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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

AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?

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As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…

THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!

I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.


#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.


That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!


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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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