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Chair Shots: WWE Money in the Bank preview and predictions

Money in the Bank is less than 48 hours away, and there are still lots of questions surrounding what I would argue is becoming the premier gimmick pay-per-view of the year for WWE. Will any surprise competitors -- namely The Rock -- be added to the WWE Championship Money in the Bank ladder match? Who will AJ favor in the actual WWE Championship match between CM Punk and challenger Daniel Bryan? Can any of the young, unsung participants in the World title Money in the Bank match rise to the occasion? Will any additional contests be added to the four-match card? Here are my best attempts to answer those questions, and more.

YouTube Pre-Show Non-title Tag Team match

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Kofi Kingston and R-Truth vs. Hunico and Camacho

I get that a lot of fans are ticked about this match being thrown together while the Prime Time Players wait on the sidelines. But I think they are saving the PTP's crowning as tag champions for something bigger. Namely, the 1000th episode of Raw. The storyline here is that AW declined the match because it was on the preshow. That's not Prime Time! Anyway, this is essentially a showcase for the tag team champions, who haven't been seen in a while because of Truth's foot injury.

WINNERS: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth

World Championship contract Money in the Bank ladder match

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Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Santino Marella vs. Tensai vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Damien Sandow vs. Sin Cara

Pencil this one in as the hot opener to the show. There is still a piece of me that thinks Zack Ryder gets added to match at the last minute, noting that he added himself while he was Smackdown general manager on Friday. (By the way, who is running the pay-per-view?) It doesn't matter, because Ryder still won't win. For a more detailed analysis of this match, check out the column I posted yesterday handicapping the match. In my opinion, this comes down to one of three men: Rhodes, Ziggler or Sandow.

I really, really want to pick Sandow for this one, as I think Money in the Bank would add so much to his gimmick, and WWE has no problems pushing freshly debuted characters they believe in to the top quickly (see Sheamus, Wade Barrett and Alberto Del Rio each of the past three years).

I also think that winning the briefcase would propel Cody Rhodes to the next level as long as he holds it for a little while, similar to how Edge and Miz built their characters around being Mr. Money in the Bank.

But I just can't shake the suspicion that WWE is going to give the big win to Dolph Ziggler, even though I don't think he needs it. If he does win, it won't take Ziggler long to cash-in. I'm going with my gut here.

WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

Bonus match: Brodus Clay vs. Jack Swagger

Just guessing on this one, but WWE has been adding a Funkasaurus squash to nearly every pay-per-view as of late, and their most high-profile jobber to the stars has been Swagger. I guess this could also be David Otunga, to provide some closure to that feud, or Heath Slater, although Clay isn't a Legend, so that doesn't make sense.

WINNER: Brodus Clay

Bonus match: Epico and Primo w/ Rosa Mendes vs. Prime Time Players w/ AW

Why not? These two obviously have a feud going, and with the tag team titles relegated to the pre-show match for some reason, why not match-up the two "real" tags teams on the roster. They've had singles matches on Superstars and Smackdown recently, so let's do the tag match here. We could even put the No. 1 contendership on the line. If nothing else, a win by Primo and Epico here could set-up a Triple Threat for the tag titles at Raw 1000 or SummerSlam.

WINNERS: Epico and Primo

Bonus match: Divas No. 1 contenders battle royal

Another one I'm just throwing out there to fill out the card. With AJ in such a high-profile role on this PPV, I don't know that WWE will see the need to have the standard Divas match, but if they do, I'd like to see some sort of battle royal or what not to determine a new No. 1 contender to Layla's Championship.

WINNER: Eve Torres

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Bonus match: Ryback vs. Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks

Hawkins and Reks have both been victims of Ryback in singles matches this week, but Ryback has made a name for himself by defeating two opponents at once. So, it makes sense that the two of them would challenge Ryback on the pay-per-view. That means this might actually be a competitive match, but if you think the outcome is in doubt, well, you haven't been watching wrestling very long.

WINNER: Ryback

World Heavyweight Championship

Sheamus (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio

Barring Del Rio getting whiplash in a fender-bender in his fancy car on the way to the arena, we'll finally get a one-on-one match between the Celtic Warrior and the Mexican Aristocrat on pay-per-view. Del Rio actually became the No. 1 contender back in April, yet three pay-per-views later, he's finally getting his one-on-one title match. I don't think the plan was to ever have Del Rio go over Sheamus, however, I think these two should actually have a pretty solid match. I'm not all that into Del Rio's character, but he usually has good outings on PPV. And I can't remember the last time Sheamus has had a bad match. Given time, this should be pretty entertaining.

WINNER: And STILL World Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus

BONUS PREDICTION: Lots of caveats here, but in the situation where Ziggler wins the Money in the Bank contract earlier in the show, and Sheamus retains, but takes a post-match beating from Del Rio, I could see Ziggler cash-in. Honestly, I think it'd be the best way to do it and still keep Ziggler a heel. Having fairly lost all his previous opportunities against Sheamus, this would get him a lot of heel heat -- and Sheamus a lot of sympathy, which he hasn't gotten since he beat Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds at WrestleMania. As long as Ziggler didn't immediately drop the title back to Sheamus and got a decent run, this would be great for his career.

WWE Championship with special guest referee AJ Lee

CM Punk (c) vs. Daniel Bryan

I'm curious where this match will be placed on the card. By doing it before the WWE Championship Money in the Bank match, it means we are less likely to see a cash-in after the match is over, although it would be unique for the Money in the Bank challenger to call out the champion instead. Either way, I think this goes on second-to-last. If you like wrestling, I'd suggest hitting the mute button, because the announcers aren't going to bother calling the actual match, they are going to spend the entire time talking about how "crazy" AJ is and who she is going to favor. But the in-ring action between Bryan and Punk should be great, as always. I think the story here won't be that AJ intentionally screws over either competitor, instead, I think she'll somehow get distracted -- or worse yet, take a ref bump -- allowing Bryan to cheat and ultimately beat Punk, setting up a rematch at Raw 1000.

WINNER: And NEW WWE Champion, Daniel Bryan

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WWE Championship contract Money in the Bank ladder match

John Cena vs. Chris Jericho vs. Big Show vs. Kane

Possibilities are rich for this match, but not because of the competitors involved. Because the match is open only to former WWE Champions, there are any number of competitors who could make their return at the pay-per-view as late surprises or additions including the Miz, Rey Mysterio and none other than The Rock. However, WWE has been doing a lot of straight-forward booking these days, rather than giving us huge surprises (see Big Show turning on Cena at Over the Limit). By not advertising a surprise entrant or two, WWE is hurting the chances of this show doing a bigger buy. Even if The Rock wasn't a part of it, just by advertising a surprise entrant -- and it turns out to be disappointing like the Miz (although I like the Miz, he's just not The Rock) -- it would drum up extra interest and buys.

As I wrote in the earlier predictions column specifically handicapping this match, if the Rock does return, he's winning it, no doubt in my mind. But if I have to choose between the four announced competitors, well, it comes down to Jericho and Cena.

Personally, I'd love to see Jericho win the briefcase but become the first man to fail in his cash-in attempt. Someone has to do it eventually, and I think Jericho is the right man to do it because he can easily bounce back from it and he's shown a willingness to be used to put other guys over because he loves the business so damn much.

But you just don't bet against John Cena. I think Money in the Bank is a means to an end to allow him to pick his time and place for a WWE Championship match, which will be Night of Champions in his hometown of Boston. It's perfect, because it brings his feud with CM Punk -- partially centered around the match taking place in Punk's hometown of Chicago at last year's Money in the Bank -- full circle. It's worth noting that Raw makes a stop in Chicago between SummerSlam and Night of Champions, the perfect time and place to really ramp up this program. Book it.

WINNER: John Cena

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