Thursday, August 15, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Money in the Bank Possibilities and Predictions (7/17/11) - [a case of the summer]

It's a bit odd.  The Throwback Thursday posts are getting perhaps the most hits out of any of my [a case of the summer] features -- and they're relatively easy -- yet i can't seem to find the time on Thursday to post them.  This is my way of apologizing for missing last week.

Anyway, this Sunday is SummerSlam, with the highly anticipated John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan WWE Championship match.  While the Triple H interception as guest ref seems to recall the John Cena/CM Punk match from SummerSlam 2011, I think the build for the story actually more closely resembles their Money in the Bank match.  Like this Sunday's contest, fans desperately hoped against hope that the Internet fan favorite would overcome the company's golden boy -- while also fully expecting the dream to be immediately snatched from them with a devastating Money in the Bank cash in.

As such, I will look back at my Money in the Bank 2011 Predictions.  My present day comments are in bold italics, within the parentheses.
Money in the Bank Possibilities and Predictions

So tonight is Money in the Bank, which may very well be the first non-Big Four PPV I’ve ordered since the beginning of the brand extension (I would argue that Money in the Bank, since the 2011 event, has actually surpassed some of the Big Four PPV's in terms of specialness and anticipation). I honestly haven’t a clue what’s going to happen, and the possibilities are endless, so I’m not going to do a traditional “Predictions” post. Instead, I’ll post some possibilities, what I’d like to see happen, and what I think will probably happen. And I’ll really only talk about the four big matches.

Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
Smart bet: Probably Sheamus
Good chance: Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett
Long shot: Justin Gabriel
Runner Up: Sin Cara or Daniel Bryan

I originally pegged Cody Rhodes to win it, because Money in the Bank works best with somebody who hasn’t been to the big show yet, but could use a little bit of a shove into the title picture. However, if Christian wins the World Heavyweight Championship, then I could see Sheamus winning it to continue the three way feud they began building a few weeks ago (My runner up prediction ended up being correct, as Daniel Bryan won it.  Kinda crazy seeing Sin Cara as a legitimate possibility to win).

Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
Smart bet: Alberto Del Rio
Good chance: R Truth
Long shot: Alex Riley
Runner Up: Rey Mysterio

I don’t see Miz reclaiming the briefcase here because the storyline has been done, and it was done pretty perfectly the first time. Alberto Del Rio seems like the best shot here, because it would perpetually keep him in the main event picture, plus they seem willing to job him out if the situation presents itself (The smart bet was the right bet here, as Del Rio walked away with the briefcase).

World Heavyweight Championship Match:
When the match was first announced, my prediction was that Christian wins the title and then immediately loses it to the Money in the Bank winner, probably Sheamus. But then as things progressed with the Cena/Punk storyline, it seemed like something like that might happen in their match. What I want to have happen, of course, is that Christian wins the title (it can be through shenanigans, that’s fine). He’s really brought it throughout the feud and to be honest, his storyline with Orton isn’t as boring as the typical Orton feud and I wouldn’t mind seeing it continue. The only way it could continue and keep its steam is if Christian wins. I still think my initial prediction is possible, depending on how things play out in the WWE Championship match (Christian did end up winning.  And thankfully he got more than a one day reign this time.  I'm glad Christian is back in the World Heavyweight Championship picture this Sunday, but I can't help but feel like he's just fodder before Del Rio transitions back to Dolph Ziggler or somebody else).

WWE Championship Match:
Where do I begin? The possibilities are endless here. Everybody is predicting a Punk victory and I think that’s possible, but to be honest I think WWE could conceivably keep the title on John Cena until his WrestleMania match with Rock. But I really think this all boils down to whether Punk signed a new deal with WWE, and my gut tells me he has. It’s not just that WWE has put Punk in a position to be a star following this feud, it’s also that he’s absolutely red hot right now. What does WWE benefit from making Punk such a massive star if he’s leaving? To spike one buyrate? It doesn’t make sense (of course, we all know now that Punk did resign with the company).

And if Punk HAS resigned, I think they’d be making a mistake by not putting the title on him. Punk leaving with the belt and Cena getting fired builds far more intrigue than Cena retaining, which is something everybody has already seen. So let’s talk about some of the possibilities.

One is that Punk wins, the Raw MITB winner cashes in (let’s say ADR), but loses (amazingly, the first part of my initial prediction is the EXACT thing that happened). Then the Smackdown MITB winner cashes in immediately thereafter (which is, I assume, against the rules, but McMahon allows it as a last ditch effort to keep the championship) but Punk again retains (maybe he purposely gets himself disqualified) (this part didn't happen, of course). This is also interesting because it’ll be the first time the MITB winners fail, and it’ll immediately take the briefcases out of the equation for the first time since their creation. You can also reverse the order (which doesn’t make sense to me), and have the Raw guy win it. One way to accomplish this is by having the Raw winner initially reject McMahon’s request to cash in the briefcase (but deciding to do it anyway after seeing how beat up Punk is), and perhaps even have new World Champ Christian convince the Smackdown winner to cash in on Punk (that actually would have been intriguing.  Having the heel Christian try to manipulate McMahon into allowing the blue briefcase to be cashed in on the WWE Championship in order to protect his own reign).

Another possibility is that you have Punk win with the assistance of McMahon, and it turns out that the renegade Punk sold out to ensure that he wins the championship (this, of course, is what everbody fears will happen Sunday with Bryan). For what it’s worth, I think this would be a mistake. Punk already has heat as a heel. Why turn away the atomic reaction he’s getting in his current role (for what it's worth, I could see Punk evolving into a face. In his interaction with Vince -- decidedly a heel -- they were clearly on opposing sides. His discussions with Cena were far less hostile) (I also believe it would be a mistake to do it with Bryan)?

And, of course, there’s the possibility that Cena wins clean. And honestly, if Punk really is gone, I don’t think this is a bad option. Think back to the Hogan era, and to a lesser extent even the Austin era. During those periods, the big face almost always overcame the odds. If Punk is gone and there isn’t money to be made off of him (that is to say, they CAN’T make money off of him), why not do what you can to continue to build up your top star? I hope it doesn't happen, because there are more exciting options, but if it does it won't be the end of the world (and imagine if they go this route Sunday?  With a clean Cena win?).

So….what do you see happening?

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