Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Money in the Bank Oddsmakers 2018!

What happened the last time Miz won the briefcase... is WWE due for a repeat?
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Money in the Bank is Sunday, and WWE will be presenting His and Hers briefcases for the second year in a row. For the first time ever, women on the RAW brand will be able to compete for said briefcases, as last year's show was Smackdown only. Fun! WWE made it a point to say that the winner could only challenge the Champion on their brand, but the thing to remember here is that in any good pro wrestling company, the rules are made up and the points don't matter. Therefore, some odds are made with certain matchups in mind, whether or not they're "possible" right now with the brand split, he said thinking anyone reading this believes WWE wouldn't pull off a trade or a walkout angle to get to whatever match gave Vince McMahon increased bloodflow to his genetic jackhammer this week. Ladies first...

The Women

Lana 1000/1 - I don't take WWE Creative as the post-ironic types. Lana has about as much a chance to win the briefcase as I do to replace Ben Affleck as Batman.

Naomi 35/1 - WWE's track record with minority pushes is spotty to be generous. Ember Moon is the new hotness this year, and it feels like she has an outside shot to win, even if she doesn't fit the mold. Naomi feels like bump-taking filler or someone whose lot it is to provide the jaw-dropping feat of acrobatics in this match (as opposed to the daring feat of self-murder as with Sasha Banks). It also feels like a Rusev Day/Uso feud is in the works for SummerSlam, and a babyface with a briefcase complicates those matters.

Sasha Banks 25/1 - In a perfect world, Banks would be the favorite to win to set up her spoiling Bayley's moment and put them on the crash course for the big match. Several things are wrong with that scenario. One, the Sasha Banks of NXT is long gone, and WWE main roster seems inertiatic towards salvaging her. Two, the RAW Women's Championship feels tied up with ROUSEY DRAMA, and WWE can't have anyone but the Whitest, uh, I mean, uh best? people near her. Three, WWE will never give its audience main roster Bayley/Banks the way NXT gave it to its audience because Vince McMahon doesn't care about the art like even Triple H does, and Triple H is still a fuckin corporate stooge. So she'll be in the match to take some ill-advised bump that will give Michael Cole reason to wax ecstatic about the brutality of the match and then get scuttled back to six-woman tag matches against the Riott Squad and teasing that feud with Bayley forevermore.

Becky Lynch 20/1 - The thing about the Four Horsewomen is that in NXT all of them mattered to some extent. You could argue Lynch didn't get enough time to incubate in NXT, but it didn't matter anyway, because the only one on the main roster who matters is the tall blonde one who is related to Ric Flair. Lynch is always going to be background chatter, but she doesn't have the momentum nor the newness attached to her to have a briefcase win. Maybe she gets a Sheamus-style out of nowhere win, but otherwise, she's not a good bet.

Ember Moon 7/1 - Moon is an intriguing bet, because she came up to the main roster with a lot of momentum and continues to ride the wave. The other thing about her that I feel has her trending towards the briefcase is that she doesn't have a character yet. Like, she's just this red-eyed person who came up from NXT and does a bunch of cool moves. WWE has tended to give the briefcase to someone whom it hasn't established yet. The formless Daniel Bryan is a good example, as he got the duke when someone more established like Wade Barrett was expected to win. I'm not sure creative goes that route this year, but it certainly gives Moon a leg up on at least half the field.

Alexa Bliss 5/1 - Bliss in her main roster run so far has been what many have accused Roman Reigns of being. If she's in a match, she should be expected to have a better than half chance of winning. I don't see it in this match with two better options ahead of her, but I also can't entirely count her out.

Nattie Neidhart 5/2 - Neidhart is currently the betting favorite to win, and the only reason I don't have her with the best odds is that I for the life of me cannot believe WWE would give the briefcase to its female Randy Orton. However, the company did give the briefcase to its actual Orton in 2013, and even though in retrospect it was the right call, it still felt, well, underwhelming. Then WWE doubled down on it the next year by having Sheamus win. Now, I love Sheamus. He's one of the most consistently solid performers in WWE who can do pretty much anything. He wasn't the right call winning the briefcase cold. Neidhart, to her credit, wouldn't win it cold. She's being aligned with Ronda Rousey, who has a title match at the show. Leaks from the company (which tend to drive betting odds) in addition to this confluence of information make her a sensible winner. It would be a wet fart of a fucking program, obviously, because Neidhart only has her in-ring going for her, and even that's spotty as she's progressed further and further from her heyday. Maybe I WANT the winner to be Flair because that match would at least have pizzazz. But what I'm saying is WWE already has its fuck money, and even before it did, the company showed a penchant for giving the briefcase to an uninspiring wrestler. Gird your loins, and prepare for the worst, folks.

Charlotte Flair 2/1 - Flair/Rousey feels like the money match, and the confluence of rumors that McMahon's trigger finger was itchy on the match and the recent interview with Ric Flair saying the match wasn't necessarily going to happen at WrestleMania makes this a surer bet than even Neidhart with story-backing. Flair/Rousey was reported to be the plan for a Mania main event, so it could definitely headline SummerSlam, and if Flair remains a babyface, at least in the leadup to the match, she could definitely pull off the honorable cash-in. Or, it could be the vehicle that turns her heel again (she's overdue for a turn) where she could waylay either Asuka on Smackdown or Rousey on RAW. It's a no-brainer choice, which is why I feel like the Neidhart stuff is a smokescreen.

The Men

Bobby Roode 50/1 - One could make the case for Roode to win the briefcase, as he's already over the 40 hill and might not have a lot of time left as a viable main eventer. However, he's in a similar boat as Samoa Joe, who is more over, better in the ring, and has already been built as a legit threat to Brock Lesnar. Roode is still mostly an entrance (although I like him a lot as a worker), and while the same corollary works here as it does for Moon in the women's match, I just don't see him as the option in this stacked a field.

Rusev 45/1 - While I fully believe Rusev can hold down the fort as a main event wrestler, it almost feels like he's in this weird limbo where he's clearly over, but WWE doesn't want to push him commensurate with his crowd reactions. The Rusev Day thing feels like free money for Smackdown Creative, and they probably don't feel the need to waste the main event slot on it when they can try to make fetch happen with fucking Big Cass or whatever.

Braun Strowman 33/1 - These longish odds do not reflect what I feel WWE's outlook on Strowman is. He's The Guy, and I would be shocked if people in the front office all the way up to McMahon didn't see it. However, do you think Money in the Bank is the best way or even the most logical way for him to claim his first title? No, Strowman don't wanna free pass. Strowman wanna destroy. The storyline options are more diverse and organic with him to get to Lesnar or whatever titleholder he ends up facing off against.

Xavier Woods 20/1 - While Woods is the spiritual leader of New Day, I feel like he has the worst odds of the three to win the match should he enter, yet I can't articulate why. Maybe it's because he's not big like, well, Big E. Maybe he doesn't have the stain of experience that Kingston has to get him a run that he "deserves." Maybe it's because he's so good at generating heat with his mouth and not have to be worried about to keep it clean. Either way, he feels like the least likely to be in the match from the group and to win.

Finn Bálor 17/1 - If you want someone male on RAW who's marketable, talented, and who doesn't have a character, Bálor is your guy. Multiple people not having characters... think WWE Creative is good at its job? But I digress. Not only would a briefcase be a good jumping off point to build a character (or at least a substitute for one for the time being), it also could be thing that allows him to embrace his inner Prince Devitt, Founder of Bullet Club in WWE. I still think he's a longshot, but it's not as long as you think.

Kevin Owens 12/1 - Owens definitely fits the mold for a cowardly heel briefcase holder for sure. He remains a dangerous option to win the match, and his odds could improve if certain things happen over the next few months, like Bryan Danielson option not to re-sign with WWE and/or Brock Lesnar losing the Universal Championship to someone a bit more mortal. That being said, his gravitational pull towards any given member of the McMahon family feels like a substitute for being associated with a Championship belt these days, so while I can see both sides to a potential Owens win, I don't think the odds are good enough to name him a favorite.

Big E 10/1 - New Day being given a spot in the match means something. I don't think they're done as a tag team, but I think they're being vetted for singles viability. If you remember your dirtsheet lore, Large Ettore was Vince McMahon's choice for the monster push back in the day, but he allowed Triple H to persuade him to go with Roman Reigns. The HOSS gleam never leaving the elder McMahon's eyes plus his daughter's penchant for social outreach makes Big E a decent choice to win.

Kofi Kingston 15/2 - ...but the lure of righting wrongs from almost a decade ago and giving Kingston an early gold watch so to speak is on the table. Kingston brings to the match the best fit of anyone in the group since he's a sprightly high flyer with a penchant for dropping the jaw. I doubt he'll ever win a Royal Rumble with his feats of athleticism, so the Money in the Bank briefcase will be the next best thing.

Samoa Joe 5/1 - If you're working on the assumption that Bryan Danielson decides to remain Daniel Bryan for an indefinite amount of time, Joe will remain the second best choice to win. However, he's still a strong choice and one that makes sense regardless of circumstance. He has the aura to pull off a modern WWE face turn to cash in ahead of time, but that aura works with him as a heel too without diminishing his, for lack of a better term, huevos. Built as a cold, calculating hitman, Joe taking the briefcase and striking at the right time would be pitch perfect for his character, and judging by his dalliances with Lesnar and his positioning for a marquee Mania match before his injury, I'd say WWE agrees.

The Miz 3/1 - Miz has won the briefcase before, and in the last two or three years has proven himself to be the most valuable commodity WWE has, a heel who gets heat. He also has a major story with Bryan looming that would have a lot more cache if a title were involved. The temptation is just too tantalizing to have the cold war between Miz and Bryan erupt with the briefcase as catalyst. Because it's too easy, I expect it's the option WWE is most heavily leaning towards. What gives me the most pause and keeps the odds at three-to-one is that Bryan is no lock to re-sign, and WWE has in the past taken the too-easy option off the table for the sake of a swerve. Still, Miz is the smartest money right now for the men.

If WWE catches wind that Bryan is not re-signing, then the odds for Joe and Miz swap.