Chair Shots: WWE Money in the Bank preview and predictions

Tonight's Money in the Bank PPV, like previous years, will feature two big ladder matches, but for the first time, thanks to the unified championships and Daniel Bryan's injury, the main event will determine the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

Personally, I think this show will be strong from top-to-bottom, but I think it will ultimately be judged on who emerges as the WWE World Champion at the end of the night. If it's John Cena or Randy Orton, chances are fans will dismiss this card as good, but far to predictable. Someone else, and it will likely be considered a roaring success. Outside of the Money in the Bank matches, the rest of the card seems a little weak (consider that, in the past, there were two MITB matches plus World and WWE title defenses). I mean, there are two Divas matches on this show, that should tell you something! Still, I think the action in the two big matches will be enough to outweigh the filler in the middle. The tag title match also has potential to be really good.

There's also an appearance by Daniel Bryan booked for the pre-show, which should be interesting at the very least. Whether WWE attempts an angle with Bryan, or it's just an opportunity to get him on television to talk about his potential return, I think his presence makes the pre-show "must-see."

Here's a look at the rest of the card and my predictions for the evening.

Money in the Bank contract ladder match: Seth Rollins vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose

Before news came out that Bad News Barrett was injured at this week's Smackdown tapings, I was feeling pretty strongly that he might emerge from this match as the contract holder. Although it's unusual for WWE to give the briefcase to a mid-card champion, it's not unheard of (see the Miz back in 2010, when he was also United States Champion) and Barrett's arrow is definitely pointed up. If he's out, it's unclear if he'd be replaced, and even if he was, that potential replacement probably doesn't have enough star power to be considered a serious contender for the briefcase. Besides, the story behind this match, which was essentially announced Monday, is Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Rollins, who has aligned with the Authority, is seemingly being positioned to win by Triple H and Ambrose was added at Rollins request, so he could keep eyes on him rather than have the "lunatic fringe" attack when it was least expected. While I think it'd make sense for Rollins to win the Money in the Bank briefcase -- the Authority would then have that in their back pocket when the WWE World Championship picture wasn't to their liking -- I like the idea of Ambrose winning better for a couple of reasons. One, it means even if he loses his feud with Rollins (and he should), he'll have the Money in the Bank briefcase to fall back on. Secondly, I think most agree that Ambrose is a natural heel. The briefcase cash-in has always been a bit more of a heel move, so it can also be used as a narrative tool down the road to turn Ambrose when he finally cashes in on a popular champion (Daniel Bryan or Roman Reigns). Rollins is the obvious choice, which is why I don't think WWE will go with him here. He needs something though to solidfy his heel turn and justify his alliance with the Authority. If Barrett is out for an extended period of time and has to vacate the Intercontinental Championship, Rollins would be an excellent choice to win that title, in my opinion. As for the rest of the competitiors in this match, Dolph Ziggler would be a stunner because of how he's been positioned lately, but the fans would love it. If Van Dam, Swagger or especially Kingston won this match, it would be a jaw-dropping shock, the likes of which we haven't seen since Brock Lesnar ended the Undertaker's Streak at WrestleMania XXX.

WINNER: Dean Ambrose


Divas Championship: Paige (c) vs. Naomi w/ Cameron

Ever since the report came out that Vince McMahon isn't really happy with how Paige is progressing, the Internet Wrestling Community has been expecting WWE to take the title off Paige. If they were going to do it, they should've done it last month with Alicia Fox, who was getting over with her crazy gimmick. WWE is obviously building to a Naomi vs. Cameron program, and they are using the Divas title as a vehicle to get there. Cameron will likely cost Naomi the match here. Hopefully, AJ Lee is back soon, because Paige really needs a strong heel to work with, and that match would be huge for SummerSlam.

WINNER: And STILL Divas Champion Paige

Rybaxel (Ryback and Curtis Axel) vs. The Dust Bros. (Goldust and Stardust)

It was their inability to defeat Rybaxel (among other teams) that lead to Cody Rhodes trying to help Goldust find a new tag team partner, ultimately seeing Cody repackaged as Stardust. Depending on what rumors you believe, WWE seems really ready to push Stardust and the new team hard, so a victory here seems very likely. Too bad for "The Big Guy" and "The Ax Man," which is much better than their actual team name.

WINNERS: Goldust and Stardust


Tag Team Championship: The Usos (c) vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan

The Usos have had a pretty nice run since winning the tag titles in March from the New Age Outlaws. It seems like they've been building toward this match for quite some time and a possible tag title change. The Usos have pretty much beaten all the heel teams they can, meanwhile the babyface Dust Bros. are likely going to move up the ranks pretty quick. I wouldn't mind seeing the Usos and Wyatts trade the titles back and forth for a couple months. They obviously have great chemistry, so I don't have a problem with the feud lasting a while.

WINNERS: And NEW Tag Team Champions, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan

Big E vs. Rusev

I enjoyed the short hoss fight between these two last month at Payback. But I can't see the outcoming being much different than last month though, with Rusev defeating Big E in another hard-hitting affair.


Summer Rae vs. Layla w/ special guest referee Fandango

Sadly, I'm kind of looking forward to this one. This either ends with both ladies deciding they are better than Fandango and turning on him, Fandango and Summer Rae getting back together after he helps her win, or Summer losing because of Fandango and beating him up afterward. I think Summer has potential to be WWE's new "it" girl, but she'd have to turn face, and there are two potential outcomes here where that happens.

WINNER: No contest when both ladies turn on Fandango

Money in the Bank ladder match for the vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns vs. Kane

The easiest way to preview this match is by looking at why or why not each competitor should be the champion moving forward.

Alberto Del Rio: He shouldn't be the champion. Period. In fact, I'm struggling to understand why he's in this match, with the exception of the fact they needed someone to eat all those pinfalls in the 4-on-3 tag matches building to this match.

Sheamus: Despite being the United States Champion and generally winning most of his matches since his return from injury at the Royal Rumble, it really feels like the Celtic Warrior is just spinning his wheels. He hasn't had a feud to really dig into but he's over, has a history of being a main event player, and is a credible opponent for top-level heels. That's why he's in this match. Perhaps some sort of feud can come out of it, but he certainly shouldn't be in consideration to win it.

Kane: Story-line wise, The Demon should've been in this match from the get-go because he's technicaly the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship. But it's now being played out that Kane was basically a hired assassin for the Authority to defeat Daniel Bryan and was only added to this match to protect Randy Orton and ensure he wins. It would be interesting if Kane, who Triple H and Stephanie have said on many occassions can't be controlled, even though it's clear they are controlling him, goes rougue and attacks Orton, but realistically, he can't be considered a serious contender to win this thing, right?

Cesaro: If I'm picking a dark horse to win and shock the world, Cesaro would be it. He's a future world champion, no doubt about that, and the only reason the timing would really work is because of a potential feud with Brock Lesnar, who presumably is getting a title shot at SummerSlam, and a break-up with Paul Heyman. I just don't think WWE is ready to go down that path, though, and Cesaro has a lot of mileage left as a heel. I do think he'll be the MVP of this match, doling out a couple of memorable spots -- both offensively and taking bumps.

Roman Reigns: Here is WWE's next breakout star and, heading into the match, no one has been given more shine on TV than Roman Reigns. But just like Daniel Bryan a year ago, there needs to be some time to really heat him up before he wins the gold -- likely at WrestleMania 31, at least that's what I'd do if I were booking things. He'll have a good showing here, but ultimately, get screwed over by the Authority, feuding with Kane, Orton and Triple H over the next few months. BTW, I'd love to see him and someone else -- maybe Del Rio -- recreate the memorable ladder match spot where Edge jumped off a ladder and speared a dangling Jeff Hardy. Spots like that in this type of match will get Reigns over more than he already is.

Randy Orton: Obviously, in storyline, the Viper is the one the Authority is favoring in this match, and if the plan is to building the Authority and their cronies back up, then Orton winning -- likely with an assist from Kane and Triple H -- is certainly a way to go. It would also set the course for an Orton-Lesnar match at SummerSlam, something officials were reportedly high on when Lesnar returned, but doesn't seem like would be a great draw right now. If Orton wins, it's because he'll be losing the title next month at Battleground.

John Cena: Unfortunately, unless Daniel Bryan expects to be back by Battleground, then John Cena would probaby be Orton's opponent at the PPV if the Apex Predator were to win the title, and judging from the crowd reaction the last time these two faced off at the Royal Rumble, I don't think that's a good idea. However, if Bryan isn't back by SummerSlam -- and we should have a better idea on that after the pre-show tonight -- then Cena becomes the most credible opponent for Lesnar to face with the WWE World Championship on the line in a big money match. WWE might've actually spoiled that plan earlier this week when the SummerSlam poster leaked, and for that reason only, Cena isn't my odds-on-favorite because I think WWE will change the narrative just a bit and the winner of the match will be ...

Bray Wyatt: Coming off his loss to Cena in the Last Man Standing match at Payback, I think Wyatt's heat and momentum has been cooled off considerably, and it wouldn't take much for him to fall away into the mid-card without a big victory soon. Winning the title -- and having the entire Wyatt Family holding championships for at least the next few weeks -- would definitely shake things up in WWE. You could even get the Authority involved in the storyline, as they might not want the crazed Wyatts as champions, especially if Wyatt becomes power-hungry. Now you have options -- you could actually turn Bray face and feud him with the Authority (unlikely, although I don't think a feud with the Authority is out of the question, even if he remains heel and the Authority become 'tweeners, or vice versa); you could have him finish his feud with Cena with a title match at Battleground, where Cena gets the title; or if Daniel Bryan is ready to return, you could transition him into a championship feud with Wyatt, with whom Bryan has unfinished business dating back to his last singles loss at the Royal Rumble. While it's hard to pick against John Cena, especially in a title match and in his hometown of Boston, I think WWE is going to give us something unexpected tonight.

WINNER: And NEW WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Bray Wyatt

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