Gutteridge's "Man vs. Machine" WWE Money in the Bank Predictions: Who will shoot to the top? Who will come crashing down? Will the Wyatt Family appear?
By Darren Gutteridge
Can Dot Net contributor Darren Gutteridge predict the outcomes of pay-per-view matches with more accuracy than the WWE '13 video game simulator? Let's find out.
This PPV is by a long stretch my third favourite PPV of the year, behind the Rumble and Mania, and it’s not even close. While many gripe that the briefcase at stake in the MITB matches becomes both a dead giveaway of stories and a seemingly cheap way to boost a guy up to the WWE or World title scene, in today’s age it’s a necessary evil. WWE is doing a lot better at getting over new talent right now than at any other point in the last decade, but they all do seem to hit the glass ceiling at some point, and the briefcase can be the hammer they need to break it (if properly booked). At the very least, the matches themselves tend to be some of the best of the year.
My winning ways in this contest against a machine were restored at Payback, where I only predicted one match wrong, whereas the disc got three wrong. Ha! Score one for humanity! It now stands at 4-1 overall.
Pre-Show – The Shield (Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) vs. The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Titles: I would say it’s a massive slide for The Shield to be on the pre-show, but Sheamus was on the Payback one, so I wouldn’t get too hung up on it. I think more people would be interested in this match than the Miz/Axel match, but a pre-show appearance may be by design so Rollins and Reigns can play some part in the World Title MITB match. Given enough time, this could be very good – the chaotic style of the Shield will mesh well with the high energy style of The Usos. Jimmy and Jey are underappreciated, and I hope for a push down the line, but I don’t see it starting here. The Shield losing the titles has to be a big deal, and this isn’t it.
Prediction: The Shield defeat The Usos to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles
WWE ’13: The Usos defeat The Shield to win the WWE Tag Team Titles
AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn for the Divas Title: Things didn’t pick up the way I had wishfully hoped for following AJ’s win at Payback. A babyface chasing a title they just lost to a taunting heel is a storyline as old as wrestling itself, but here they have been so inconsistent with Kaitlyn’s character that I don’t think anyone actually cares what happens. She’s not sympathetic, she’s just insane. AJ’s character was crazy already, so it would have worked had the roles been reversed, but Kaitlyn was normal until AJ started calling her names. I had a lot of hope riding on this feud a few months ago, now I want it to just end.
Prediction: AJ Lee defeats Kaitlyn to retain the Divas Title
WWE ’13: Kaitlyn defeats AJ to win the Divas Title
Curtis Axel vs. The Miz for the Intercontinental Title: I couldn’t be more certain for an Axel win here. While I haven’t been impressed, I can at least slightly tolerate Axel’s appearances on Raw and Smackdown at the moment, which is more than I can say for Miz. I would say a loss wouldn’t hurt Miz here, but really, is there anything left for him to lose? He hasn’t been a credible contender for a very long time, despite his constant hot potato routine with the mid-card titles. Hopefully, this is used a filler between a ladder and a title match, and doesn’t outstay a five minute welcome.
Prediction: Curtis Axel defeats The Miz to retain the Intercontinental Title
WWE ’13: Miz defeats Axel to win the Intercontinental Title
Chris Jericho vs. Ryback: I’m excited for the match almost in spite of the build to it. An emotional Ryback? A Ryback who backs down? Neither of these ideas come over as good ones to me. Who wants to see a massive guy like that act like a little bitch? It differentiates him from Mark Henry, sure, but not in a positive way. Maybe it’s leading to something that I will enjoy, but it better get there fast before Ryback loses all credibility. But as I said, Jericho will be motivated for what may be his last WWE show until after the Fozzy tour, and Ryback has had some good (even great) matches when in with smaller, more technically minded guys like Bryan and Punk. Could be the dark horse of the show.
Prediction: Ryback defeats Chris Jericho
WWE ’13: Ryback defeats Jericho
Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Title: A recently problem has emerged when WWE is tasked with the difficult job of turning a heel babyface. While in the old days the heel would usually be attacked and then have an epiphany, now heels turn just by opposing other heels, and never really shedding their negative aspects. Randy Orton has got over with most fans despite still being heel-ish, but The Miz hasn’t. Now I worry Dolph may fall in with the latter. Dolph has the charisma, work rate and selling ability to be a good babyface, but he does need to alter his character if it’s going to work. He has receive mixed, mild reactions since his Payback turn, and that’s a deadly cocktail. While a complete overhaul isn’t needed, he needs to be more likeable, and get the hell away from AJ ASAP.
If Del Rio brings his A-game, this has the potential to be a good match. I think had Dolph caught on big immediately after Payback, they would have switched the titles here, especially when considering the all heel MITB World title match taking place on the same night. Since he hasn’t, a Del Rio win will allow for more time to establish Ziggler is now a good guy, and pave the way for a Summerslam switch.
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio defeats Dolph Ziggler to retain the World Heavyweight Title
WWE ’13: Ziggler defeats Del Rio to win the World Heavyweight Title
John Cena vs. Mark Henry for the WWE Title: Good Lord what a good kick off this feud had. Henry had the performance of a lifetime in his faux retirement speech, but unfortunately it couldn’t carry on over the course of the build (nor could it have, realistically). It hasn’t been bad by any stretch; it just hasn’t reached its full potential. But the match is helped by the fact that the commentators are making a big deal of the WWE Title being the only one Henry’s never won. Do I think Cena, the only babyface champion on the roster (well, he’s supposed to be a babyface, he’s just rarely received that way), is going to lose so soon after winning the title? No. But have WWE put a small seed of doubt in my mind that Henry may win and drop the title back at Summerslam? Yes, and kudos to them, as that rarely happens with Cena title defences.
Prediction: John Cena defeats Mark Henry to retain the WWE Title
WWE ’13: Cena defeats Henry
World Title Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Here’s my list of probabilities for the blue briefcase –
7) Fandango: As much as he was pushed, that push slowed down considerably after Jericho beat him at Extreme Rules. Also, the title picture is rarely home to such a silly gimmick as Fandango’s. The last truly “silly” gimmick to get a title feud was R-Truth during his crazy period, and even then that was just one match. Look for a diving leg drop off of a ladder, and everyone at home to go Fannn-Dannng-Owwwwww. (As my last pick, Fandango sat out my WWE ’13 MITB match).
6) Antonio Cesaro: I put him below teammate Swagger only because he is coming into the match with less momentum. Yeah, Swagger hasn’t won much lately either, but he was in the World title hunt just a few months ago. Cesaro is going to get a title feud at some point, but I don’t think it will be until after this widely confusing alliance with Swagger and Zeb Coulter is over.
5) Jack Swagger: I didn’t say Swagger was a lot higher on my list. The recent problems with the law are sure to hurt his case as much as they did at Mania 29, plus he’s been losing a lot.
4) Cody Rhodes: A low as Rhodes is, he is in fact my dark horse pick to win. I’ve convince myself there is something to the subtle fragility starting to show in Team Rhodes Scholars. Sandow’s gimmick doesn’t work as a babyface, but since he’s so ill defined, Cody could easily win the case (and the title), get beat up by his former best friend, and turn babyface. Rhodes has a lot of upside, the WWE just need to find a gimmick he can channel it all into so he can finally achieve his full potential. It’s a long shot, but I like the idea of it.
3) Dean Ambrose: Ambrose’s chances of winning depend on two things – how much Rollins and Reigns will play into the match, and how willing WWE are to give the Shield three championships and a contract for another one. It would certainly halt whatever slight dip the group is having, and would suit there “anarchy rules” gimmick incredibly well. I feel this will be the bookies favourite, but I think it’s a little too obvious.
2) Damien Sandow: As you can tell, I am utterly convinced there is something to the “cracks” appearing in Team Rhodes Scholars. The storyline I outlined earlier works just as well if Sandow wins the briefcase – he cashes in, wins the title with Rhodes’ help in exchange for a future title shot, turns on his friend, and we have a title feud ready to go. WWE has faith in Sandow – he’s been placed in high profile spots before – and Sunday may be there first major roll of the dice with the character. He could certainly play off of Ziggler if that’s the feud in mind in the coming months.
1) Wade Barrett: If ever there was someone that my ‘glass ceiling’ argument relates to the most, it’s Barrett. When he was the leader of the Nexus, there were already calls to make him WWE Champion. Now, he’s had time to mature and branch out on his own, so this may now be the time WWE decides to pull the trigger. He’s come into this match quietly, with no real momentum, and that has been a potential tip off in the past (see Bryan’s win in 2011). He’s feud free, title free, and more than ready for a chance to be a World Champion.
Prediction: Wade Barrett wins the MITB Briefcase
WWE ’13: Damien Sandow wins the MITB Briefcase
”All Star” Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Here’s my list of probabilities for the red briefcase –
7) Christian: He’s looked fine since his return, but since he’s the one I keep forgetting is in this match, I’m not too big on his chances of winning. (He also sat out my WWE ’13 MITB match)
6) Kane’s Replacement: The obvious option for Kane’s replacement is Bray Wyatt, but I don’t think WWE will want to saddle Wyatt with the briefcase this soon, so it may ultimately be pointless to add him if he isn’t going to win (especially with it being his first match). The WWE is promoting Kofi Kingston and Big Show, neither of which screams “winner” to me (although every year I get to thinking that it’s “Kofi’s year”, oblivious of previous form). So I’m going to call a complete wild card. RVD is back, so why not bring back another former MITB MVP – John Morrison. He left on good terms, and has taken steps to improve his charisma. Why not bring him back where he can be showcased, and give the PPV buyers another reward for their purchase? Evan Bourne is another possibility.
5) Sheamus: Sheamus could be a player in the future of the actual winner of the match, but he’s gotten so stale I don’t think the win would go over well. A heel turn soon would be a refreshing change.
4) CM Punk: Normally, Punk would be in the top three, as he could further his MITB credentials with a third win in the match, but a match with Lesnar at Summerslam seems too nailed on for him to pull out a win on Sunday.
3) Rob Van Dam: WWE has done a great job of building hype for RVD’s return Sunday. The level of push has made me consider him, alongside Wyatt, to be my dark horse choice, but I’m keeping him at No. 3 as I don’t think WWE will be willing to give him a title feud without first seeing what match quality he can bring on his return. I would like to see Philly explode if he wins though.
2) Randy Orton: Rumours have been swirling that Orton is on the verge of another title push, and they have got to me so much I’ve put him at No. 2. It has been a while since he’s been in the running for a title, so it’s not like he’s saturated the title picture like Cena has. Do I want to see it? No. Cena vs. Orton again? Yawn. But I can see the signs of it happening.
1) Daniel Bryan: Ultimately, I am sticking to my guns. This has been my belief for a while, to the point that I am throwing off Raw’s closing shot of Bryan holding the briefcase, usually a sure fire sign it won’t happen, as a red herring meant to throw off internet fans such as myself. Bryan could potentially get to the top, where his push seems to be going, without the case, but it would play so well into his “weak link” mentality – to prove himself, he’ll tell Cena in advance he’s cashing it in at Summerslam, determined to prove he isn’t the weak link. Bryan wins at Summerslam, and the internet rejoices.
Prediction: Daniel Bryan wins the MITB Briefcase
WWE’13: RVD wins the MITB Briefcase
Thanks for reading. If you had any comments or thoughts on the show or this preview, add me on Twitter via @Dazatheg, where I will be live tweeting the show
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