Money in the Bank 2022 preview: Who will get their hands on the championship contracts?

There will be a lot at stake when WWE’s Money in the Bank goes live this Saturday (on WWE Network and Sportsnet NOW in Canada).

The event has become a major staple on the WWE calendar, with company president and chief revenue officer Nick Khan even indicating that it’s become “one of our five annual tentpoles” alongside WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, SummerSlam and Survivor Series.

Ahead of the 2022 edition, which is highlighted by a pair of MITB ladder matches, let’s a have a look at the six matchups on the card and who has the best shot to win each one.

Women’s Money in the Bank match
Lacey Evans vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Liv Morgan vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Asuka vs. Shotzi vs. Becky Lynch

Looking at the participants in this women’s Money in the Bank match, the first thing that stands out to me is the seismic amount of talent involved. It doesn’t feel like there is a wrestler within this group that doesn’t belong. That said, there are only a select few that would be worthy of holding a championship contract in their hands.

Who will earn a future title shot to challenge Bianca Belair or Ronda Rousey down the road? (Photo courtesy WWE)

For starters, let’s eliminate Shotzi and Liv Morgan who, despite each having a good case to becoming champions one day, don’t have the acumen to legitimately go up against Bianca Belair in a one-on-one match, or even in a surprise cash-in. Neither wrestler feels like they’re ready to carry a championship just yet.

Lacey Evans returned shortly after WrestleMania in April and has secured a regular spot on television and has been trotted out by WWE in a number of promotional appearances, including as an honourary starter at a recent NASCAR race. There is a decent argument to be made for Evans who continues to gain steam and has (thankfully) gone away from the eye-roll-worthy “sassy southern belle” character. Evans teeters on maybe, but still tilts towards a “likely not” to win.

Alexa Bliss remains one of WWE’s biggest stars, even with limited action in the last several months. After some time off, Bliss returned in May and was reinserted into regular TV time. Bliss still carries a huge following of fans and has shown to be capable of carrying a championship in the past. Where Evans leans towards “likely not” to win, Bliss leans a little more the other way but still falls under the “maybe” category.

To me, there are three legitimate contenders to win the Money in the Bank briefcase: Asuka, Becky Lynch and Raquel Rodriguez. Asuka and lynch fall under the “does a bear crap in the woods” category in terms of their credibility. They are undoubtedly two of the biggest stars in WWE and no one would bat an eye with one of them carrying a future title shot. They are a “maybe” with a strong tilt towards “very-likely” to win, with their fingertips just grasping at the briefcase.

However, I like Rodriguez to win. She has been regularly featured on television since being called up from NXT after WrestleMania. In NXT she proved worthy enough both in and out of the ring to carry the Women’s Championship, and now has demonstrated strong in-ring capabilities on the main roster. Rodriguez, formerly Raquel Gonzalez, even proved to be an interesting challenger to Ronda Rousey for the SmackDown Women’s Championship in an open challenge. Rodriguez possess all the qualities you’d want in a future champion and would showcase a legitimate threat to either Bianca Belair or Ronda Rousey down the line.

Prediction: Raquel Rodriguez wins (+500)

Men’s Money in the Bank match
Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus vs. Omos vs. Sami Zayn vs. Riddle

Will one of Drew McIntyre (L) or Sheamus (R) get their hands on the MITB briefcase? (Photo courtesy WWE)

Similar to the women’s match, there are tiers of believability when it comes to wrestlers who would feel legitimate as the MITB contract holder. However, the biggest difference between the men and women this year is that the men’s winner has just one title holder to cash in on — Roman Reigns, who hasn’t lost since returning after a brief hiatus in August of 2020.

Let’s immediately eliminate Sheamus and Omos. Not a lot needs to be said regarding Sheamus — been there, done that. As for Omos, the future is bright but he’s not ready yet.

Drew McIntyre continues to maintain his status of being incredibly intimidating and will be a threat throughout the match, but it doesn’t feel like it’s time for McIntyre to hold the MITB contract.

Now, either Riddle or Seth Rollins holding the MITB briefcase would make a ton of sense. In Riddle’s case, there is so much money to be made with a custom briefcase that he would carry around every week. Outside of merchandising opportunities, Riddle is wildly over with WWE audiences and it wouldn’t feel out of place to see Riddle as WWE Champion. However, he recently lost to Roman Reigns in a one-on-one matchup, so perhaps he’s not the one to dethrone Reigns.

Rollins holds similar appeal to Riddle in terms of in-ring acumen and has been champion before, but has also lost to Reigns in recent months.

Which brings us to Sami Zayn. The Montreal native has been spectacular in his role as smarmy, suck-up to The Bloodline, Reigns’ stable over the last several months. What if Zayn were to capture the MITB briefcase and then claim he was protecting Reigns byway of continuously holding on to the championship contract? Eventually though, Zayn would turn on Reigns and successfully cash in, thereby turning babyface in the process. If you don’t remember what Zayn was like as a babyface, go back and watch his NXT run. It was spectacular.

It’s been too long since we’ve seen a Canadian WWE Champion, the last one being Jinder Mahal in 2017, and even then he wasn’t even billed as being from Canada. You have to go back to Edge in 2009 as the last WWE Champion who the company also billed as being from Canada.

Prediction: Sami Zayn wins (+900)

Raw Women’s Championship match
Bianca Belair (C) vs. Carmella

Bianca Belair was originally supposed to defend her championship against Rhea Ripley in this match, however Ripley suffered an injury that has left her unable to participate in the event, which meant WWE needed pivot.

Enter Carmella.

The betting markets are showing zero respect for Carmella as Belair is -1400 to win and retain her championship. There is really zero reason to believe that Carmella can win this match. However, there was likely no other replacement that would have cast doubt on the outcome.

Prediction: Bianca Belair wins (-1400)

Raw Women’s Championship match
Ronda Rousey (C) vs. Natalya

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the results of the two women’s championship matches at MITB.

Natalya is an exceptional wrestler and an invaluable roster member for the newer wrestlers within WWE. However, she stands no chance of winning on Sunday. Her program with Rousey does not have a spark that would give Natalya’s victory any sort of meaning, and Rousey is far from done as champion.

Mirroring the Belair-Carmella match, the betting markets have no faith in a Natalya victory. Rousey is going off at -1400 to win. The juice, in this case, not worth the squeeze.

Prediction: Ronda Rousey wins (-1400)

U.S. Championship match
Austin Theory (C) vs. Bobby Lashley

This is a match that has an opportunity to be sneaky good, meaning it could be memorable. Bobby Lashley continues to operate like he’s smackdab in his prime. He has all the makings of a champion: his look, demeanour and believability.

Theory, meanwhile, is skyrocketing up the depth chart in WWE. He was called up to the main roster in 2021 and made his presence felt with his on-screen association with Mr. McMahon, which led to a one-on-one match with Pat McAfee at WrestleMania in a premier matchup that featured Mr. McMahon as well. From there, Theory went on to capture the United States Championship after WrestleMania, becoming the youngest U.S. Champion in WWE history in the process.

“I have a very unique situation,” Theory told Sportsnet recently, alluding to his association with the WWE Chairman. All the while, Theory has continued to don the selfie stick and, as he put it, “be as obnoxious as possible” while taking selfies.

“Mr. McMahon is all about these selfies, he loves the selfie,” Theory quirked to Sportsnet.

All the while, Theory has demonstrated an above-average ability in the ring thanks to his exceptional athleticism. That skillset makes for a unique matchup with Lashley, who is a physical specimen in his own right. While Lashley has all the tools to carry the U.S. title, he does not need it. Theory, meanwhile, continues to use the strap to boost his status within the organization.

Prediction: Theory wins (-200)

Undisputed Tag Team Championship match
The Usos (C) vs. The Street Profits

Give this match some time and it will steal the show.

These tag teams are two of the best in the business, featuring four premier wrestlers. Jimmy and Jey Uso, at age 36, have already cemented themselves as tag team legends. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins, meanwhile, continue to demonstrate that they are part of the future of WWE.

The Usos, while legendary, haven’t looked the part as of late, regularly taking a loss byway of pin when teaming with their Bloodline brother, WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Having said that, when they get away from Reigns in a tag match, they always shine.

It is difficult to get a read on which direction WWE may want to go with these teams. On one hand, WWE could keep the status quo with Jimmy and Jey holding on to the belts and maintaining their champion status alongside Reigns. On the other hand, they could decide that the titles aren’t necessary for the team and hand them to a babyface Ford and Dawkins, helping further propel them towards superstardom.

The tag division has felt stagnant for a while now, so perhaps it’s time to move the championship to a fresh tag team which could then, hopefully, introduce fresh matchups.

Prediction: The Street Profits win (+250)

Current tag team champions, The Usos. (Photo courtesy WWE)

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