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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Ronda Rousey must not win title and WWE looks to Jinder Mahal to rebuild Roman Reigns: Money in the Bank talking points

An early look at where the WWE are going with the narrative for the event on June 17 as AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura prepare for the fifth part of their feud

Ronda Rousey could be set for her feud with Stephanie McMahon to continue at Money in the Bank in June. Image courtesy of WWE
Ronda Rousey could be set for her feud with Stephanie McMahon to continue at Money in the Bank in June. Image courtesy of WWE

Ahead of Money in the Bank, the WWE's next Network Special, which takes place on June 17 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, here is a look at some talking points.

Rousey must not win the Raw Women's title against Nia Jax

Given she has had only had one match, admittedly a very good one at WrestleMania 34, giving Ronda Rousey a title shot at Money in the Bank next month seems a bit sudden.

But, the WWE clearly have big plans for Rousey and having the former UFC star in the midcard was never going to be a longterm situation.

Putting her in a match for the Raw Women’s title against Nia Jax is a risk, however. It will be Rousey’s first singles match and Jax is not a great worker.

Two things must happen in this match. It needs to be short to cover-up for the weaknesses of both women.

But, more importantly Rousey must not win. It is far too soon for her to be champion, and while very popular with the WWE audience giving her the title when she has not been on a journey to earn it risks damaging her.

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Luckily the WWE are unlikely to be doing this. This screams of a heel turn from someone to deny Rousey and set her up on a quest to be champion.

There are rumours that Jax could align with Stephanie McMahon, the woman Rousey feuded with on her arrival in the company, and that would make sense. It would help Jax, who has not been great in the role of babyface champion.

Another option is to have Natalya turn on her on-screen friend, accusing Rousey of jumping the line for a title shot as a justification.

Money in the Bank will not be a title winning night for Rousey but it should shape her summer plans and a setback to push her forward will be just what she needs.

WWE looking to Mahal to help Reigns

The WWE, for the umpteenth time, are on a mission to try and make Roman Reigns more popular with its audience.

The three-time world champion was heavily booed, despite being booked as the face, at WrestleMania 34 by Brock Lesnar, and the conundrum has continued for the WWE in just how do they make their whole fanbase, rather than just youngsters,

Reigns is great in the ring, although his matches often do feel repetitive with the same movesets usually finishing off matches.

He needs more characterisation, that is for certain. Fans need to know what pushes and motivates the Shield man and the WWE have failed him in that regard.

The latest attempt is pairing him with Jinder Mahal, a man probably booed more than Reigns.

It seems the approach, at least for now, is to put Reigns with people less popular than him in the hope that he will be seen as the lesser of two evils.

It would not surprise this writer if Baron Corbin is also on the menu for Reigns in the short term before he is returned to the title picture.

Not getting booed against Mahal or Corbin only covers over the cracks though. Until he is better booked as a character overall fans will continue to reject him.

Everything points to Styles retaining

So, Money in the Bank will see the fifth, and probably final, chapter in the AJ Styles v Shinsuke Nakamura feud.

Styles has retained the WWE World Heavyweight title throughout. He beat Nakamura at WrestleMania 34, and we have had two non-finishes at Greatest Royal Rumble and Backlash.

Nakamura made it 1-1 with a win in a non-title match at SmackDown this past in London, which sets up the final rubber match in June.

Nakamura gets to choose the stipulation as the result of his London victory and in theory that gives him the advantage.

A Nakamura title win and run should happen as he has been great, and much more convincing as a heel.

But, one has to wonder if WWE were going to put the belt on him they would have done it already.

Styles remaining as champion now makes sense as he will be the underdog, because his opponent will surely pick a match that suits him.

Plus, with heels such as Samoa Joe, The Miz and Big Cass waiting in the wings there are lots of title opponents waiting in the wings for him, certainly more options than a heel Nakamura will have.

Nakamura deserves a title run, but as it has not happened already it may be a while longer before the Japanese wrestler finally tastes WWE championship gold.

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