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Opinion

Rewriting The Book: 2019 Money In The Bank Entrants

What do you think of these suggested MITB competitors, and how Abe got there?

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WWE Money In The Bank 2019

Abe takes an alternative route to the 2019 WWE Money In The Bank Ladder Matches.

Welcome to our first installment of Rewriting the Book! Normally you would be reading something called “Writing the Book” where I try to book current wrestling events or storylines from scratch. This time, I’m going to be rewriting something WWE has already presented on screen. Our own Greg DeMarco wanted me to try this idea awhile back and I had a hard time thinking of something worth digging deep into. That was until last week’s episodes of Raw and Smackdown.

The 2019 Money in the Bank entrants were revealed for the men and women of both brands. There’s the first problem: they were revealed. I’m not a big fan of the participants of a marquee match simply being announced. I would prefer them earn it through qualifying matches. It gives the fans stars to rally behind leading up to the pay-per-view and establishes credibility. There’s no storytelling in a PSA. Plus, it fills the five hours of weekly programming with matches to invest in rather than inconsequential tag matches with the Money In The Bank participants.

Last year I wrote an article where I was able to make a case for the majority of the participants coming away with the briefcase. This year, not so much. At the most, I can see two people in each match realistically winning unless they really give someone a surprising push. That being said, let’s see what changes we can make.

2019 WWE Money In The Bank: Men’s Entrants

  • Raw: Braun Strowman, Baron Corbin, Ricochet, Drew McIntyre
  • Smackdown: Randy Orton, Andrade, Finn Balor, Ali

Braun and Corbin have to go. They’re the last two winners of the men’s MITB and they both failed to cash it in. Why are they allowed to compete again so soon? The match is advertised to change careers and you have two guys in it that directly contradict the biggest appeal. It’s like if I was watching Jeopardy and all three contestants were ex-winners that already irresponsibly blew their prize money. Why would I want them to win again? Why is Jeopardy giving them a second chance a year later?

On the Smackdown side, I’d take Randy and Finn out. Randy is a 12-time World Champion. He has no business in this match. Money in the Bank matches are supposed to elevate that guy that’s been on the cusp of a push for awhile. Finn Balor is already holding the Intercontinental Championship. From a fan standpoint, nobody expects him to win because he already has a belt. From the kayfabe perspective, why did Finn qualify and not Samoa Joe? If the logic is to give the secondary champion a spot, then Joe should have gotten in over Ricochet who lost the week prior to Robert Roode.

Qualifying Matches

The winners are underlined. Person taking the pin is italicized in non-singles matches.

  • Drew McIntyre v. Rey Mysterio v. Samoa Joe
  • Robert Roode v. Ricochet
  • Cesaro v. Baron Corbin
  • Braun Strowman v. The Miz v. Bobby Lashley

Give Joe and Rey a logical qualifying match that still allows them to continue their feud. Roode beat Ricochet last week so put them in a rematch that means something. Cesaro is done with The Bar so repackage him as a babyface and give him the run that injuries never allowed him to have. Put Braun in a qualifying match that he doesn’t have to actually lose. Have Lashley and Braun in a kickoff show match then start the Lashley and Miz feud after MITB.

According to my previous logic, The Miz shouldn’t be here because he’s a former WWE Champ. Well, his only reign was years ago and he needs something fresh as a newly-minted babyface. Plus, he’s a more realistic winner than someone like Lashley or Roode.

  • Andrade v. Roman Reigns 
  • Elias v. Ali
  • Aleister Black v. Shinsuke Nakamura v. Rusev
  • Randy Orton v. R-Truth v. Lars Sullivan v. Finn Balor

You can still have the Elias and Roman feud but just change how we get there. Roman loses to Andrade due to interference from Shane and Elias. Roman then returns the favor and helps Ali earn his way into the match. Elias would have been great among the qualifying field but pairing him with Roman makes more sense than only removing Roman. Both have to fail.

I originally had Black and Nakamura in a singles match but it felt wrong to leave Rusev out. Nakamura and Rusev appear to have run their course as a team so this loss can plant a seed for a split. Lars stays looking like a monster while still telling the R-Truth story. Randy and Finn still get their deserved qualifying match because they’re high-profile stars. However, the last qualifying match begins a feud between Balor and Orton and the IC Title gets defended at the PPV.

Analysis for the women continues after the ad–buy a shirt!


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2019 WWE Money In The Bank: Women’s Entrants

  • Raw: Alexa Bliss, Natalya, Dana Brooke, Naomi
  • Smackdown: Bayley, Mandy Rose, Ember Moon, Carmella

Carmella and Alexa both had successful cash-ins only two months apart last year so nobody truly believes they’ll win again. I’m going to give Bayley the lone automatic bid for almost defeating Becky Lynch the previous week. Kairi Sane would have been great to launch with MITB but it looks like tag team gold is already in her future.

Qualifying Matches

  • Ruby Riott v. Natalya
  • Tamina v. Dana Brooke
  • Alexa Bliss v. Naomi
  • Nikki Cross v. Sarah Logan

Last year Ruby Riott would have been my pick to win the Money in the Bank match except SHE WASN’T IN THE MATCH. Just like last year, Ruby falls into the category of the ideal person to push but she was excluded yet again for whatever reason. I’m a fan of Dana getting opportunities but just give her more credibility by picking up a clean win. Alexa vs. Naomi was a tough one for me. Alexa is in a similar place as Miz. She’s transitioning to a babyface with growing fan support. Sadly, last year’s win was the tiebreaker. Finally, let’s start using Nikki Cross.

  • Mandy Rose v. Carmella
  • Ember Moon v. Lana v. Liv Morgan
  • Mickie James v. Sonya Deville v. Zelina Vega

There’s been growing tension between Sonya and Mandy for months now. There’s no better way to stimulate that tension than to put them in a match where they both want the same prize.

Rewritten Men’s WWE Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Drew McIntyre v. Ricochet v. Cesaro v. The Miz v. Andrade v. Aleister Black v. Lars Sullivan v. Ali

I noticed WWE evenly balanced the babyfaces and heels in the current men’s match which was surely intentional. When looking through the roster, I found it incredibly difficult to pivot off of that so I do understand why some of these entrants got it. In order to find the best result, I decided not to stick to that rule. It’s still 5-3 in favor of the babyfaces so not terribly unbalanced and now you have more to root for.

One might say that there are too many unfamiliar faces in my rewritten version. I agree, but this match is supposed to make new stars. I know newer guys like Lars and Aleister can more quickly legitimize themselves with creative control in a big match.

Rewritten Women’s WWE Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Ruby Riott v. Dana Brooke v. Naomi v. Nikki Cross v. Bayley v. Mandy Rose v. Ember Moon v. Sonya Deville

I don’t think anybody actually believes Alexa, Natalya, or Carmella are going to win at Money in the Bank. Alexa’s momentum build can be saved for after the PPV because we’re not going to hope for a repeat MITB victory anyway. You take away three women with a lack of investment and you give the spots to three underutilized talents who are ready to step up. Now the field looks a little more competitive. There’s only three total title reigns across the eight women rather than eleven.


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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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Opinion

DeMarco’s Things I Learned From WWE Smackdown On FOX (June 17, 2022)

Greg DeMarco presents what he learned watching WWE Smackdown On FOX for June 17, 2022, featuring Matt Riddle, Vince McMahon, Pat McAfee, and more!

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WWE Smackdown Riddle Reigns

Greg DeMarco presents what he learned watching WWE Smackdown On FOX for June 17, 2022, featuring Matt Riddle, Vince McMahon, Pat McAfee, and more!

WWE presented Smackdown on Friday night, June 17, 2022, from “Moneyapolis” featuring the “big fight feel” main event between Roman Reigns and Matt Riddle, with The Tribal Chief’s Undisputed WWE Universal Championship on the line. We also continued down the road to Money In The Bank in Vegas.

RK-Bro Is Effectively Done

The video package and all of Matt Riddle’s tributes to Randy Orton are just a little bit too much. Riddle does “too much” very well–in fact, it’s his character. But the amount of tribute being played to Randy Orton seems to be a set-up for Orton’s eventual return (whenever that might be) OPPOSITE Riddle. Maybe it’s in the Royal Rumble, maybe after.

Regardless of how it happens (and much of that has to do with his surgery and rehabilitation process), I think we are closer than ever to a heel Randy Orton opposing the babyface Matt Riddle.

Madcap Moss Is Undeniably Over

“Madcap just might be a guy.” – Pat McAfee

Pat McAfee knows what he’s talking about on this one–Madcap is indeed a guy. Riddick Moss always had the tools, just had injury issues. Since making his return to competition as Baron “Happy” Corbin’s sidekick, all Moss has done is prove his worth to WWE. He’s got a good look. He can cut a good promo. He’s vastly a underrated in-ring storyteller. And above all else, he has “it.”

WWE is always looking to add to the main event rotation, but it seems harder to crack that right now. But Madcap Moss has what it takes to do just that.

Montez Ford Is Gonna Be A (Solo) Star

The Street Profits are a fantastic act, and are insanely over. But Montez is a guy–a guy who the company can build around. While I feel bad for Angelo Dawkins, I (along with so many others) see Ford being a solo star.

We’re Getting Baron Corbin vs. Pat McAfee At SummerSlam

It’s the perfect set-up:

  • Baron Corbin is highly regarded within the organization as one of the safest workers around, a point that has been made by Randy Orton himself.
  • Pat McAfee is a big-moment superstar, and SummerSlam is the moment for him.

And for the record, I love it. While I an a big time purveyor of “Baron Corbin Sucks,” I know what he can do in the ring. And him vs. Pat McAfee would have Nashville rocking–and that is what McAfee in the ring is all about.

Vince McMahon Is Literally A Man Of Steel

If you have listened to any of Bruce Prichard’s podcasts, you know Vince McMahon believes you “don’t sell.” Not in the ring, but whenever the world has turned against you in any way–including lawsuits and investigations–you don’t sell it. You hold your head high, and live above it all.

That’s exactly what the boss did when opening up WWE Smackdown On FOX. It’s entirely possible that the plan changed along the way, and we were going to get “Mr. McMahon” at some point–but what happened is trademark Vince. Not the character, but the man. And if we expected anything else, we haven’t been paying attention.

Matt Riddle Is Now A Made Man

Matt Riddle and Roman Reigns delivered a pay per view (or premium live event…pick your poison) quality main event on WWE Smackdown on FOX, on a night where the world was likely watching. Tonight was his moment, and even in a loss, he delivered.

With a singular world champion–and one who likely isn’t losing anytime soon–it’s hard to say when Riddle could become a world champ. But the stipulation added to tonight’s match (which wasn’t discussed enough on air) means that Matt Riddle now cannot challenge Roman Reigns again (that’s how the graphic showed it). That screams a Money In The Bank or Royal Rumble win to me.

It’s also highly possible that a Seth Rollins wins the Money In The Bank briefcase, and his cash in splits the titles back up, opening the door for Riddle come next spring.

Either way–one fact remains true: Matt Riddle is now a made man, and doing it on his own.


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