Unlike the men’s field for Saturday (July 2) at MGM Grand Garden Arena on the Vegas Strip – which we already took a look at here – the women’s match has its full complement of seven wrestlers qualified and ready to compete for the briefcase.
But like the men’s ladder match, not every women in this year’s ladder match has the same chance of winning a contract for a title shot at a time of their choosing. So let’s take a look and see if we can determine who’s a contender this weekend and who’s a pretender.
Important disclaimer: These are just my opinions based on evidence as I see it. Whether that be on television or through various news sites.
Labeling someone a pretender for Money in the Bank, in no way means they are not worthy or deserving of capturing the briefcase. In fact, I would be thrilled if many of my pretenders were to pull off the upset and claim their respective contract.
Women’s Money in the Bank Match
Liv Morgan – Pretender
This one pains me. I’m a huge Liv Morgan fan. She’s one of the hardest working performers in all of WWE and just get better every single week. There is no one I’d rather see walk out of the women’s ladder match with the briefcase than her.
While I would love to share the optimism that some of my media colleagues have when it comes to Liv Morgan’s chances of winning, I just can’t believe it’s a real possibility until it happens.
WWE should have hitched their wagon to Morgan a long time ago. She was the most over person in last year’s MITB Ladder Match and they rewarded her by immediately taking her off TV for several weeks. She has very little big match equity built up and any creative time has had the opportunity to take her booking to the next level, they just haven’t followed through.
It sucks. It sucks for her. It sucks for her fans. And I just can’t get my hopes up that it’s going to change until I see it happen in real time. I would love to be wrong. She deserves and needs this win as much as anyone else in the match. I’ll be rooting like crazy anytime she climbs the ladder, because I truly want her time to be now.
Alexa Bliss – Contender
Until this past Monday, Alexa Bliss hadn’t lost a singles match since Extreme Rules last year when Charlotte beat her and then murdered her beloved doll Lilly. A lot of therapy and few wins later, Alexa appears to be in a holding pattern. She hasn’t had any real concrete storylines since those therapy sessions led to a runner up finish inside Elimination Chamber. That should be changing soon.
WWE has teased a possible pairing with Liv Morgan, which given the state of the Women’s Tag Team Division, would be a welcomed addition. Depending on how this ladder match shakes out on Saturday, WWE could set the stage for Alexa and Becky Lynch to revisit their rivalry for the first time in nearly six years.
I do have a sneaking suspicion that they have slowly been building up Alexa for something. What that something is, I’m not sure. Her loss to Liv Morgan on Monday could simply have been a red herring with the intention of giving Morgan the momentum, setting up Bliss for the surprise win. Alexa would then have the option to go after the woman who beat her at Elimination Chamber in Bianca Belair. Or she could switch brands and go after Ronda Rousey, the women who obliterated her that last time she held the Women’s Championship.
I’ll argue that Bliss is needed more on SmackDown than she is on Raw. The briefcase could be used as the vehicle to get her there. That might just be wishful thinking on my part. I can’t be the only one who wants to see Bliss seek revenge against Charlotte at some point down the road. #RevengeForLilly
Raquel Rodriguez – Pretender
Raquel is amazing. She has all the makings to be a future Women’s World Champion and I believe that’s an accomplishment she’ll achieve several times over before her time in WWE comes to an end. That said, it’s simply just too soon for Rodriguez to win the briefcase.
Big Mami Cool is still trying to find her place on SmackDown and I think creative is still trying to figure out how to best utilize her. She has been flat out dominating since her call up from NXT 2.0 in April. Her only singles loss came at the hands of Ronda Rousey and Raquel beat the holy you-know-what out the SmackDown Women’s Champion for a majority of that bout.
The NXT faithful knows how good Raquel is and would love to see her get this push, but the main roster audience needs more time to get invested. Rodriguez has yet to really have any significant story arc on the Blue Brand and doesn’t get a ton of promo time. She should have plenty of chances to impress on Saturday, but I would be genuinely stunned if she ended up with the briefcase.
Shotzi – Pretender
The woman formerly known as Blackheart is another performer that just doesn’t get the amount of opportunities she deserves. It hasn’t been until quite recently that she’s even been on television on a semi-regular basis. I’m thrilled she’s getting the chance to participate in Money in the Bank, but nothing we’ve seen in her booking (or lack there of) since her call up leads me to believe she’s a legit contender at Money in the Bank.
As a matter of fact, until Becky Lynch finally qualified on Monday, I wholeheartedly expected Shotzi to get the Kofi Kingston treatment. I thought the play for Big Time Becks to get into the match might be by attacking Shotzi beforehand and taking her spot by force.
Even with Becky already booked for the match, that doesn’t mean Shotzi is off the hook yet. I could see WWE doing similar with a returning Charlotte or Bayley, or another surprise entrant. But I hope that doesn’t happen. Shotzi is a very “throw caution to the wind” type of Superstar who could really thrive and put on an eye opening performance in this Money in the Bank Ladder Match. WWE needs to finally let her run wild on Saturday.
Asuka – Pretender
This one is very simple to me. Asuka’s fate was sealed as a credible challenger, at least at this time, when she was the one who was pinned clean as a whistle at Hell in Cell. She ate a Man-handle Slam and then Bianca had time to grab Becky Lynch, toss her out of the ring, and then cover the Empress to steal the win. The woman who was once impossible to pin, was down and out for at least 10 seconds.
She’s an absolutely incredible performer. No one in the Women’s Division carries as much energy and flare as she does. Asuka commands attention and captivates the audience no matter what language she’s speaking. She just has this wonderful connection with the fans. But creative has never really gotten all the way behind her, even when she’s been the Women’s Champion. Which is infuriating to say the least.
As always, I could be reading way too much into something, especially one piece of booking. Regardless, I’m excited to get to see her perform in this match, whether she’s a contender or not.
I’d love to see an angle where she steals the briefcase from Becky Lynch this time around as a nod to the night Becky handed over her Championship, but I don’t think that’s the direction they’ll choose to go. I do believe that Asuka will be Women’s Champion again one day, but it’s not going to be anytime soon.
Lacey Evans – Contender
Do we know if she’s a babyface or a heel? No. Can we guarantee that she’ll still be a member of the SmackDown roster this time next month? No. Is she a contender to win the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match? There’s no doubt about it.
Extenuating circumstances forced WWE to alter and completely convolute her return, but make no mistake about it, Lacey Evans is back to be a major player on the Blue Brand. Or whatever brand she happens to be on.
Creative had major plans for Lacey prior to her to her pregnancy in early 2021. According to reports, her critically panned story angle with Ric and Charlotte Flair was going to run all the way to WrestleMania 37. The Sassy Southern Belle was penciled in to defend the RAW Women’s Championship against the Queen, after she beat Asuka for the belt at Elimination Chamber.
If Lacey was set for a major title match against Charlotte on the Grandest Stage of Them All, conventional wisdom suggests she’s a major player for the Money in the Bank briefcase and an eventual Championship run now that she’s back in action.
Becky Lynch – My pick to win it
Have you noticed I’ve brought up Becky Lynch while breaking down nearly every one of her opponents chances of winning on Saturday? Yeah, there’s a reason for that. Pretty much the entire build to this match has been centered around Big Time Becks and her quest just to qualify.
The downward spiral of Becky Lynch has been an absolute joy to watch and I don’t mean that in an ill-natured way. Her performances week in and week out, as her confidence and everything she holds dear (professionally) comes crumbling down around her, have been nothing short of spectacular.
The losses have started to pile up but I truly believe her moment of redemption is coming this Saturday. The last time Big Time Becks was in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match was in 2018. The crowd lived and died with her. They wanted the Irish Lass Kicker to grab hold of the briefcase and shake off a nearly two year long funk she found herself in. Instead, Alexa Bliss shoved her off the top of a ladder and claimed the briefcase for herself. Sweet, sweet heat.
I think history repeats itself on Saturday, its just that the shoe will be on the other foot. Alexa Bliss will ascend to the top of the ladder, have the briefcase at her fingertips and promptly be shoved off by Big Time Becks. Clearing the way for Becky to steal the contract and set up another meeting with Bianca Belair down the road.
Who do you think is a pretender, contender or favorite in the women’s ladder match at Money in the Bank this weekend? Sound off below, and weigh in on the men’s field here.
Rick Ucchino can be reached at Rick.Bleav@gmail.com. You can follow him on Twitter @RickUcchino and make sure to subscribe to the Bleav in Pro Wrestling YouTube Channel.