John: Welcome to the WWE Money in the Bank Preview. There are four announced matches on the PPV portion of the show with a pre-show match also announced. Even though they refuse to announce more matches, this is still one of my favorite annual PPVs because I find the ladder matches to be very exciting and generally well booked. Plus, this could be the first PPV since December's TLC event where the WWE Champion CM Punk actually gets to wrestle in the last match.
Joining me for the preview are TJRWrestling's resident Smackdown reviewer Andrew Johnson and our former Smackdown writer who is now a retro PPV reviewing kind of guy, Christian Michael. Let's roll.
Pre-show: WWE Tag Team Champions R-Truth & Kofi Kingston vs. Hunico & Camacho (Non-Title)
Andrew: Hahahahahaha… Camacho is in a title match!
(Note from John: It's actually non-title, but I like what Andrew wrote so it stays in!)
Winners: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth
Christian: This match makes little to no sense to me. It's a non-title match where the barely seen Tag Team Champions are facing a team that never wins. Why not give Titus and Young their title match here? Or have we forgotten about that? Give the viewers some reason to tune in. This one is easy to pick.
Prediction- Kofi Kingston and R-Truth
John: I think putting on throwaway matches on the pre-show is a negative way to begin a PPV. It doesn't add much. We all know the champs are winning this non-title match that means absolutely nothing. It's a good way to get the crowd excited, I guess. That's really it.
Regarding the Primetime Players title shot, they addressed it on Smackdown with a tweet from AW saying they didn't want to have their shot on the pre-PPV show. In other words, they know the pre-PPV match sucks. Way to draw up the interest in the pre-show, WWE.
Winners: R-Truth & Kofi Kingston
Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Championship Contract: Dolph Ziggler vs. Christian vs. Tensai vs. Santino vs. Damien Sandow vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes
Andrew: This is what I assume will be the show stealer, because it has all the ingredients of one:
-Cody Rhodes/Dolph Ziggler
-Tyson Kidd jumping off of things
-Damien Sandow’s beard
It should be a breathtaking affair, and if it disappoints so help me God I’ll do nothing about it something.
Anyway, the odds are pretty crazy in a match like this, but I think I can accurately predict the chances of everyone involved:
Damien Sandow- 34%
Tyson Kidd- 15%
Sin Cara- 3% (also with an 87% chance of injuring himself)
Cody Rhodes- 90%
Dolph Ziggler- 90 and a 1/2 %
There you have it. Oh, and don’t double check that math. It’s… not exact.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Christian: The names in this match don't stand out at you but this is what the MITB Match was made for. To give a guy right on the cusp instant credibility as a top guy. While this could be a star making match for guys like Sandow and Kidd, the only two men that have a shot at winning are Ziggler and Rhodes. I was hoping that WWE would put them in separate matches so they both can win but that's not happening. I'm going with Ziggler. I like him more than Rhodes and he's been closer to the top than Cody lately and this is his final push there. This is going to be a really fun match any way you look at it.
Prediction- Dolph Ziggler
John: This match features four of my favorite people in WWE in one match: Tyson Kidd, Dolph Ziggler, Christian and Cody Rhodes. Due to this, there will be plenty of marking out going on by yours truly as I watch these guys put on what should be the more entertaining of the two ladder matches. I don't mind Sandow, Santino, Sin Cara and even the loud man Tensai either, so I think the mix of talent involved here is pretty awesome. Before anybody says that there are people in the match that have no chance to win just remember that Heath Slater was in a MITB last year, so it is an annual tradition.
The one person I wanted to focus on is Tyson Kidd because I think this is a true breakout match for him. Even though he's been a part of WWE for six years (that includes developmental) and been a pro wrestler for 17 years (started at the age of 15), he's yet to be featured as a singles wrestler at a high level. He's a guy with the ability to work a high flying style as well as a technical one, so that makes him valuable in my eyes. While he's not considered a big wrestler, neither are the two guys in the WWE Title match so maybe WWE is ready to push a guy like Kidd. I'm hoping there are some spots in the match that allow him to shine. I have no doubt that my fellow Canadian will leave this match impressing a lot of fans and more importantly his bosses as well.
Despite all of the hope I have for Kidd, I don't think he'll win. I think this match is about Ziggler and Rhodes. All year I've been saying that one of them is going to win MITB because they're destined for main event status. Ziggler has already been at that level this year thanks to feuds with CM Punk and Sheamus as well as his cup of coffee World Title reign last year when he feuded with Edge. Rhodes had a long reign with the Intercontinental Title and he dropped in just time to be elevated to the next level. It's tough to pick between them really, but I think Ziggler is the more appropriate choice. He's the more polished of the two. They could even turn Ziggler face after winning this because a lot of the "smart fans" get behind him at the shows and you can hear the chants for him increasing.
This will be a good match. They'll likely get between 15-20 minutes of action, the spots will be well placed considering the talent in the match and hopefully there's a dramatic finish as well. Like most people, I'm going with Ziggler. He's the obvious choice. He's also the right choice.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio
Andrew: I think it’s a miracle this match is happening at all. This one-on-one match has been postponed as many times as Duke Nukem Forever, and it’s probably going to live up to the hype just as well.
I’m a fan of Alberto Del Rio, and I’m a fan of Sheamus when he isn’t brogue kicking one of my favorite wrestlers in 18-second matches, but I find this whole thing underwhelming. My hope is that Del Rio will walk out with the belt and start arm-breaking anyone that even eye his championship gold, but I’m not going to get my hopes up. Del Rio and WWE both equally love to dangle the “Alberto Del Rio: World Heavyweight Champion” carrot too much for me to get 100% invested, but I guess anything is possible.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Christian: I hate to be so short on a major title match but I'm not into this feud at all. This match was supposed to happen at the last two PPVs and for whatever reason it didn't. I'm expecting a competitive match in which Sheamus wins despite Ricardo Rodriguez's best efforts to help Del Rio.
Prediction- Sheamus retains the World Heavyweight Championship
John: If we had to name a "lock" on this show then this match would be it. Sheamus will retain his World Heavyweight Title versus Alberto Del Rio. I think Del Rio is one of those transitional opponents in that he's there for Sheamus to beat before he moves onto a more threatening opponent next month, which could be Wade Barrett or the returning Randy Orton.
This feud is okay, but it's not at the level of Sheamus/Bryan and I think Del Rio has lost a lot of the steam he had last year. Last year he was seen as a true top guy. This year he's not perceived to be at that same level. This will be a 10-15 minute match that Sheamus wins clean. If they do a finish with a DQ ending it could lead to a Summerslam rematch, but I doubt Sheamus leaves without his World Heavyweight Title.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a WWE Championship Contract: Big Show vs. Kane vs. John Cena vs. Chris Jericho
Andrew: I’m kind of torn on this match in the same way I’m torn on the Money In The Bank PPV itself. It’s a great concept that was made less special by changing it.
When the MITB match was taken away from WrestleMania it did two things that I believe are negatives:
1) It removed a special attraction at WrestleMania, a void they have yet to successfully fill.
2) It made it the entire attraction, which devalued its uniqueness.
When it was at WrestleMania it was like a weird quirk that made the show itself seem more special. When it got its own PPV, they had to make two ladder matches to fill out the card. Despite what mathematics say, when it comes to making things special, 1 is always greater than 2.
The other problem I have is that when they announced the WWE Championship MITB match would feature only former WWE Champions, I thought “What a waste.” Because these matches are meant to catapult a new star up, not assist already established guys. It’s counterproductive, so now instead of elevating two guys in an age where WWE needs to be feeding the new blood, they’re going to give that golden ticket to a guy that hasn’t needed it for a decade.
On the other hand, I really like to watch people jump off ladders, so I’m going to just suck it up and try to enjoy the show.
Winner: John Cena
Christian: John Cena hasn't been in a WWE Championship Match since Vengeance in late October. Despite constantly being in the main event, it's been a refreshing 9+ months seeing someone else run in the title holder's spot. Sadly, that's all about to change. I don't know where else WWE is going to go with the outcome. Jericho is just there to be the workhorse of the match because you can't really expect the other three men to carry a ladder match. I'm not really looking forward to this because I don't like the participants or the likely outcome.
Prediction- John Cena
John: Remember when WWE thought it was such a big deal that John Cena was going to be in a Money in the Bank match that they considered it a "major announcement?" It's really not a major announcement, but it will be interesting to see Cena in a match like this because it doesn't happen very often.
I know there are rumors that other people could be added to this match since it's for former WWE Champions only. That would mean guys like The Miz (who is done filming The Marine 3) and Rey Mysterio (whose suspension is over) could be late additions to it. They could even add Alberto Del Rio to it after he loses to Sheamus. A lot of things could happen, but I think they'll just keep it as a four man match. If any of those guys do get added I would think it would be only one of them, but working a five man match is harder than a four way so what would be the point? If you bring back both Miz and Mysterio then you lose some of the luster of a return. I just don't see the need to add people to it. A four way match is enough for me.
There are two obvious favorites here in Cena as well as Big Show. With Chris Jericho they're pushing the idea that he created the match (it's true - read his second book) so that makes him an expert in it despite the fact that he's never won one of these. They're also pushing the story of Kane being a former MITB winner, which gives him a legit shot at winning too. I don't think anybody really believes in either of them, which leaves us with the other two.
In Show's case, he is getting the big push as the unbeatable giant even though we've seen him lose many times in his career. They keep trying to put over the idea that things are different now and he's more violent now, so if they want us to believe it they will put him over here. With Cena, it's all about putting him back into the WWE Title picture. This will be a quick way to do that. Of course they could always have him win some number one contender's match to get there, but I think this is more likely because it would be different to see a top guy like Cena carrying around that briefcase.
The pick is another obvious one - John Cena. I think Summerslam is too big of a show for him to not be in a WWE Title match. I think at the end of the WWE Title match (yes I think it will go on last), Cena's music will hit and instead of him cashing in Money in the Bank he'll cut a promo. He'll say that he is cashing in his briefcase at Summerslam against the WWE Champion (wait for my pick there) and he'll do it in a match rather than a cheap attack because that's the kind of guy he is. That way Cena is in one of the two big matches at Summerslam with Lesnar/HHH being the other one. It's not like they're going to have a Summerslam without Cena in one of the two biggest matches. Cena's been out of the WWE Title picture for nearly one year. It's amazing that it's been that long. Guess what? After Sunday he's back in the picture. Officially.
Winner: John Cena
WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan w/AJ as Special Referee
Andrew: Up until this past Monday this was the match I was anticipating the most. It was, that is, until the utter toilet staining opening promo that sucked the entertainment juices out of this feud and vomited them into a pile of shit.
Okay, maybe I’m laying it on a little thick.
I hated that segment. Couple that with my lukewarm feelings on their promo on last week’s Smackdown and I’ve been slowly losing interest in what I once considered the best feud of the year so far. I know this is going to make me lose some cred with the TJR fans, but seriously take a look at the past few weeks. Ever since AJ tossed Punk and Bryan through the table it’s been downhill straight to bullshit proposals town.
The good news is that CM Punk and Daniel Bryan (a guy who calls himself the best in the world, and the legit best in the world) are awesome at their jobs and are going to make their match on Sunday bonkers despite how boring and lame the buildup has been since July 3rd. Also, none of the fault in the past few weeks has been because of AJ, and I still really enjoy her character. So I guess that’s something.
Winner: CM Punk
Christian: I've really been into this story and the work of all three involved. I must admit that the marriage proposal wasn't exactly my favorite part of this story. With two elite workers like Bryan and Punk it is almost a shame to throw AJ in as the referee since the match will be more about the story than the work. With Cena likely winning MITB it makes more sense for Punk to win but I think Bryan and AJ as a heel duo works best long term. I'm going for the long shot here and saying that AJ "accidentally" costs Punk the title until its revealed that it was all part of Bryan's master plan. Or Punk wins clean and this all goes away because this is WWE and Cena is getting the title back anyway, so who cares? I do.
Prediction- Daniel Bryan wins the WWE Championship
John: One year ago CM Punk won the WWE Title at Money in the Bank to one of the loudest ovations in the history of WWE. Also one year ago Daniel Bryan won a Money in the Bank match much to the surprise of many, including myself. Now they're wrestling for the WWE Title in what will likely be the last match on Sunday's PPV. And people are complaining about WWE right now? Are you freaking kidding me?
Yes, I will admit that this past Monday's Raw was a very bad show that I wish I never saw, but it's not due to the in-ring performances of these guys. Punk and Bryan are the two best performers so far in 2012 and for them to be involved in a WWE Title match for the third straight PPV is a wonderful thing. It could be a lot worse, believe me. Smile. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Last month at No Way Out I thought Daniel Bryan would walk out as WWE Champion because they could have had him win by beating Kane and that could have led to the rematch with Punk here. Instead Punk won, Bryan became the top contender again and they have placed the "crazy chick" AJ in the role of referee.
If they get 20 minutes of time in the ring then I expect another match of the year contender like their Over The Limit match. There is more of a story here, though, so that will help it in terms of crowd reactions. It could also hurt in the in-ring performance sense too. Still, if you give these guys time you know you're getting a high quality WRESTLING match and for this WRESTLING (all caps again) fan there's not much more you can ask for.
There are a lot of ways this match could go. Having AJ as the referee has thrown in a major wrinkle and has led to yours truly thinking there could be a number of different outcomes. We could see AJ screw CM Punk (not literally) at the end of the match because he turned down her marriage proposal. That could lead to her being a "power couple" with Daniel Bryan one more time, or they could keep her on her own to continue the craziness. I don't think Bryan will win, though. While I would like that, I think we're going to see Punk vs. Cena in a Summerslam re-match for the WWE Title. Of course they could have Bryan win, which would then lead to a singles match versus Cena or possibly the addition of Punk to make it a three way. I feel like I'm rambling now. The possibilities are endless. My feeling is that Bryan will try to cheat, AJ will prevent that from happening and Punk will capitalize with a GTS to retain his WWE Championship.
Like I said, there are a lot of things that can happen here. That's why I like it so much. I've been frustrated with some of the match finishes involving these guys on Raw in the past few weeks mainly because the matches haven't really mattered as much as they should, but in this case the match matters a whole lot and that's what has my interest. Who will win? What will AJ do? What happens next? These are all things we don't know and they are the reason why I'm very interested to see what happens in the WWE Title match this Sunday night.
Winner: CM Punk
John: That's a wrap. I think it will be an above average PPV. It's very odd that there are only four announced matches, though. I would expect them to possibly add a random divas match whether it's singles or a tag and appearances by the likes of Ryback and/or Brodus Clay are also very likely. It's not like you're going to have four matches get 45 minutes of screen time. The four advertised matches will all get plenty of time though, which is a good formula for success when it comes to a PPV event.
I'll be back on Sunday night with live coverage of Money in the Bank on TJRWrestling.com. I'll put up a post in the afternoon and all you'll have to do is check that out throughout the night as I update you on everything that happens. I'm looking forward to it.
Follow all of us on Twitter at the following places.
Andrew - @TheAEJohnson
Christian - @Christian_973
John - @johnreport
If you want to send an email, send it to me at email@example.com (new email address) and I'll make sure the other guys see it too.
The last thing is a big thank you to TJR reader @scotmboken for bringing this "The John Report" sign to Raw & Smackdown (both taped in Denver) this past week. A lot of people noticed it, so that's great. Here is a screencap of the sign:
Thanks for reading. Enjoy Money in the Bank.