WWE Money In The Bank Preview (06/17): Chicago, Illinois
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Brace yourselves, Chicago. WWE Money in the Bank is returning to The Windy City’s Allstate Arena tonight at 7 ET/4 PT on the WWE Network, featuring WWE Champion AJ Styles against Shinsuke Nakamura in a Last Man Standing Match, two Money in the Bank Ladder Matches, and Ronda Rousey's first WWE singles match against RAW Women's Champion Nia Jax.
WWE Champion AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (Last Man Standing Match):
At WWE Money in the Bank, AJ Styles will clash with Shinsuke Nakamura in a Last Man Standing Match to determine a clear winner in their ongoing battle for the WWE Championship.
SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon declared that the two bitter adversaries will continue their rivalry following a double low blow that left matters unsettled in a No Disqualification Match at WWE Backlash.
Prior to that bout, the dream match between The Phenomenal One and Nakamura at WrestleMania was tainted by The King of Strong Style’s post-match assault after Styles retained the WWE Championship, and their rematch at the Greatest Royal Rumble Event in Saudi Arabia was left unresolved by a double count-out.
Just when it looked as if the stakes couldn't get any higher, a non-title victory by Nakamura over Styles on SmackDown LIVE allowed him to pick the stipulation for their imminent pay-per-view showdown. The King of Strong Style declared that it would be a Last Man Standing Match, assuring that their next encounter will be more vicious than ever before.
Who will finally emerge victorious in the highly personal conflict for the WWE Title? Find out at WWE Money in the Bank, streaming live tonight on the award-winning WWE Network!
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
At WWE Money in the Bank, eight of RAW and SmackDown LIVE’s elite competitors will seize the opportunity to challenge the Champion from their respective brands. All bets are off in the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match with the goal of climbing the rungs and claiming the prized briefcase. With the contract inside, the victorious Superstar will guarantee himself the opportunity to challenge the World Champion from his respective brand anytime and anywhere they wish in the subsequent year.
Braun Strowman qualified for the career-changing encounter by overcoming Kevin Owens. Though he’ll be competing in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match for the first time, The Monster Among Men has been his usual dominant self in recent months, capturing the RAW Tag Team Titles with 10-year-old Nicholas at WrestleMania, reaching the semifinals alongside Alexa Bliss in the ground-breaking WWE Mixed Match Challenge Tournament and outlasting 49 other Superstars to win the first-ever Greatest Royal Rumble Match.
Finn Bálor qualified by overcoming Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn in a thrilling Triple Threat Match. With the distinction of being the first-ever Universal Champion and the longest-reigning NXT Champion in history, the dynamic Superstar knows how to win marquee matches. When you consider the unique tools in his arsenal, The Extraordinary Man may have been engineered specifically to win the high-stakes Ladder Match and the career-altering contract.
The Miz qualified for the match by overcoming United States Champion Jeff Hardy. In addition to being an eight-time Intercontinental Champion, two-time United States Champion and six-time Tag Team Champion, The A-Lister holds the distinction of capturing the Money in the Bank contract in 2010, which he cashed in on Randy Orton to win the WWE Championship. He did it before, and he can definitely do it again because the outspoken Superstar knows how to win, and he’ll be motivated to get back on the path to championship glory after failing to reclaim the Intercontinental Title from Seth Rollins at WWE Backlash.
The tough-as-nails Rusev earned his way into the high-stakes free-for-all by defeating Daniel Bryan and makes for an intriguing addition to the Ladder Match. Without a doubt, the intense competitor will have no problem wielding the ladder as a weapon of destruction en route to making June 17th the greatest Rusev Day ever.
Bobby Roode qualified for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match by overcoming No Way Jose and Baron Corbin in a hard-fought Triple Threat Match after planting Jose with a Glorious DDT. Since leaving NXT, the larger-than-life competitor has been simply glorious, capturing the United States Championship and joining Charlotte Flair as a finalist in the historic WWE Mixed Match Challenge Tournament. Now, he will aim to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a World Champion by claiming the career-changing Money in the Bank contract.
Kevin Owens overcame Bobby Lashley and Elias to qualify for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match after calling Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and convincing her to give him another chance at the prize. He also received a little help from Sami Zayn, who took out Lashley with a ringside assault, but that doesn’t make KO any less likely to walk out of the June 17th pay-per-view with the contract in his hands. After all, Owens is a former Universal Champion, as well as a two-time Intercontinental Champion and a three-time United States Champion. “Yep!”
Following their victory over Sheamus & Cesaro, The New Day have earned the right to send one member of their crew into the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, but which member of the four-time Tag Team Champions will step into the fray? The gutsy Xavier Woods? The high-flying Kofi Kingston? The massive Big E? Whoever gets nod, The Power of Positivity will surely be in full swing.
Samoa Joe outlasted Daniel Bryan and Big Cass in an explosive Triple Threat Match to qualify for the final place in the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Without a doubt, the former NXT Champion will add a new level of destruction to the every-Superstar-for-himself showdown.
Don’t miss the co-branded WWE Money in the Bank pay-per-view, streaming live tonight on WWE Network!
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
Last year, five Superstars competed in the first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match, and Carmella captured the historic contract and eventually cashed in on Charlotte Flair to win her first SmackDown Women’s Title. This year’s follow-up Ladder Match promises to bring the Women’s Evolution to new heights, as RAW and SmackDown LIVE’s most daring Superstars will once again take to the rungs. The victorious Superstar will guarantee herself the opportunity to challenge the World Champion from her respective brand anytime and anywhere they wish in the subsequent year.
Ember Moon was the first to qualify for the explosive showdown by defeating Sasha Banks and Ruby Riott in a Triple Threat Match on RAW. The former NXT Women’s Champion came to the red brand one night after WrestleMania and has the skill, honor and heart to take down any opponent that gets in her way.
Charlotte Flair qualified for Money in the Bank by reigning supreme over Peyton Royce, who laid a vicious beat-down on The Queen during her SmackDown LIVE debut alongside Billie Kay that caused Charlotte to lose the SmackDown Women’s Championship after a cash-in by Carmella. The six-time Women’s Champion does not like to come in second, and after failing to recapture the title from The Princess of Staten Island at WWE Backlash, she is focused on capitalizing on her new opportunity.
Alexa Bliss earned her place in the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match by stepping over a pair of fellow Women’s Champions: her “friend” Mickey James and Bayley. The four-time Women’s Champion knows how to win like few others, and the Money in the Bank contract would be in dangerous hands if Five Feet of Fury prevails.
Becky Lynch qualified for the Ladder Match by overcoming Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville in a hard-hitting Triple Threat Match. As the first SmackDown Women’s Champion, The Irish Lass Kicker possesses a fiery nature and will be looking to unload on her fellow Superstars in the free-for-all for the life-changing contract.
Natalya earned her way into her third Money in the Bank Ladder Match by overcoming Dana Brooke, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan in a Fatal 4-Way showdown. Trained in the infamous Hart Family Dungeon, the former SmackDown Women’s Champion and Divas Champion has always been always dangerous. Will her experience and her vast arsenal that includes the family Sharpshooter vault her to victory?
Lana overcame The IIconics’ Billie Kay to capture a place in the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Following impressive showings in landmark events like the groundbreaking WWE Mixed Match Challenge Tournament and the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble, The Ravishing Russian is clearly ready for the next level. As she will assuredly continue her extreme training regimen alongside her husband Rusev, Lana has the potential to be a dark horse victor in the career-altering Ladder Match.
Naomi overcame Sonya Deville to earn her place in the high-stakes matchup. A two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion, winner of the inaugural WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal and a dynamic Superstar week-in and week-out, she will most-assuredly be out to make her opponents feel the glow in her quest to retrieve the contract and once again lay claim to the blue brand’s illustrious title for the third time.
Sasha Banks battled her way into the high-stakes Ladder Match free-for-all by overcoming six other Superstars in a Gauntlet Match. Always a trailblazer who has shown that she will do whatever it takes to win the big match-ups, the four-time RAW Women’s Champion will look to once again be at her best under the bright lights of Chicago’s All State Arena to make sure she leaves with the coveted contract.
With ladders scattered around the ring, who will conquer the opposition, climb the dangerous rungs, grab the Money in the Bank briefcase and capture the coveted contract to earn an opportunity to challenge a World Champion any time they wish in the next year? Find out tonight at Money in the Bank, streaming live on the award-winning WWE Network!
RAW Women’s Champion Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey:
RAW Women’s Champion Nia Jax will face her greatest obstacle yet when she steps into the ring against Ronda Rousey at WWE Money in the Bank.
The Irresistible Force threw down the gauntlet in unexpected fashion at NBCUniversal’s Upfront in New York City, tempting The Baddest Woman on the Planet with a chance at championship gold. Rousey accepted the challenge on the spot, setting the stage for what’s sure to be a hard-hitting and intensely competitive encounter.
The last time we saw Rousey compete in a televised WWE match was at this year’s WrestleMania in New Orleans, where she teamed with RAW General Manager Kurt Angle to battle and defeat RAW Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and WWE COO Triple H. Will Rousey make Jax regret her bold challenge when they meet one-on-one in Chicago?
Don’t miss Ronda Rousey’s first-ever WWE title opportunity when she takes on RAW Women’s Champion Nia Jax at WWE Money in the Bank, streaming live tonight, only on WWE Network.
Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal:
A determined Jinder Mahal will attempt to suppress the seemingly uncontrollable fury of The Big Dog when he goes to war against Roman Reigns at WWE Money in the Bank.
Mahal has enjoyed enormous success since refocusing in 2017 and winning the WWE Championship and United States Title, respectively. He was so committed to maintaining that prominence, in fact, that when RAW General Manager Kurt Angle denied him an opportunity to be part of a Money in the Bank Qualifying Match in a main event bout against Reigns, Finn Bálor and Sami Zayn, The Modern Day Maharaja took it upon himself to get involved in the action and cost The Big Dog a chance to be part of the high-stakes battle of the rungs.
Convinced that a series of outside forces have conspired to make him the self-dubbed “uncrowned Universal Champion” after several title showdowns against Brock Lesnar, Reigns was in no mood for Mahal’s interference, and he aimed to take out his frustration on the subject of his rage the following week. But when Kurt Angle and WWE Management denied him a chance to face Mahal in the ring, Reigns took his fight backstage and ruthlessly Speared him through a wall.
Refusing to be made a fool of, Mahal sought retribution by emerging during Reigns’ match against Kevin Owens, turning the bout into a tag team affair. Even though Reigns and Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins were victorious, Mahal got the better of both Superstars with a vicious post-match steel chair barrage.
With the animosity at a fever pitch, Reigns and Mahal will finally look to settle things one-on-one when they face-off at the WWE Money in the Bank pay-per-view, tonight on the award-winning WWE Network!
SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella vs. Asuka:
What can ruin any good Mellabration? Well, The Empress of Tomorrow coming for your title is a solid start.
At WWE Money in the Bank, Asuka aims to unseat SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella at the same pay-per-view where the current titleholder’s march to championship glory began one year ago.
Carmella has always been about opportunity, something that served her well when she won the first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match last year and secured a Women’s Championship opportunity whenever she wanted. After the IIconics assaulted Charlotte Flair on the April 10th edition of SmackDown, she cashed in her coveted contract and pinned The Queen for the gold following a wicked kick to the face. Her success was further amplified by her victory over The Queen in their rematch at WWE Backlash. The Staten Island Princess may scream at a fever pitch, and she may be outspoken, but she is undoubtedly armed with the ability to remain on top for many Mellabrations to come. It remains to be seen, however, if she is ready for Asuka.
Prior to WrestleMania, The Empress of Tomorrow stood undefeated for well over 900 days. She won the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble and the groundbreaking WWE Mixed Match Challenge Tournament alongside The Miz. She still stands as the longest-reigning NXT Women’s Champion in history. On The Grandest Stage of Them All, Asuka fell to Charlotte in an extremely hard-fought title bout, but she remains as dangerous as ever. And now that she has come to SmackDown LIVE, she is ready to claim the blue throne as any cost. The dynamic Superstar possesses an arsenal like few others, and if Carmella is not careful, she will possess her title as well.
Will Mella be Money? Or will the co-branded pay-per-view be all about Asuka? Find out at WWE Money in the Bank, streaming live tonight on WWE Network!
Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins vs. Elias:
At WWE Money in the Bank, Elias will attempt to put on his greatest performance yet when he goes to war with the fighting Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins.
The fuse to the explosive conflict was lit on Monday Night RAW when Elias’ in-ring concert ran long and he was suddenly interrupted by Rollins, who was set to defend his title against Jinder Mahal.
While the strumming Superstar seemed to be out of the equation for a moment, he resurfaced following the matchup – which Rollins lost due by disqualification -- to introduce the titleholder to his greatest hits. As The Kingslayer posed victoriously atop the announce table, Elias caught him unaware from behind and shattered his guitar across the champion’s back. Rollins was loaded onto a stretcher and placed in a neck brace, though he managed to stand up and leave on his own feet.
The animosity continued on social media later that week, where Rollins tweeted a challenge to his attacker for a showdown at WWE Money in the Bank. In response, Elias responded that he would only accept the contest if the Intercontinental Title was on the line. Ever the fighting champion, Rollins said he would walk with Elias. In a WWE.com Exclusive, Cathy Kelley then revealed that the match has been made official.
Will Elias play himself into his first championship reign in WWE? Or will Rollins engineer the sinister musician’s swan-song? Find out who will emerge with the coveted title when WWE Money in the Bank streams live tonight on WWE Network.
Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn:
Bobby Lashley and Sami Zayn will clash at WWE Money in the Bank in a highly personal showdown for family honor and vertigo retribution.
In case you've missed it, Zayn has been harboring a bit of a grudge against Bobby Lashley, who he believes has gone out of his way to embarrass him by returning to RAW on the same night that Zayn arrived on Team Red. Furthermore, Lashley executed a stalling suplex so savage that it gave Zayn the first documented case of vertigo in WWE history, at least according to Sami.
Proclaiming himself to be the recipient of Lashley’s personal victimization, the former NXT Champion disputed the notion that Lashley was the type of kind-hearted family man he proclaimed himself to be during a sit-down interview with Renee Young. In fact, Zayn claimed to have gotten the real dirt on Lashley by contacting the powerful Superstar’s three sisters — a truth he promised to unveil by bringing them to RAW.
Instead of producing the sisters, however, Zayn hired three men to dress up like Lashley’s siblings in an effort to sully the reputation of the returning Superstar. Though Lashley first took the move in stride, the unrelenting mockery by Zayn eventually led to the former ECW Champion pummeling the impostors, while Zayn scurried away to the relative safety of the entrance ramp.
Following an insincere apology from Zayn the following week, Lashley proposed that they settle their issues like men in a one-on-one matchup at WWE Money in the Bank. Although the two competitors shook hands, Zayn issued a warning that he will Helluva Kick the smile off Lashley’s face. In response, Lashley squeezed Zayn’s hand in painful fashion in order to send the message that their imminent encounter will be all business.
Will Lashley get retribution on Zayn for mocking his family? Who will be smiling at WWE Money in the Bank? Find out tonight on the award-winning WWE Network!
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass:
Daniel Bryan will get a chance at payback when he faces Big Cass tonight at WWE Money in the Bank, streaming live on WWE Network.
The seven-footer has been a thorn in Bryan’s side since his return during the 2018 Superstar Shake-up, when he blindsided the leader of The “Yes!” Movement with a vicious attack at the conclusion of SmackDown LIVE. Bryan may have thought he ended matters with Cass after WWE Backlash, where he forced the big man to tap out to the “Yes!” Lock, but Cass has since been relentless in taunting and attacking Bryan.
The latest chapter in their rivalry came on the May 29th edition of SmackDown LIVE during the final Qualifying Match for the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Samoa Joe was victorious after putting Bryan to sleep in the Coquina Clutch to win the Triple Threat Match, but Big Cass was not content just to watch his foe in pain. After the bell, the seven-footer waited for Bryan to get back to his feet before steamrolling him with a big boot to the face.
Cass’ attack has Bryan seething and itching to get retribution. Will Bryan get the payback he’s looking for? Find out at WWE Money in the Bank, streaming live tonight on WWE Network!
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (Kickoff Match):
Presented for your approval, two sets of brothers. One good, one bludgeon. And one will leave WWE Money in the Bank as the SmackDown Tag Team Champions.
The Bludgeon Brothers — Harper & Rowan — will defend the crown jewel of Team Blue’s Tag division when they battle Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson at WWE Money in the Bank Kickoff. The match marks the first defense for The Bludgeon Brothers against a team other than The Usos and the first opportunity for the good brothers — former Raw Tag Team Champions — to get their hands on the blue brand’s Tag Titles.
They earned the opportunity to battle Harper & Rowan by defeating The Usos on SmackDown, punching their ticket to a big-time title opportunity in Chicago. That’s no small feat, but if they aren’t ready, The Bludgeon Brothers will turn their night from (too) sweet to sour in a hurry.
WWE Money in the Bank Kickoff streams live tonight at 6 ET/3 PT on the award-winning WWE Network! In addition, the Kickoff will stream live on WWE.com, the WWE App, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. Don't miss both the Money in the Bank Kickoff Show and Main Show tonight!