To counteract the rundown of the superstars missing from the Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live rosters for Money in the Bank 2018, let’s talk about the lucky few who will be booked to not only perform, but likely steal the show in some fashion.
This could be in a scripted or non-kayfabe sense when factoring in everything from pure wins and losses to how much emphasis someone is given, to their momentum carrying over after the event, match performance quality and pretty much everything that could get people to talk about these particular men and women more than anybody else.
When looking at the card currently scheduled for the pay-per-view, this is my shortlist for the superstars who will stand out at Money in the Bank 2018.
Men’s MITB Winner
This should go without being said, as it’s the titular match of the event and the whole reason we have it.
As far as pinpointing an individual that I feel will be booked above the rest, it would be Braun Strowman, yet I don’t think he’s going to actually win the briefcase. That seems contradictory, but look at what happened at Elimination Chamber, where Strowman eliminated every single person only to then lose to Roman Reigns and come up short.
My guess is this is a match where he can lose without looking bad, so WWE will take advantage of that and give it to someone else, who needs a bit of a push or can serve a better purpose with the briefcase.
I think we can rule out Rusev and Kevin Owens because they aren’t priorities like they’ve been in the past (sadly). I’m also not confident at all in a Finn Balor win, and even though the idea of a New Day member holding the contract is intriguing, I certainly can’t put any faith in that.
For the most part, this comes down to Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe or The Miz, and that’s where I get stuck, as I think all three have some logical potential, but it entirely depends on where WWE wants to go in the future.
Roode is someone I could 100% see cashing in, turning “heel’ and dethroning Reigns after he beats Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at Extreme Rules or SummerSlam. Not immediately after the title win, but somewhere down the line. A heel turn for Roode has to be on the bubble, even if it doesn’t involve this.
Samoa Joe could DEFINITELY win this match and cash in on a weakened AJ Styles after he retains the WWE Championship in his Last Man Standing match. That is a scenario I’d love to see, but I could also see Joe winning that title without the need of a cash-in. He’s just big and powerful enough to win it outright.
Then, there’s The Miz, who has the lingering storyline potential to use this to steal the title away from Daniel Bryan if he were to win the WWE Championship at some point this year. That would be my ideal scenario, so I don’t think it will happen, as that might be asking for too many chips to fall in specific places.
If I had to pick at this particular moment I’m writing this, I’d lean toward Roode. We’ll see.
Women’s MITB Winner
Copy and paste the same level of importance as the men’s, but this might actually surpass it, if what I think could happen does indeed take place.
I don’t rule out the possibility that I’m totally blind about WWE’s plans for the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championships, as I definitely didn’t expect Ronda Rousey to be fighting Nia Jax right now, nor Asuka to lose at WrestleMania.
With that in mind, I just can’t see Charlotte Flair winning this, as I don’t think she needs it, nor Naomi or Becky Lynch, as their involvement on SmackDown seems less likely to bank on (no pun intended). Lana would be a complete and utter shock, and I’d even argue that Ember Moon would be surprising, as she’s the rookie of the bunch on the main roster.
For my guesses, I dwindle this down to Sasha Banks, Natalya or Alexa Bliss, with a slight lean toward Natalya. I’m suspicious of her connections going on with both Rousey and Jax, since she could win this match early in the night and then cash in to win the Raw Women’s Championship from either of them and turn heel in the process.
When it comes to Sasha, I just don’t count her out as a winner as this feud with Bayley could factor in somewhere, but I have no idea how, and with Bliss, she’s just the person who spearheads most feuds and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if WWE felt like the belt is always better on her. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree.
Let me preface this by saying that I’m not sold on the idea of Rousey winning the championship, but I’m really struggling to imagine a scenario where she loses this match.
WWE obviously values Rousey as one of the biggest stars in the company and this is just her second match, so having her lose would be surprising as hell to me. But this is just her second match…can she really win the Raw Women’s Championship and be trusted to do a good job with it?
Part of me thinks she’s going to destroy Nia Jax and defeat her within just a few minutes, win the title, and start a Brock Lesnar style title reign where we barely ever see the championship. I hope that’s not the case, though.
Part of me thinks that the way around this, instead, will be for Jax to get disqualified or counted out so Rousey technically wins, but doesn’t capture the championship. Then, someone like Natalya capitalizes on the situation and snatches the belt away, making everyone mark out for the same-day cash-in and also avoiding a Rousey loss.
In any stretch, I certainly can’t see Rousey losing against Jax or leaving Money in the Bank as anything but one of the major focal points.
Maybe it’s my own personal bias and I’m simply projecting my wishes of what I hope will happen, but between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura walking out of this event with the WWE Championship, I want Styles to retain.
At WrestleMania, I was fine with Nakamura taking the title, even though I felt like he hadn’t been quite built up enough to give him the most momentum to benefit from. By now, he has even less steam, as I think they’ve run this feud into the ground and didn’t put the belt on him at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Hell, even Backlash would have been better than for it to happen here, so I’m just not feeling like WWE actually wants Nakamura to be the standout guy.