Welcome to Knotfest Wrestling, Knotfest’s new ongoing wrestling column curated by me, Rob Pasbani. I am a lifelong pro wrestling fan and have always thought that everything going on behind the scenes is more often than not more exciting than what happens in front of the screen. I love to scour the internet for wrestling news and gossip and have been sending news bits to friends for years and now I am excited to share these bits with you, humble Knotfest reader.
To kick off this column, I’m previewing tomorrow’s Money in the Bank premium live event from WWE, a preview of tonight's wrestling programming and finally some news bits.
Before I preview Money In the Bank, I just want to remind everybody that this Sunday, on the Knotfest Youtube channel at 7pm eastern, join hosts Alicia Atout, Jordan Olds and Colin Young for a new episode of Knotfest Wrestling, where they will be recapping WWE Money in the Bank and some of the news stories in this post.
Here is the full card and my predictions for tomorrow night's show. (Reminder: WWE premium live events are usually on Saturdays now!)
Men's Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Omos vs. Sami Zayn vs. Riddle vs. ??
If you watched Smackdown last week, you would've seen Romain Reigns' special counsel Paul Heyman noted that whoever wins this match will be able to cash in at next month's Summer Slam event after the last man standing match between Brock Lesnar and Reigns. Heyman suggested since both men will be so spent from that match, whoever comes out the winner would be at a disadvantage and it would be the opportune time to cash in. Let's keep that in mind. Because Drew already has a match the following month at WWE Clash at the Castle, I assume he's out. I can't imagine Omos getting it. Zayn would be amazing as the Money in the Bank winner but I don't feel like they're going to give it to him or Sheamus. I feel based on how the storylines were laid out, with Riddle losing to Reigns on Smackdown a few weeks back with the stipulation that Riddle could never challenge for the title again, I have to assume Riddle is winning here.
Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Lacey Evans vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Liv Morgan vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Asuka vs. Shotzi vs. Becky Lynch
This should be a fun match as well and it will be interesting to see what spots they do together. Becky always brings her best and I can see this one being a show-stealer. I can see Lacey getting it, with the push WWE has been giving her lately, but my money is on either Becky or Asuka, leaning on Becky.
Raw Women's Championship
Bianca Belair (c) vs. Carmella
Carmella is a last minute replacement for Rhea Ripley, who is out with an undisclosed injury (but is said to be back soon.) I can't imagine Belair's reign ends here. She wins.
SmackDown Women's Championship
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Natalya
This has been a…unique feud to say the least. The duo tried to get in some worked shoot tweets to stir the pot, but I'm not sure if people are buying it. Either way, Ronda is leaving here the champ, and perhaps we see a return from Charlotte after the match to set up a SummerSlam rematch? Pure speculation on my part, and I just miss Charolette.
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship
The Usos (c) vs. The Street Profits
This has been a sleeper feud and I bet the match is going to be really good. Still, I feel the Usos are only getting started with their reign, so I can see some shenanigans to make sure Usos retain the titles.
United States Championship
Theory (c) vs. Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley has been on a hot streak lately and while Theory is clearly being positioned as the future, his likely match with John Cena at Summerslam next month doesn't really need the US title to be on the line, so I can see Lashley winning it here.
If you're watching Money in the Bank tomorrow, make sure to tune in this Sunday, on the Knotfest Youtube channel at 7pm eastern for Knotfest Wrestling, where you can share your opinions on the event.
Here's a preview of what else is going on in the wrestling world this weekend.
Not much has been announced for the final Smackdown before Money in the Bank tomorrow night. Here are the matches:
Raquel Rodriguez, Lacey Evans & Shotzi vs. Alexa Bliss, Liv Morgan & Asuka
The New Day vs. Viking Raiders
I would assume they would also announce the final member of the Men's Money in the Bank match, but they may leave it as a surprise for tomorrow's show.
Royal Rampage, a battle royal to determine who gets the first shot at AEW Interim World Champion Jon Moxley. It's basically Royal Rumble rules, but two rings of action. Here are the competitors:
"Hangman" Adam Page
Plus, the AEW tag team titles are on the line as Young Bucks defend against New Japan's Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI
And, Nyla Rose vs. Toni Storm.
Impact Wrestling Against All Odds
Impact has an on-demand show tonight available on IMPACT Plus. Here's the card:
IMPACT World Title
Josh Alexander (c) vs. Joe Doering
Honor No More vs. The Good Brothers, James Storm, Chris Harris, Heath
Jordynne Grace (c) vs. Tasha Steelz
Raven’s Clockwork Orange House Of Fun (featuring an appearance by Raven)
Moose vs. Sami Callihan
‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey (c) vs. Trey Miguel
Deonna Purrazzo & Chelsea Green vs. Mia Yim & Mickie James
Digital Media Championship Dot Combat Match
Rich Swann (c) vs. Brian Myers
Ace Austin & Chris Bey vs. Motor City Machine Guns
Knockouts Tag Team Championship
Rosemary & Taya Valkyrie (c) vs. Tenille Dashwood & Gisele Shaw
Let's wrap things up with some news bits.
Celebrity ‘influencer’ Logan Paul has signed a deal with WWE through 2023. According to Ariel Helwani, the contract for multiple matches a year, likely through 2023. I imagine he would have a schedule somewhere between Ronda Rousey and Brock Lesnar, likely appearing on the big shows like SummerSlam, Royal Rumble and WrestleMania.
Dave Meltzer reports that the reason AEW didn’t announce matches ahead of time for this week’s AEW Dynamite was that a number of wrestlers tested positive for COVID-19. No word on who tested positive.
Proud and Powerful’s Santana looked to have injured his leg in the Blood and Guts match, and it was during a routine uranagi and not during a violent spot.
You may have been shocked to see some AEW stars pop up on WWE RAW during the John Cena 20th anniversary celebration, but turns out it was all cleared ahead of time. Bryan Danielson (billed as Daniel Bryan), Chris Jericho, and Big Show Paul Wight all sent in video clips congratulating Cena. According to Dave Meltzer, WWE's Bruce Pritchard reached out to Tony Khan and asked for permission and Khan approved, as long as the wrestlers wanted to do it.
The Dark Order, Alan V Angels announced he has not resigned with AEW. Angels had nothing but good things to say about AEW. He noted at 24, he wants to go out on the indies and get more experience. He is expected to make limited appearances in AEW on a per-date deal.
Sports Illustrated posted a pretty shocking story about how Rocky Johnson, father of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has at least five children whom he didn't claim as his own. It's worth a read.
Kenny Omega offered a troubling quote about his recovery process. During an interview with CEO Gaming Twitch channel, Omega said:
“If I get another major setback, that's it. That's it, I'm done, I can't do this ever again. Two times, three times a day, really painful rehab, not even knowing what it's going to be like when I get back in the ring. I have no clue. It's scary, actually. You see people, they come back to the ring and you're just happy to see them back. There is a different kind of expectation put on me, and I think that anything less than what they are expecting, which is already unrealistic, is going to lead to a lot of ridicule, which is what I get every day anyway. You can probably understand and imagine how difficult it is, struggling twice, three times a day, trying to get things to work that maybe never worked before, and trying to re-route things in your brain to get around the things that aren't going heal. People think, 'Kenny is hurt, he took time off,' snap your fingers, I come back and I'm 100%. Life doesn't work that way. Bodies don't work that way. Athletes don't work that way. It's very difficult to formulate a plan and to execute it. We'll see how I do."
In that same interview, Omega noted that his friend Kota Ibushi'shoulder is "not healing so great right now, unfortunately."
Some fun social media posts to wrap things up.
I'll be back on Sunday with a Money in the Bank recap and more news bits from the weekend!