John: This Sunday night in Boston it's WWE Money in the Bank. It's the second PPV in a row without somebody defending the WWE Title, but at the end of the night we are guaranteed to see a new WWE Champion.
This is a two match show. It's all about finding out who the next WWE Champion is going to be. Eight guys in one match is interesting and it should be entertaining. The contract ladder match is appealing too, but it just doesn't seem as important as other years. They could have done a better job of building it up.
There's no announced Kickoff Match to talk about since it's just going to be a Daniel Bryan interview. I've missed him since he's been gone. Hopefully he can return for SummerSlam or before that. We still have no idea when his actual return will be.
Joining me for the preview are Christian Michael and Andrew Johnson from TJRWrestling.com. Let's get to it.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.com. The banner is courtesy of our friend Steve Melo.)
Curtis Axel & Ryback vs. Goldust & Stardust
Christian: I like all four guys in this match but I’m so sick and tired of watching these two teams face each other. This is what, their 138th meeting since WrestleMania? I don’t think I’m exaggerating either. Does WWE really have no other midcard heel tag teams that they have to throw Rybaxel out there all the time?
Anyway, this match comes down to one simple thing: does WWE want Goldust and Stardust to be a team going forward. If they do, then they win. If this is all part of a prolonged “Cody goes heel on Goldust” story then they lose. In the end it really doesn’t matter because after giving a lot of thought to the Tag Team Division last year, WWE is back to not really giving a damn.
Prediction- Goldust and Stardust
Andrew: Oh man. OH MAN.
I don’t think I have to explain why I love Stardust. If you know me you already know how much I love Cody Rhodes and Goldust, ESPECIALLY Cody Rhodes. So taking two of my favorite things ever and essentially doing a remix of them into one person makes my brain do jumping jacks and my heart write gooey poetry. Stardust is the f**king bomb.
A lot of people online are complaining about it not being a fresh match up, but is it really? That was Cody teaming with his brother against Rybaxel. Cody in kneepads, the 3rd best Cody Rhodes. This is Stardust. This is a completely different cat. I could watch him make Ryback and Curtis Axel seem mildly homophobic at least a dozen more times before I call it quits.
Winners: Gold Star
John: Does Goldust & Stardust count as a new team? In a way they are. In other ways they are not. With the way that WWE is booking them they are likely considering them as a new team, so with that in mind they're probably going to be victorious in this match. There's nothing wrong with the Rybaxel team. They're solid. It's just a matter of WWE wanting to put over the Dust Brothers in this match.
Winners: Goldust & Stardust
Summer Rae vs. Layla (Special Referee: Fandango)
Christian: Ok, so we got the old “that bitch stole my man” angle going on here. The only problem here is Summer Rae supposed to be a babyface here? It’s hard to tell because she’s still her usual bitchy self. This is the kitty litter and milk feud, which should tell you all you need to know about how awful it is. The only winner here is Fandango who gets to make out with two hot chicks.
Prediction- Summer Rae
Andrew: Well, I guess this is something I have to write about.
When it comes to dudes reviewing/previewing Divas matches, I like to think I’m one of the most positive ones out there. I don’t automatically write them off as something worthless, nor do I assume that seeing these women in their thighs and torsos is going to make me lust after other women and cheat on my wife. You know, that old chestnut. In fact, a little later in this column I’m going to have some really nice things to write about another Divas match. But this one…eh, I don’t really have anything nice to say about this one.
Summer Rae and Layla on their own are two capable to good wrestlers. Summer is better than people realize because she benefitted from being trained by one of the best wrestlers on the planet, and Layla has managed to have some solid performances in her WWE career. On paper, this shouldn’t be half bad. The problem is that it isn’t being billed as a match as much as it is being billed as a cat fight.
I don’t like girls “fighting over boys” storylines because WWE’s track record with treating women as anything other than objects/jealous bitches is not good, so I don’t anticipate this being more than a glorified scratchfest. They could surprise me and really put on a clinic, but I don’t think they’ll be allowed to, which is a shame for both women in wrestling and us the viewer respectively.
As for the finish I dunno. What should happen is Layla and Summer both realize that Fandango is a dipshit, give him the Divas version of Fall of Man, and become LayCool 2.0.
Or maybe Summer Lay? Is that acceptable?
Winner: Not Us, but Layla I guess
John: Hopefully this is the end of this feud because it hasn't been very good. Why should I care about who Fandango dances with and makes out with? The guy has been booked like such a loser for about a year now. Most of his matches for the last few months have been horrible to watch two minute specials that don't help anybody involved. What WWE should concentrate on is making Summer Rae a heel Divas Title contender because she would be good in that role. She's not that likable. Make her the heel. My feeling is Summer flirts with Fandango a lot, he thinks she's really into him and then she finds a way to win. Then after the match she slaps him to end it. I'll take Summer since she's younger, newer and would benefit more from a win.
Winner: Summer Rae
Rusev vs. Big E
Christian: We saw Big E get owned by Rusev in less than four minutes at Payback so why we need to see it again is beyond me. The real choice for a Rusev opponent here would be Jack Swagger. Zeb has had his issues with Lana and Jack can really embrace his “Real American” side by going after someone constantly demeaning the country.
Despite Big E’s best Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. impersonation on RAW, he’s still going to get his ass handed to him at Money in the Bank.
Andrew: I’m half tempted to just cut and paste my own words from the Payback preview and call it a day.
F**k it, that’s exactly what I’m doing.
This is shit or get off the pot time for Big E. After an underwhelming IC title run (I feel like I've typed that a lot) Big E is in a position where he needs to make a statement. Not a win, mind you, but a big match moment that will make him stand out in the fans minds. Rusev is still too fresh a character to fail yet, Langston is on the bubble. Put up or shut up big man. I believe in you.
Expect a lot of hoss bombs thrown and possibly a bloody mouth. That tends to happen in Big E matches. Dude does more internal damage than Crohn's disease.
It will go exactly like that, only with 100% more Russian medals.
John: I'm going to borrow Andrew's idea except I'll just paste in what I wrote in my review of their match four weeks ago at Payback. Here's that paragraph.
Big E hit a shoulder tackle while Rusev was on the apron and they went crashing to the floor. Big E has been doing that move in nearly every match. It usually generates a big reaction. Crowd loved it. Rusev hit a hard kick to the face that knocked Big E down. Lana told Rusev to crush, so that's what he did as he applied The Accolade and Big E tapped out. The match went four minutes.
That was it. This match should be something similar. It might be even shorter.
WWE Divas Championship: Paige (c) vs. Naomi
Christian: If WWE gives these two 7-10 minutes to have a competitive match I bet they can surprise us. More likely is that they’ll have Cameron cost Naomi the match and we’ll have to deal with the awfulness of that feud while the Divas Champion continues to suffer from a lack of character development. Then they’ll blame Paige for not getting over. Jackass, make me care about her!
Prediction- Paige retains the Divas Championship
Andrew: Now here’s something I can get into. Naomi has good matches with just about everybody she wrestles. Seriously her match on Raw against Alicia Fox was really good, but you’d be forgiven for not noticing it because the clowns on commentary did everything they possibly could to make your brain bleed. If we can get an announce team that won’t detract from the action in the ring the Divas division might actually start getting taken seriously.
Paige is legit a wrestling machine. She’s cool, she’s young, and she’s got a better knack for selling than most. Naomi’s move set is mostly ass-based, but Paige is going to make it look like the deadliest thing ever.
The good news is that this will be good, so turn off the sound and just try and enjoy it in silence. The bad news is it’s going to lead to Naomi vs. Cameron, which is something none of us need or want. That’ll be no Melina vs. Alicia Fox.
John: It's a shame that Paige still hasn't had a good feud for the Divas Title. When Alicia Fox was going after her at least she had a strong character. We knew she wasn't going to win, but at least WWE made an effort to make her stand out at a bit. For this PPV they could have just built up Paige vs. Naomi as babyfaces in a 7-10 minute match and that would have been very good. Instead, they'll probably focus on Cameron too much, which only annoys me.
What they'll probably do is have Cameron accidentally cost her friend Naomi, which would lead to them arguing after the match and Cameron turning heel to do the Funkadactyls split. Naomi will be better on her own. Cameron brings her down. Paige wins in about five minutes.
WWE Tag Team Championship: The Usos (c) vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan
Christian: Talk about another tag team match I’m getting tired of watching. Out of WWE’s three weekly shows (RAW, Main Event, SmackDown) these two teams must be averaging facing each other at least twice a week between tag and singles matches.
WWE botched The Usos chase for the Tag Team Championships by not having them win at WrestleMania and having them win on some random RAW. They haven’t had any career defining feuds either. It might be for the best to take the titles off them but are Rowan and Harper the answer? I think so. They work well together and can have good matches. They debuted their own entrance song on RAW which to me means WWE may already be hinting at separating them from Bray Wyatt. Being Tag Team Champions will help them if they’re separated from Bray.
Prediction- Rowan and Harper become the new Tag Team Champions
Andrew: Something wonderful happens whenever the Usos and the Wyatt Family get in the ring together. They are ideal opponents that bring out the best in each other. The hossyness of Harper and Rowan set them apart in the tag division (until the Ascension gets called up, then all bets are off) and the Usos are so different in the best way possible that it makes their matches unique show stealers. I anticipate/hope for a title change here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they hold it off until the next night on Raw, because WWE likes to mess with us for some reason.
Winners: The Wyatt Family
John: While some may think it's time for a title change, I don't really see it happening. My thinking is that the Usos are being built up as the main team in the tag division, which is the right move. For them to really be established as the team to beat they need a significant title reign. That means longer than three months. If the Usos get a reign that lasts six months or so that will be really beneficial to them and to the value of the titles.
I don't really mention the "get beat up or lose on TV, win on PPV" theory as much because WWE has been going against it of late. However, in this case we saw Harper & Rowan destroy the Usos on Raw, which really makes me think the champs are keeping the gold. A team like Harper & Rowan would be fun as tag champs because they're really awkward in a good way. I just don't think it's the right time to get titles off the champs. Hopefully The Ascension gets called up sooner rather than later because they could definitely be the next tag champs although I'd prefer if that's months down the line. Give this match 10 to 15 minutes. It should be very good.
Winners: The Usos
Money In The Bank Contract Ladder Match: Kofi Kingston vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Jack Swagger vs. Bad News Barrett
Christian: Let’s start this by addressing Wade Barrett. He was injured on SmackDown and it is unlikely he’ll be competing in the match. He was a favorite among many to win the match. There are three guys to look out for in this one: Dolph Ziggler, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.
Rollins is almost too predictable. He’s the new Triple H guy and you’d certainly expect him to get a big push starting with winning Money in the Bank. Dean Ambrose could win because he’s over with the fans and is one of the best all around competitors in WWE. Ultimately, I think Ambrose and Rollins’ hatred for each other will keep them from obtaining the briefcase as they’ll be more focused on each other than winning. That leaves Dolph Ziggler.
Despite being the selling machine for whatever heel they are trying to get over, he consistently has great matches and is still really popular. WWE can’t be that naïve not to notice this or how one of the greatest moments ever on RAW was him cashing in the Money in the Bank contract the night after WrestleMania 29. He really needs this is he ever is going to attain a status higher than what he is now. WWE can makes the fans happy by having him win and then go back to pissing us off when he loses his cash in match.
I’m going with Dolph Ziggler partly because of hope and partly because I’m not sure where else WWE can go with a winner.
Prediction- Dolph Ziggler
Andrew: Let’s look at the Pros and Cons for each of these guys and what their chances are:
Pros- He’s an established star that has never broken out of the midcard. If Kofi won it would be an interesting and fresh situation, because it leads to the possibility of a guy not named John Cena going the honorable route and announcing the cash-in ahead of time. And yes, I know RVD did it too, but that was at an ECW show with an ECW crowd. Sandow proved how well cashing in on Cena goes in normal circumstances (hint: NOT WELL).
Cons- Without a major character change nobody will take him seriously, and I doubt WWE wants Kofi anywhere except exactly where he is.
Rob Van Dam:
Pros- He’s an established name that has given the MITB briefcase credibility in the past. He’s on his supposed farewell tour and a final run with the title isn’t out of the question when it comes to WWE’s booking decisions.
Cons- He’s RVD, and aside from occasionally busting out a good match on NXT or Raw, that ship has sailed.
Pros- He’s the new hotness, he’s got a ton of momentum, and an incredible upside. At this point he’s one of my favorites to win it all.
Cons- Dean Ambrose, who’s taken out a contract on Rollins’ head and plans to collect on it himself.
Pros- He’s hot with the live crowds, he’s talented as hell, and is itching for a second chance on top of the card.
Cons- He’s got a problem staying healthy, which is the easiest way aside from killing your family to lose the faith of management.
Pros- See Seth Rollins, but add the drama that a briefcase for he and Rollins to feud over would give the rivalry some gravitas.
Cons- He’s kayfabe insane, and isn’t super concerned with winning. He just wants to watch the world burn.
Cons- It’s not gonna be Swagger.
Bad News Barrett:
Pros- Barrett would have won this match. However…
Cons- He’s injured :-(
Winner: Seth Rollins
John: My original pick in this match was going to be Bad News Barrett because I think WWE has really struck gold with his gimmick and he's been really solid in the ring of late too. However, due to the shoulder injury suffered on Smackdown we have no idea if he'll be ready on Sunday. We probably won't hear anything from WWE about it because they like to keep things like that a secret. If he does miss the match they might replace him or they might just go with the six guys because that's enough. It wouldn't shock me if Christian was the replacement just because he's the kind of veteran that can really make others look great in a match like this.
The story that makes the most sense to me is a win for Dean Ambrose. Remember that it was Seth Rollins who asked Triple H to put him in the match. It's going to be a decision that will haunt Rollins. Ambrose has something going with his "loose cannon" Brian Pillman like gimmick where he's become this very unpredictable guy that fans are really starting to get behind. Imagine him with the Money in the Bank briefcase in his possession? It would be awesome to see him carrying it around. A win for Rollins seems too obvious. That's why Ambrose winning makes more sense. It's just how WWE likes to book things.
I think outside of Rollins or Ambrose, the only one with a chance is Ziggler. That's only if WWE starts to believe in him again, which they should. Guys like Kingston, RVD and Swagger have been booked so poorly for months that it is silly that they can win a title match contract like this. Did WWE plan this long term at all? It doesn't seem like it. If they did, maybe those guys would have actually won matches to warrant a spot here.
Since Rollins, Ziggler and Ambrose are among my current favorites in WWE I expect it to be a really entertaining match. Rollins will probably do something crazy to match Kingston. Ziggler will probably overdo it, but that's why we respect the guy so much. They'll get 15-20 minutes and it will be one of the two or three best matches of the night. My pick is Ambrose although it really is a tough one to call.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match: Kane vs. Sheamus vs. Alberto del Rio vs. Cesaro vs. Roman Reigns vs. John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
Christian: To break down this match, I want to take a quick look at all the competitors.
Kane: Makes sense that he’s in the match because he was scheduled to have a WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match at this PPV and he’s been The Authority’s henchman since October. Despite that he’s got no shot at winning the title nor should he at this point in his career.
Alberto Del Rio: This guy has fallen so far off the radar that I don’t think fans even think he’s a viable contender for the NXT Championship.
Sheamus: I think WWE is content with him bringing some value back to the United States Championship. He’s fallen down on the babyface pecking order and really isn’t a viable World Champion right now.
Cesaro: He really intrigues me. Cesaro is one of my favorites in WWE right now, but I don’t think he’s been built up enough to be World Champion. It makes much more sense for him to be in the MITB Contract Ladder Match where he’d be the clear favorite to win.
John Cena: He’s John Cena. Next.
Randy Orton: If WWE wants to go with the safe choice and wants a heel champion then Orton is their guy.
Bray Wyatt: I’d love to see the anarchy Wyatt would cause as Champion but he’s not ready yet. He needs some more dominant wins after he lost his feud with Cena.
Roman Reigns: It’s no secret that he is WWE’s next golden child. They want him to take over for Cena as the company’s franchise player. I think he will be but I think it best serves him to chase the title for a few months before getting his big win, most likely at WrestleMania 31. It’s too soon after the Shield breakup for him to become champion especially since he’s not had a major singles feud in his career.
The wildcard here is Brock Lesnar. He’s rumored to be getting a WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match in the main event of SummerSlam. If that’s the case I really can’t see Wyatt, Cesaro or Reigns winning since it wouldn’t make sense for any of them to have their first title reigns be so short. This is me assuming Lesnar wins the title at SummerSlam, which he should. If you beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania your next step should be to become Champion. Then you create a scenario where the guy that beats you for the title is put over like no one else has before. Whether that is Reigns or a babyface Cesaro down the road remains to be seen.
That leaves the only logical choice to win the match (please don’t throw things at me) is John Cena. Cena vs. Lesnar at SummerSlam is a marquee match you can sell the show around and since Cena is Cena a short title reign won’t hurt him at all.
Prediction- John Cena becomes the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion
Andrew: Let’s do the same here.
Pros- If the job of the winner of this match is to be a transitional champ until Bryan is healthy again, Kane is the best option. They have a feud they need to bookend, and they need to put the belt back on Bryan. Win-win.
Cons- His name isn’t John Cena.
Pros- He’s getting some attention again with a US title run and WWE loves giving Sheamus title runs. Plus, he’s kind of the dark horse, and WWE loves pulling those little surprises of theirs.
Cons- His name isn’t John Cena.
Alberto Del Rio:
Pros- Another dark horse who has MITB credentials. Del Rio winning would probably be the biggest surprise of the night, but it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility.
Cons- His name isn’t John Cena.
Pros- If Bryan doesn’t get healthy by Battleground supposedly (if rumors are to be believed) that means the WWE Champion is going to have to go one-on-one with Lesnar at SummerSlam. Out of all the possibilities this one is the most intriguing. Plus, Cesaro is being groomed for the top spot. Now’s as good a time as any.
Cons- His name isn’t John Cena.
Pros- Reigns winning makes the most sense. He’s still got The Shield shine on him, and he could use a short title reign to establish him in the eyes of the WWE Universe as a top-caliber talent. Reigns tasting the gold briefly would only make a Rumble victory and Mania title win all the more sweet.
Cons- His name isn’t John Cena.
Pros- He’s always a favorite for WWE when it comes to holding onto the gold until the guy they really want is ready. Plus, when Orton’s on, few are better.
Cons- His name isn’t John Cena.
Pros- It would be cool as hell, and would legitimize Wyatt more than a thousand Cena WrestleMania matches.
Cons- His name isn’t John Cena.
Pros- His name is John Cena.
Cons- His name is John Cena.
Winner: John Cena
John: It's a tough match to predict with eight performers involved and Brock Lesnar likely looming as a SummerSlam challenger in less than two months. Who makes the most sense to win the WWE Title leading to an eventual match with him? My answer is John Cena. I can hear you booing as you read this, but that's what I feel. I'm not a Cena hater at all although I understand why some people are too. The reason for Cena winning is that it's a good business decision by WWE at a time when the company has had a rough time of late from the financial side of things. Who is the biggest draw, top merchandise seller and unquestioned real face of WWE? Cena. That's why he should win.
Earlier this week there was a SummerSlam poster that got leaked out featuring Cena and Lesnar. It was on Amazon.com for a few days before it got replaced by a generic SummerSlam logo with nobody on the graphic. That same Cena/Lesnar graphic was sent to subscribers of a WWE mailing list too. There have been reports that WWE is upset that it got released, but who knows if they are really upset? The poster is legit. It got people talking. If they are upset then maybe they'll do something where somebody else wins this match, then Cena gets the gold at Battleground to set up the SummerSlam battle with Lesnar, but that really would hurt the title more than anything. If they want to have Cena carry the gold then have him win it here. It's the KISS theory: keep it simple, stupid.
While guys like Roman Reigns, Cesaro and Bray Wyatt are all stars on the rise, it doesn't seem like the right time for any of them.
Reigns should get screwed out of the win. Just as he's about to win, somebody will come out to cost him. Maybe have Triple H come down to prevent him from winning as a way to set up a SummerSlam match between them or some other match in the near future. The right time for Reigns will be when he wins the 2015 Royal Rumble and then the WWE Title at WrestleMania 31. Doing it during an average PPV in June just doesn't feel right. He'll continue to be built strong, but they can keep him busy feuding with Orton, Triple H and Rollins for the rest of the year if they play it smart.
If Cesaro was in the contract ladder match for the briefcase he would be the best winner for that. In this match he just feels like another guy that can do some impressive spots, but it's unlikely that he'll leave as champ. He'll need to be built up more. Maybe later in the year he can win the gold. I expect him to be the most impressive guy in the match after Reigns, who will be booked strong like usual.
A win for Wyatt would be cool although it also seems unlikely. He's been doing promos about how being the champion would give him more power, but after losing the Cena feud he's lost some steam.
They could go with Randy Orton. It would be a step back considering how boring his last title run was last year and into this year. It just kept on dragging. Orton can stay relevant without being the champ again. Just keep the title off him.
Even though Kane lost a stretcher match to qualify for Money in the Bank he's in this match. It probably upsets some people, but so what? That's The Authority being heels. He's in his mid-40s. He shouldn't win. When Daniel Bryan comes back they can feud non-title, Bryan can beat him again and go after the champ.
Then there's Sheamus and Del Rio, both of whom are solid veterans that aren't going to win. Del Rio has become just another midcarder that was barely featured for a couple of months, yet they put him in this match based on his past. Sheamus is doing fine as US Champ. A heel turn would be nice for him, but I don't think it's going to involve winning the WWE Title.
As for the actual match, I don't really expect crazy stuff to happen aside from some superhuman power spots by Cesaro because he's a freak like that. It's not a match filled with high flyers or guys that will take a lot of risks because they're not going to do anything stupid to risk injury. This will be the longest match on the show that will go between 20-25 minutes. It should be very good. The booking of this match really intrigues me.
When it comes to a winner it's the obvious choice, but it's also the one that makes the most sense to me. Plus, it's not a bad idea to have hometown hero John Cena winning it in Boston either even if he does get booed there too.
Winner: John Cena
John: It's not a strong show from top to bottom although as a fan of Money in the Bank ladder matches I'm glad they are doing two of them. Those matches are always above average, so that will help the quality of the show. The problem is that the other matches really don't come off as special. The tag title match will probably be the third best on the card, but we've seen it before. Everything else is just average. It's basically a two match show.
I'll be writing about Money in the Bank live on at 8pmET on TJRWrestling.com. There will be a full recap of everything that happened with the results and analysis of everything on the show. I'll post it at other sites on Monday. I'm Greek (Canton is a pen name), so I could be in a really bad mood or good mood depending on Greece's World Cup match with Costa Rica a few hours before this.
Follow us on Twitter at the following places.
Christian - @Christian_973
Andrew - @TheAEJohnson
John - @johnreport
If you want to send an email, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org as well. Thanks for reading.