Top 5 WWE matches to watch this weekend

While a lot of folks will be trying to stretch the July 4 holiday out to another weekend here in the United States, WWE is sending its current and future stars to Canada for two major shows in Toronto.

The biggest pro wrestling company in the world will hold one of its most popular events of the year on Sat., July 7 when Money in the Bank hits Scotiabank Arena at 8 p.m. Eastern. Then the following night at the same time, the next generation of WWE superstars will look to make their mark when their NXT brand puts on Heatwave in the same building.

It should be a great weekend of pro wrestling, but of course we’re looking forward to some matches more than others.

Here are our top five recommendations from Money in the Bank and Heatwave, and why they’re our picks from those two shows:

Drew McIntyre vs. Jey Uso vs. LA Knight vs. Andrade vs. Chad Gable vs. Carmelo Hayes in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Who doesn’t love a ladder match? Alright the wrestlers probably don’t when they’re slammed and splashed into, onto, in between, or through them (and many of us watching wince every time thinking about how much that must hurt… which you have to acknowledge, even if you insist pro wrestling’s “fake”).

Almost all WWE fans love the ladder matches that give Money in the Bank its name, where their winner climb to grab a briefcase containing a guaranteed title shot that’s dangling above the ring. It’s a storytelling device that’s led to some amazing moments. And some that all involved would like to forget. But the game of “will they or won’t they cash in?” is usually a lot of fun, whether it lasts hours or months.

One hallmark of the so-called “Triple H Era” (named for WWE Hall of Famer and Chief Creative Officer Paul Levasque, who took over creative for the company when his father-in-law was ousted during his latest scandal) is that most of the wrestlers who appear on television have an established character and are involved in an angle (this seems straight-forward, but if you were watching WWE under the latter days of Vince McMahon, you know it wasn’t always).

This match has a couple of the best examples, as McIntyre is not only chasing a World title, but is engaged in one of the company’s hottest feuds with an injured CM Punk… who can’t be ruled out as a factor here, despited the big Scotsman beating him within an inch of his life after the last time Punk meddled in Drew’s business.

Former Olympian Gable at the center of an entirely different of story. He’s been a real jerk to his Alpha Academy team, which had made him a target of Uncle Howdy and the Wyatt Sicks, a group led by the late Bray Wyatt’s brother Bo Dallas. The Sicks are carrying on Bray’s legacy by embodying his creepy creations and targeting those who’ve done their “family” wrong.

Plus, everyone in the match can go — especially Andrade, recent NXT call-up Hayes, and Gable. This one should be nuts, in that good pro wrestling way.

IYO SKY vs. Naomi vs. Tiffany Stratton vs. Chelsea Green vs. Lyra Valkyria vs. Zoey Stark in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Much of the above applies her as well, although the women’s MitB match feels like it has a greater chance of delivering something else WWE watchers often mention when talking about the concept: elevating a performer.

Sure, we could see former champions like Naomi or SKY — who only recently lost the belt as her Damage CTRL stable has been falling apart around her since kicking out Bayley, the woman her took her title at WrestleMania. But it will be very interesting to see if WWE pulls the trigger and helps establish a new main event player.

Stratton and Valkyria are former NXT Women’s champs, both of whom WWE would clearly like to see reach the same heights on the main roster. Green’s been around a while, but she’s entertainingly been all in on her gimmick everywhere she’s been and has been making the most out of finally being able to do that on wrestling’s biggest stage. And Stark’s just a great wrestler (a proverbial workhorse) who Triple H has loved since he was running developmental and she was in NXT.

No bad choices here.

Cody Rhodes, Randy Orton & Kevin Owens vs. The Bloodline

If you thought the story of Rhodes and The Bloodline ended with Cody winning the WWE title from Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40… think again.

The evil faction of Pacific Islanders’ has been refreshed with Reigns’ former enforcer Solo Sikoa taking over his position as Tribal Chief. Sikoa’s proved to considerable more unpredictable than his older cousin was, bringing in Tama Tonga & Tonga Loa from New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Jacob Fatu from MLW as his hit squad. It’s unclear which pair will team with Solo in Toronto; Fatu is the guy with the most upside, but he may also have issues getting into Canada due to a past arrest. And, yes, a possible criminal background has been alluded to in-story as proof of how dangerous Sikoa’s Bloodline is — not that we needed much proof after the group sent Roman’s “wiseman” Paul Heyman to the hospital last week.

So Rhodes has assembled a team of good guys to stop Bloodline 2.0 while fans chant for Roman to come back and deal with the problem he left behind after dropping the title back in April. They’ll all held WWE’s top prize, and the always dangerous Orton has shown signs he might have eyes on Cody’s belt. Be on the lookout for a heel turn from The Viper here, possibly setting up a SummerSlam main event with his former Legacy protege.

Damian Priest vs. Seth Rollins

Kinda weird to have the only World title match at Saturday’s event this far down the list, but it’s no shade to champion Priest or challenger Rollins. The former hasn’t really felt like the star of his own show during his reign, but Priest is involved in one of Raw’s hottest programs as Women’s World champ Liv Morgan attempts to take over his Judgment Day group as part of her revenge plot against Damian’s teammate, Rhea Ripley (who’s out with an injury Morgan gave her). Rollins has played into that strife, goading Priest into agreeing to leave Judgment Day if he loses. In exchange, Seth said if he loses, he’ll give up his pursuit of the belt for as long it’s around Priest’s waist.

Plus, Rollins has been out of action since April due to knee surgery. So this will be the first time we’ve seen the Visionary in action since he reminded the world he’s one of the best wrestlers alive at WrestleMania.

Roxanne Perez vs. Lola Vice

Only one NXT match makes the cut, as the Heatwave build has been a bit lackluster. That’s due in large part to the number of wrestlers who were promoted to Raw or SmackDown in this past spring’s WWE Draft, so the brand’s creative team — led by Triple H’s right-hand man Shawn Michaels — has been in reset mode.

That was evident in the build to this Women’s title clash. Champion Perez is still settling into the heel character she’s working for her second reign. Challenger Vice (former MMA pro Valerie Loureda) has been built up for this opportunity, but only recently turned babyface for this match. They’re both performers WWE has high hopes for, but we’re still waiting for them to really click while working together.

It might not be the best match of the weekend, but it should be interesting no matter what. And who knows? Maybe someone from TNA — an outside promotion NXT’s got an ongoing crossover going with, now that WWE’s become willing to play nice with (some) others in the wrestling world since Vince’s exit — will crash this or another Heatwave match to make it REALLY interesting on Sunday night.

Whichever matches you’re looking forward to this weekend, you can get all the information about them and follow all the action at!

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