on RAW and Smackdown have bummed me out to the point where I haven’t even bothered watching much else, but going through the card, I don’t see NXT North American Champion Adam Cole here. I haven’t heard of any injury so I suppose there’s nothing for him now. I’d love to see him get in the ring with Richohet at a Takeover for the title, seeing as how the ladder match at New Orleans ended with those two. Maybe it’s coming in Brooklyn.
ABSLER: I am still blown away that WWE isn’t using Kassius Ohno as often as they should. Ohno is an indy darling, far more agile than anyone his size should be, and great in the ring. For him to find himself, again, not on a PPV card, must feel like a career cross roads. Ohno is defiantly the biggest omission from the show.
3) “Now that Money in the Bank has a TakeOver event preceding it like the other Big Four events, should wrestling fans consider it the Big Five and include MITB?”
MANGO: For the most part, I think so. This would also help balance out the schedule of having one of the big events every other month. It’s an important event, just like the Royal Rumble (just not AS important) and that extra hour really helps give it that boost in credibility.
STAPLE: A very interesting theory. To me, regardless of whether or not a Takeover event is scheduled to take place before the WWE show, there has to be a significant history. Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, Summerslam, and WrestleMania all have storied histories with some of the biggest events in WWE history taking place there. Money In The Bank has only been an exclusive PPV for 8 years now and the greatest moment that happened there was probably Punk beating Cena 7 years ago, and Punk isn’t here any longer. Maybe in 10 years, we can put it up as another big one, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to put it in the category of the other shows just yet.
ABSLER: Just because there is a Takeover the night before a PPV doesn’t mean that it dictates a big 4, or in this case, 5 PPV. I do not think fans should start including MITB in the big four, although it is a show of great importance and entertainment.
4) “How can WWE salvage this feud between Bobby Lashley and Sami Zayn, or at least Lashley himself?”
MANGO: They can’t save the feud. It’s been dead from the start. With Lashley, they need to either give him a manager for a mouthpiece or book him in feuds that are solely revolving around in-ring action with absolutely no storylines, and since WWE doesn’t like to do that, I think Lashley is doomed.
STAPLE: A simple answer to this. They can’t. The feud is too damaged beyond repair to make anyone care about the outcome because we all know Lashley is winning and we had to go through men dressed up as women and Instagram accounts to get us there. There’s just no reason to get behind either man because Lashley is being made to look like a geek and Zayn is being made to look like someone who’s desperate for something to do. RAW has sucked majorly the past couple of weeks, and one of the common denominators across the lackluster shows has been this abomination of a feud that can’t be mitigated with MITB in 6 days. The best way to save Lashley at this point is to not give him a microphone and just let him kick ass like we know he can. He isn’t a talker (though some of his TNA rants may tell you otherwise). He should be tearing apart anyone who gets in his path. He’s built like a tank. He shouldn’t be coming to RAW dressed like he’s headed to a BBQ.