As mentioned in yesterday's column, Daniel Bryan's rehab wasn't going as well as hoped. On Monday's RAW, that was made official when the Authority vacated the title and announced it would be put on the line in a seven-man ladder match.
They announced the first two participants of the match quickly, saying Alberto Del Rio earned his shot last week, and also put Randy Orton into the match. Later in the night, Sheamus and Cesaro also earned their shots in qualifying matches. You can read about my early thoughts on who should win the match in yesterday's column, but there are two questions that remain after RAW.
The first is who will the three remaining competitors be? Seven is an unusual number for the ladder matches, as even the Money In the Bank matches have tended to have an even number in them. So there's likely a very specific reason that they're going with seven. Two of the competitors seem obvious to me. I can't see them having the match with John Cena in it, especially as there isn't another natural match for him to have. The other is Kane. He was supposed to have the title shot against Daniel Bryan; it makes perfect sense for him to be in the match.
So who is that seventh competitor? If you read that column, you know that I think Brock Lesnar makes perfect sense, if they could get him to appear. However, Cesaro's inclusion in the match makes that seem less likely. Going through the roster, there's one person who would be at that main event level and doesn't have an obvious match at Money In The Bank, and that's Bray Wyatt. I don't particularly like him in the match, as to this point, he's shown no desire to pursue any sort of titles, and having him in the match wouldn't make a whole lot of sense.
However, at some point, character-wise, he has to start thinking about championships and accolades. Otherwise his purpose in the WWE becomes diluted. So this could be the beginning of him looking towards gold. Now, he doesn't have to be just another wrestlers who only cares about wins and losses, but the belts could factor into his overall personality somehow.
So, with those seven as the likely competitors, the other question is what happens to the Money In The Bank briefcase. With the title match being so big, there has to be a consideration to drop it altogether. However, the briefcase has been such a staple for WWE in recent years that it almost has to go on, as moving it to another pay-per-view doesn't make a whole lot of sense. This brings up an issue for the WWE. Hypothetically, the man that makes the most sense to win it is Cesaro, and he's in the main match. They could still have a very good match, with wrestlers competing like Bad News Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, Rob Van Dam, Big E and perhaps Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger and/or Bo Dallas. With only one belt, it's hard to see any of those wrestlers being able to successfully cash in the briefcase though. Even if you like Barrett or Ziggler, which I do, having either of them win the title might be a slight stretch, and after Sandow lost last year, I don't think they want to do that again. So it's an interesting decision for WWE to make.
This year's Money In The Bank should be a really fascinating one to set the course for the next few months of the WWE, and the setup to this match (or matches) is going to be extremely important.
The Rest of RAW:
-The remaining members of the Shield beat down 3MB, and then cut what might have been their best promo as a group. Later in the night, Seth Rollins came out to explain his turn, saying that he was the one who put the Shield together. He also said the following line, which isn't original, but I'm always a fan of it as a response to the sellout chants: "I didn't sell out, I bought in to the evolution of Seth Rollins."
Later in the night, the Wyatts faced the Shield, and their mystery partner, which turned out to be John Cena. To Cena's credit, for the most part, he stayed out of the spotlight of the match. His contribution to the match was generally to get beat on, and he didn't factor into the finish at all, which the Shield won after a spear from Reigns. Even during the celebration after the match, Cena made sure to stay away from the Shield for the most part, letting them get the spotlight. The camera kept cutting to the back, where Triple H and Seth Rollins were watching. It looks like they're setting up Triple H and Rollins against Reigns and Ambrose at Money In The Bank.
-Sheamus won against Bad News Barrett to qualify for the ladder match. Sheamus took an impressive bump from the top turnbuckle down to the barricade in the middle of the match. Both wrestlers came out looking pretty good in this match.
-Paul Heyman came out and made it sound like Brock Lesnar was going to come out to the ring, and then swerved the crowd with the bait-and-switch, bringing out Cesaro. The Minneapolis crowd absolutely went nuts booing Heyman. Cesaro beat Rob Van Dam in a very solid match to qualify for the title match.
-Rusev squashed Zack Ryder. Lana took shots at Obama before the match.
-Rybaxel beat Goldust and this week's partner, R-Truth. I love this storyline. It's a great way to turn Cody heel in a creative way, as Goldust keeps losing. Eventually, Cody is going to claim that this proves that Goldust was the weak link. It's just a creative way to do the team split.
-The Usos beat Fandango and Damien Sandow. Sandow came out as a ribbon dancer. I know a lot of people don't like what they're doing with Sandow, but if nothing else, he's getting to show off some of his personality, which is a good thing. Earlier in the night, Summer Rae poured milk all over Layla.
-Paige beat Alicia Fox where, for the first time since she was called up to the main roster, we truly saw the aggressive side of Paige that I've been talking about for the past two months. It's a good step in the right direction for her.
-Bo Dallas beat Xavier Woods.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below in the comment section or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster