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Chair Shots: Money in the Bank PPV takes shape on WWE Raw

It's almost like the writers for WWE read my blog or something yesterday.

Shortly after I posted this article about how they should make the WWE Championship contract Money in the Bank ladder match a star-studded affair by making its participants all former WWE Champions, John Cena tweeted he was going to make a historic announcement on Raw. During the course of that announcement -- his involvement in the Money in the Bank match -- Chris Jericho interrupted, announce himself as part of the match, then Vickie Guerrero made it official: Only former WWE Champions -- Show, Cena, Jericho and Kane -- will face off for that particular contract. (Expect guys like Rey Mysterio and maybe the Miz to be added later.)

Immediate response from fans online seems to be that they hate this idea, because Money in the Bank is supposed to be about elevating new talent. Yes and no. If you recall, the first first Money in the Bank ladder match -- and arguably the best -- was at WrestleMania 21 and featured three former world champions (Kane, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit) and three guys who were on the cusp of the main event at the time (eventual winner Edge, Shelton Benjamin and Christian). We've also seen former champions win Money in the Bank (Edge, CM Punk and Kane) and go on to have interesting angles as a result of their briefcase wins.

Besides, this gives WWE a main event Money in the Bank match at the eponymous pay-per-view. That's never happened before. And then there's the World Championship Money in the Bank ladder match, which is where young up-and-comers like Dolph Ziggler or Cody Rhodes will compete and likely be victorious. Expect several of those participants to be announced at the Smackdown tapings tonight.

Also announced was that CM Punk and Daniel Bryan will wrestle for the WWE Championship in one of the other main events for Money in the Bank. I find it interesting that their feud will likely culminate at the same pay-per-view where both reached an epoch in their WWE careers a year ago: Punk won his first WWE Championship and Bryan won the Money in the Bank contract to challenge for the World Championship. Neither of those events were expected this time a year ago.

It was a newsworthy edition of Raw, although nothing especially spectacular occurred. There were a few misses, but mainly hits on this edition. Here's the rundown.

AJ Lee was the star of the show. Raw opened with her seemingly discussing her relationship with CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Kane, only to reveal she was actually talking to herself in a mirror. Then she interrupted a Triple Threat elimination match between the three (it was non-title) that saw her distract Kane yet again, allowing Punk to pin him, then Bryan struck Punk with a swift knock-out kick, winning the match.

The match itself was fine, but not on the level of their championship match a week ago. Punk is taking a lot of losses, and I think it would've worked better had it just been Bryan vs. Kane in a No. 1 contender's match, since the end result was Bryan vs. Punk being announced for MITB. Or for that matter, just go ahead and announce Bryan as the No. 1 contender and do Punk vs. Kane in the opener, with Punk winning after the distraction from AJ. Have Bryan on commentary and attack Punk after the match. Ah well.

Later, we saw a humorous backstage segment where Kane told AJ he "doesn't do relationships" and that he finds her "mentally unstable." I think that essentially ends whatever was going on between her and Kane, as the Big Red Monster is trying to distance himself from her. She was later seen with Punk, who wanted to have a discussion with her, only for AJ to assume Punk wants to take their relationship to the next level. That doesn't seem to be what he has in mind. She'll be a major factor in the Punk-Bryan match in a few weeks.

For her part, AJ won a Divas Beach Battle Royal, which was essentially Divas in swimsuits and beach themed decorations around the ring. Nuttin' wrong with that. It ended in about two minutes. Notable were that Beth Phoenix and Natalya seemed to rekindle their tag team clearing the ring of practically everyone before Divas Champion Layla got the better of them. Beth got her revenge by pulling Layla off the apron a few seconds later. AJ and Vickie Guerrero, Raw's GM for the night, were the finalists, with AJ staving off elimination before chucking Vickie outside. AJ then celebrated with the Yes! chant. ...

As mentioned, Cena's historic announcement was his involvement in Money in the Bank. Prior to that, he cut a Star Wars themed promo recapping the past few months of his feud with John Laurinaitis/Big Show, and the involvement of Vince McMahon. I thought it was funny and laughed out loud when he did his Vince as Yoda voice, telling Laurinaitis "Fired you are."

Chris Jericho, representing the smart marks of the world, interrupted and berated Cena for his promo befitting a 9-year-old. Cena said he was entering Money in the Bank in order to stop Big Show from winning MITB and eventually the title, because he believed that Show was correct in claiming no one could stop him if he did win the belt. Eh, unlikely, but OK, I'll bite.

Fast-forward a bit, Vickie announces all the MITB news, then makes the main event "for the first time in two years, for the first time ever" Cena vs. Jericho. I'll forgive the flub.

Their match wasn't anything special, considering some of their past work together, but gave a nice hook to keep people tuned in for later. The match ended prematurely when Big Show interfered, dropping a leg on Cena's head while Jericho had him locked in the Walls. The former tag team champions stared at each other, before Jericho decided it was better to cut his losses and get out of the ring. Show beat up Cena a bit, then locked him in the Colossal Clutch while Cena's face turned blue. Wrestling is fake, right?

Obviously, the issue between Cena and Big Show isn't over. That's a good thing, in my opinion, because the ending to No Way Out wasn't about them, it was about John Laurinaitis. This time, it needs to be about Big Show going over Cena and then moving on to the WWE title. That doesn't mean I think he's winning MITB, by the way. ...

Big Show seemingly ended his issue with Brodus Clay for the time being. The two had a very short match in the first hour of Raw that saw Show end Clay's 24-match winning streak since he debuted as the Funkasaurus. Believe it or not, there was actually wrestling psychology employed in this big man match. Show worked over Clay's injured knee, then when Clay mounted his comeback and went for a body slam, his leg gave out on him, Show fell on top of him and won the match. During the commercial break, as Clay was carried back by referees and medical officers, Big Show clocked him with the WMD. I imagine this will take Clay off TV for a bit, but he'll return in time to challenge Big Show later this summer, possibly at SummerSlam. ...

Two weeks after Vader's return, another of my favorites from the dark days of the WWE circa 1996 returned -- Sycho Sid! Like Vader before him, he made short work of none other than Heath Slater, who is carving himself a niche role as the foil for all these returning legends. Sid didn't look great, but looked good enough. He was definitely showing his age. He still delivers the Power Bomb as well as anyone in the history of wrestling, and lots of guys have done that move. I'll post a blog later on who I think other returning Raw main eventers might be in the coming weeks. ...

Charlie Sheen -- yes, that Charlie Sheen -- will be the "social media ambassador" of the 1000th episode of Raw, the WWE announced on Twitter and their website last night. I was really hoping that Sheen would be a guest host and get some camera time, but it looks like he'll be tweeting from the comfort of his couch. Nevertheless, the man who oozes Tiger Blood and WWE are an absolute match made in heaven, in my opinion. Perhaps WWE can convince him to have some sort of role at SummerSlam when they are in his backyard of Los Angeles. In a word ... WINNING! ...

Sheen needs to give some advice to my guy, Jack Swagger, who continues to be on the losing end of things. On WWE.com, Swagger was shown getting on his knees and begging his former manager and one-night GM of Raw, Vickie Guerrero, for a United States Championship match to get his career back on track. He got the match, but lost once again to Santino Marella and his stupid Cobra finisher. I don't mind the "slipping on a banana peel" finish to Santino matches, but these clean wins with the Cobra over legitimate wrestlers is unrealistic and has ruined what made Santino so great to begin with. He was a lovable loser who gained fluke victories. Now he's a comedy act booked to look strong. That doesn't even make sense. I'm holding out hope that they are going somewhere with Swagger's losing streak, which Michael Cole brought up several times, as if it was on purpose. ...

The Dolph Ziggler-Alberto Del Rio contract on a pole match was hard to watch. I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish with that. They keep teasing a Ziggler face turn, which I think is a bad idea, but if they are going to do it, just pull the trigger already. Putting him in matches versus other heels is killing the majority of the crowd, sans the vocal males who want to cheer Ziggler. Thank goodness Sheamus interrupted and announced that he'd just fight both of them in a Triple Threat match on Smackdown. I get the feeling Sheamus will win that and retain his title, while the heel who doesn't get pinned (my money is on Del Rio) will get a one-on-one match with Sheamus at Money in the Bank. ...

No word yet on who next week's interim general manager will be, but my money is on Sgt. Slaughter with both shows likely to have a patriotic, Independance Day theme. It's already been announced that "Super Smackdown Live," airing Tuesday, July 3, will be branded "The Great American Bash." They should've done that last week. After all, the Great American Bash was held in Baltimore for the longest time.

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