Money in the Bank 2019 Predictions: Ariya Daivari vs Tony Nese - Cruiserweight Championship Match
Tony Nese is set to defend his Cruiserweight Championship against Ariya Daivari this Sunday at Money in the Bank. This will be the first pay-per-view since WrestleMania 34 where a Cruiserweight Championship match didn't involve Cedric Alexander or Buddy Murphy. Needless to say, these two have a lot to live up to, as the matches from the prior two champions tended to steal the show.
While they're enemies now, Nese and Daivari haven't always been on opposite sides. In fact, they were united along with Noam Dar and Drew Gulak as a part of Enzo Amore's "Zo Train." As a group, they would face off against the then champion's contenders, and would assist him in retaining the belt. They've come a long way since then. Cut to a little more than a year later, and both men have picked up wins over their former partners and advanced up the card in singles competition.
Since returning to 205 Live in early 2019, Ariya Daivari has been on a warpath, running through 205 Live's best with ease. While he was lost in the shuffle in the first few years of 205 Live, he's found his footing and has wreaked havoc on the Purple Brand.
Anyone that's been unfortunate enough to step up to Daivari has been knocked out, courtesy of the Hammerlock Lariat. Daivari's new aggressive style has allowed him to beat all comers to a pulp.
In fact, aside from two WrestleMania Axxess matches, one being a battle royal, Daivari hasn't lost once following his return to 205 Live on December 4th. Oney Lorcan, Noam Dar, Akira Tozawa and more have fallen to the lightweight bruiser. He even managed to knock off former Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexander back in March.
That's not to say that Tony Nese doesn't have a long list of wins under his belt. Though Buddy Murphy was the first person to beat Cedric Alexander in 2018, Nese was the second, and wound up being a severe thorn in the side of the former champion for months. Since February, he's racked up an eight-match winning streak, toppling the likes of Noam Dar, Drew Gulak, Kalisto, and his former partner Buddy Murphy.
Heading into their Cruiserweight Championship match, both men have a lot to prove. And in a post-Murphy/Alexander/Ali era, the brand is in a state of rebuilding. The roster seems to have lost a bit of star power, but a big showing from these two at MITB can prove doubters wrong.
This will be Nese's first title defense since his WrestleMania rematch against Murphy on April 9th. However, he hasn't exactly stayed on top of Daivari since he was named #1 contender. The challenger has consistently gotten in the head of the champion, and left him laying out cold in the middle of the ring.
Nese is going to have to step up his game if he's going to walk away with the Cruiserweight Championship, and that means developing a mean streak, something that he's been criticized for in the past. If he can't do that, it's sure to go Daivari's way, as he'll do everything in his power to knock the champion out.
Who will win?
Normally, I'd give this match to the new champion. This will only be Nese's second title defense, and the first new opponent he's actually had for the title. However, Daivari has been on another level, absolutely decimating his opponents, whereas Nese has seemingly struggled in nearly every match he's had since winning the belt.
The Premier Athlete could pull out the victory here, but I've got a feeling that a missed Running Kneese sets up perfectly for the Hammerlock Lariat or the Persian Lion Splash.
Prediction: Ariya Daivari is crowned the new Cruiserweight Champion