Money in the Bank Preview and Predictions, 2011

Money in the Bank July 17, 2011, Allstate Arena, Chicago, IL

For the past 3-4 weeks, Money in the Bank has become the most highly anticipated PPV in recent memory. At it’s inception, I was skeptical about the idea of a MITB PPV, simply because I thought the MITB match was great as a unique attraction for WrestleMania, or would serve better in a similar role at Summerslam. After last year’s event though, and a new-found belief that the concept will never get boring and will always create great intrigue, I have been brought round to the concept. Indeed, even before the #SummerofPunk  even began, I was starting to consider Money in the Bank as on par with the so called ‘Big 4’. Indeed, I think it wont be long before we start speaking of the ‘Big 5’, and it’s great to see that at least one of the new concept PPVs has worked. CM Punk and his current shoot-style ‘storyline’ has and will dominate the build up of the PPV though, as well as almost completely overshadowed the ladder matches, which just speaks to the firestorm it has created! As for the matches, six seems quite few, and I wouldn’t rule out one being added on the night, although the world title matches and the MITB matches should take up a lot of time. If a match is added, I would imagine it would be a tag title match with the Nexus defending against the Usos, which I think would be great!

Match 1) RAW MITB Ladder Match: Rey Mysterio vs Alberto Del Rio vs Kofi Kingston vs Alex Riley vs R-Truth vs The Miz vs Evan Bourne vs Jack Swagger
If I were choosing the match order, I would put the RAW ladder match out first because obviously the fans will always wonder how it could possibly affect the CM Punk angle, and so having a winner in place will give fans the licence for their imaginations to run wild for the rest of the show. That in mind, I guess my prediction is based on what I think could happen on Sunday, mixed with a large degree of booking the story myself! First, let’s rule people out; firstly, Alex Riley. I know Riley may well be the next big new face, but him having a shot at the WWE title at this time is patently ridiculous, but at the same  time, he can’t cash in and lose because if he is intended as a future champion, thatc could be quite a stigma to someone with a so far incidental career.The only other person i’m going to rule out is The Miz. That may sound surprising, but I think his last title reign cemented him as a top talent, and to have to regain the title with the MITB briefcase would actually damage his profile. I think all four of the others are possibilities, but my favourite is Rey Mysterio. Rey has been mysteriously absent as of late, and would be a surprising winner for that reason as he hasn’t made any ‘statements’ on TV. Now the reason I haven’t picked hotly tipped favourite Alberto Del Rio might become clear after my preview of the main event, but it’s basically because I believe there’s a chance the RAW winner could cash in and lose, and that certainly wont happen to Del Rio; whereas it could happen to Rey, who seems to be going nowhere, and could do with stimulus of any kind. He fits the role I believe he could take the best out of the other competitors, and so, I’ve picked Rey.

Winner: Rey Mysterio

Match 2) The Big Show vs Mark Henry
I think this match, which has been built very nicely, would usually be higher up the card, but on a card with world title matches and MITB matches, it slips down. This is one i’m more sure about the outcome of. Though Big Show has been impressive, it’s clear that the fire is really behind Henry right now, and a loss would completely kill it. I think this will be a brutal match, which hopefully isn’t too turgid. From their previous outings, i’m confident it wont be. Henry will win after some sort of insane feat of strength, possibly involving breaking the ring in some way.

Winner: Mark Henry

Match 3) Smackdown MITB Ladder Match: Kane vs Sin Cara vs Daniel Bryan vs Cody Rhodes vs Wade Barrett vs Sheamus vs Heath Slater vs Justin Gabriel
Obviously I have a storyline in mind with this prediction, but seen as my preview of the RAW match was all about what could happen storyline-wise, i’ll talk a bit more about the in-ring side of things. What is exciting about this is that it features  six people who have never taken part in this match, and five guys who really could, and really need to shine in this environment if they want to progress with the company. I expect some of the most innovative stuff to come from Daniel Bryan, because i’m sure he can come up with some genius spots, but it will be Sin Cara with all the pressure on him to impress, and I expect him to pull out some sweet spots. Him not being able to speak really holds him back from being a world champion in the immediate future though I wouldn’t completely rule him out. The only ones I would rule out are Slater and Gabriel, who really aren’t even in consideration for this level yet you have to think. Wade Barrett and Sheamus are probably the favourites amongst most people, but i’m going for Cody Rhodes, simply because he doesn’t have to cash it in that soon, and so can grow as a character with the briefcase and Ted DiBiase at his side. Regardless of what happens Sunday, i’m sure Randy Orton will be champion again on Smackdown within the next year, and given his history with Rhodes, it could make for a great storyline based on where the characters are years after Legacy. So while i’d love to see Bryan get a shock win, i’m picking Rhodes, which would be awesome anyway.

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Match 4) World Heavyweight Championship Match: Randy Orton (c) vs Christian
These two have had some excellent matches together, though I think they had better matches when they were face vs face. Nonetheless, I have high hopes for this one, which will be part of arguably the feud of the year to date. It is clear though that this either this feud ends here, or there is a title change; there is no way Christian could lose and justify another shot (literally, given the stip about a DQ or a bad refereeing call meaning Christian wins the title). With that caveat in mind, I think given the huge public support for Christian, and his performance as a heel, means that the plan has always been for Christian to win the title back and set up an Orton face-chase for a while. I think to make it extra heat-drawing, he’ll win it on the technicality regarding a DQ. This could either come from Christian organising someone coming to the ring and hitting him, causing the DQ intentionally. More likely, a disgruntled Sheamus (if he doesn’t win the MITB match) comes down to the ring. He has been in confrontations with both guys, so him attacking Christian for having a title shot makes sense and would draw huge heat because Orton would have nothing to do with the decision (the angle that Orton might get angry and DQ himself being a red herring).

Winner: Christian

Match 5) Divas Championship Match: Kelly Kelly (c) vs Brie Bella
This match will basic be a break between the two world title matches. Hopefully they’ll get more than a few minutes, but i’m not sure how well Kelly can perform. Brie Bella I trust to put on a good match, but Kelly i’m not so sure about. Nonetheless, Kelly is the postergirl currently, and seen as she only just won the title, there is no way she’s dropping it in the rematch.

Winner: Kelly Kelly

Match 6) WWE Championship Match: John Cena (c) vs CM Punk
Jeez, where do you start with this … There is so much potential, and the best bit is, no one has any informed clue as to what Punk’s status is, and therefore what will happen. What I would suggest is that WWE and Vince wouldn’t let Punk say all the things he have is he is leaving, which leads me to think he will probably be staying. I also think that, after all this build, if Cena just wins clean, ther’ll be a backlash. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another ‘If Cena wins, we riot’ type sign. So I think either of these results have to happen: Punk wins, or Cena wins dirty and turns heel. Anything else, unless completely out of left field, will be a disappointment. There are countless dream scenarios possible here, and i’m sure you all have your own, so I wont reel them off; what I will do is describe one storyline I would like to see. CM Punk goes over, preferably clean and starts to leave the up the ramp with the title. Cut to backstage where Mysterio is there with the briefcase. Vince or Steph or HHH or any combination of them burst in to his lockerroom, begging him to cash in for the good of the WWE. Mysterio does this, but either because of help from Nexus or because of Mysterio’s injuries from the ladder match, he loses to Punk. On RAW, Vince holds a ‘crisis meeting’ in the ring, he calls out Cena and, as he warned, fires him, with the condition that he can only come back with the WWE Championship. The next RAWs over the next few weeks show guerrilla-style footage of Punk, flanked by Colt Cabana and Luke Gallows, defending a new WWE Championship belt in places like ROH, New Japan etc with Cena showing up trying to get the belt. Maybe even have the RAW main events be footage of Punk’s matches in the indys (that might be a bit too much of a dream), though it might lose some of the live edge from them being on RAW. Eventually, with Cena being unable to capture the belt back, Vince organises a four-person tournament for a new WWE Championship featuring Miz, Del Rio, Kofi Kingston and possibly a returning HHH, but just as a new winner is crowned at Summerslam, Punk returns as a face, saying that Vince has been begging him for weeks to return, and now that someone’s going to dump on the title by being awarded a new one, he’s returned to wrestle as the true champion. Cena also returns, doing Vince’s bidding trying to cost Punk the title, and from there, the story continues. It doesn’t sound that great now i’ve just written it, but something along those lines. As for the match itself, Cena is capable of putting on good matches, especially when he wont be doing his whole SuperCena routine, while Punk is what he calls himself, arguably the best professional wrestler in the world. I will have, like I did when Cena was feuding with Wade Barrett, my heart in my mouth the whole time, and that, mixed with everything else, could make this a blowaway match of the year. Lets hope the winds of change genuinely blow this time, and the Summer of Punk begins!

Winner: CM Punk



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