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Can you believe it’s already mid-July? Where does the time go? Anyways, tonight brings us our third consecutive new pay-per-view concept. Money In The Bank, a staple of Wrestlemania for the past five years, finally gets its own three-hour show. For the first time in WWE history, more than one MITB match will take place on the same night, one from Raw and one from Smackdown. Inside the suspended briefcase is a guaranteed contract for a championship match against the world champion of each respective brand. Who will grab the case and make history? We shall find out tonight. Live from Kansas City, Missouri, it’s Sunday night!
Kelly Kelly v. Layla El – WWE Women’s Championship
Who would have thought that Kelly Kelly would be a legitimate contender for the Women’s Championship? She has really come into her own as the babyface Diva on Smackdown. Much like Eve is doing on Raw, Kelly is continuing to improve every week and while there are still some kinks she needs to work out, she is on the right track. Kelly has gone over both Michelle McCool and Layla El in recent weeks, so we know she can beat them. Based on what I know from watching wrestling for so long, whoever gets the upper hand right before the PPV ultimately loses more often than not. Two weeks ago on Smackdown, LayCool jumped Kelly during an interview segment. I am going to go with history and predict a title victory for Kelly Kelly. LayCool’s run on top of the Smackdown Diva division has been entertaining to say the least, but bastardizing the Women’s Championship by creating a replica needs to end. I have a feeling that it will tonight when Kelly Kelly wins her first WWE title.
Winner: Kelly Kelly
Alicia Fox v. Eve Torres – WWE Diva’s Championship
This match was announced last week on Raw after Fox’s sneaky tactics that enabled her to retain the Diva’s Championship. Eve did a great job as Diva’s Champion and should regain the belt in the future. For the time being, Fox needs this win. Fox claims she receives no respect (and for good reason), but to gain that respect, she needs a clean win in a one-on-one match. She’ll get it here, but I hope she drops the belt soon to someone more deserving. Paging Gail Kim?
Winner: Alicia Fox
The Hart Dynasty v. The Usos – WWE Unified Tag Team Championship
This tag team “feud” has received little to no attention. Remember, this is the WWE tag team division. Regardless, after weeks of run-ins and pre-match assaults, we will finally see the Dynasty and the Usos battle for the WWE Unified Tag Team Championship. Jimmy and Jey show a lot of potential and the WWE has a knack for giving new teams title runs as a way of elevating them. Yet, other than a squash on Superstars, I can’t remember a solid win that the Usos have picked up. The Dynasty’s title run has gone from intriguing to boring in only two months. Since D.H. Smith and Tyson Kidd have won the titles, they have defended them ONE time, that being at Over The Limit against the Miz and Chris Jericho.
I have a feeling that the Dynasty will go over here and retain their titles, but they are nothing more than “lame duck” champions. Here’s what I would like to see: the Dynasty will retain the titles against the Usos and hold them quietly as they have for a few more months. Nexus will take those titles away from them in a coup of sorts that might also involve Wade Barrett winning the WWE Championship. Nexus can then defend the Tag Tean Championship under the “Freebird” Rule. That hasn’t been seen since the Spirit Squad (yes, I mentioned the Spirit Squad), but might breathe life into the tag team division. Or it could fail, which it has been doing for quite some time. And with the Usos going over last Monday on Raw, that does nothing but solidify my selection. The Dynasty wins, but don’t expect them to hold the belts for much longer.
Winner: The Hart Dynasty
John Cena v. Sheamus – Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship
Here we go again. John Cena is in a championship match for the 12th time in the last 13 pay-per-views (for those keeping score, the 2010 Royal Rumble was the only one missing). This one, however, should prove intriguing. The steel cage has been put in place by the Raw GM in order to keep Nexus from interfering, since you know, they don’t actually wrestle in sanctioned matches.
Sheamus has been adamant about not helping Cena in fighting Nexus, but last Monday on Raw, after being faced with Nexus, Sheamus literally ran to Cena’s side. Don’t let that fool you; these guys will put on one hell of a show tonight, but the locker room divide is becoming the more fascinating aspect of this Nexus angle.
When the WWE released the Summerslam poster, two familiar faces were on it: Triple H and the Undertaker. Reports from last week surfaced (much to the WWE’s chagrin) that Triple H underwent surgery to repair a torn tendon in his upper arm. The scheduled match between Triple H and Sheamus is in the air. If Trips was ready to return on time, I would have Sheamus going over here, no questions asked. But because of this turn of events, I am going to make a prediction I have yet to make in one of these PPV prediction columns. This match will end in a no contest.
With the events at the end of last week’s Raw in mind, I think that Nexus will exact revenge and find a way to interfere in the steel cage match. This will set up a triple threat at Summerslam with Wade Barrett cashing in his championship opportunity (I have a feeling that the “three month no championship compete clause” will be forgotten, as are a lot of things by WWE Creative). If you are looking for a clear cut winner here, don’t try too hard.
Rey Mysterio v. Jack Swagger – World Heavyweight Championship
According to reports I’ve read, the WWE gave Mysterio his second World Heavyweight Championship in exchange for postponing his vacation and taking the Undertaker’s spot at Fatal 4 Way. Keep in mind, however, that it was Mysterio who injured the Undertaker. Why would he be rewarded for that?
Anyways, it is fitting that Swagger is invoking his rematch clause at Money In The Bank because it was that very match that allowed him to earn his first major championship in the WWE. While Swagger’s run was interesting to say the least, I have never seen a world champion pinned cleanly more than Swagger was. Losses to the likes of John Morrison, Mysterio (on several occasions) and the Undertaker took away the luster of what Swagger’s reign could have been. I will give him one thing. Swagger did have one more clean pinfall victory at a PPV than Sheamus did during his first run (Sheamus didn’t have any). As of late, however, Swagger has been built into a vicious monster, adding the Ankle Lock to his arsenal and taking out Mysterio as well as the Big Show with said hold.
The outcome of this match shouldn’t be in question. After the lukewarm response Swagger received from the WWE Universe throughout his time as WHC, I don’t think the WWE would want to put the belt back on him so quickly. Mysterio should be a transitional champion; I am not sure of who will take it from him, but I doubt he will hold it for very long. Hell, he still needs to take his vacation! I could see a heel winning the Smackdown MITB match and cashing it on Mysterio before the end of the night, but I am not convinced. Also, Mysterio’s “ankle injury” plays into his “Ultimate Underdog” persona and what better way to cultivate that persona by retaining the World Heavyweight Championship on one foot?
If you are unsure of my prediction, let me sway you. Commercials for Smackdown‘s Australian Tour have Mysterio defending the WHC against Swagger, the Big Show, and C.M. Punk. I know this is always subject to change, but considering how close we are getting to the show, I doubt plans will change right now. Mysterio retains.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Kane v. The Big Show v. Christian v. Matt Hardy v. “Dashing” Cody Rhodes v. Drew McIntyre v. Dolph Ziggler v. WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston – Smackdown Money In The Bank Match
This match features more overall MITB experience, including three Superstars with three MITB matches under their respective belts. The potential in this match is much higher, considering there are less bona fide main-eventers among the participants.
Kane (MITB experience: WM21, WM25, WM26) – Kane has come close to winning this match in the past, but could not grab the briefcase when it counted. This match is filler for Kane, but in a different way than Mark Henry on the Raw side. While Henry is there just to fill a spot, Kane needs something to do before the speculated return of the Undertaker at Summerslam. Kane winning this match wouldn’t make sense because his focus needs to be on the Undertaker angle. Bringing the briefcase into it would only lessen its significance.
The Big Show (None) – The Big Show has returned to his jolly self and he is being inserted back into the main event picture because of it. He is so much more believable as a face because he is a genuinely nice guy. Anyways, Show is floating. He has a feud with Jack Swagger, but Swagger is in the WHC match. I think their feud will continue after MITB. With my predictions of Show losing here and Swagger losing as well, that leaves them open for one another.
Cody Rhodes (None) – “Dashing” Cody Rhodes is a stud (not in that way, people, though the nickname screams otherwise). Rhodes, along with the Miz, have zoomed past their respective former partners, Ted DiBiase and John Morrison, which no one saw coming. Rhodes will be a great champion one day, but he still needs some singles seasoning before we can take him seriously as a main-eventer. I see an IC Title run in his immediate future.
Matt Hardy (WM22, WM23, WM26) – Oh, Matt Hardy. He is a pioneer of this very match and always knows how to entertain with the ladders. Hardy has been with the WWE for so long and has yet to sniff world championship gold. I wish he could win, but I don’t think he will. Hardy is a great enhancement talent, but other than a Kane-like title run in the future (maybe it will last longer than a day), I can’t see Hardy as WHC. The crowd loves him, but he just doesn’t have “it.” I know I sound like Matt Striker on NXT, but think about it.
Kofi Kingston (WM25, WM26) – After fading away following his program with Randy Orton last fall, Kingston came back in a big way on Smackdown, winning the Intercontinental Championship. A champion involved in MITB has never won. It looks like Kingston is in this match for his high-flying offensive arsenal and his penchant for big spots. Having Dolph Ziggler in this match will help further their feud, which I can see coming to a head at Summerslam.
Dolph Ziggler (WM26) – Ziggler was my early favorite to win this match, but I took a step back and realized that a world championship isn’t in the cards for Ziggler just yet. Ziggler has yet to win any championship in the WWE. Yes, you can argue that Sheamus hadn’t either when he won the title, but Sheamus was built up from the moment he debuted. Ziggler has been up and down for years. Ziggler deserves the IC Title and will get it very soon. He is in this match to provide some spots and further his feud with Kingston.
Christian (WM21, WM25, WM26) – Who among us wouldn’t love to see Christian win MITB and finally become a world champion? I would, but it won’t. Yes, I am being blunt, but let me explain. Christian is very over with the crowd, but for some reason, he has yet to climb further than an ECW Championship since returning two years ago. I think he needs a heel turn. Him turning on Hardy on Smackdown might be the beginning. Since it seems that Drew McIntyre has moved on to other things, Hardy needs a foil. Christian would fit perfectly. It would give him the chance to work himself over as a heel against a fan favorite. From there, maybe we will see the title run we have been salivating over.
Drew McIntyre (WM26) – The “Chosen One” has fallen out of favor because Mr. McMahon has been “incapacitated” by Nexus. It looks like McIntyre is attempting to get back into Teddy Long’s good graces now that he has no backup. Mr. McMahon disappearing is the best thing that could have happened to McIntyre. I have a strong feeling that it will be McIntyre grabbing the Smackdown briefcase. Remember how I said I could see a heel cashing in the briefcase on Mysterio? Imagine McIntyre doing just that. As WHC, he will once again have the power on Smackdown and the ensuing struggle with Long will make for great television. The “Chosen One” returns at MITB and wins the match.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Randy Orton v. Edge v. Evan Bourne v. Chris Jericho v. v. Ted DiBiase v. John Morrison v. Mark Henry v. WWE United States Champion The Miz – Raw Money In The Bank Match
This is a star-studded match. Three former world champions join five up-and-coming Superstars for what should be an amazing contest. There are three distinct rivalries taking place in this match (Orton/Edge, Bourne/Jericho, and DiBiase/Morrison) and one that will surely resume afterwards (Miz/R-Truth/Mark Henry). I will do my best to figure out who will win, but it won’t be easy. To do that, I will break down each respective Superstar and highlight his chances (or lack thereof).
Randy Orton (MITB experience: WM 23) – Randy Orton is in an interesting place. After being in the title picture for practically all of 2009, his organic face turn has allowed him to stay in the main event while not having to chase or hold the WWE Championship. Over three years removed from his first and only MITB appearance, Orton has changed dramatically and his transformation from cocky Legend Killer into deranged Viper has been entertaining to behold. Yet, I don’t believe Orton will come out on top. Orton does not need to win in order to be inserted into the main event picture and his character, which happens to lend to the unpredictable (something MITB is all about), can still be that way without a win. I don’t think this type of unpredictability is in the cards for Orton.
Edge (WM21, 23. Winner WM21) – Edge is the “Ultimate Opportunist” for a reason, having earned his nickname by cashing in MITB twice (the second time, he won the case from Mr. Kennedy, then cashed it in on a beaten Undertaker after an assault by Mark Henry). While Edge winning tonight wouldn’t seem out of place, it is simply a case of “been there, done that.” A win wouldn’t do anything for Edge. Plus, he’s not finished with Randy Orton and I see a match between the two at Summerslam.
The Miz (None) – The Miz has blossomed into a credible upper-mid-carder and will continue to elevate into a main-eventer. The problem is is that he’s U.S. Champion. Like I said before, no champion who has taken part in MITB has ever won. Miz needs to focus on his U.S. Title and defend against someone like Truth, for example, who is also on the precipice of becoming a main-event Superstar. Plus, with Truth unable to compete in the match due to the Miz’s attack on Raw, Miz should have his hands full.
Mark Henry (WM25) – Henry has been inserted into this match as R-Truth’s replacement. That is all Henry is: filler. Can you imagine Henry attempting to climb a ladder? Yes, I know the Big Show weighs more, but just the thought of Henry climbing a ladder makes me laugh.
Ted DiBiase (None) – DiBiase has floundered since Legacy dissolved before WM26. Cody Rhodes has taken the ball on Smackdown, which no one saw coming. I can’t see DiBiase winning this match, but I can see him possibly trying to buy it off whoever does as an angle heading into Summerslam.
Chris Jericho (WM21, WM24) – Jericho is the “dark horse.” He made mention before his match at Fatal 4 Way that he has gone from the “hunter” to the “hunted.” What better way to change that perception than by holding a guaranteed title match at any time? It is hard for me to do this, but Jericho probably won’t win. Like Orton, Jericho doesn’t need MITB to elevate himself.
Evan Bourne (WM26) – Bourne has skyrocketed from jobber to the stars to credible Superstar in such a short time. Since his tag match victory with John Cena over Sheamus and Edge, Bourne has been on a tear, picking up several wins over Chris Jericho. It would seem that based on current trends, Bourne has no competition heading into this match. But he does. And he won’t win. Why? Don’t get me wrong, Bourne is a fantastic worker. But WWE Champion? I can’t picture that at all. Not yet at least. I can see his feud with Jericho continuing past this, which will allow him to get the experience needed to become a world champion. Bourne might get his chance, but don’t expect it tonight.
John Morrison (WM24) – Morrison’s journey as a singles/face competitor has been intriguing to watch. Last summer, it seemed like a World Title run was inevitable, but it hasn’t happened yet. Morrison has had some IC TItle reigns to his credit over the past year, but as most of the IWC believed, that was behind him. Since being drafted to Raw, Morrison has battled injuries and has slipped down the face totem pole. A win would definitely elevate Morrison to where he belongs. I think he gets it here. Morrison is a multiple Tag Team, ECW, and Intercontinental Champion and it would only make sense for him to add WWE Champion to his resume. He is over with the crowd and he has proven himself worthy. I will go with my gut and say that John Morrison gets a victory at MITB.
Winner: John Morrison