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June 16, 2016

WWE 2016 Money in the Bank preview: Styles and Cena clash in a dream match

Wrestling WWE
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AJ Styles wants to prove he’s better than John Cena, and he’ll get that chance at Money in the Bank on Sunday night.

The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas will host Sunday’s WWE Money in the Bank pay-per-view, and this will be the last pay-per-view before the WWE brand extension begins next month.

While the arena is technically in the city of Paradise, I’m sure the marketing department thought Vegas sounded better than Paradise.

But we might be in paradise on Sunday night as we have three fantastic matches that have basically sold the event for me. We’re being given a dream match in AJ Styles taking on John Cena, the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns defending his title against Seth Rollins in his first match back since suffering his knee injury back in November.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin

This feud is still ongoing, and I still don’t know why. It’s really done nothing for Corbin or Ziggler, and it’s just kind of thrown in there. At least they’re doing something with them? That’s the best way I can describe it, which isn’t good. Corbin wins to win the feud and hopefully move on to his next one.

Your winner: Baron Corbin

Apollo Crews vs. Sheamus

Here’s a feud I can get into. We’ve seen Sheamus attack Crews and Crews then attack Sheamus, so at least there’s something to build off of heading into Sunday night. Both of these guys are big and muscular, so the visual will come off better than the actual match might.

Crews has been impressive since he’s transitioned to the main roster, but he’s been relegated to B-show status for the most part, appearing mostly on Main Event and Superstars. I’d be more inclined to go with Sheamus in this match to keep the feud going, but since the match it taking place on the kickoff preshow, I’ll go with Crews.

Your winner: Apollo Crews

Charlotte © and Dana Brooke vs. Natalya and Becky Lynch

There’s already been a tease of dissension between Charlotte and Dana Brooke, and I’m not sure why. The WWE Women’s Champion just got rid of her father by her side, and now she’s yelling at Brooke for tossing her in the ring which led to a loss on Raw. Maybe that’s just her character now.

Honestly, the use of Charlotte at Money in the Bank would be much better if she was defending her title in some capacity or having a #1 contender’s match for her title. Especially at a pay-per-view when the main attraction is a briefcase to cash in on the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. If that title and the Women’s title really are supposed to be on par with each other, they’d have something better for Charlotte to do Sunday night. But she’s stuck with this.

I’m assuming we’ll see Brooke screw something up and costing her team a victory, much like we saw on Monday night when Paige beat Charlotte.

Your winners: Natalya and Becky Lynch

WWE United States Championship

Rusev © vs. Titus O’Neil

Titus O’Neil has been confronting Rusev for a few weeks now, and this match was made official on SmackDown last Thursday. It’s good to see O’Neil being put in a somewhat prominent spot on television since he was suspended in February for grabbing Vince McMahon, but I don’t think he has a shot at winning the United States Championship on Sunday night.

O’Neil has some great qualities, and he can probably be a champion in the future. But Rusev just won the title back and has gotten back on track after a bad feud with Cena and a terrible angle with Dolph Ziggler and Lana followed by the League of Nations circus. He’s overcome quite a few bad storylines to become prominent again and they shouldn’t take the title off him so soon.

I’m interested to see how this feud plays out, though. I don’t think it’ll be the only match between the two, and if these two have good chemistry in the ring, we might be seeing a very underrated feud play out before our eyes.

Your winner and STILL WWE United States Champion: Rusev

Fatal Four Way Match for the WWE World Tag Team Championship

The New Day © vs. Enzo Amore/Big Cass vs. Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows vs. The Vaudevillains

This might be the best match of the night, and that’s saying a lot with how stacked the card is. The New Day is defending their titles against three really good tag teams, and I’m not sure we’ve seen the tag team division this well off in years; definitely since the Attitude Era.

The tag team champions have been on fire for months and haven’t shown any signs of slowing down with the fans. They’re the most over act in WWE right now, but that could actually work against them as far as the titles go. Cena doesn’t need a title. Hulk Hogan didn’t need a title during his swan song. The same goes for Shawn Michaels. The New Day could have effectively reached that status that taking the belts off of them doesn’t damage their group. Sure, I love hearing Xavier Woods say, “WWE World Tag Team Champioooonsssssaaaahhh!” as much as the next guy, but that doesn’t mean he can’t keep saying that and just add, “Former,” to the beginning of it.

It’s time for the tag team division to spread the wealth, so this seems to be the perfect opportunity to take the titles off of the champions without them getting pinned. You have to love those Fatal Four Way rules. The team that benefits the most right now by putting the titles on them? Anderson and Gallows, and I don’t think it’s close.

The Vaudevillains are good and all, but out of those four teams, they’d be considered last in the rankings. Giving the titles to Anderson and Gallows gives them a chance to feud with Enzo and Cass and The New Day right off the bat. They need a run eventually with the titles, and I don’t think there’s a better time to do that than now. Plus, they’ll gain a ton of heat for taking the belts away from The New Day at first.

But I think that trio is, dare I say, above the tag titles at this point. So it’s time to give them to another team.

Your winners and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: Anderson and Gallows

AJ Styles vs. John Cena

Many of us thought we probably wouldn’t see this match until at least next year’s WrestleMania. But, nope, Cena is healthy and ready to go so WWE isn’t wasting any time giving us a dream match we never thought we’d see.

Styles, who was the face of TNA Wrestling for years and then went to New Japan Pro Wrestling and made an even bigger name for himself internationally, turned on Cena a few weeks ago setting up this match. The roles could not have been better: Styles works great as a heel and he’ll be cheered by the hardcore wrestling fans regardless, and Cena is just coming back from injury

Last year, Kevin Owens made his debut on the main roster as NXT Champion and defeated Cena at Elimination Chamber in his first match. Then, he was promptly fed to Cena two more times after that. He’s recovered well from that, but has yet to become that big star main eventer.

I would hope the company wouldn’t make that same mistake with Styles. I’d like to see a series of three matches between these two, but in the exact opposite way they booked Cena’s feud with Owens last year. I think we’ll see Cena win here and Styles come back and win the next two, and that’ll be the end of the feud for a while between these two.

The only reason I’d pick Cena here is because it’s his first match back from injury since December. Having Cena win here and Styles winning the next two would

Then again, if Styles can’t beat Cena in his first match in six months, that doesn’t look good on his end.

Your winner: John Cena

I just hope I’m wrong.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Alberto Del Rio

There are four favorites in this match that if they win, everybody should go home happy. With the exception of Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio, each of these guys can benefit from a Money in the Bank win and the possibility of becoming the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

Jericho and Del Rio’s Money in the Bank opportunities have come and gone, so I’m not entirely sure why they’re in this match. They’re the veterans in this match, so I’m sure they’re there to make sure spots go as smoothly as possible and to protect these guys from themselves.

I’d love to see Ambrose win the briefcase and cash it in for an All-Shield Triple Threat Match at SummerSlam, just because that’d be a sight to behold. Owens would be my likely candidate to win, however, because he’s on the cusp of greatness and that briefcase brings him even closer.

Cesaro and Zayn could win the briefcase, but I don’t see either one of them being champion anytime soon. Sure, the Money in the Bank briefcase holder can lose when they cash in, but what good would that do to any one of these guys if that happened? It didn’t work out too well for Damien Sandow or Mr. Kennedy. I don’t think they’ll make that mistake again.

Your winner and new Money in the Bank contract holder: Kevin Owens

WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Roman Reigns © vs. Seth Rollins

When Rollins returned and delivered a pedigree to Reigns at last month’s Extreme Rules, many fans went nuts. While we knew Rollins was nearing a return, we weren’t sure when or where it would happen.

Rollins’ appearance at the end of Extreme Rules left most of us in a state of euphoria. The man who suffered a knee injury that cost him the last seven months of his career was back and ready to take back his title. He’s supposed to be a bad guy, but the fans cheered him wildly as if he was the hero we’ve been waiting for to take down the evil villain Reigns.

Unfortunately, the Monday night after Extreme Rules, Rollins turned on the fans that cheered him so wildly and made sure he was the heel in this feud with Reigns. That’s fine. Reigns will still be booed. Rollins will still be cheered. And the main event that we were set to witness at November’s Survivor Series pay-per-view, the match that could headline WrestleMania for years to come, will be given to us this Sunday night at a June pay-per-view titled Money in the Bank.

I don’t blame WWE for rushing this match since it’s exactly what was supposed to happen at Survivor Series, and maybe even at WrestleMania 32, as well. With three huge matches on this show, I’m sure this will be the headliner, and it should.

I don’t think Reigns will lose the title 
anytime soon, and that’s what makes the likely outcome annoying more than anything. I can’t see Rollins coming back and defeating Reigns in his first match back after the company has invested so much time and energy in Reigns since Rollins got injured. Reigns is on his run right now of proving he’s the guy to lead the New Era, and he’ll remain champion until there’s a heel that he can chase again. Rollins could be that guy, but not right now.

Could this match lead to rematches next month and at SummerSlam in August? We can only hope so. It’ll also be interesting to see Rollins wrestle coming off that injury and see if he’s changed his style. I don’t expect to see much different. I watched WWE 24 on the WWE Network that followed Rollins’ recovery from his knee injury, and that’s why I don’t expect him to change his wrestling style.

Your winner and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Roman Reigns

WWE really went all out for this event and it could very well be the best Money in the Bank ever. Of course, CM Punk’s title win against Cena in 2011 remains the best ending of them all. But this pay-per-view as a whole, as it looks on paper right now, could wind up eclipsing 2011’s.

I’m pumped. I’m amped. I’m ready.

Follow Nick on Twitter: @nickpiccone
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