Posts tagged Ricochet
The WWE Top 25: April Edition
WWE

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One-third of the year 2019 has already come and gone. That means it’s time for the April edition of The WWE Top 25!

You know the rules by now around here. But just in case you don’t and you’re new around here, here’s a breakdown on the matter.

As I mentioned, we’re a third of the way through the year. Crazy, right? The cumulative Top 25 is starting to really separate itself from the rest of the pack (I went over this on Thursday on Twitter, actually. If you want to see, click this here link).

We’re going to go through things as we typically do here. But there’s an addition to this post now. Given the fact that there’s just one woman in the cumulative WWE Top 25 right now, I’ve decided to post the WOMEN’S Top 25 as well. Women’s wrestling is an incredibly hot topic of discussion all the time, of course, and so I figured that it would be fair to showcase the women of WWE right now and where they currently stand amongst each other. So that will be down past the April Top 25, right before the cumulative WWE Top 25.


TOP 10 TV MATCHES (APRIL)

1. The Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy (NXT, 4/17, ****¼)
2. Tony Nese vs. Buddy Murphy (205 Live, 4/9, ****)
3. Cedric Alexander vs. Oney Lorcan (205 Live, 4/16, ****)
4. Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 4/23, ****)
5. AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (Raw, 4/22, ****)
6. Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong (NXT, 4/24, ***¾)
7. Bayley vs. Becky Lynch (SmackDown Live, 4/30, ***¾)
8. Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane (NXT, 4/17, ***¾)
9. Andrade vs. Finn Balor (Raw, 4/15, ***½)
10. Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn (Raw, 4/8, ***½)

TOP 10 MATCHES (APRIL)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WrestleMania, 4/7, *****)
2. The Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
3. The War Raiders vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
4. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****½)
5. The Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy (NXT, 4/17, ****¼)
6. Pete Dunne vs. WALTER (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¼)
7. Charlotte vs. Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch (WrestleMania, 4/7, ****)
8. Shayna Baszler vs. Bianca Belair vs. Io Shirai vs. Kairi Sane (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****)
9. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Harper (Worlds Collide, 4/14, ****)
10. Tony Nese vs. Buddy Murphy (205 Live, 4/9, ****)

TOP 10 TV MATCHES (2019)

1. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15, ****¾)
2. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)
3. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (205 Live, 3/19, ****½)
4. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20, ****¼)
5. DIY vs. The Undisputed Era (NXT, 3/6, ****¼)
6. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 3/26, ****¼)
7. Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rowan vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 3/19, ****¼)
8. The Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy (NXT, 4/17, ****¼)
9. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/22, ****¼)
10. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 2/12, ****¼)

TOP 10 MATCHES (2019)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WrestleMania, 4/7, *****)
2. Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens vs. Mustafa Ali (Fastlane, 3/10, ****¾)
3. Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: Phoenix, 1/26, ****¾)
4. The Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
5. The War Raiders vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
6. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15, ****¾)
7. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (Royal Rumble, 1/27, ****½)
8. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****½)
9. Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor (Royal Rumble, 1/27, ****½)
10. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)


WWE TOP 25 (APRIL)

1. Ricochet (37.625)
2. Aleister Black (31.375)
3. Kofi Kingston (31)
4. Finn Balor (22.75)
5. Baron Corbin (20.5)
6. Drew McIntyre (20)
T7. The War/Viking Raiders (19.125)
9. Cesaro (19)
10. Bayley (18.25)
11. Shinsuke Nakamura (16.25)
12. The Velveteen Dream (16.125)
T13. The Revival, Seth Rollins (16)
16. Kairi Sane (15.25)
17. Daniel Bryan (15)
18. AJ Styles (14.5)
19. Andrade (14)
T20. The Usos (13.5)
22. Roman Reigns (13.25)
23. Mustafa Ali (13)
T24. Johnny Gargano, Rusev, Sheamus (12.75)

The compilers really stood out this month. Ricochet and Aleister Black may have performed well as always, but they were certainly aided by just how much they worked this month. Ricochet wrestled in nine matches and built up a big lead, and continued his stay at the top of the list. The two of them were followed by the group of Kofi Kingston, Finn Balor and… yes, you read it right: Baron Corbin.

Corbin was another case of being a compiler, and at some point, whether we like it or not, he was going to find his way up to the top in one of these monthly lists at some point. Nevertheless, he’s put in decent work and was able to bounce up. That’s just how it goes sometimes here.

The highest-ranked woman in the rankings once again was Bayley. While she might not be tagging with her best friend anymore (who’s gone at the moment anyways) The Hugger is still putting in serious work. She had some terrific matches, if you couldn’t tell by how she was featured in two of the best TV matches of the month. She’s really having an extremely great 2019, and should certainly be recognized for her efforts. The only other woman to make the cut? Kairi Sane, who got a main roster bump. She’s going to probably need to do some heavy lifting if she wants to pick up ground in the cumulative edition, but she’s certainly in a very good spot right now.

Tag teams kind of ruled the day here, as well. A slew of them were featured in this list. The Revival, The War Raiders, The Bar and The Usos were all in the mix this month. I suppose if you count Aleister and Ricochet, they count too, as do Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura. Who says tag team wrestling is a dying art?

We had a tie for the final spots between Rusev, Sheamus and Johnny Gargano. And man, it was close. A difference of just 0.5 points separated these three from the others who just missed, who by the way were… another tag team: Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder.

Now, let’s talk about the women, shall we?


WOMEN’S TOP 25 (2019)

1. Bayley (50.25)
2. Sasha Banks (34.5)
3. Becky Lynch (32)
4. Nia Jax (29.25)
5. Charlotte Flair (26.5)
6. Ronda Rousey (25.5)
7. Bianca Belair (25)
8. Asuka (24.5)
9. Mandy Rose (22.25)
T10. Kairi Sane, Sarah Logan (20)
12. Nikki Cross (19.75)
13. Tamina (19.5)
T14. Io Shirai, Shayna Baszler (18.5)
16. Peyton Royce (17.75)
17. Sonya Deville (17)
T18. Naomi, Ruby Riott (16.75)
T20. Carmella, Liv Morgan (16.5)
22. Natalya (16)
23. Billie Kay (14.75)
24. Toni Storm (14.5)
25. Alexa Bliss (13)

So… bit of a significant gap, huh?

There’s a lot that plays into that. For one, Bayley has worked 18 matches that have made tap this year. Second place in that department is Sasha Banks, who’s worked 14. Sasha, of course, hasn’t wrestled since WrestleMania. Going down the ladder, third place among the women in that department is Ronda Rousey. Rousey hasn’t wrestled since WrestleMania, and we don’t know the next time that she’s going to wrestle either. Tied for fourth are Billie Kay, Ruby Riott and Peyton Royce. And, well, you see where they are with their workload this year.

Becky Lynch has worked 11 matches this year, which is tied with Nia Jax and Sarah Logan. Becky has the highest score, but she’s had a lot of variability. Nia is the same way, but Jax has another problem facing her: An injury that’s going to doubt keep her on the shelf for a very long time. Logan has competed just a few times this month, but also hasn’t been seen since The Riott Squad’s last hurrah on the Shield Last Chapter WWE Network special. She, like many others among the women this year, has had a LOT of variance, though not all of it is her fault.

When you consider these factors, it’s no surprise that Bayley finds herself where she is. She has a four-match advantage over second place, and we don’t know the next time Banks will compete. The superstar in third won’t be working again this year, it seems, and the middle of the pack are well behind the pace and have had too much variance. Bayley, meanwhile, has made the absolute most out of anything. She’s having a superb year, and it ought to be recognized as such.

I know that there’s some bias here, but if you oppose that thought, as you look at this, ask yourself who’s made the most out of their opportunities? I can make the case for Charlotte Flair for that department. However, Charlotte has wrestled just nine times this year. And she would’ve needed to have a ridiculous output each time. Because of some TV matches on Raw, that probably precluded her from doing so.

Anyhow, the rest of the Top 25 is interesting, is it not? Everyone is within only a couple of points of each other. Some opportunities that may await these ladies could result in some tremendous showcases. I’m particularly fascinated to see what happens next. Money in the Bank could be a big shift for a lot of these ladies in one direction or another. It could result in some fun movement in the month of May. A majority of this Top 25 will be competing at the event in fact, as well as a couple others who don’t find themselves here. Watch the space for Alexa Bliss also, as they may be about to go full throttle with her very soon. Also, look for Kairi Sane to go up the board, as she’s currently tied for 10th and about to get some main roster growth.

Plus, the group of NXTers all look to have big TV matches coming their way. If they hit on them, that could catapult them up the list. Bianca, for instance, could work her way near the Top 5, and Shayna Baszler and Io Shirai could touch the Top 10 if they get the ball and run with it.

Stay tuned!

Anyways, let’s get to the cumulative Top 25 now, shall we?


WWE TOP 25 (2019)

25. Dean Ambrose
Points: 37.75 | Last Month: 11
Matches in 2019: 14 | Recommended Viewing: 6 Tag, Shield’s Last Chapter

Au revoir to Dean Ambrose, who finishes his WWE career at 25th in the WWE Top 25. You likely won’t see him come near this chart again, so relish this moment! Dean competed in just one aired match this month, a six-man tag with his Shield mates against Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre. It was quite a way for him to go out, and he had a very good showing this year, having been in the Top 25 for the entirety of the year. Godspeed, Dean, and best of luck in the death matches that likely now await you.

24. Dash Wilder
Points: 38.75 | Last Month: N/A
Matches in 2019: 16 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Aleister Black/Ricochet, Raw 4/1

At some point or another, Dash Wilder and his tag team partner were going to get into the WWE Top 25. And as they continue to work nearly every week of the year, that now holds true. Dash gets in at 24th after a pretty solid month of April that saw he and his partner gain 16 points. Given that they’re going to now be feuding with The Usos, I’d expect them to continue to ascend up the ladder here in these rankings, as well as The Usos, really, as those two teams are definitely capable of making magic happen in the ring.

23. Shinsuke Nakamura
Points: 39 | Last Month: N/A
Matches in 2019: 13 | Recommended Viewing: Fatal 4-Way Tag, WrestleMania 4/7

While he’s gained (and perhaps earned) a reputation for coasting, Shinsuke Nakamura is in the midst of a rock solid 2019. Nakamura’s entered the WWE Top 25 after a strong April, earning 16.25 points in the process. That was good for 9th place in the April rankings, so needless to say he’s making a strong pitch to be among the best of the best right now. Nak is playing a very good role on SmackDown in the mid-card, and that might be where we see him stay going forward. If that’s the case, expect him to continue to be a player in this spot.

T21. Baron Corbin, Scott Dawson
Points: 39.25 | Last Month: N/A (Both)
Matches in 2019: 20 (Corbin) / 17 (Dawson)

Ah, the case of Baron Corbin. Corbin is regularly panned for not being too great, and based on match ratings that I’ve given him… it’s hard to disagree with that notion. Just six of the matches that I’ve graded of his got ***½ or above, one of them being the Royal Rumble match, of course. And half of them were given ** or less.

But, when you work 20 matches on the year, it’s going to eventually become hard to deny you a spot here. So, he’s finally made his way into the mix. Whether or not he accelerates that jump will be dependent on his workload and how well he does going forward.

As for Scott Dawson? He’s ahead of Dash Wilder just because of the match at the Royal Rumble. No, seriously. That’s it. That’s the reason for the discrepancy.

20. Adam Cole
Points: 39.5 | Last Month: 19
Matches in 2019: 9 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Johnny Gargano, ⅔ Falls, TakeOver: NY 4/6

Adam Cole made a nine-point jump from where he was last month… and fell down one spot in the rankings. Cold world? Cold world. Cole had a great showing in the ⅔ Falls Match against Johnny Gargano in the main event of TakeOver: New York. That match gave him nine points, but that was all that he did this month. Perhaps May will be a bit kinder to Adam Cole (bay bay) but he unfortunately is the victim of workload, or in his case, a lack thereof.

19. Cedric Alexander
Points: 40.75 | Last Month: 12
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Oney Lorcan, 205 Live, 4/16

Cedric Alexander takes a bit of a slide this month after working just two matches in the month of April. He gained seven points, but still managed to slip behind some other wrestlers who worked a bit more than him. Ceddy should be able to see that workload increase on the Raw brand, but it also depends on how they use him and if they do at all. He worked a fun match with Cesaro two weeks ago, but wasn’t mentioned or heard from on this past week’s episode. So, we truly don’t know what lies ahead for him. But he’s still having a very, very good year.

18. Mustafa Ali
Points: 42.375 | Last Month: 21
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Finn Balor, SmackDown Live, 4/16

After earning 13 points in the month of April, TAFKA Mustafa Ali leaps up three spots to the 18th spot in the WWE Top 25. Ali had quite a few solid outings in TV matches in April, getting plenty of opportunities along the way. He worked five matches, with four of them getting at least three stars. That kind of output will certainly help him out going forward, as he could be a steady riser as long as the work comes his way. He’ll be in the MITB Ladder Match, which should serve as a very good spot for him to dazzle in the middle of May.

17. Bobby Lashley
Points: 43.75 | Last Month: 12
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Finn Balor, WrestleMania, 4/7

Lashley had a solid month of April, but fell five spots down to 17th. The All Mighty has put together a very good 2019 campaign so far, but certainly could use a bit more workload to help him out. 15 matches puts him around the top of the leaderboard in that category, but there are still quite a few people who’ve beaten him out. With more work, he could very well ascend up the charts after the month of May. But right now, he’s not booked for MITB. So we shall see what happens with him going forward.

16. Tyler Bate
Points: 44.25 | Last Month: 9
Matches in 2019: 13 | Recommended Viewing: w/ Trent Seven vs. Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews, NXT UK, 4/24

Tyler Bate had been a bit of a workhorse through the first three months of the year. But after seeing his workload cut down by more than a couple of pegs, he’s fallen out of the Top 10 down to 16th. Granted, it’s still a very comfy spot to be in, but it’s certainly not Top 10 or hovering around it as he’s done most of the year. He’s still been one of the brightest spots of the NXT UK brand, and that should still remain true as the year progresses. Especially since he continues to get in good work in all the Worlds Collide events, too.

15. Sheamus
Points: 45.5 | Last Month: 16
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: Fatal 4-Way Tag, WrestleMania, 4/7

It’s a wonder if we’ve seen the last of The Celtic Warrior in WWE. Sheamus’ injuries have mounted up and he hasn’t competed since after WrestleMania. The move for his tag team partner over to Raw might be an indication of what’s to come. If that’s indeed the case, it’s an unfortunate end to one of the strongest runs in recent memory. Sheamus finished this month at 15th after a strong showing, going up one spot from 16th last month.

14. The Velveteen Dream
Points: 48.125 | Last Month: 17
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Matt Riddle, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Everything that The Velveteen Dream touches these days turns to gold. Dream worked two matches in the month of April and they were among the best of the entire month. His match with Matt Riddle at TakeOver: New York was an incredible showing for both superstars, and it’s really hard, honestly, to pick just who shined the most. Then, Dream decided to have a banger of a North American Championship defense against Buddy Murphy on NXT TV, which proved to be the best TV match of the month of April. It’s a shame that Dream doesn’t get to wrestle more, but at this point, he’s appointment television every time he does. And while he’s 14th in the WWE Top 25, he’s easily among the elite right now.

13. Samoa Joe
Points: 48.5 | Last Month: 10
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: vs. AJ Styles, Rey Mysterio, Raw, 4/22

Samoa Joe’s strong 2019 continued with another standout showing in the month of April. The incumbent United States Champion may not have had a stellar WrestleMania match -- he squashed Rey Mysterio in just a few minutes -- but still compiled enough points to sit 13th. That’s 3 spots down from 10th, but a strong month of May could catapult him right back into the Top 10. He might not be the worker he once was, but the man is still getting it done right now.

12. Seth Rollins
Points: 49 | Last Month: 15
Matches in 2019: 14 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Brock Lesnar, WrestleMania, 4/7

The new Universal Champion takes a three spot bump up to 12th in this month’s WWE Top 25. Seth Rollins hasn’t hit his extra gear yet in 2019, but we imagine that will soon change. Now that he’s got the workload of a champ, and seems to be healthy again, Rollins should be able to get back in the Top 10 in no time at this rate. Rollins is just a few points shy of the Top 10 mark, and could very well eclipse it with merely one match as long as it hits. Given this prior history, there’s no reason he can’t jump up to that level. It wouldn’t surprise many if he got back into that position quickly.

11. Cesaro
Points: 49.25 | Last Month: 20
Matches in 2019: 17 | Recommended Viewing: Fatal 4-Way Tag, WrestleMania, 4/7

Cesaro is a big mover in this month’s Top 25, as The Swiss Cyborg jumps up all the way to 11th. He was merely a few points shy of the Top 10 mark, missing out by a hair or two. Away from Sheamus on Raw now, we’ll see if a new landscape and environment can help Cesaro wrestle his way into the Top 10. There’s no denying that he’s one of the best on the planet when he’s on. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him as a singles competitor, and expect him to remind everybody of what he can do. His tag efforts with Sheamus certainly helped supplant him in this spot, and there may be nowhere to go but up from here.

10. Rey Mysterio
Points: 49.875 | Last Month: 7
Matches in 2019: 12 | Recommended Viewing: vs. AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Raw, 4/22

Rey Mysterio nearly dropped out of the Top 10 this month, but managed to hang on for dear life after this past week’s Raw. Mysterio was likely aided by the fact that the aforementioned Cesaro AND Seth Rollins didn’t compete. Otherwise, he may have fallen out of the Top 10 for the first time all year. Mysterio has proven to be among the greatest again this year, and April was no different. While his Mania match was short, Mysterio still made the most of his other in-ring opportunities. He dazzled in a Triple Threat Match featuring AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, and looks to still be feuding with Joe over the US Title. That match could very well help both of them, so keep your eye on Rey as the month of May progresses.

9. Bayley
Points: 50.25 | Last Month: 17
Matches in 2019: 18 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Charlotte Flair, SmackDown Live, 4/23

We’ve gone over this already… but Bayley is very clearly the workhorse of the women’s division this year. It’s completely and totally obvious that they see a lot in her, as she’s worked more matches than anybody in the entire division. She’s made the most of just about every opportunity that she’s had. Shifting back to a singles competitor hasn’t seen her miss a beat yet. She worked three singles matches this month, and all of them got 3 stars or better, including a 4-star banger against Charlotte Flair on SmackDown Live two weeks ago. We’ve already gone over this… but Bayley certainly deserves your respect this year.

8. Johnny Gargano
Points: 54.875 | Last Month: 6
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Adam Cole, ⅔ Falls, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Johnny Gargano dropped down to 8th place this month. But, despite the small drop, he’s very clearly still among the elite. Gargano finally became NXT Champion in a dazzling match against Adam Cole at TakeOver. He competed in a match against Roderick Strong on NXT TV, a match that likely helped keep him in the Top 10 this month. The problem hasn’t ever really been workload for him, because he excels in just about every single match he’s had this year. Seth Rollins is the only other superstar in the Top 25 who hasn’t had a match between 2-2 ¾ stars this year. Pretty good company to be in, we’d say.

7. Andrade
Points: 56.625 | Last Month: 5
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Finn Balor, Raw, 4/15

Andrade has stayed in the Top 10 despite a relatively “quiet” month of April. He fell down to 7th, but is still obviously one of the best that the company has to offer. He may very well be gaining more steam as Money in the Bank approaches. And that event could serve as a total launching pad for him going forward. As long as he keeps getting opportunities, it’s likely that he’s going to make the most of all of them. You can’t help but be in awe of him every time he’s in the ring, and so far, the math would agree that he’s one of the best of the best.

6. Drew McIntyre
Points: 58.5 | Last Month: 8
Matches in 2019: 21 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Baron Corbin, The Miz, Raw, 4/22

The last two months for Drew McIntyre have been torrid to say the least. After finishing 8th last month, Drew has ascended up to 6th in this month’s WWE Top 25. He fell just 0.25 points shy of the 5th spot, as he’s certainly getting the job done while called upon. Quantity may certainly be helping him out a bunch, as he’s had 21 matches in 2019, fourth-most in the entire company. But he’s definitely had the ball rolling for a bit, and with the focus still on him, that shouldn’t change for a while.

5. Kofi Kingston
Points: 58.75 | Last Month: 23
Matches in 2019: 14 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Daniel Bryan, WrestleMania, 4/7

Kofi Kingston’s rise up to 5th from 23rd was mostly due to his shining performance at WrestleMania. He and Daniel Bryan produced what is the only five-star match of the entire year so far in my humble opinion. The incumbent WWE Champion has always been a very solid worker, but 2019 is looking particularly great for him. Now entrenched in a feud with Kevin Owens, Kingston should see his standing stay pretty steady going forward as the top dog on the blue brand.

4. Daniel Bryan
Points: 61.375 | Last Month: 4
Matches in 2019: 12 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Kofi Kingston, WrestleMania, 4/7

Daniel Bryan worked just one match this month… and still managed to stay steady at the 4th position in the WWE Top 25. Bryan’s five-star bout with the aforementioned Kofi Kingston earned he and Kingston 15 points, as they stand as the only recipients of that honor to this point in the year. Bryan’s been banged up, but with him reportedly being cleared, he should be able to get back in the ring soon enough. When he does, expect him to continually remind you why he is one of the best of all time and the greatest of this generation.

3. Finn Balor
Points: 74.75 | Last Month: 3
Matches in 2019: 23 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Andrade, Raw, 4/15

A shift in brands hasn’t deterred Finn Balor at all. Balor is at 3rd once again in this month’s WWE Top 25 after another consistent effort in April. Finn, like everyone else, will need to pick up a lot of ground on #1 and #2 here. But he also has a 13+ point edge on 4th place. And that standing probably won’t change, unless someone below him goes on an absolutely torrid run themselves. So Finn is still very comfortable here, and the Intercontinental Champion likely won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

2. Aleister Black
Points: 90.125 | Last Month: 2
Matches in 2019: 24 | Recommended Viewing: w/ Ricochet vs. War Raiders, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Aleister Black sits #2 yet again in this month’s WWE Top 25. That heavy workload that he and Ricochet were on for a while seems to be slowing down significantly. But that didn’t stop him from still remaining at 2nd in this month’s edition of the rankings. Black had a great match against The War Raiders with his tag team partner at TakeOver: New York, which absolutely helped his cause. So did, you know, working every single WWE event that weekend. As we said, that workload will be slowing down. And I’m not sure if he’s going to be caught. But Black should still be able to excel in the spots that he’s in.

1. Ricochet
Points: 108 | Last Month: 1
Matches in 2019: 27 | Recommended Viewing: w/ Aleister Black vs. War Raiders, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Yet again, The One and Only is THE #1 in the WWE Top 25. Ricochet’s workload was still very heavy this month, working nine matches throughout April across all three brands. He’s likely done working a rather ridiculous pace, but obviously he has a heavy edge on everyone else in that department. Either there’s going to be some kind of curve, or Ricochet will just continue to lap the entire field. What will happen? Your guess is as good as mine. I certainly didn’t expect this after he worked ONE match in January, but he’s just doing extraordinary things right now. He’s certainly deserving of this spot, and no one seems to be particularly close from ripping it away from him.

Ruthless Aggression - Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning came early for WWE! We talk about the recent releases and where they go from here in their careers, plus Monday's impending announcement from The Big Dawg Roman Reigns, last Sunday's Elimination Chamber PPV, the four new NXT call-ups and more!

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 508
Smackdown 184
No Way Out 2003

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NXTop10: The greatest matches in NXT Takeover history

Capping off a wonderful first year of The Barber's Chair with our latest NXTop10! Rob, Chris, Lincoln and Post Wrestling's Braden Herrington join Pierce as they count down the 10 greatest matches in NXT Takeover history!

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Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobertONeill31
Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisMNovak
Follow Lincoln on Twitter: @MaAdLynx
Follow Braden on Twitter/IG: @TheBrayD

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The 2019 WWE Top 25: "Preseason" Edition

Hello out there. Welcome to what’s hoping to be a staple of The Barber’s Chair Network’s wrestling coverage for the entirety of 2019. I give to you a new premise, aptly titled the WWE Top 25.

Out of the gate, you might have some questions. The good news is, I have answers for you. So, let me get this started here.

What is the WWE Top 25?

Great question! The WWE Top 25 is going to be a list, published right here to The Barber’s Chair Network, of the top performers in WWE, month-by-month. At the conclusion of each month, I will publish the list. This will continue on and progress all the way through. You might see superstars rise, you might see superstars fall. You might see them completely fall out of the rankings. Think of it like the college football and basketball polls. Only it will just be one person “voting.”

How are the rankings determined?

These rankings are going to be determined on match quality. That’s it, that’s all. I will be watching matches on WWE’s weekly TV programs and WWE Network events, grading the matches (0 stars-5 stars) and calculating their scores thereafter. Superstars eligible for these rankings will have to have competed on Raw, SmackDown Live, NXT, 205 Live AND NXT UK. If any NXT brands are created within the next 12 months, those superstars will become eligible to be used as well.

What is the grading system and how is it calculated?

This grading system will be calculated very simplistically and easily. I will be weighting certain thresholds differently than others. Here is how it’s going to go:

  • If a superstar’s match is graded 0-*3/4, they will be given 0.25 points.

  • If a superstar’s match is graded **-**3/4, they will be given 0.5 points.

  • If a superstar’s match is graded ***-****1/4, then they will be given between 3-4.25 points, depending on the star rating they receive. This allows for those who have good-great matches to receive their due while not completely overweighting their performances.

  • If a superstar’s match is graded ****1/2, then they will be given 9 points. The 4.5-star rating will be multiplied by 2.0 to weight for quality.

  • If a superstar’s match is graded ****3/4, then they will be given 11.875 points. The 4.75-star rating will be multiplied by 2.5 to weight for quality.

  • Finally, if a superstar’s match is graded the FULL FIVE *****, then they will be given 15 points. The 5-star rating will be multiplied by 3.0 to weight for quality.

Also, it probably goes without saying, but those who are part-timers will likely fall short of being high to very high on these rankings lists, month-to-month and by the end of the year. The more matches you wrestle, the higher your score will be. But, you also will have to show out as well in order to get up way high.

So, I hope that explains everything. I used this formula for individual performances at TakeOver and it came away with pretty good results. It’s all obviously in the eye of the beholder. I don’t consider myself an ace star rater or anything of that but I figure this could be a fun project.

Are you really going to be watching EVERYTHING?

I sure as hell hope so!


So, anyways, it’s time for me to produce my “Preseason” Top 25. This is the only edition of the rankings that will be completely rooted in superficial BS. These rankings are based on how I think 2019 will look by the the time December 31, 2019 comes around. So, anyways, with that said, let’s roll with the WWE Top 25, Preseason Edition.

25. Bayley

Okay, if you follow me… did you really expect anything else here? But on a serious note, I think Bayley does have a standout 2019. The fact that Women’s Tag Team Championships are on the way greatly help her and her tag team partner (whom you’ll see shortly) in a big way. The one thing I will say, and this pertains to the entire Raw women’s division, is that opportunities are going to be interesting to sort out… for several reasons. Most of which will be explained later. But do I think The Hugger will be back to form? You bet.

24. Velveteen Dream

Velveteen Dream is probably going to have another great year. 2018 was a breakout year for the youngster and he just had his best singles match ever against Tommaso Ciampa at TakeOver: WarGames 2018. Velveteen has no doubt shined in the big spots and how many TV matches he gets will go a long way towards determining where Dream is going to be. That type of stuff can be variable if you’re not the champ and not on Undisputed Era, so I have him 23rd to start. But I can see a Top 15 finish for sure.

23. Shayna Baszler

Shayna is one of NXT’s best big match performers. As the brand’s Women’s Champion, she’s no doubt going to get plenty of big matches to perform in naturally. She’s shown a great ability to work with just about anybody, and her series with Kairi Sane was legit great. I don’t think working with the new crop that NXT has is going to hurt her at all, whatsoever. And a probable call up for the rumored 4HW vs. 4HW feud wouldn’t either.

22. Sasha Banks

‘The Boss’ finds herself 22nd on my ‘preseason’ Top 25. Banks had a great start to 2018 and I’d definitely argue that if her rivalry with Bayley actually came to fruition she’d have been even higher on anybody’s Wrestler of the Year lists. Banks can have great matches with anybody and that much is absolutely certain. If big opportunities come her way, you just know she’s going to take the spotlight and make it her own. Like Bayley, Banks should see a resurgence in 2019. So long as a couple of factors go her way.

21. Pete Dunne

The UK Champion finds himself 21st on my rankings list. Dunne is likely going to be in NXT UK for good now since he wrapped up all his indie dates just a short while ago. So his opportunities will be increased big time. But the question is… how many are there going to be? They’re running a TakeOver soon and I figure there’ll be more on the way, but just how many? Will he have opportunities over in the States on the regular NXT brand? Dunne is a great talent no doubt and could go way high on this list. But we’ll see how everything plays itself out.

20. Drew McIntyre

Drew Mac has a legitimate shot at being one of the biggest faces on the Raw brand. I thought he had a good not great year this past year that was obviously hurt by the fact that he was… well, hurt at the start of it. He’s not yet had that standout match but had some good matches with Seth Rollins, Kurt Angle and a few others. If he gets that shot as being the top heel then we’ll probably see a huge year. That is yet to be seen, though.

19. Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey has no doubt shined this year. She’s arguably one of the top performers in the company and the entire industry. She’s yet to have a bad match. So why in the world is she 19th? A couple of reasons here. For one, Ronda doesn’t ALWAYS wrestle on TV. She’s had maybe one or two singles matches so far on Raw, and has otherwise competed in tag matches. So the lack of opportunities will probably hurt her in the end. And secondly… the great unknown. Everyone KNOWS that she’s going to be here through WrestleMania. But what about after that? Is she going to stick it out for the whole year? She’s made comments that might have you believe she might not be TOO long for this. So just how long is she going to be around here? No one REALLY knows. So despite the fact that she’s a great worker, I’m putting her 19th and letting things happen from there.

18. Ricochet

NXT’s North American Champion had an AWESOME first eight months in the brand. He showed out in the NA Title Match and performed at a super high level against Velveteen Dream and Adam Cole. He also didn’t miss against Pete Dunne on TV and in the 3-way against Dunne and Cole either. As with Dream, the TV match # is important to watch here, but he’s a huge star and attraction for the brand so he could wind up finishing way higher than 18th.

17. Mustafa Ali

Opportunities aren’t going to be hard to come by for one of 205 Live’s greatest success stories anymore. Mustafa Ali is off the 205 Live island and is officially on SmackDown Live, and he’s already being thrust in with some of the brand’s biggest performers. Ali is a prime candidate to have a US Championship run and could have some banger TV matches as a result. Expect another big year for Ali.

16. Matt Riddle

This is easily my most ambitious pick. But I think I’ll be repaid for it in the end. Matt Riddle is a wrestling prodigy and going to NXT was huge for him and the brand. He’s wrestled all over the world and had absolute bangers just about everywhere. So do I foresee that happening in NXT? Absolutely. Riddle being on numerous TakeOver cards should be the expectation and he’ll likely have PLENTY of TV matches going forward. With the kind of performer he is, I wouldn’t even be shocked if he somehow got into the Top 10 by year’s end, bro.

15. Finn Balor

Finn Balor might be one of WWE’s most consistent performers. He was pretty easily in the Top 10-15 performers for WWE this year and was one of their best TV match workers. Balor could have big things on his way if he gets more opportunities and due to his current positioning on Monday Night Raw, that’s a strong possibility. While some fans crave a lot more for Finn, I think they may very well get their wish. I think he’s going to have another great year.

14. The Miz

Like the aforementioned Finn Balor, Miz always shows out in TV matches which is going to help his cause and then some. He’s also showcased himself greatly on PPVs and is easily one of the most consistent workers in the company. Which is a crazy thought, ain’t it? Miz should definitely find himself very high on this list by year’s end and will likely get off to a great start in the first month of the year.

13. Kyle O’Reilly

Like his fellow Undisputed Era mates, Kyle O’Reilly is one of the best in the world. O’Reilly produced NOTHING but hits last year tagging alongside Roderick Strong as the best tag team on the entire planet. O’Reilly doesn’t always get singles match opportunities which may ‘hurt’ his chances of climbing up but you definitely could’ve made a strong case for him to be Top 10 in WWE last year. KOR should continue that momentum in 2019 and, of course, keep shredding, Kyle. Keep shredding.

12. Andrade “Cien” Almas

Andrade had a huge start to 2018, partaking in two of the matches of the year against Johnny Gargano and Aleister Black. And… then he got called up to WWE and… well… the opportunities thinned themselves out. It’s unfortunate, because it’s obvious that Almas is one of the greatest wrestlers on planet Earth. But such is life. I think that changes course however in 2019 and we get a huge year out of Almas, who has a shot to be as good as Top 5 if they let him.

11. Charlotte Flair

There is no better big match performer than Charlotte Flair. Despite a few hiccups in the middle of the year, she showed OUT. Flair had a great match against Asuka at WrestleMania. Then, she turned around and had an incredible series with Becky Lynch that elevated the two of them. She closed out with a monster showing in the TLC match at TLC for the SmackDown Live Women’s Championship. She’s ALWAYS going to get opportunities on TV and at PPVs, so she’s going to be one of the top performers this year. That’s a safe bet.

10. Adam Cole

Perhaps nobody broke out as much as Adam Cole did in 2018. He was thought to be the weakest of the talents in Undisputed Era in the ring. All he did was have great matches at every single TakeOver and had some tremendous showings on TV, as well. Cole and the rest of UE are going to get numerous NXT TV matches so it’s a safe bet that Cole is going to shine and shine brightly.

9. Tommaso Ciampa

The current NXT Champion shined very brightly this year. Ciampa was injured and off TV for much of the start of the year but had great showings against Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black and, recently, Velveteen Dream. Because he should continue to be a huge mainstay at the top, predicting big things for Ciampa is a very safe bet. He starts 9th, but Top 5 isn’t out of the question.

8. Asuka

Given that she’s Women’s Champion now and might have the avenue to herself if Charlotte and Becky move to Raw, Asuka has a chance to be the ace of the SDL women’s division. As a result, you find her here at this spot. The Empress is going to get her due now and has always been a high-level talent. I would suspect that she’s duking it out for the crown of best women’s wrestler in the company by year’s end.

7. Johnny Gargano

What’s the only thing stopping Johnny Gargano from being near the top again? Probably just himself or bad writing. Granted, the latter happened at the end of 2018 and really nuked his chance of being Top 5 or even Top 1. But his TakeOver resume is undoubtedly amazing and he’s a safe bet to have incredible matches any time he’s on TV. It all really depends on how everything is portrayed and how everything is pieced together. If it all goes well, Johnny Wrestling will once again be one of the best wrestlers under the WWE umbrella.

6. Becky Lynch

Do I foresee big things for The Man? I mean, do I want to say no? Have you seen what she does to people who dare cross her? Becky had a phenomenal run in the back half of 2018, but her early stuff definitely would’ve limited her if I did a rankings list like this for 2018 since she was barely on television for the first four months of the year. But that’s not going to be the case in 2019. Becky is the biggest star in the company and whether it’s on SmackDown or Raw, she’s GOING to get her shots. She hasn’t missed lately and with banger possibilities coming up against Ronda Rousey and maybe some of her old friends on Raw coming up, Becky will be right back up here soon enough.

5. AJ Styles

The face of SmackDown Live has been nothing if not consistent since he got to WWE. Styles may have had his moments in 2018, but he’s still without a doubt an elite in-ring worker. With fresh faces on SmackDown for him to possibly work with (I don’t foresee him going to Monday Night Raw in a Superstar Shakeup, but it’s certainly not an unreasonable thought) he could have a chance to piece together yet another great year. The only thing that might stop him? Styles is 41 going on 42 and he might wind up working a little bit of a lighter schedule, therefore limiting his chances of getting enough points to be up this high.

4. Roderick Strong

Roddy Strong had a phenomenal 2018, so is he destined to do the same in 2019? I’d argue yes. He’s the best in-ring worker in Undisputed Era (although he is definitely closely followed by at least two of his comrades). He’s also one half of what I believe to be the greatest tag team in the entire wrestling world right now alongside his UE buddy, Kyle O’Reilly. Also, I think rather highly of him as a singles wrestler and he cashed in on all of his chances in 2018. 2019 should see him get even larger amounts of success, so I think Strong has a great chance of being near the top again.

3. Seth Rollins

Rollins was a very popular pick for Wrestler of the Year in 2018 and it’s easy to see why. He went beast mode at the start of the year and was incredibly consistent in the spring and summer. The last few months have soured people a little bit with some dull and repetitive matches with Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose. But, with that said, it’s still probable that he has an outstanding 2019. He’ll get his chances on TV and at PPVs, and Seth should be able to cash in.

2. Buddy Murphy

Are you a little surprised? Maybe you shouldn’t be. Buddy Murphy pieced together an absolutely incredible 2018 and it’s arguable that he was the greatest story of 2018. Forgotten in NXT, Murphy took a huge leap in becoming one of the biggest stars on the 205 Live brand. The current Cruiserweight Champion had standout matches with just about everyone (Kalisto, Mustafa Ali, Cedric Alexander, etc.) I am putting him very high on this list because of two reasons: One, he’s very young and while it might be hard to replicate a year like his 2018, he’ll no doubt have his chances. And secondly, I foresee him getting off the 205 Live island at some point by the time he eventually drops his championship. So an abundance of chances against top-level workers could come his way.

1. Daniel Bryan

After a three-year absence from the ring, Daniel Bryan returned with a vengeance in 2018. Bryan may have been ‘sterile’ in some eyes but he was producing at a high level. As time wore on, Bryan found his comfort zone and it really started at SummerSlam. By November, Bryan looked like the old Daniel Bryan or, hell, the old American Dragon. His matches with AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar were at a ridiculously high caliber. It is the opinion of this writer and probably many more that by the time 2020 is about to come around, Daniel Bryan will once again be known as the best wrestler in the company and arguably the best wrestler in the world. If he already isn’t right now.

Money in the Bank guide: previews, predictions for NXT Takeover & MITB

What started as a unique concept for Wrestlemania has turned into the fifth of WWE's new "Big Five" pay per views: Money in the Bank! The big event returns to the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, but this time bringing its indie darling, NXT, along with it for a stacked card on Saturday night. Of course, the main course will be not one, but TWO Money in the Bank ladder matches - one for the men and one for the ladies. The Barber's Chair has your guide to all of the matches this weekend, including who we think will leave Chicagoland victorious.

nxt takeover chicago.png

Ricochet v. Velveteen Dream

Pierce: This is a Dream match, no pun. Not because I've wanted to see it for years, but because I didn't know I wanted to see it this badly. This should open Takeover, and could attempt to steal the show just like the ladder match did in New Orleans. Dream has his sights set on one of two things: an NXT title or a WWE call-up. A win furthers both objectives.
Prediction: Velveteen Dream

T.C.: I didn't care for Dream's whole schtick when he first debuted, but his match with Aleister Black at War Games completely changed my opinion of him. I think he's an easy choice to face Black in a rematch in Brooklyn, so it'll be smart to keep his momentum going into SummerSlam weekend.
Prediction: Velveteen Dream

Markus Howell: Let me be the first to tell you that I might be the biggest Velveteen Dream fan just because of everything he represents and how damn good he is. Dude is a MEGASTAR. That being said, this match is a MOTY candidate for sure. Ricochet is proven between those ropes and Dream ain't too bad himself. Dream needs a win here though before he enters "Bray Wyatt" range.            Prediction: Velveteen Dream

Chris Novak: This match really fascinates me. I think it has major steal-the-show potential and will probably end up kicking things off on Saturday night. I get the sense that Velveteen Dream is going to win. Ricochet may have only started a couple months ago, but he's a big star. He can afford the loss, and can afford to put Dream over. You can easily slide Ricochet into a feud with Adam Cole for the NA Championship or even have him in a side feud with Aleister Black on the road to Brooklyn, and nobody would really bat an eye. Speaking of which, I think this Dream win will tee up Dream/Black II in Brooklyn, like T.C. said. 
Prediction: Velveteen Dream

Robert O'Neill: The first of two MOTN candidates, I really can't wait to watch these guys in person. They were the high points of the best multi-man ladder match of all time at Takeover NOLA and there's no reason to believe this match won't be awesome. Dream wins though because I think he's going to be the next #1 contender for the title and this is your start of that.

Prediction: Velveteen Dream

NXT Women's Championship - Shayna Baszler (c) v. Nikki Cross

Pierce: Shayna is mid to me, but they're running with her as long as they can. Nikki Cross belongs up top anyway.
Prediction: Shayna Baszler

T.C.: What the hell happened to SAnitY debuting on the main roster? I'd assume they're holding off until Nikki is done in NXT, but I can see them trying to distance her from the group at this point as she gets a run with the Women's title down in Orlando.
Prediction: Nikki Cross

Markus Howell: Seems like this match was thrown together randomly. But hey, whatever. This has all the components of a filler match until Bianca Belair is done smoking everybody else in the division.   
Prediction: Shayna Baszler

Chris Novak: Haven't minded the build to this. Nikki is crazy as hell and I think her finally getting a 1-on-1 TakeOver opportunity rules. I don't see her winning the belt though. She'll fall to Shayna, but this match should be real good.
Prediction: Shayna Baszler

Robert O'Neill: It's really hard to get a read on this because Cross is probably overdue for a title shot and Shayna really hasn't done much as champion, but they likely won't have her lose yet. Baszler retains.

Prediction: Shayna Baszler

NXT Tag Team Championship - Undisputed Era (c) v. Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan

Pierce: Burch and Lorcan are good hands but they have no business winning the tag titles over Undisputed Era.
Prediction: Undisputed Era

T.C.: Undisputed Era are flaming hot right now, and things are only looking up for the group. Burch and Lorcan have had the Undisputed Era's number the last few weeks, but it's not their time yet.
Prediction: Undisputed Era

Markus Howell: Undisputed Era > nWo. Kyle O'Reilly air guitar with the title > Hollywood Hulk Hogan air guitar with the title. Do I need to say anything else?
Prediction: Undisputed Era

Chris Novak: Markus, I completely agree about KOR's air guitar being better than The Hulkster's. This match is going to surprise a lot of people who may not be familiar with Lorcan and Burch. Then again, if you watch NXT, you probably are anyway.
Prediction: Undisputed Era

Robert O'Neill: While a lot of people were surprised that Lorcan and Burch got the title shot, I think it’s it’s pretty cool. However, I think Undisputed Era retains because they have the numbers in their favor provided Adam Cole goes to the ring with KOR and Roddy Strong.  

Prediction: Undisputed Era

NXT Championship - Aleister Black (c) v. Lars Sullivan

Pierce: Ion really fuck with Lars.
Prediction: Aleister Black

T.C.: Aleister Black hasn't really had a chance to show off as champion since winning the belt back during WrestleMania weekend, and I can't see him losing here. Lars Sullivan has laid the champion out multiple weeks now, and looks stronger than ever heading into Chicago, but Black will finally overcome the thorn in his side.
Prediction: Aleister Black

Markus Howell: This match here has seemingly gotten overshadowed with the Ricochet/Dream and Gargano/Ciampa feuds. LARS (Yes we capitalize that man name around here) has looked great in the past few months. Black has been relatively quiet waiting on this new challenger to appear and boy has LARS appeared. It's a bit too early for Black to drop the title though so look for him to hold on the strap a while longer.
Prediction: Aleister Black

Chris Novak: I'm not surprised that this match has gotten a second- or third-billing deal. This feels like Roode/Itami from last year in Chicago, in that it's a transition feud where the challenger doesn't stand much a chance. I like Lars a lot but putting Black over is the easiest choice of the night. 
Prediction: Aleister Black

Robert O'Neill: The NXT Title match is the third most hyped match on a five match card, which is odd, but also perfectly fine. This will be a good match that a lot of people will sleep on. Black retains.

Prediction: Aleister Black

Chicago Street Fight - Johnny Gargano v. Tommaso Ciampa

Pierce: This rivalry is destined to end in Brooklyn, so it's only right Tommaso wins, probably through some fuckery involving Candice Lerae. These two put on the match of Wrestlemania weekend and could do the same in Chicago.
Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa

T.C.: Usually when someone's wife or girlfriend gets injured in a personal storyline, that's a red alert to me that they'll be turning on their partner down the line. Ciampa wins after interference from Candice LeRae, setting up a Hell in a Cell battle in Brooklyn.
Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa

Markus Howell.: Ciampa is the best heel in the business and possibly the best heel we have seen in YEARS. Everything about this man just oozes evil and he does not care one bit. Using simple wrestling logic here though, it says he will pull out the win in a brutal, yet satisfying match and set up the final installment in this epic rivalry at Brooklyn.
Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa      

Chris Novak: Ciampa wins because Candice LeRae incidentally costs her husband, Johnny Gargano, the victory. No heel turn here, but she'll try to save Gargano from himself and he'll pay for it. Hell in a Cell cometh in Brooklyn.
Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa

Robert O'Neill: How poetic. It all comes back to Rosemont, where Ciampa turned on Gargano in the first place. It kills me to say it, but I think Ciampa wins and sets up a rubber match with all the stakes in Brooklyn.

Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa

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Women's Money in the Bank
Charlotte v. Sasha Banks v. Natalya v. Ember Moon v. Becky Lynch v. Alexa Bliss v. Naomi v. Lana

Pierce: Booking history tells me Natalya wins & probably cashes in on Ronda, but the superstar who needs the briefcase the most is Becky. She talked on Smackdown about falling to the back of the pack since being the first SDL Women's Champion. She needs something to reinvigorate her character, so give her the briefcase and let her have fun with it.
Prediction: Becky Lynch

T.C.: If Natalya doesn't win this, then I don't see the point in them making her a focal point with the biggest star in the division the past few weeks.
Prediction: Natalya

Markus Howell.: Okay so look, I think everybody knows I'm not a fan of this person but I'd be hard pressed to find someone who is a more "That's so WWE" pick to win this match than Ember Moon. Yes, they are setting Natalya up for another turn (she's like the female Big Show when it comes to that I swear), but Ember just screams "safe pick".                                                                Prediction: Ember Moon

Chris Novak: Have to agree with T.C. here. The obvious choice based on EVERYTHING they have put out there is Natalya, as terrible a wrestler and performer that I find her. Alexa and Charlotte have no business winning this, and neither does Lana. Ember hasn't been here long enough. And while Becky, Sasha and/or Naomi would be great choices because of the kinds of performers they are, well... it wouldn't be the first time or the last time they overlooked ability.
Prediction: Natalya

Robert O'Neill: This one certainly has me more hyped than last year’s version. I really want to see Sasha or Becky win, but it will likely be Natalya which will be dumb.  

Men's Money in the Bank
Braun Strowman v. The Miz v. Finn Balor v. Samoa Joe v. Kevin Owens v. Rusev v. Bobby Roode v. Big E/Kofi Kingston/Xavier Woods

Pierce: All of these guys would make for a great winner besides Bobby Roode, but the Awesome one has killed it the last two years and will get his long-deserved second run with the belt in due time.
Prediction: The Miz

T.C.: My head says Samoa Joe, but I'm selecting my choice with full stan mode enabled: The Miz wins. 
Prediction: The Miz

Markus Howell: Ahem. Click here
Prediction: Samoa Joe

Chris Novak: Mike "The Miz" Mizanin wins MITB for the second time in his career. I would say that he'd cash in later in the night, but this match will probably main event the show. 
Prediction: The Miz

Robert O'Neill: This is probably the hardest match of the night to pick because I could see any of the eight men winning. If I had to pick one, it would be The Miz, and I'm not even super sold/confident on that.  

Daniel Bryan v. Big Cass

Pierce: Daniel doesn't need a win here. He made Cass submit last month. I hate even steven booking but if Daniel wins here, what am I supposed to make of Cass?
Prediction: Big Cass

T.C.: Part of me wants to think they'll give Daniel Bryan the win again (especially if there's still some backstage heat on Cass as reported a few weeks back), but I'm gonna assume there's a swerve in the making with Cass evening the score against his tiny foe.
Prediction: Big Cass

Markus Howell: Outside of not giving two shits about this feud.......yeah that's all I got man. It's a warmup feud for the both of them returning from their respective injuries so whatever. Prediction: Daniel Bryan

Chris Novak: I didn't think Bryan needed the win over Cass at Backlash. But they gave him it in emphatic fashion. I don't think he needs the win here at MTIB either. But Cass has been written as kind of a dickheaded goof. So maybe Bryan will make him tap out anyway. I gave Cass a chance, and he hasn't exactly been great. Just put Bryan over again.
Prediction: Daniel Bryan

Robert O'Neill: I guess Cass could use a win over Bryan, but I'm also not sure Cass can be saved at this point. He just doesn't have "it". Whatever happens, I hope this is the last match these two have.

Prediction: Big Cass

Roman Reigns v. Jinder Mahal

Pierce: Is it fine to say I just don't care where they go with Roman anymore?
Prediction: Roman Reigns

T.C.: Contrary to public opinion of these two, I actually think they're really good workers. But the chemistry between the two isn't working for me as a fan. Hope this is a one and done and they both move on to something else next month. 
Prediction: Roman Reigns

Markus Howell: NOW THIS IS WHY IM HERE BABY. CONTENT. THE MAHARAJA HIVE IS HERE. DON'T HINDER JINDER. I DON'T GET WHY PEOPLE HATE JINDER. THE MAN HAS DONE NOTHING BUT WORK HIS ASS OFF TO GET BETTER AND PEOPLE HATE HIM. The Maharaja ain't losing to no dude who wear Brett Favre wranglers in his downtime man. Hell no. Prediction: Jinder Mahal

Chris Novak: This will be a better match than the crowd gives it a chance to be. I will side with Markus here and say that the Maharajah is successful.
Prediction: Jinder Mahal

Robert O'Neill: Contrary to what the likely crowd reactions will lead you to believe, this should be a perfectly fine match. Each man cost the other a spot in the MITB match, so the motivation for this match is clear and smart. I think Jinder wins with underhanded tactics and Roman gets him back at Extreme Rules.

Prediction: Jinder Mahal

Bobby Lashley v. Sami Zayn

Pierce: This is my piss break.
Prediction: Bobby Lashley

T.C.: Absolutely pointless and terrible feud. Hopefully this doesn't go more than 7 minutes.
Prediction: Bobby Lashley

Markus Howell: #FreeElGenerico
Prediction: Sami Zayn

Chris Novak: God, this feud sucks.
Prediction: Bobby Lashley

Robert O'Neill: Lashley wins and we never have to think about this feud again.

Prediction: Bobby Lashley

Smackdown Tag Team Championship - The Bludgeon Brothers (c) v. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows

Pierce: The Bludgeon Brothers finally got some competition in Anderson and Gallows, and while I think the Good Brothers will get the strap eventually, now's not the time.
Prediction: The Bludgeon Brothers

T.C.: Harper and Rowan have been built up as THE guys in the Smackdown Tag Team title division (rightfully so, they're the champs), and it doesn't seem like the Good Brothers have enough momentum right now to start another reign right now.
Prediction: The Bludgeon Brothers

Markus Howell.: The Good Brothers and The Bludgeon Brothers. The Brothers against The Brothers. Which sounds better? Good or Bludgeon? Cool hand gestures and a dude with a nickname like Machine Gun or dudes with fake ass mallets and horrible ring gear? Yeah, exactly. Prediction: Anderson and Gallows

Chris Novak: SmackDown Live's tag division is not nearly as dead as Raw's is, but for a division that has Bludgeon Brothers, Good Brothers, The Usos, The New Day AND The Bar as well as Rusev Day, this should be a hell of a lot better than it is. I digress. The Bludgeon Brothers will likely win on the kickoff show.
Prediction: The Bludgeon Brothers

Robert O'Neill: There's been a surprising lack of build to this match, but it should be pretty solid provided you enjoy watching four big dudes beat each other up. If you don't, well, it's not for you. Bludgeon Brothers retain.

Prediction: The Bludgeon Brothers

RAW Women's Championship - Nia Jax (c) v. Ronda Rousey

Pierce: I was back and forth on this until Ronda's UFC Hall of Fame induction was announced. WWE would be smart to flex her as their champion at the event.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey

T.C.: I'm sure WWE caught some early rumblings about Ronda Rousey getting inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame next month, and decided to hot shot her into the title picture ahead of the time they wanted to. Always thirsty for mainstream attention, they'll slap the belt on Ronda, get some press the following Monday, and then have Natalya cash in the following night.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey

Markus Howell: This match gonna be trash. Nia, as fine as she is, aint that good in the ring and Ronda just too green in the ring. Ronda can legitimately beat Nia ass so idk man. Having Ronda win is a real slap in the face. To who? Take your pick. Also kinda dumb how they just randomly made Nia a heel in this feud. Also dumb how much Rousey smiles and taps hands with the fans. It's annoying. Idk who wins here but for kicks and giggles.......
Prediction: Nia Jax

Chris Novak: I still don't understand why this match is happening so early but, like T.C. said, this probably has a lot to do with fishing for mainstream press. Ronda wins, but I don't think she makes it out of Rosemont with the championship. Nattie's going to cash in and win it, meaning Natalya vs. Ronda Rousey will be the summer women's program. God help us all.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey

Robert O'Neill:  Well, Ronda certainly isn't going to lose her first singles match. The big thing to watch is if there's a cash in after.

Prediction: Ronda Rousey

Smackdown Women's Championship - Carmella (c) v. Asuka

Pierce: Carmella has no business losing the belt two months in, no matter how good Asuka is.
Prediction: Carmella

T.C.: I have no idea what is going to happen here. When Carmella had the MITB briefcase, I always looked at her as a transitional champion and nothing more than that. However, she's GOLD as a character, and the belt only enhances that. I'll be safe here and say Asuka comes out with the W.
Prediction: Asuka

Markus Howell: I. Love. Carmella. As. Champ. There I said it. She's been looking better. Her mic skills are gold. Her character has improved. And her in ring skills....well......she don't need to show them because of her heel work. I love it. Asuka has lost her aura since losing at Mania and I just don't get what the payoff was for that. Not sure what's gonna happen here but Asuka aint winning.
Prediction: Carmella

Chris Novak: Carmella wins because James Ellsworth is going to return and help her get the W.
Prediction: Carmella

Robert O'Neill: Carmella’s run has been delightful and I think it continues either by countout, DQ, or underhanded tactics

Prediction: Carmella

Intercontinental Championship - Seth Rollins (c) v. Elias

Pierce: The Walk With Elias Intercontinental Title Tour is about to heat up all summer '18! Elias is crazy over... some times gimmicks don't click in NXT but they work in the Federation, and Elias has made the most of his time up. Rollins is a great guy to take the belt off, and it doesn't hurt him to lose; it only propels him to that inevitable championship match with Brock.
Prediction: Elias

T.C.: I've been huge on Rollins' run as IC Champ thus far, and a huge fan Elias' whole run on the main roster. I feel like it's time for Seth to move on to bigger and better things, but with Extreme Rules a month away, I can see them dragging this feud out until then.
Prediction: Seth Rollins by DQ

Markus Howell: It's Elias' time. Seth doesn't need the title anymore and I'm sure Elias can continue to elevate the IC title. Also, the IC title > Universal title. But anyway, this match should be a great one. I wouldn't be surprised to see Elias win clean, but I also wouldn't be surprised to see a DQ. Prediction: Elias

Chris Novak: It's time for everyone to walk with Intercontinental Champion Elias. Seth won't lose anything by dropping the belt to him. Depending on what you read into with the rumors about Brock, this could free him up for a feud at SummerSlam with him. If not, then we get a summer feud between these two. Either option is OK with me.
Prediction: Elias

Robert O'Neill: If they're going to do Seth/Brock at Summerslam, which seems to be the natural plan, why not have Elias get the win here? He has the fanbase and ability. I would like to see it

Prediction: Elias

Last Man Standing match for the WWE Championship
AJ Styles (c) v. Shinsuke Nakamura

Pierce: Well we know the prediction below won't happen because the men's ladder match will reportedly end the show, but it's Nakamura's time. He's waited long enough, and the heel turn set in motion at Wrestlemania has done well in turning him from one of the most beloved babyfaces to one of the most interesting heels to watch in the company. He'll watch out of Chicago with the championship.
Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

T.C.: This feud hasn't been nearly half as interesting as I thought it would be, but it's picked up a bit in the past few weeks. Please, no more. AJ Styles gets the W in a hard fought battle, but gets booked in an impromptu match with The Miz. Both MITB briefcase holders cash in within 24 hours, as WWE tries to freshen up the gimmick a bit.
Prediction: AJ Styles, The Miz cashes in and walks out champion

Markus Howell: I'm tired of seeing this. Leave it to WWE to take something good and ruin it. I don't know how they do it but dammit they are talented. Shinsuke should've been champ months ago yet they turned him into a dick punching japanese dude who picks and chooses when to speak english. I hate this company sometimes.
Prediction: Shinsuke after he hits a super kinshasa on AJ's family jewels

Chris Novak: I don't have a clue about this one. I'll say Shinsuke because they've given him enough chances over the last year to win the WWE Title and he hasn't. If not, I have no idea what they do.
Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

Robert O'Neill: I think Shinsuke has to win eventually, so why not this one? He picked the stipulation so it would make sense for him to get the win.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura