Money in the Bank
The WWE Pay-per-view, Money in the Bank, is quickly approaching! And with it comes a sour note, as Money in the Bank will be the last pay-per-view hosted by WWE before its imminent brand split which will be happening next month.
The Money in the Bank pay-per-view is focused on the one major match, which is the “Money in the Bank Ladder match.” The winner of this match will be given a contract which they can redeem at any time for a title of their choosing; Seth Rollins is the most recent and noteworthy Money in the Bank holder, having won it at 2014 due to his allegiance (and cheating) with The Authority, and then cashing it in during the 2015 Wrestlemania pay-per-view during the match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. In the Money in the Bank ladder match, the six superstars who will be competing include three “faces” (good guys) and three “heels” (bad guys); your good guys are Sami Zayn, Cesaro, and Dean Ambrose, who will be facing off against “the bad guys” Kevin Owens, Alberto Del Rio, and Kevin Owens.
I would also like to inject my personal thoughts here, as I believe that this match is not being given the attention it truly deserves – I feel that the winner of this match will be getting set up to eventually take over the main title during whichever brand they are respectively drafted to, whether it is Smackdown or Raw. Out of the six members in this match, only Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio have recognized World Heavyweight Championship (or its equivalent, as it is the main title) have held the title. Therefore, I truly believe WWE may be smartening up and using the Money in the Bank Ladder match to set up a wrestler for superstardom.
On the dark match, we also have Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin in a singles match, who have been feuding for close to a month and a half to almost no avail. Corbin is fresh on the main roster after an extended stay in the WWE NXT developmental branch. We will also have Apollo Crews vs Sheamus, which explains itself – this is such a low-quality program between the two wrestlers that the match has been relegated to being a “dark match,” which means the show will not be officially televised other than on the pre-show.
John Cena will face off against new-arrival AJ Styles. Styles has allied himself with the remnants of The Bullet Club, a New Japan Pro Wrestling-based stable full of “gaijin” (non-Japanese wrestlers, or foreigners) who have come to WWE. In the club are members Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, who have been banned from ringside as per a stipulation in the contract-signing that occurred this past Monday Night on Raw. This could potentially set The Club up to gain a fourth member, who many have been saying could be Finn Balor. Finn Balor, currently located in the WWE NXT developmental branch and locked in a feud with new-arrival from Japan, Shinsuke Nakamura, was the original leader of The Bullet Club but was kicked out during his last show overseas. Since then, Balor has come to the WWE NXT developmental branch, and there are rumors circulating that he will be brought up to the main roster very soon. This could be the perfect opportunity to introduce Finn Balor, establish him as a credible threat, and declare his allegiance to The Club.
There will also be a Fatal Four-way tag team match for the WWE Tag Team Championships. In this match, The New Day (consisting of Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods [the Freebird Rule allows all 3 of them to change out, so long as only two are wrestling at once, and the match will be No Disqualification so you can expect some antics]) will defend their titles against the three simultaneous teams of Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, The Club, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, and The Vaudevillians, who consist of Aiden English and Simon Gotch.
Rusev will also defend his United States Championship against Titus O’Neil, who has just returned after a 60 day suspension that started back in February during the Daniel Bryan retirement segment. Titus simply placed his hands on Vince McMahon, playing around at a time that was very inopportune, and received a 90 day suspension that was eventually pushed down to 60 days.
The final match is the championship match, which is Roman Reigns defending his title against Seth Rollins. Seth Rollins never lost his title but was forced to vacate it due to an injury back in November (that even occurred as he was working a house show), so Rollins has returned with a vengeance against Reigns. Rollins made his unannounced return last month during the Extreme Rules pay-per-view, and as is the unwritten rules of WWE, the previous champion of a title will always receive the right to challenge the current champion. Seth and Roman have been embroidered in a program against each other, occasionally crossing paths with Dean Ambrose, and this could potentially be setting up either The Shield three-way or The Shield Reunion.
A quick history lesson; The Shield was the most exciting thing to ever happen to WWE in recent times, as they felt like a true threat. The Shield was never announced officially, and made their debut as three guys in black, tactical gear and would enter the ring through the staircases in the lower bowl of the arenas. The Shield went undefeated for a long time, and Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins held the tag team titles while Dean Ambrose went on a 300+ day reign with the United States title. This program has been a long time coming, and I truly hope we get to see a fruitful and entertaining program between not just Seth and Roman, but Seth, Roman, AND Dean.
Money in the Bank will take place on June 19, 2016 at the T-Mobile Arena (oddly enough where UFC 200 will take place less than a month later) and will be streamed live on the WWE Network, which is available for $9.99 and includes more than 6,000 hours of original WWE content. The Money in the Bank pay-per-view will also be available through the pay-per-view service, which varies based on your cable provider.
Jerry Lawler Suspended
Just this morning (actually late Thursday night), Jerry “The King” Lawler was involved in a domestic dispute with his 27-year-old girlfriend in their Memphis, Tennessee home. Without any wild speculation, we do know that King has been immediately suspended and this actually vacates the color commentator slot on the Thursday Night (soon to be Tuesday Night) SmackDown! Program.
However, there is speculation that either Tom Phillips or Corey Graves, the commentators of WWE’s developmental branch NXT, will be brought up to fulfill The King’s slot. There has also been talks of a commentator shuffle, with JBL perhaps switching from RAW to SmackDown and a commentator being brought up from WWE’S NXT branch.
Since a freak chain of injuries a few months ago have plagued WWE, some of the superstars are getting to return within the next few weeks. Of those names, we do know that Bray Wyatt, Adrian Neville, and Randy Orton are preparing to return to the main roster, and Hideo Itami is preparing to re-debut on the WWE NXT developmental roster.
WWE 2K17 and Goldberg
After some hype and advertising, WWE’s most recent “Hatch/Extraction” teaser was revealed to be Goldberg, who will be playable in WWE 2K17. This is in no way relevant or exciting, as Goldberg was playable as recent as WWE 2K13, but this could very well be potentially setting up Goldberg to make a return to WWE, as he has stated numerous times that he is not against the chance to return (as long as the money is right).
WWE Cruiserweight Classic
Finally, the WWE Cruiserweight Classic has had more details announced about it. The Cruiserweight Classic will be a 32-man tournament which takes place over four days (June 23, July 14, August 26, and September 14) and will feature a host of “smaller” wrestlers around the world competing in a WWE-sanctioned tournament. We now have some wrestlers announced, as well; all of the wrestlers announced will be billed at a weight of 205 pounds or less. Some of the qualifying matches took place at smaller promotions including Revolution Pro Wrestling, Progress Wrestling, and EVOLVE.
The largest names that WWE has confirmed for coming to the WWE Cruiserweight Classic include Ariya Daivari, a former WWE wrestler who appeared on Lucha Underground last season, The Brian Kendrick, Cedric Alexander, Drew Gulak, New Japan Pro Wrestling performer Kota Ibushi, Noam Dar, Tajiri, and Zack Sabre Jr.
WWE has also made statements that it will “be raiding NXT for talent” for the upcoming brand split, so it can be expected that some of these talents will stick around and sign with WWE. In the case of talents who previously appeared on WWE programming, like The Brian Kendrick and Taijiri, it is suspected that these wrestlers will stick around and re-sign contracts with WWE.