Thursday, June 1, 2017

TWB ODDSMAKERS: Smackdown Women's Championship Money in the Bank

Is Charlotte going to hoist the first ever women's briefcase?
Photo Credit:
The rumored news is true. I'm getting my frontal lobe removed for SCIENCE The Smackdown women are getting their own Money in the Bank briefcase. Surprise cash-ins now have gender equity! The first five contestants were revealed on Tuesday's episode of Smackdown as the five women who were supposed to be wrestling for the chance to take on the brand's Women's Champion Naomi at said event. However, they couldn't contain their hatred for each other and brawled so much before the bell that Shane McMahon had to make herstory. Funny that, Charlotte Flair being at the center of another thing designed to be historic for women. But I digress. This development has been a long time coming, and honestly, much like the men's match, the winner doesn't seem to be clear. That doesn't mean one cannot find a hierarchy of probability here...

FIELD 250-1 - If only Money in the Bank happened after the Mae Young Classic, then WWE would have a ton of options to throw into the mix here. Say, a rogue semifinalist from the tournament could have made her debut in the ladder match and snaked the title with great believability. However, this Money in the Bank ladder match will have to make do with the options available. I would be surprised if someone from NXT or RAW (aside from a few options) made debuts here on Smackdown, but options to look out for, no matter how outside they'd be, would be Liv Morgan, Billie Kay, or Peyton Royce.

Summer Rae 250-1 - Why not just include Summer in the FIELD option? Well, everyone got up in arms Tuesday because WWE used her silhouette to stand in for Tyler Breeze at first during the Fashion Files vignette. While I want her back on my TV as soon as possible, I'll believe she's returned when I see it.

Nia Jax 150-1 - I wouldn't have included her except for this tweet:
She may just be acting out because she's gone from hot property on RAW to BANISHED to the Main Event Zone, but WWE has turned lesser tweets into storyline action, so who the fuck knows.

Tamina Snuka 100-1 - It feels like Snuka is only part of the "Welcoming Committee" to provide it some muscle, but her viability seems shot, especially now that Nia Jax is on the scene. "But TH," you say, "WWE can have more than one bulky Pacific Islander woman," and you'd be right, obviously. But this is WWE you're talking about. I would be shocked if she won this match.

Asuka 75-1 - And now for a spicy option. Asuka feels like she's outgrown NXT, even though she's still the Women's Champion there. WWE is pushing her streak, and her character is growing ever more paranoid of protecting it. But before Asuka drops the title and the streak to Ember Moon or Nikki Cross in Brooklyn, one would be crazy not to give it some shine on the main roster. So why are the odds so long, especially since WWE has done this sort of thing before with a woman no less in Paige as well with Kevin Owens? Well, NXT has become a nationally touring brand since then, and since then, the only double duty that wrestlers have pulled has been to run a farewell tour on weekly television for a couple of shows. Additionally, if Asuka were to be on the Money in the Bank card, putting her as Naomi's challenger feels like it would make far more sense than putting her in a ladder match. So while an Asuka briefcase debut would be a great moment in a company that doesn't have a whole lot of them, it feels like it's more fantasy booking than sound prognostication.

Becky Lynch 15-1 - The leap from Asuka to Lynch in odds is to demonstrate how utterly clueless I am as to how this match plays out. Lynch pulls up the rear of the big contender pack not because I don't think she's a bad choice to be Champion. She doesn't feel like the "surprise cash-in" type as a character, and I don't feel like she'd be a candidate for a heel turn. That being said, she's taken a lot of Ls lately and has been sort of an add-on to the Welcoming Committee storyline to the Champion Naomi and the big name free agent and Champion in waiting Flair. So maybe if you can get those kinds of odds on her winning, throwing a 20 on that result might not be the worst idea in the world. What would be the worst idea in the world though? Well....

Lana 12-1 - would be giving Lana the briefcase cold, which feels like such a WWE move. I mean, it's clear WWE has plans for her with all these vignettes, and she has cache from Total Divas and her days managing Rusev. All I have to say is hold onto your butts, and make damn sure you are ready for all her fan-bots to come at you if you disrespect her "dancing" on Twitter Dot Com.

Natalya Neidhart 10-1 - Neidhart is the female Orton in that WWE is always going to try and make her happen. It feels like every six months, the company makes a concerted effort to push her, usually as a heel, and it feels so warmed over. Of course, she fits the mold of a veteran briefcase winner, a heel the company needs to give a reason to jump start a title run, like with Kane in 2010 or, hey!, Orton in 2013. It might not be the result most people want, but it's one one must mentally prepare for.

Carmella 15-2 - If Neidhart is Kane from 2010, then Carmella is The Miz, the young gun with the big mouth and golden dreams who could use a title run to jumpstart her career in a big way. That being said, Miz was way more over then than she is now, but who cares about pesky things like crowd reactions. Besides, James Ellsworth is already helping her get heat. It might be a little1 transphobic to draw heat from him carrying the Women's Title belt around, but when has WWE cared about the feelings of marginalized people within the narrative?

Charlotte Flair 2-1 - And now the story cycles back to the one person WWE has used to propel its "WIMMENZ BE MAKIN HISTORY" narratives. Flair was the first holder of the rechristened Women's Championship. She and Sasha Banks were the first to headline a pay-per-view. Her PPV winning streak was ostensibly the richest macguffin in the division's infant history. And she was repeatedly promoted as Smackdown's best draft pick. Her alliance Lynch and Naomi has felt tenuous at best, and WWE has held her without a title belt for too long. Giving her the briefcase kills both those birds with the same Samsonite-shaped iron stone. I don't feel the best predicting Flair to win this match compared to how sure other winners were in the past, but I'd feel more confident picking her to win than anyone else in the fray.

Anyway, that's it for the briefcase matches this year, unless somehow, the Smackdown Tag Division gets one, which would both be overkill and hilarious to see American Alpha climb out of the aforementioned Main Event Zone covered in mire and with Gran Metalik tagging along with them to claim it. Now all that needs to happen is for both briefcases to be claimed by people whom I gave bad odds to.

1 - Hella. It would actually be HELLA transphobic.