Powell's WWE Money in the Bank preview and predictions: Will Daniel Bryan win Money in the Bank? Does an all-heel MITB match mean Dolph Ziggler has to regain the World Hvt. Championship?
By Jason Powell
Check back tonight for Jason Powell and Chris Shore's live coverage reviews of the 2013 WWE Money in the Bank. Dot Net Members can look forward to an exclusive MITB audio review with Jason and Chris after the show. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up now via the Prowrestling.net/amember/signup.php.
Marv Hermanstyne made his triumphant return with his confidence picks for the Money in the Bank matches (see the Staff Editorial section for his picks for both matches), yet I must admit that I have very little confidence in my own predictions. I'm not complaining. I love it when pro wrestling is unpredictable in a good way. I'm not talking about the "they'll never see it coming" booking madness, but rather the type of compelling unpredictability that this show provides.
I see a few legitimate candidates in each Money in the Bank match, and I'm even open to the idea of one of the MITB winners cashing in following one of the two World Title matches. After all, WWE generally likes to get one of the two MITB contracts cashed in quickly, and Randy Orton's comment on Raw shows that the door is open for him or another winner to cash in tonight. Either way, I am looking forward to watching it all unfold tonight and I am hopeful that the end result will set up WWE with an interesting summer.
Daniel Bryan vs. C.M. Punk vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Randy Orton vs. Sheamus vs. Christian vs. a possible replacement for Kane in a Money in the Bank ladder match: First off, a big tip of the cap to WWE for the way they've built up Rob Van Dam's return. The hype videos that started at the Payback pay-per-view were simple and highly effective. RVD already feels like a bigger star than he has in years.
There are several intriguing possibilities. Let's start by ruling out the least likely winners. Christian feels like he's in the match due to his ladder match history. Punk has a date with Brock Lesnar next month and I'd rather see him win the Royal Rumble to earn a title match at WrestleMania 30. Sheamus has been spinning his wheels for a while now. A win would certainly solve that problem, but it just doesn't feel like it's his time. WWE could surprise us by going all the way with Van Dam, but I'd rather see this go to someone who will be around for the long haul.
On to the favorites. It's very possible WWE has an ace up its sleeve when it comes to Kane's replacement, assuming there is one. It would be wild to thrust Bray Wyatt into the title picture immediately, but I don't know what the storyline logic would be that would put Wyatt into the match. Granted, WWE's use of heel authority figures makes anything possible, but I think it's a stretch even for them. My guess is that if there is a surprise entrant, Big Show gets the nod.
Bryan standing tall at the end of Raw is usually a sign that he's not winning, but I can't rule out WWE creative knowing this and using it as a swerve. Orton shouldn't need a briefcase to get a title shot, but there is something cool about the idea of the unpredictable Viper character possessing a contract that gives him a chance to strike at any time. This could be a great way to thrust him back into the main event picture as a heel threat to Cena.
I'd be okay with Orton winning, but I really feel like the time is now for Bryan. It's time to abandon the silliness of the character in favor of making him seem like a wrestler who can hang with anyone. I don't want to see him win this match in a fluky manner and then cash in on Cena or Henry tonight after they've been laid out. Sure, it would break the internet and it would be a big moment, but that would also tell me that Bryan would be cast as a fluky short term champion and I think he could be much more than that.
Daniel Bryan wins the MITB contract for a WWE Championship shot.
Dean Ambrose vs. Wade Barrett vs. Antonio Cesaro vs. Damien Sandow vs. Fandango vs. Jack Swagger vs. Cody Rhodes in a Money in the Bank match: I don't see Cody's Mustache or Fandango winning the match unless they're going for a surprise winner who is unsuccessful in his cash-in attempt. Swagger winning would feel like a been there and done that moment. They've been tinkering with the Cesaro character for a while and that tells me they're not confident enough in his role yet to give him a win here (though I'd love to see it).
I am ready for Sandow to move away from Cody and into a higher position on the card, but I don't know if WWE is ready to push him that far yet. Is there anything stopping The Shield from taking over the match as a trio to give Ambrose the briefcase? Ambrose winning would give Dolph Ziggler a strong opponent to work with, though I'm not sure why WWE would have given Ambrose the U.S. Title if they planned on giving him the win here. That leaves Barrett, who has been underutilized since Nexus broke up. The great thing about Barrett is that I see versatility. He's obviously a good heel (minus the awful Barrett Barrage talk), and I really believe he could get over as a tough guy babyface if the plan is for him to eventually challenge Del Rio or another heel opponent. Barrett needs this win as much as anyone in this match. Here's hoping he gets it.
Wade Barrett wins the MITB contract for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship shot.
John Cena vs. Mark Henry for the WWE Championship: Henry feels like a bigger threat to Cena than Ryback did during his two pay-per-view title matches. Henry was brilliant in the initial angle and Cena did a great job in the supporting role as well. The build during the rest of the month was solid, as Cena showed some intimidation, which is something we've never seen from his character. Regardless of the outcome, WWE made me feel like there's a chance that Henry could take the title. If he does, then I could see him losing it to the Money in the Bank winner either after this match or at SummerSlam.
When in doubt, though, I roll with Cena retaining. I'd love to see Cena retain, get beaten down by Henry afterward, and then have Bryan come out. The place would explode in anticipation of Bryan cashing in the MITB contract. It wouldn't make the Philly crowd happy, but I'd have Bryan place the briefcase next to the fallen Cena and announce that he's going to beat him the right way at SummerSlam. No weak link bullshit, just a confident Daniel Bryan telling the world that he can and will beat Cena next month.
John Cena retains the WWE Championship.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship: Many fans have convinced themselves that Ziggler is winning this match because the MITB match for the World Hvt. Championship contract consists of all heels. See Ziggler's own run with the MITB briefcase as proof that the winner doesn't have to cash in immediately. In other words, Del Rio could retain the title here and never end up facing the MITB contract winner. It is possible that they are setting up Dolph as a tough luck wrestler when it comes to World Title reigns. He's already had two very brief runs as champion, so I could see a situation where he wins this match only to lose it again moments later to the MITB winner. My best guess, though, is that something happens with A.J. Lee and Big E Langston that causes him to lose the match so that he can severe ties with them and get on track as a true babyface.
Alberto Del Rio retains.
Chris Jericho vs. Ryback: Ryback needs a pay-per-view win more than the Minnesota Twins need better pitching. And he should get it since Jericho's latest run with the company appears to be wrapping up. Jericho is advertised for Tuesday's Smackdown taping, but he will be embarking on a tour with Fozzy that includes a date on SummerSlam Sunday in the UK. I am curious to see whether Ryback hugging Vickie Guerrero on Monday leads to the two forming an alliance.
A.J. Lee vs. Kaitlyn for the Divas Championship: Can anyone relate to the Kaitlyn character these days? She's muscular, yet the heels all call her fat. Rather than laughing off these comments and the over the top antics of Lee, she throws silly temper tantrums. I don't see a reason to take the title away from Lee unless they feel the need to give her a reason to cost Ziggler his match.
A.J. Lee retains the Divas Championship.
Curtis Axel vs. The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship: Axel and Miz were involved in a really good Triple Threat match with Wade Barrett last month that didn't get much attention in the Payback followup. Miz works hard, but he continues to be an unlikable babyface. Axel still hasn't found his groove as a character. It feels like an important match for both men in terms of needing to have a good outing that keeps them fresh on the minds of the creative team. My guess is Axel ends up feuding with Rob Van Dam at some point, so I see him retaining.
Curtis Axel retains the Intercontinental Championship.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs. The Uso Brothers for the WWE Tag Team Championship: I want to like the Uso Brothers, but WWE hasn't done enough to make fans take them seriously. Sure, they have face paint and they're getting some television time, but WWE did nothing to sell viewers on them having a chance to win the tag titles. They even had a chance to do so when they opted to have them and Christian defeat The Shield in a six-man tag match. For reasons that still baffle me, they had Christian get the win for the trio over Ambrose rather than have one of the Uso Brothers pin one of the tag champions. The Uso's need a big showcase match where they really push the tag champions. However, that needs to occur on television, not on the pre-show. I see Rollins and Reigns retaining in a way that sets up the need for a rematch.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
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