Wednesday 11 July 2012

Money in the Bank preview

Here's an interesting fact regarding the WWE championship Money in the Bank match: of the four former WWE champions involved only one has held the title in the last nine years. That man is John Cena. Of the other three competitors Big Show has not held the strap since December 15th 2002, 'Y2J' hasn't held it since March 17th 2002, and Kane hasn't held it since his one night reign ended on June 29th 1998 (fourteen years ago!).
This match has been announced as being open to former WWE champions only, which has resulted in the decidedly sparse four man cast. If it weren't for various obstacles (namely suspensions, other matches on the card, and filming commitments) then Randy Orton, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, and The Miz could have been added to the match. Rey Mysterio could have been added to the bout too but for some reason WWE haven’t made that decision. With Jericho the only highly rated worker currently involved (and he can be worryingly sloppy at times) any of these additions would have been welcome.
WWE would have been better off booking Cena v Big Show in a gimmick match of some sort to draw their feud to a close and adding Kane and Jericho to the card’s other MITB contest. Alternatively these four men could have clashed in a non-ladder affair with the winner earning a WWE title match at SummerSlam.
If one of these courses of action had been taken then the sole remaining briefcase bash could have been promoted as entitling the holder to a match against either world champion. That would have given the writing team more options and made the cash-in a more unpredictable (and therefore more enjoyable) affair.
As things stand we have four men involved in the WWE championship MITB battle. Can you see Kane or Big Show swaggering around with the red case (I assume it will remain that colour)? I can't. I think it's between Jericho and Cena to win. Considering that Cena has been put of the title picture for the best part of a year and a showdown between he and Punk is rumoured for SummerSlam I think he’ll leave the victor.
A further prediction: if Cena v Punk headlines 'The Hottest Event of the Summer' Cena will lose. I may change my mind between now and then but right now my feeling is that sooner or later somebody will have to cash in the briefcase and lose. Cena would not be harmed by an unsuccessful title challenge and it would allow somebody memorable to be the first MITB holder to lose.
The other Money in the Bank match will entitle the winner to a shot at the World Heavyweight title any time in the next twelve months. This bout has a far more intriguing line-up. Damien Sandow, Tyson Kidd, Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler are all deserving of higher spots on the card and an appearance in this match should help with that. Meanwhile Christian provides another good guy for people to rally behind and keeps the work rate up while Tensai can be booked as a monster, ploughing through his smaller opponents.
Santino and Sin Cara are also in the match.
It is almost impossible to predict a winner in these matches as there are so many options and it hinges so much on what the booking team has planned. This match could be designed as a way of launching a push for somebody such as Sin Cara or Tyson Kidd or rewarding a deserving talent like Dolph Ziggler or Christian. We have no way of knowing.
The safe way to approach predicting MITB winners is to think of who the writing team are most likely to want to put the World championship on in the next few months. Ziggler and Rhodes seem the safest bets there. I wouldn't be surprised to see both win world titles in the next twelve months.
'The Show Off' has found himself challenging for the WHC recently thanks to ADR's bad luck with concussions. He is now sufficiently over that I think he could dethrone Sheamus without using the back door method the briefcase provides. If he won I wouldn't be surprised but I’m leaning towards Cody Rhodes as a winner.
He has been drifting for months and has lost and regained the Intercontinental title numerous times, a sign that WWE has been uncertain of where to take him next. That he unceremoniously dumped the belt to ‘Captain Charisma’ at Over The Limit makes me think that WWE have decided to keep mid-card gold away from him and try him out as a headliner instead. A MITB win doesn't make that happen overnight, it's a launch pad as I said above. WWE will have months to ready Rhodes for a memorable world title victory and extended reign.
The WWE title affair has been centred on the love triangle between AJ, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan for months now. Punk and Bryan had a highly enjoyable, AJ-free clash at Over The Limit, which included a screwy finish to keep the programme alive. Money in the Bank will feature another clash between the two, only this time AJ will act as the guest referee.
Logically speaking Bryan could be expected to go over here. He's clashed with 'The Second City Saint' on WWE's last two pay-per-views and numerous times on television since the feud began. He has pinned Punk in tag and triple threat matches but crucially he has not yet pinned him when the strap is on the line.
With AJ as the official that outcome is not a foregone conclusion. Even if she weren't involved it wouldn't be guaranteed to happen due to the promotion's peculiar attitude towards booking. I expect Punk v Bryan to go on last and be the match of the night but I'm less confident stating someone will definitely leave the winner.
I'll go with Punk. I think a showdown between he and Cena is going to happen in the near future (if not at SummerSlam then by Survivor Series). It's possible WWE could go with a Cena v Bryan feud but I don't think they will: the former 'American Dragon' is so popular that pitting him against Cena would be asking for audiences to boo the face of the company.

WWE don’t want to risk that response, even for a fresh programme like Cena v Bryan.
The final announced match is Alberto Del Rio v Sheamus for the World Heavyweight championship. This feud started in the weeks following WrestleMania and yet it’s the first time the two will clash one-on-one on pay-per-view. I hope it draws an end to the rivalry, both men have lost momentum due to the protracted rivalry.

A pay-per-view posted cleverly disguised as a magazine
I'd like to predict a title change. I don't mind Sheamus as a face champion but I believe WWE wants to give him a lengthy run to further establish him as a credible headline talent. There's also the fact the ADR battered him with a car bonnet two weeks ago on the Great American Bash SmackDown. That should've killed 'Great White' but WWE's good guys are made of stronger stuff than most and he shrugged the experience off to appear on RAW this week. He'll overcome these setbacks and retain the gold against the heelish 'Essence of Excellence.'

For the record I'm expecting an unannounced match between Ryback and both members of the MidCard Mafia. Reks clashed with the bald-headed dynamo at this week's SmackDown taping, building on a match between Ryback and Hawkins on the previous show. A handicap match is the next logical step. Expect it to be Ryback's most competitive outing yet. He won't lose though. What'd be the point of that?
With so many wrestlers currently on the cusp of returning to the company I wouldn't be surprised to see one or more of them appear at Money in the Bank. Mysterio, Barrett and Miz would all be good surprises for the show.
Mysterio or Miz (or both) would add some welcome spice to the otherwise drab WWE MITB bout and could theoretically be added at the last minute by whoever is acting as authority figure for the evening. Barrett (or Miz) could return to attack a babyface and set up a match for SummerSlam. With so few names and interesting rivalries right now it would benefit WWE greatly to bring back these men in a meaningful, memorable manner and prepare something for their next PPV event at the same time.

On paper Money in the Bank 2012 looks a little sparse but thanks to a much-anticipated WWE title match and the unpredictable nature of Money in the Bank clashes it should turn out to be an enjoyable, memorable, and possibly pivotal event.
Predictions summary:
CM Punk to defeat Daniel Bryan
Sheamus to defeat Alberto Del Rio
John Cena to win the WWE championship Money in the Bank match
Cody Rhodes to win the World Heavyweight championship Money in the Bank match

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