0 of 5
WWE Money in the Bank 2017 provided plenty of great in-ring action Sunday, even if the bookings left a lot to be desired among the WWE Universe.
All those questionable finishes will undoubtedly play a huge role as SmackDown moves full steam ahead into Battleground, the new pay-per-view set for July 23 on the blue brand’s calendar.
There are plenty of ongoing feuds, and a few new ones, that will shape the Battleground card. With the Money in the Bank briefcases now in the possession of Carmella and Baron Corbin, both Superstars will figure heavily into WWE programming in the coming weeks. With neither in the middle of an existing feud, both will need something to pass the time.
Those Superstars who missed their opportunity for a guaranteed title match won’t be forgotten, though. AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Dolph Ziggler all have history, and WWE could easily match them against each other until developing a new direction for one (or all) of them.
The women, on the other hand, will all be focused on the events of Sunday night, which is where we start looking at the feuds from Money in the Bank that will continue through Battleground.
1 of 5
A non-finish in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match between The New Day and The Usos is sure to extend this feud through at least Battleground, if not into SummerSlam the following month.
The New Day’s transition to the blue brand has seemed to breathe new life into a tag team division that appears to be stuck in neutral. It also helped that the newly minted heels The Usos were champions, giving The New Day a natural feud to begin their SmackDown run.
Sunday’s match between the two was merely a taste of what these teams will do for the next few weeks. With The Usos having dispatched Breezango from title contention, American Alpha nowhere to be found and The Hype Bros still jelling following the return of Zack Ryder from injury, expect to see more from these two teams.
Battleground would seem to be the second part of this tag team trilogy between the groups, with the finale set for Brooklyn and SummerSlam.
2 of 5
The revelation at Money in the Bank that it was The Ascension who have been plotting against Breezango was met with a collective sigh from WWE fans hoping for a more appetizing feud for the beloved Fashion Patrol of SmackDown.
Now that the case is seemingly solved as to whodunit, the next question is how long WWE decides to let this feud extend. More than likely it will continue through Battleground, then hopefully end there.
Breezango’s Fashion Files segments have been among the most popular parts of SmackDown of late, so it makes sense for WWE to continue showcasing the duo. The case of the trashed office and Tyler Breeze’s sneak attack have been emphasized too much in recent weeks to let a single match that appeared hastily on the Money in the Bank card end this feud.
Both teams have nothing else going on at the moment, with The New Day and The Usos locked in for the tag titles and American Alpha nowhere to be found on WWE programming.
3 of 5
No matter how SmackDown general manager Daniel Bryan attempts to address the unusual circumstances from Sunday’s pay-per-view, newly crowned Ms. Money in the Bank Carmella and sidekick James Ellsworth are sure to have targets on their backs for the foreseeable future.
Since teaming with The Princess of Staten Island, Ellsworth has become a thorn in the side of many of her competitors, through ill-advised comments or well-timed interferences in Carmella’s matches. At Money in the Bank, Ellsworth took things to a new level, ascending to claim the Money in the Bank briefcase for Carmella.
Justin LaBar of upgruv wrote “women had cheated [on] behalf of their man for decades,” that Ellsworth’s involvement was “merely masterful reversal of the gender dynamic in the traditional manager-wrestler dynamic” and that Sunday’s finish “helped to bolster [the women’s division] by ensuring that all participants will draw television time.”
While LaBar may be right in some respects, he misses the point many fans have made on social media: Sunday’s match was about more than a guaranteed championship match. It was supposed to be a historic event and was hyped by WWE as such: The first time WWE had allowed its female Superstars to compete for one of the company’s signature items—the Money in the Bank briefcase.
Instead of one of SmackDown’s female Superstars climbing the ladder to victory, the shiny white case was literally dropped into the lap of Carmella by a man who had no business being involved in such a signature match.
Carmella and Ellsworth are sure to have to answer not only to Bryan and SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon but to the rest of the women’s division for the foreseeable future.
4 of 5
Logic dictates that Randy Orton would fall to the back of the line after losing his rematch bid against Jinder Mahal on Sunday, but the events that unfolded in the final minutes of their title match suggest otherwise.
With the Singh Brothers attacking Cowboy Bob Orton as he sat ringside, the younger Orton became unhinged, destroying the duo outside the ring. That momentary distraction helped Mahal take advantage, hitting the Khallas and retaining the WWE Championship.
It was the second time Orton fell victim to a Singh Brothers distraction, which could be the setup for Orton-Mahal III as surmised by Richard Janvrin of Daily DDT: “[A]t a pay-per-view titled ‘Battleground’ it’s only fitting we have this third and final encounter be in a Punjabi Prison Match. This way the Singh Brothers are not able to interfere and the match name goes along with the theme of the pay-per-view.”
Even with the imminent return of John Cena on July 4’s edition of SmackDown, WWE would be wise to delay the inevitable Cena-Mahal showdown until the following month at SummerSlam. Immediately injecting Cena into a title match following a long hiatus not only minimizes the hard work the rest of the roster has done but also gives Cena a few weeks to get back into ring shape.
5 of 5
For those hoping that Sunday’s tease between Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles would lead to a bigger program immediately, you’ll have to wait a few more months.
According to Billi Bhatti of Sportskeeda, Styles-Nakamura is currently slotted for the SmackDown main event at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. It’s a notion B/R’s Graham GSM Matthews agrees with, as he wrote over two months ago: “Doing Styles vs. Nakamura at any point in the next six months would be a massive mistake because it should be a blockbuster bout for both hardcore and casual fans of WWE.”
That leaves Nakamura’s dance card open, and on Sunday the new Mr. Money in the Bank, Baron Corbin, seems to have penciled his name into that position for the time being.
Viciously attacking The King of Strong Style before the Money in the Bank ladder match set the tone for Corbin’s night. He was the most dangerous man in the ring all night and was the rightful winner of the Money in the Bank briefcase.
Until Corbin cashes in, however, he needs to fill the time. Nakamura makes sense on a number of levels—a Superstar Corbin can eventually lose a feud against without hurting his character. The two have little history, which would present fans with a fresh matchup.
A showdown at Battleground would be a great setting for both men and could lead to a longer-term feud that can take place at SummerSlam.