The Money In the Bank pay-per-view has become a cornerstone event for the WWE every year. This year is no exception, though for different reasons than usual.
With the vacated WWE World Heavyweight title, this feels like a reset of the main-event picture, for better or worse. For close to a year now, the title has been all about The Authority and the wrestlers going against The Authority. While certainly Orton, Kane and Triple H are involved at the moment, this can be used to get the belt away. This also is an important pay-per-view as it starts the build toward SummerSlam. Summerslam is going to be an important show for the WWE, as WWE Network subscriptions come to an end right after the show, and it needs as many renewals as possible.
Here are my predictions for Money In The Bank:
Paige vs. Naomi for the Divas Championship
If you believe the Internet talk, before Naomi’s injury earlier this year, she had been slated to take the belt from AJ. She’s clearly someone the powers-that-be likes, as she is athletic and has some personality. However, times certainly have changed. Paige has come in, and the Divas on NXT are putting on exceptional matches. The tone around the Divas division has started to turn, and excitement has built as the likes of Paige, Emma and Charlotte have started to make names for themselves, while divas like Natalya have been allowed to put on great matches. So I feel like this would be a poor time to take the belt off Paige. That being said, Paige’s run has been somewhat overwhelming, and I could see it coming to an end before too long. I just don’t think this is the time. I also could see a break between Naomi and Cameron either happening in this match, or at least being teased.
Rybaxel vs. Goldust and Stardust
I don’t know what to call the Rhodes brothers now, but they need a name. There are a lot of questions right now about Cody’s transformation into Stardust. It doesn’t seem like a long-term thing. But if this goes over well with the crowd, do they keep it around longer than expected? There’s very little doubt about the winners, as Goldust and Stardust need to win.
Winners: Goldust and Stardust.
Summer Rae vs. Layla, with Fandango as guest referee
As far as filler matches go, they could have a lot worse than this. The question in this isn’t about either of the Divas, but the referee, Fandango. His partnership with Layla really hasn’t caught on, and this seems like a good chance to possibly go back and partner Fandango with Summer Rae again. The only other direction to go with this feud is to have Summer Rae bring out a new guy to partner with against Fandango and Layla. Either way, it feels like Summer Rae is on the rise, while Layla just can’t get any momentum going, so look for that to continue here.
Winner: Summer Rae
Big E vs Rusev
There’s not much to say about this match that wasn’t said before Payback. Rusev is going to continue his run, and Big E can make him look good. These two had a fairly good match in their last encounter that went largely overlooked. I’d really like to see them allow Rusev to work longer matches so that we can see whether he’s capable of working nonsquash matches. I’m not expecting an overly long match here, but one that lasts around eight minutes or so could do wonders for Rusev’s development.
The Usos vs. Harper and Rowan for the Tag Team Championship
Many people believe that after months of these teams' dancing around each other, this is the time for the Usos to drop the belts. I've been writing about this basically since The Usos won the titles. While I do think the Wyatt Family will capture the gold eventually, I’m not sure this is the time for it. Just because of the lack of strong tag teams right now, I see this feud carrying on longer, with the Wyatts possibly winning down the line. This time around, I could see the Usos winning, then being attacked by the Wyatts, or possibly the Wyatts getting disqualified. Harper and Rowan certainly could win, but something about the buildup makes me wonder whether this is the right time.
Winners: The Usos
Money In The Bank contract ladder match: Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Bad News Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston
As I wrote Monday, this match is interesting because, in my mind, the man who should win, Cesaro, isn’t even competing in the match. After last year’s debacle with Damien Sandow, I think it’s important that whoever wins does cash in successfully and has a successful reign. This doesn’t need to be immediate, but whoever wins needs to be someone the WWE believes can carry the belt for the next calendar year. This makes this year particularly tricky. With only one belt to cash in on, none of these wrestlers are guys you’d be truly confident about in winning the title. But somebody has to win.
I think everyone realizes that the last three aren’t going to win. Dolph Ziggler could be interesting, but in the grand picture right now, it’s hard to believe he would get that honor. That leaves Rollins, Ambrose and Barrett. There’s uncertainty as to whether Barrett even will be in the match, as he injured his shoulder on Smackdown. I’d say Barrett is the guy closest to being ready for a title run, so if he is able to wrestle, I’d lean toward him winning.
If he’s not, it comes down to the two former Shield members. It could go either way, but in my mind, Rollins would benefit from the briefcase more than Ambrose. It truly would show that the WWE believes in him, and would build on the momentum from his departure from The Shield. People already see a star in Ambrose, but not everyone is sold on Rollins. Winning the briefcase could help that.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight title: Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns vs. John Cena vs Bray Wyatt vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Kane
Instead of running down the pros and cons for each entrant, I’m going to run down my view on the WWE's summer. I believe this match is going to start the train rolling toward SummerSlam, which, as I mentioned before, is an extremely important pay-per-view this year for the company. I believe John Cena will win this match. While people may grumble, I believe it makes the most sense, from both a business and promotional standpoint. He offers the most marquee matches, especially at SummerSlam.
So here’s how I could see it playing out: Cena wins the belt at Money in the Bank. After the pay-per-view, Cesaro somehow becomes the No. 1 contender to the belt, while Reigns is tied up with Orton and the Authority. We saw Cena and Cesaro put on a great match earlier in the year, and they could put on another match-of-the-year candidate at Battleground, the July pay-per-view. After a tough match in which Cena prevails, Cesaro wants a rematch for SummerSlam. However, instead of letting Cesaro get his rematch, Paul Heyman sends out Brock Lesnar instead. This sets up a marquee match at SummerSlam, with Lesnar likely winning the title, and also plants the seeds for Cesaro to break away from Heyman.
While it would be great to see a new guy get a run with the belt, none of them provide the marquee match Cena would. With both Lesnar and Daniel Bryan returning to the title picture on the horizon, it just seems like a bad time to put the belt on someone new. So while it might not be the most exciting prospect, Cena makes the most sense.
Winner: John Cena
Agree? Disagree? Thoughts on the pay-per-view in general? Leave them below in the comment section or find me on Twitter @TheAOster.