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History and havoc will be the foundation of WWE Money in the Bank 2017.
Sunday's pay-per-view in St. Louis will see women battle in a Money in the Bank ladder match for the first time. Lana has a chance to win the SmackDown Women's Championship in her first singles match on the main roster. And Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn and Carmella are among those who could be closing in on their first championship.
The SmackDown-exclusive event is sure to be filled with broken metal and bruised bodies because it will feature two Money in the Bank ladder matches.
What daredevil moments await? Who will walk away with the briefcases in those bouts? Who may stroll in as uninvited guests?
Read on for a full Money in the Bank preview, looking at the latest backstage buzz surrounding the PPV and offering predictions for all the contests on the card.
Rusev is reportedly ready to return.
He had been recovering from shoulder surgery and has yet to appear on SmackDown since joining the brand as part of April's Superstar Shake-up. He's apparently healthy enough to start crushing his enemies again, though.
Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet reported on Wednesday: "Sources tell us the Bulgarian Brute met with WWE docs yesterday and was given the green light."
Given that Rusev demanded a title opportunity at this PPV via video clips, it's plausible he could make a surprise appearance in St. Louis.
He may have company at Money in the Bank. Former Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling stars may be poised to make the jump to SmackDown.
According to PWInsider (h/t Squared Circle Sirens), Maria Kanellis and Mike Bennett are set to join the SmackDown brand and will be on the road with the show for the Money in the Bank weekend.
The light card for the PPV opens the door for either a talking segment from the couple or a quick match.
And the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that the PPV will feature a segment involving Ric Flair, Bob Orton Jr., Larry Hennig and others (h/t Cageside Seats' Randall Ortman). One would assume this will be related to the Jinder Mahal-Randy Orton WWE Championship match. The Viper has been bringing up his father's name a lot in in recent promos.
The Hype Bros vs. The Colons
The Usos vs. The New Day (SmackDown Tag Team Championships)
Naomi vs. Lana (SmackDown Women's Championship)
Women's Money in the Bank ladder match (Becky Lynch, Carmella, Charlotte Flair, Natalya, Tamina)
Men's Money in the Bank ladder match (AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura)
Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship)
The Hype Bros over The Colons.
The New Day over The Usos.
Naomi over Lana.
Carmella wins Money in the Bank.
Corbin wins Money in the Bank.
Mahal over Orton.
Zack Ryder is back. After tearing up his knee months ago, the former U.S. champ is ready to make his return to the ring.
He will rejoin Mojo Rawley in a quest to be the best in the SmackDown tag team division.
Their first test will be against Primo and Epico, the duo everyone from Breezango to The New Day has been beating up on. That makes this feel like a welcome-back victory in the making for The Hype Bros.
Rawley will benefit from having some direction again. And the tag team division will be better off with more depth. Now the brand just has to find out where American Alpha is hiding.
The New Day Takes Over
Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E wasted no time in stepping up to tag team champs The Usos when they arrived on the SmackDown stage in May. The former Raw tag champs confronted Jimmy and Jey and made it clear they wanted the blue brand's titles.
The gyrating trio is set to face the increasingly aggressive and thuggish Usos.
The two teams have shown strong chemistry in their early faceoffs. There's also a compelling juxtaposition of positivity and fury, brightness and dark hearts. Their title bout promises to be one of the best contests of the night.
It makes sense to crown The New Day as the new cornerstones of the division. The trio thrived in that spot on Raw for a long stretch.
Naomi Holds Off Lana
With the rest of the women's division occupied in the Money in the Bank ladder match, there was a free space open in the No. 1 contender's spot.
Lana took that in a hurry after debuting her new gimmick. What looked to be a burlesque dancer in her vignettes has been more of a shimmying egotist in a ballgown. That version of Lana is set to battle Naomi in the match of her life.
The Ravishing Russian's in-ring experience is mighty limited. In fact, she's yet to have a match on SmackDown.
She'll likely struggle to produce here thanks to being such a novice. And as she has just arrived on the scene, WWE isn't likely to crown her already.
Carmella Is Ms. Money in the Bank
When SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon struggled to find a new challenger for Naomi through traditional means, he decided to make history. He announced that Flair, Lynch and the rest of the women vying for the gold would battle in a Money in the Bank ladder match.
Flair will enter with The Welcoming Committee—Natalya, Tamina and Carmella—sure to be targeting her. Lynch will have to worry about Carmella's sidekick, James Ellsworth, interfering.
And everyone involved will have to grit through the pain that comes with crashing through and diving off ladders.
More often than not, heels take home that contract-filled briefcase. The concept suits a villain better as it regularly leads to one taking advantage of an unfair situation. The Princess of Staten Island will have no issue going that route.
To launch her as a star and give her character clear direction, expect WWE to have Carmella unhook that briefcase on Sunday night.
Corbin Claims the Briefcase
WWE has a number of appealing choices for the next Money in the Bank winner.
Kevin Owens grabbing the briefcase with the United States Championship still in hand would make it feel as if he's set to reign over SmackDown. Shinsuke Nakamura claiming victory would kickstart his blue brand run. And Sami Zayn taking home the prize would be a great chapter in an ongoing underdog story.
The Lone Wolf, though, is the most probable victor.
Baron Corbin is a heel on the rise. He has archetypal size. He's young and fresh with a high ceiling. Money in the Bank promises to be his ticket to the top tier.
He will be part of a thriller that sees the Owens-Zayn saga continue, Zayn and Corbin's rivalry escalate and AJ Styles deliver a stunning moment or two.
The Maharaja Rolls On
At Backlash, WWE stunned its audience by crowning Jinder Mahal as its top titleholder. His rapid rise has been the subject of confusion and debate, buzz and analysis.
But it's time to stop being baffled by his rise from the bottom of the barrel to the top of the mountain. It's time to get used to Mahal as champion.
He will fend off Orton here, just as he has promised for the past few weeks. This will be a major moment for Mahal as he emphatically puts an end to his rivalry with The Viper and looks like a legitimate champion.
The Maharaja is poised to have the best match of his career, one that helps quiet his doubters. WWE has set the stage for him, and it's time to make that look like the right move.