Tomorrow (June 29, 2014), WWE presents the live event spectacular known as Money in the Bank. This event is no ordinary Pay-per-view event as for the FIRST TIME EVER the WWE World Heavyweight Championship will be contested under Money in the Bank Ladder Match rules. In other words, for the first time in the history of the WWE, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship will be up for grabs in a multi-man ladder match, where the goal is to be the first person to set up a ladder in the middle of the ring and climb said ladder to grab the championship before anyone else can do so. Additionally, there are many more other matches set to take place through the entirety of the broadcast starting at 7:30pm e on the WWE Network. Without further fanfare, below are my comments and prediction on this weekend’s occasion:
WWE Money in the Bank Kickoff: Daniel Bryan Interview
Most of the time during this half-hour special prior to the main card, there is a match featured, but this time around WWE is giving us a special treat. Daniel Bryan won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30 in April, but had been the target of some sharp criticism by his bosses, WWE COO Triple H and his wife the principal owner of WWE, Stephanie McMahon, who continually called him a “B+ Player” even after he defied the odds and defeated not only Triple H but also then-WWE Champion Randy Orton and Royal Rumble Winner/#1 Contender Batista in a Triple Threat match to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion on the Grandest Stage of Them All. He utilizes a high octane, high impact style that while entertains fans beyond belief, also puts his body at risk more often than not. This led to the requirement of neck surgery a little over a month ago, and his recovery took longer than expected, so Bryan was forced to relinquish the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in June. He never physically relinquished the championship in person, so it should be interesting to see how he reacts in his first public appearance since he was removed as champion by The Authority (Triple H and Stephanie McMahon).
One unique note about this interview is that Daniel Bryan will not only be responding to his short-lived title run or his current injury recovery. He will also be taking questions from fans who can post their inquiries via Twitter using the hashtag #WWEKICKOFF. As a fan of Bryan, who also shares a birthday with the man, I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out a question I could possibly ask him that, but outside of obvious thing that will no doubt be asked by other fans, I can’t think of anything, so unless I can think of something before Sunday, I’ll suffice to take in his responses to the questions of others.
Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett*
*Bad News Barrett was shoved into the barricade on last night’s episode of Smackdown that resulted in a separated shoulder. As of press time, no decision has been made in regards to whether Barrett will be able to compete or if his place in the match will be filled by another competitor.*
Going into the announcement of this match, I thought I knew exactly who would be in it. The only person I missed was Jack Swagger, I thought Kane would’ve taken his spot in this match, but I didn’t know that bigger plans were in the works for Kane by the end of last Monday’s Raw. Following the events of Smackdown, I wish Kane had been put in the match as I originally wanted. This is the second time in a little over 2 years that Jack Swagger has injured a top star at the peak of a major role (Dolph Ziggler received a errant kick to the head on an episode of Smackdown right after becoming World Heavyweight Champion in April of 2012 which resulted in a concussion). I firmly believed that Bad News Barrett was in line to win this year’s Money in the Bank contract, but with his injury and uncertain near future, the only way he gets the case is if someone like Christian (who is set to appear on the pre-show panel as a special guest) could fill in and win the case only to drop it to Barrett upon Barrett’s medically cleared return. I wish Bad News all the best and a speedy recovery, but for now the show must go on.
Aside from Bad News Barrett receiving some bad news of his own, the bigger story in this match is between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Following the final showdown between Evolution and the Shield at the last pay-per-view Payback, after Batista got tired of losing to the Hounds of Justice and quit, Triple H and Randy Orton appeared ready to start another fight against Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins, but Dean and Roman weren’t prepared for Seth to use the steel chair he grabbed in defense as a weapon against his brothers. Seth struck Roman in the back and attacked Dean leading to stomping him face first into the chair, siding with Triple H and handing the chair to Randy Orton to finish the job. Over the course of the last few weeks, Dean Ambrose attacked Seth Rollins with intent to get his revenge one way or another whenever Rollins would least expect it. When Triple H announced the participants of the Contract Ladder Match, he left Dean Ambrose off that list, but as Seth was in the midst of a one-on-one match against fellow participant Rob Van Dam, Dean attacked yet again and went on to say that whether Triple H put him in the match or not, he would show up in Boston, smack Seth off the ladder, grab the briefcase, and pawn it off to the shop closest to the TD Garden arena, site of Sunday’s show. In an online interview, Dean Ambrose said that Triple H and Seth Rollins have made “an enemy for life” out of him and that’s a place no one wants to be when it comes to the Lunatic Fringe that is Dean Ambrose.
I could see Seth Rollins or Dean Ambrose coming out of this with the golden briefcase with a one-on-one contest coming up at Battleground in Tampa in 3 weeks time. Originally I assumed that Seth Rollins could win the contract that guarantees a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match any time, any place, anywhere for up to one year ensuring that The Authority would have a ticket to take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship back under their control within the year, but Dean Ambrose is making a case for himself that is difficult to ignore. Another consideration is that someone like Dolph Ziggler or RVD could seize his second contract, if not to hold it long enough to lose it to Barrett in an Intercontinental Championship winner-take-all type of match. Neither man is stranger to those types of wagers as Dolph Ziggler holds the record for most briefcase defenses during his tenure as Mr. Money in the Bank against both Jericho (SummerSlam and Raw the night after) and John Cena (TLC) in 2012 and Rob Van Dam actually competed in a Winner-Take-All match pitting his briefcase, which he won at WrestleMania 22, against Shelton Benjamin’s Intercontinental Championship at Backlash 2006. The ECW Original was victorious in that outing, but if it were to come to pass again…I’m afraid I’d have some bad news for RVD. As it stands right now though, the top two possible winners look to be Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, and it came down to those two, I’d have to go with the man with the strongest support system at the moment: Seth Rollins.
WINNER and NEW Money in the Bank Contract Holder: SETH ROLLINS
WWE Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. The Wyatt Family
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are creepy and to look at them compared to the Uso, there’s no contest. Luke Harper stands at 6’5 and weighs in at 275 lbs and Rowan is 6’8 and 318. The twins, Jimmy and Jey, stand 6’2 and 6’1 and weigh 251 and 228 respectively. Jimmy and Jey utilize a high risk offense similar to that of Daniel Bryan, where they have become known to leave their feet just as often as stay grounded, but Luke Harper has also adopted the suicide dive, or launching his body between the second a third rope from the ring to the floor, just like the Usos. The Usos have super kicks and body splash combos that have been used to obtain and retain the tag team titles since they acquired the championships on the March 3 edition of Monday Night Raw. The Wyatt Family on the other hand have been rather successful in getting Bray Wyatt into his position to possibly win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in his ladder match this Sunday, but unlike the other occasions, the Wyatt Family will be distracted with their hands full of Uso with the tag team titles on the line. Out of the Wyatt Family, Erick Rowan hasn’t has as much of a chance to shine as Luke Harper has, but the two of them together are rather powerful. The contrasting style of these two teams will certainly light up the stage and if this match follows the Contract Ladder Match as I think it should, the momentum would certainly flow very well and momentum could ride this match right through the night. When the smoke settles and the dust clears, I think that the combined efforts of twin Davids will topple the brutes portraying Goliath and the Usos will retain their gold in Boston.
WINNERS and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: JIMMY AND JEY, THE USOS
Layla vs. Summer Rae (Special Guest Referee: Fandango)
This match has been brewing for a quite a while and the story began on April 8 when Fandango did the classy thing and broke up with Summer Rae on Twitter, dumping her as his dance partner. On the April 11 edition of Smackdown, Fandango appeared and had replaced Summer Rae with the returning Layla. Then on May 19, Summer Rae returned and tried to pick things back up with Fandango, and attacked Layla. Over the course of the following weeks, Summer would pour milk on Layla on WWE Main Event and Layla would respond not only with milk of her own, but also kitty litter which she not only hit Summer Rae with in the back but also poured on her head and rubbed her face in. This cat fight has been simmering for weeks and finally it reaches a boiling point of critical proportion. I would not be surprised if both women end up delivering inadvertent low blows to Fandango during the course of the match.
Summer is the new girl on the block, so it would seem to make sense that she win this one, but Layla has been around a while. Summer could use momentum on her return, but Layla could turn a win here into a challenge for the Divas Championship against Paige.. or both women could challenge for the gold in a Triple Threat match, even though I feel like that could come later on anyway with the way the Funkadactyls are going, but that’s a story for later on in this post. For now, it’s rather difficult to tell just how this match could play and it could very well come down to Fandango as to who will come out on top here, but my gut says that it’s Summer time, but this feud may just be getting started come Sunday.
WINNER: SUMMER RAE
Big E vs. Rusev
I still think this match should be a flag match, but with so many ladders around the ring, giving these two behemoths too much freedom in the ring might be asking for trouble. “Freedom” might not be the best word to use, especially the Russian-sensitive Lana singing the praises of the Russian President Vladimir Putin every chance she gets prompting Big E to take up the pulpit of a Baptist minister to preach the American gospel in a professional wrestling rehash of the Civil War. Big E and Rusev have been on a collision course and the monster Rusev has yet to lose, while Big E hasn’t been able to really get his ball rolling against since he lost his Intercontinental Championship to Bad News Barrett at Extreme Rules on May 4. It’ll take a major effort to stop a beast like Rusev, but Big E is a beast in his own right. With that said and the ways these men have been going, I’d be VERY surprised to see Big E beat Rusev on Sunday. I can’t imagine how Rusev could ever get beat one-on-one. He’s been built to be so unstoppable, it could take a force like Roman Reigns or Big E to stop the roll he has been on lately. I won’t completely rule out a Big E win here because a win for Big E would put them each at 1 win a piece that could easily make for a tiebreaker at Battleground next month (hopefully I’ll get my flag match there), but based on track record alone, it would be almost stupid not to put good money on The Super Athlete Rusev. Money in the Bank in a match added at the last minute just doesn’t seem special enough to be the place of Rusev’s first singles loss.
Stardust and Goldust vs. RybAxel
Stardust (formerly known as Cody Rhodes) has reinvented his image to match the oddity of his half-brother Goldust in ways that can only be described as astronomical. This new-found spirit has revitalized the gusto of the former tag team champions and led to a new winning streak, but also irked the “real bros” Ryback and Curtis Axel, collectively known as RybAxel. RybAxel were the first team to suffer a loss at the hands of the debuting Stardust, and as such they decided that they wanted another chance to prove themselves now that they know what they are getting. Last Tuesday night on WWE Main Event, Ryback and Axel issued a challenge to the brothers and subsequently on Smackdown, the Bizarre One, Goldust accepted the challenge for a match this Sunday, so the stage is set and these two teams will square off live on pay-per-view in front of thousands in attendance in Boston and millions around the world on television outlets such as Sky Sports and WWE Network.
I really think that this match is just a stepping stone in the new path that Stardust is set to trek. Stardust and Goldust are going places and it could eventually build to the breaking point that fans have been hoping to see between the brothers Rhodes for quite some time. The longer Cody and Goldust stay together, the more enticing a match between the two could become. While that is always the possibility and it is asinine to assume anything in WWE, it is safe to say that Stardust and Goldust have found a new formula for success and as previously stated RybAxel is but a bump in the road along their way.
WINNERS: STARDUST & GOLDUST
WWE Diva’s Championship: Paige (c) vs. Naomi
With the course of the diva’s division, major things are happening and they are all for the better. Alicia Fox has been gaining a lot of momentum recently. Paige has continued to look strong with whatever time she gets to shine, and if Naomi can move on from Cameron and make the name for herself that she has proven time and again can stand alone, the diva’s division could be en route to its greatest period in WWE history, or at least since the days of Lita and Trish. Emma is an amazing female talent who has documented history against Paige in NXT. If she could get the proper light she deserves along with the 4 or 5 ladies currently being spotlighted for this month’s pay-per-view event (Paige, Cameron, Naomi, Layla, and Summer Rae) then I could see some of the most amazing matches coming out of the diva’s division in at least 10 years. Layla, Summer Rae, Naomi, and Cameron all have potential to cause a maelstrom within the division. These women could put on a great show in a #1 contender’s match while someone like Natalya, Emma, and/or Alicia Fox could tear down the house against Paige on the same night. Either at Battleground or SummerSlam or maybe both, the diva’s division is going to get a major resurgence and I couldn’t be happier for it. I see great things coming out of Money in the Bank on the road to SummerSlam, especially for the women in WWE. I only hope they get more character development and get the best chance to shine as best they can because the women can be just as entertaining as the men as long as they get enough of a chance to prove it and come Sunday, I think they have plenty of a chance to do just that.
In this match in particular, The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi) have been running together for quite some time and Cameron has been making herself quite known to the Diva’s Champion Paige in recent weeks. I really think that Cameron is going to play a role in the outcome of this match. Whether she causes an inadvertent distraction or a blatant disqualification remains to be seen, but I think she will certainly get involved in the title match this Sunday. I think Cameron will cost Naomi this shot at the championship and I think it could lead to a major match between the two of them at Battleground if not SummerSlam.
WINNER and STILL WWE Diva’s Champion: PAIGE
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match: Randy Orton vs. Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Cesaro vs. Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena vs. Kane
I’ve been thinking this match over and over in various discussions all over Twitter, Facebook, and text messaging with my friends. Below are points I’ve made over the past few weeks since the match was announced in which I have deliberated the possible ways in which this match could go from the standpoint of all the sides of professional wrestling. I use language here that might be foreign to non-wrestling fans, but if you are reading this and you don’t understand I’ll gladly explain any question you may have. Just leave your questions in the comments below and I’ll answer accordingly as best I can:
Orton and Cena are your bookmarks. They’ll be the finish. I could see either one taking the gold. If Orton wins, we could have Orton vs Bryan at SummerSlam for the title. If not, we have Cena/ (Brock) Lesnar. I personally want Lesnar to hold gold for a spell this year just because he has claimed to be #1 contender since January and beat the streak at WrestleMania to prove it! He can hold it a solid 5-7 months and then drop it to a guy like Cesaro if he can win the rumble or maybe loss it in the (Elimination) chamber. Best thing to do with Lesnar could be to have him hold it a while and just give it up. Then we have a tournament without Lesnar having to get beat, plus he’d keep his heat (boos from the crowd) just by refusing to defend the titles.
Orton has not performed anywhere close to Cena as of late. He’s bland in my opinion and I think getting “Boring” chants during your match is worse than “Cena sucks” because Cena has had that chant followed with “This is Awesome” in a match that didn’t involve Orton. Plus, I still believe Brock deserves a title run and if Cena OR Orton hold onto the gold for any length of time at this point, it’s not for the long haul. It’s to get from point A to point B with the company’s best foot forward. I welcome anoter Cena title reign this Sunday, not because it’s a Cena title reign, but because it’ll lead to either another Bryan title reign, a Brock title reign, or even a Reigns title reign. We can’t tell for sure what they’re going to do here, but I know it’ll be awesome…even if Cena wins the gold.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. I think this is all playing into a bigger picture of passing the torch. The younger guys or at least the fresher names are all but ready for the spotlight, but we still haven’t and shouldn’t forgot about guys like Cena or Orton just yet, and as stale as they may seem at the moment, it would be insulting to the last decade to just drop them like nothing and move on to the young guy who might get pushed too quickly just to appease the fans who might be tired of Cena. All it takes is pushing one guy too fast and it tanks his entire career, just ask Jack Swagger. It’s all fluid motion. Nothing is static, especially when it comes to time. Triple H faded out of the picture and is still fading, as has Shawn Michaels, and most recently Undertaker. The people who have been here aren’t going anywhere any time soon, but Evolution against Shield, Wyatt against Cena, and the feuds we have yet to see from Cesaro are all building toward the future, and I don’t think I could be more excited for what’s to come. Change is still coming, but it is already happening if you really look at it. Cena may win the title come Sunday, but that doesn’t mean we’re “going back to crap” or whatever the case may seem to be. John Cena is the only name I could see sharing a marquee with Brock Lesnar, especailly on a stage like SummerSlam because like I said he doesn’t have to hold the gold for any serious amount of time, he just has to pass it. Out of anyone in the whole match, the only person who could win the title and carry it for two months without causing any major uproar just to lose it to Brock Lesnar would have to be John Cena. Cesaro needs a solid run for his first chance at the gold and Roman Reigns is far from ready for that kind of pressure as champion. Sheamus is currently trying to rebuild the United States Championship legacy, and I really think that his next challenger will be Bray Wyatt, as Wyatt could really use the momentum. His last pay-per-view match was a loss to Cena. Cena has the momentum and he has the draw power. He is the only person in this entire match who could go toe to toe against Lesnar and make it look legit while also carrying the company for the two months between now and August for SummerSlam. A 15th title reign as World Champion isn’t as big of a deal as a first or third. Randy is still entangled with the Authority and if Bryan comes back, he shouldn’t immediately get a title shot because I think that the championship should be removed from the Authority as soon as possible and John Cena can help do that by defending against Orton or someone like that at Battleground and then lose to Brock at SummerSlam. Bryan can face Orton upon his return and Bryan can work his way through the Authority and maybe even face Seth Rollins under Triple H’s new tutelage as he builds his own momentum back toward the gold which he was forced to surrender at the beginning of the month. I’m SO ready for their match, but this is more of a “here and now” excitement, and it’ll be nothing compared to what’s on the horizon.
WINNER & NEW WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: JOHN CENA
This entire card has so much potential that it’s almost too much to express in roughly 4,200 words, but I’ve tried my best to make my predictions and catch the reader up on the current happenings of the WWE as they are set to present MONEY IN THE BANK LIVE Sunday June 29, 2014 starting at 7:30pm eastern with the Kickoff pre-show on all major social media outlets (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Pheed) as well as on the WWE App, WWE.com, and of course the WWE Network, home of the main card beginning at 8pm eastern.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my commentary. Please feel free to comment below as to who you think could leave Boston’s TD Garden with the wins tomorrow night.
Thank you, and have a wonderful weekend.