Raffi Shamir: Why the hell is Rey Mysterio a champion right now? And why is WWE repeating the same booking mistakes from his first title reign? And why did WWE turn Swagger into a legitimate threat only after he lost the title? And is WWE expecting us to forget that Swagger is getting the exact same booking that Kurt Angle got after losing his first title? And is there any doubt that Rey will manage to win against all odds?
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Kyle Sparks: The company doesn’t appear to have any real long-term plans surrounding Mysterio, and it would appear they just threw him a bone to get him to help them out at Fatal Four Way. Swagger has a wider range of potential challengers, and a win here will help Fatal Four Way look like a fluke. Swagger has looked dominant and given the events of SmackDown on Friday, Elementary Booking 101 says new World Heavyweight Champion.
Winner – Jack Swagger (NEW World Heavyweight Champion)
Mark Allen: Much like with the WWE Title match, the winner here doesn’t change anything really. With Triple H still out on RAW and Undertaker still out on SD it seems as if everyone will just be marking time until their returns. I’ll say Swagger wins it back here. A second title win would help solidify him and Rey’s victory was more just to put over the Fatal 4 Way gimmick than anything else.
Winner â€“ Swagger
Kelly Floyd: The WWE has always been about the cash, and Rey definitely embodies that. He hasn’t even done anything AS champ yet. Rumors of back stage hissy fits aside, I think they’re going to keep the belt on him for a little longer, although his health and personal life seem to put his champ status up in the air. But that’s what I said at Fatal Fourway, and he won that so…
Winner – Rey Mysterio
Andrew Wheeler: All those who didnâ€™t think that they were going to make Kurt Swangleâ€™s dad a character, say I. I personally expect to hear silence. Like Shelton Benjaminâ€™s mama, Swangleâ€™s dad should be an insane heat magnet. Itâ€™ll do for him what Cowboy Bob did for Randy. Now sure, itâ€™s Bunkhouse Buck of all people, but itâ€™ll work. Sadly, I donâ€™t see him winning the title back so quickly (even though it would make sense). I like the idea of having strong heels going into Summerslam, since it is the second biggest PPV of the year. Unfortunately, with no Taker to return and destroy the Opportunist Showstoppingly Weasely All American American American Kurt Swangle, thereâ€™s nothing for him to build to. The rumor is that one of the MITB suitcases will be cashed in right away, while the other one might linger for a while. My guess is that the winner of the Smackdown MITB will use his suitcase at Summerslam, which means itâ€™ll most probably be a heel. Since you canâ€™t do heel/heel (despite how shockingly decent Orton/Sheamus was), it means that Rey â€œI quit, I quit, I quit, I quit Mr. Whiteâ€ Mysterio will probably retain. Super. I liked it better when his title run was treated like a complete joke. Anyway, heâ€™ll either face a deranged Kane (who so clearly was the one behind the Undertaker attacks that he might as well just go in the center of the ring and admit that Cole is the GMâ€¦I mean that he attacked Taker, put him in a coma, woke him up, took him to his wedding, was the best man, took Taker and McTaker to their honeymoon, let them christen their marriage, drive him back to his coffin and put him back in a coma) or heâ€™ll have one more blowout match with CM Punk. Either way, itâ€™s gonna be Rey since there is pretty much no one for Swangle to face. Thatâ€™s a shame. Itâ€™s true, itâ€™s true.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
Randy Orton vs. John Morrison vs. Evan Bourne vs. The Miz vs. Ted DiBiase vs. Chris Jericho vs. Mark Henry vs. Edge
Raffi Shamir: They have three different storylines going on in that match that will probably lead to individual matches in Summerslam. In that sense, the booking leading up to MITB has been quite good. People who shouldn’t win: Orton, Edge, Jericho (Those three can get a title shot whenever they want); DiBiase, Henry (They shouldn’t fight for a championship). This leaves us with Morrison, Bourne and The Miz. The big question is what they want to do here. DO they want to feed the winner to Sheamus as contender only for that guy to lose (And be the first wrestler to cash in the briefcase and not win the title) or do they want to create a real main eventer. I suspect they will go the first route, and either Bourne or Morrison are good for that job. Bourne is on such a hot streak right now that it wouldn’t really be a surprise to have him win here. And he was already killed by Sheamus so many times in the past that it wouldn’t really hurt him. As for Morrison, it seems like WWE is determined to completely kill off any heat he gained in 2009. I don’t know what their deal is with him, but they took someone who was on the fast track to superstardom and turned him into a joke, with some of the worse promos in history. They might as well turn him into the first MITB winner to lose his championship match. But I decided to go with what I want to happen rather than what I think will happen. I want Miz to win here and then try to do right what WWE tried with Kennedy/Anderson and failed. The Miz should go on Raw the next night and announce that he will cash his MITB contract against whoever the Raw champion will be at Wrestlemania 27. They have 9 months of Miz building himself as the next WWE champion, and if they do this right, the audience will be all over it. So I’m going with the heart rather than the mind here. And yes, I will be wearing a Miz “I’m Awesome” shirt to watch this event.
Winner: The Miz
Kyle Sparks: I’ve heard some people here say Randy Orton, as he has just looked so flat-out dominant on Raw the last few weeks, that some people are looking at it as a given that he will steamroll to the briefcase. However, that ignores precedent that WWE has set with regards to the briefcase in years past. This is that last push over the finish line (Edge, RVD, Punk, Swagger). That said, one man in this group has significantly upgraded his game in the last month or so. He’s already one of the best talkers on the roster, his in-ring game has gotten better, and he’s finally putting it all together to become a great heel. A Chris Jericho-lite if you will. That man is The Miz. And he’s awesome. Just imagine the kind of over the top gloating promos he could cut with briefcase in hand.
Winner – The Miz
Mark Allen: Mark Henry…no wait, scratch that. I’ve got to go with Miz here. Orton, Jericho and Edge are above it. Henry is below it. Morrison hurts himself anytime he opens his mouth now. The company wouldn’t buy Bourne in that position. DiBiase isn’t ready for it. Give it to Miz and watch him grow into the role like Edge did the first time he won it.
Winner â€“ Miz
Kelly Floyd: Tell ya who it WON’T be…Mark Henry. I could see someone like Randy taking it, but I think the WWE knows how typical that would be. The main focus has been on those younger guys, and as much as I would like to see Evan take it, I think it’s a job for Miz.
Winner – The Miz
Andrew Wheeler: Say what you want about Money in the Bank, it fucking works. It â€œfinallyâ€ made Edge a champion. It would have made Kennedy a champion had he not gone out there and torn himself apart like an emotionally fragile James Dean. It established CM Punk as a threat (the second time, not the first timeâ€¦though it was awesome to see him win the title). Most recently, it took a completely lost Jack Swagger and turned him into a world champion named Kurt Swangle (this generationâ€™s Swarles Barkley). Ladies and gentlemen, this gimmick actually works. And unlike the Royal Rumble (where you need an established guy to win because heâ€™ll be headlining the biggest show of the year), you can have anyone (except Henry) win the briefcase. Now I know people hate when my things go long, but itâ€™s the nature of the beast:
-Randy Orton: Orton seems to be the odds-on favorite to win this. Heâ€™s never won the MITB briefcase and it would allow him to add to his list of accomplishments (like when Shawn won the European Title just to say that heâ€™s won it). The problem is that he seems way too obvious. Also, he really doesnâ€™t need it. He can get into a main event match whenever he wants, so why the hell would the WWE bother to give it to him. On the other hand, he has a lightning-fast finishing move, and when he cashed it in, the place would be electric. The play here could very well be for him to win it, cash it in, and have him lose due to either Nexus or maybe Chris Jericho (who could use a good feud with Randy).
-John Slo-Mo-rrison: He is the perfect person to win this match. Heâ€™s got solid in-ring skills (solid if unspectacular), he can carry himself on the mic (when heâ€™s not trying to do the same kind of lame jokes that early-00â€™s watered down Chris Jericho was forced to spew) and he gets a decent pop. Winning MITB would save his career like it saved Swangleâ€™s. On the other hand (man I love that phrase), he has zero momentum going for him and with the talk of Melina coming back to be by his side, the WWE clearly wants him lower on the card to elevate Teddy.
-Evan Bourne: Evan is the emotional pick for everyone, since heâ€™d have the most to gain. Winning the briefcase here would instantly catapult him to the top, which is something that The Marine desperately wants to happen. Evan also has an exciting finishing move that he could hit on a prone champion to win the belt and make the crowd explode. On the other hand, is the WWE really ready to put the belt on Evan? I just donâ€™t think theyâ€™re quite there yet, but they may be getting close.
-The Miz: Miz deserves the briefcase as heâ€™s become the MVP (thatâ€™s most valuable player, not a guy who was once showing promise but then quickly flamed out and is now going to spend the bulk of his career slumming it on â€œSuperstarsâ€ against Primo Colon) of the WWE and is showing those signs of future greatness that some of us had always said he was capable of. Unfortunately for him, he has the US Title already, and with Nexus feuding with Cena and Sheamus needing to square off with a babyface, I just donâ€™t think that the time is right for The Miz.
-Teddy DiBiase: Heâ€™s got a new gimmick (well, an old gimmick thatâ€™s being recycled) and the perfect valet, but he hasnâ€™t shown any true growth either in the ring or on the mic. He should have ridiculous amounts of heel heat, and it shouldnâ€™t be all that hard since all he has to do is watch tape of his father. Heâ€™s embroiled in a feud with Morrison, so he doesnâ€™t have any immediate plans to be anything more than an upper-midcarder, though it would be funny to see him try to buy the briefcase off of the winner.
-Chris Jericho: Yes, I heard the rumors just like everyone else, but quite frankly I donâ€™t care. Heâ€™s still in the company (for now) and heâ€™s actually motivated to get Evan Bourne over. In fact, believe it or not, heâ€™s my pick to win the damn thing. Hereâ€™s why: Chris has no major feud going on right now aside from Evan Bourne (who should probably transition into a feud with Miz), heâ€™s trying to one-up Edge, heâ€™s never won Money in the Bank, and he could finally be the first person to cash in the briefcase and LOSE. Someone needs to lose when they cash it in, or else the briefcase lacks any suspense. The WWE can have Jericho use the briefcase against Sheamus for a very quick match, and then lose because of either Bourne or Nexus or Randy Orton. It opens the door for a lot of possibilities, and no one sells falls from grace quite like Jericho (Donâ€™t believe me? Go YouTube when he got fired from RAW and was carried out of the building by security).
-Mark Henry: While his ability to hit impressive moves off of the top rope is uncontestable, I just donâ€™t think that the kidâ€™s ready for it yet (see, this is funny because he canâ€™t climb the ladder and heâ€™s been on the roster for about 15 years and has done nothing but prove that when the lawyers drew up an ironclad contract for him that it was indeed solid as a rock). The former Worldâ€™s Strongest Man, Nation Member, Sexual Chocolate, ECW Champion and Kool-Aid Man has been a top of the card contender for a while. He had a program with Batista and with Undertaker (both cut short by injuries) and he wasnâ€™t the worst ECW Champion of all time. He isnâ€™t going to win this because he isnâ€™t a main eventer anymore, his pops are more due to familiarity than they are due to actual affinity and him wrestling Sheamus would be like that time Bob Holly wrestled Brock Lesnar. Henryâ€™s a replacement nominee (like on Big Brother when someone uses the Power of Veto) and heâ€™s just there to slam someone through a ladder.
-Edge: Edge was supposed to be the top heel on RAW, but he couldnâ€™t grow his damn beard out. Sorry, was channeling Jason Sensation for a minute. Edge deserves to be the top heel on RAW, but since his return, something has just been off. Maybe itâ€™s the terrible new wrestling attire or the fact that his abysmal face push ended so inauspiciously or maybe itâ€™s the fact that his feud with Orton was sidelined because Randy kept getting hurt like OJ Simpson in â€œThe Naked Gunâ€, but for whatever reason, Edge just hasnâ€™t clicked. And now, with Sheamus as the champion and Nexus running amok, Edge is just sorta there. On Smackdown he was always top dog, but on RAW he just never seems to have that kind of momentum. And sorry, he isnâ€™t getting ANOTHER briefcase.
Winner: Chris Jericho
SmackDown Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
Big Show vs. Matt Hardy vs. Christian vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane
Raffi Shamir: There is only one wrestler that I want to see win here, and that’s Christian. Since his return to WWE he hasn’t done anything meaningful (No, being ECW champion does not count) and h deserves so much more. A well times heel turn and a vicious assault on Rey Mysterio will catapult him to the main event. As for the other guys in the match, I see only Kofi as having a real chance, though it would not shock if WWE decided to give it McIntyre just because they’re like that.
Kyle Sparks: This is the one that seems the hardest to pick for me. I honestly don’t like any of them coming out of it, so let’s break it down. Kane is busy elsewhere. He’s doing the whole UT thing, and the briefcase would just get in the way. Cody Rhodes is a solid choice, but he’s still being built. Likely not him. Matt Hardy will never win it. Big Show doesn’t need it as he’s got the title cred, and can pretty much get a match anytime he wants. Ziggler is playing with Hardy and Christian, so his nebulous situation could work, but he’s fairly low on the card right now. That leaves Christian, Kofi and McIntyre. Drew would be an obvious choice, but he appears to be in the depush phase, where he’s thrown occasional wins, but is largely returning jobs. So, Christian or Kofi? I’m going to say Christian, because if he’s turning, it will add plenty of momentum to his character, and he can be built to be a legit title threat. If not, he’s a veteran, he’s fairly over, and despite not having the title cred, it won’t demolish him to lose the cash-in. Remember it seemed kind of ridiculous to think that Edge could be a World Champion when he won his first briefcase? 10 months later, it didn’t seem like such an impossibility.
Winner â€“ Christian
Mark Allen: This is a far more wide open field than RAW’s roster. Big Show and Kane don’t need the briefcase to earn a shot but it would be great for any of the other six. Unfortunately Christian and Hardy have already fallen into that proverbial bridesmaid role and won’t win. Cody is doing great with his new gimmick but it’s too early for him. Ziggler’s momentum yo-yos up and down so it’s hard to tell their plans for him. To me it’s either a tossup between Kofi and McIntyre. McIntyre is coming in with a lot of momentum again but Kofi is just waiting for something like this to elevate him. Let’s go with Kofi just because I’ve picked so many heel victories already.
Winner â€“ Kofi
Kelly Floyd: Well, this one is tough. I can’t see really any of these guys competing for a world title. Sucks Punk couldn’t participate. He could have been a three-time winner. I think the most plausible choice in my opinion would be Kane, since he has done so well and seems to be rewarded for that good work. I know he’s already involved in a fairly large storyline right now, but he can always pocket that briefcase until he finds the perpetrator. I still think he might be the one behind Taker’s attack, which would set up for a decent feud upon Taker’s recovery. But that’s far more speculation than I intend to give thought to.
Winner â€“ Kane
Andrew Wheeler: When you look at the list of competitors for the RAW MITB, you think champions. When you look at the Smackdown list, you think Intercontinental Title. Smackdown has a very solid midcard of hungry young guys who have potential, but thatâ€™s been the story for almost ten years now. Thankfully, the roster is less Luthor Reigns and Heidenreich, but it certainly ainâ€™t the Smackdown Six. Here we goâ€¦
-Big Show: Show climbing a ladder seems comical enough, but Iâ€™m just not buying it. He isnâ€™t a face, and he certainly isnâ€™t a top babyface. Heâ€™s a dominant heel, plain and simple. Whenever they make Big Show a face, they have him act all goofy and then sell an injured knee or an injured ankle to have him garner sympathy. He challenged for the belt enough times that if the company wanted him to hold the title, they would have given it to him already. Instead, heâ€™s got Batistaâ€™s old job as the Skipper to Reyâ€™s Gilligan, and now he will have to protect his little buddy. I think they should reunite the awesome team of Show and Kane as the two monsters who just destroy everything and let them run house on Smackdown.
-Matt Hardy: For a guy that just wonâ€™t die, he sure doesnâ€™t show any signs of life. Mattâ€™s been phoning it in so much that I hope heâ€™s on an unlimited minutes plan. The most interesting thing heâ€™s done in months was a promo with Christian where they both sort of admitted that they were the Martyâ€™s of their tag teams. Mattâ€™s not winning the title, heâ€™s not doing anything interesting, and like Leon, heâ€™s getting larger.
-Christian: Poor Christian. He deserved better. In a perfect world, heâ€™d be a douchebag heel again and would get a big man to back him up. Too bad Smackdown already has Caylin Croft, Trent Baretta, Vance Arcer, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Chavo Guerrero, Kurt Swangle and Curt Hawkins playing that role. Seriously, how the hell is every heel on that show a smarmy asshole? Would it kill them to make one person slightly different? Anyway, Christianâ€™s not winning this thing, but like at Mania, theyâ€™ll make it look like he might.
Kofi Kingston: Kofi would benefit huge from winning the suitcase, and to be honest, I can see the WWE doing it. They would make him the #3 babyface on the show (even though he kinda already is) and it would allow him to win his first title withâ€¦say it with me nowâ€¦a lightning fast finishing move. The problem with Kofi is that he (a) needs to carry the midcard and (b) already has a title.
Cody Rhodes: His Dashing gimmick is a great throwback, and he hasnâ€™t completely sucked while on Smackdown. Some might say that itâ€™s too soon to put him in the title picture, but when you think about how long heâ€™s actually been on television, itâ€™s almost getting to the point where they might wanna pull the trigger. Heâ€™s already beaten DX, heâ€™s main evented PPVs and he has a character that allows him to stand on his own two feet. Iâ€™ve made no secret of the fact that I donâ€™t think that he really has â€œitâ€, but if the WWE is serious about making him a big player, they should have him walk away with the briefcase.
Drew McIntyre: Hereâ€™s another obvious pick, except for the fact that heâ€™s not that great in the ring and his stilted dialogue is painful to listen to. With Dolph Ziggler making it clear that heâ€™s gunning for the IC Title, it makes Drew the odd man out. Maybe heâ€™ll feud with Big Show to get more seasoning, or maybe heâ€™ll just wander around aimlessly on television and then get to go home and have sex with Tiffany. How the hell is that fair?!
Dolph Ziggler: He has the look, the skill, the manager and the experience, but Chavoâ€™s former caddy seems destined at the moment for the Intercontinental Title. As much as I think he deserves to win here, I just donâ€™t see them taking the chance. If they take the risk on anyone, itâ€™ll be Cody or Drew.
Kane: He makes the most sense to win it, heâ€™s a main event threat, and with his career winding down (it seems like itâ€™s been doing that for about five years), why not one more run at the top. Since Taker wonâ€™t be back in time for Summerslam, Rey would need something to do. If it isnâ€™t Punk, itâ€™ll be Kane. Kane has never won Money in the Bank despite being in a fuckton of them, so maybe theyâ€™ll throw the veteran a bone and give him the briefcase.
Winner: Kane (?)
Unified Tag Team Championships:
The Hart Dynasty (C) vs. Jimmy & Jey Uso
Raffi Shamir: This feud should have been much more exciting. I don’t know why, but it’s just not grabbing me and it’s sad, because both teams should put on a nice match. I With the tag champs allowed to work both Raw and Smackdown, and after Jerishow and Showmiz did that for months, I’m surprised The Hart Dynasty are not. Granted, the Usos are on Raw, but I hope the Harts will win here and go on to face Smackdown’s heel challengers.
Winners: The Hart Dynasty
Kyle Sparks: The Hart Dynasty have really not moved around to the extent we would have liked, and there’s some solid young heel tandems on SmackDown. Let’s see how the Harts do with them. Besides, the Usos are promising but not quite ready for prime time yet. Expect a solid match with the Harts holding onto the straps.
Winner – The Hart Dynasty (STILL Unified Tag Team Champions)
Mark Allen: While these two teams have been feuding for a couple months now they still haven’t really had a good proper match. Between the six of them there a lot of match combinations left to be overexposed at this point in time.
Winner – The Harts
Kelly Floyd: The Usos had their debut match on Superstars, why on earth are they being awarded with multiple title shots? I think the Hart Dynasty will retain this one, hands down. I’m just happy their opponents are a legit tag team, instead of one that was thrown together minutes before.
Winner – The Hart Dynasty
Andrew Wheeler: Much like drinking the actual Greek booze, Team Greet Booze is a bad decision that ends in something sloppy. They have shown zero flair in the ring, theyâ€™ve botched almost every big move theyâ€™ve tried, they are dull on the microphone, they have no established character and they are so generic that Iâ€™m shocked that Vince didnâ€™t put masks on them and make them werewolves. On the plus side, once Tyson Kidd and DH â€œAnchor on the teamâ€ Smith are done with this unending and uneventful feud, they have a lot of fresh competition: The Dudebusters, Archer and Hawkins and any combo of Nexus are patiently waiting for their turn. Meanwhile, I donâ€™t think that Greek Booze is going to stick around too much longer. Someone tell Shad that heâ€™ll have new roommates soon enough.
Winner: The Hart Dynasty
Alicia Fox (C) vs. Eve
Raffi Shamir: Is there any way to measure my level of disinterest in this?
Winner: Alicia Fox
Kyle Sparks: Pretty much this whole division on Raw is a waste save for Gail Kim. That said, Alicia as the “nobody believed in me” bitchy heel is a surprisingly decent character. I would keep building her momentum, but the contrarian in me says that we need a few more faces to come out on top tonight. Plus, Alicia’s gotten the best of Eve quite a bit in this feud.
Winner – Eve (NEW Divas Champion)
Mark Allen: Keep it on Alicia, I guess…
Winner â€“ Alicia
Kelly Floyd: Everyone knows how I feel about the Raw Divas. I really don’t care about this match.
Winner – Alicia Fox
Andrew Wheeler: I hate Diva and Womenâ€™s Championship matches because they always screw up my Roundtable. Anyway, Alicia pulled some shenanigans in the rematch, so Eve gets another shot (Robin gets another shot!). Since Melina is ready to leave the stable, the WWE needs a heel to be champion. And since Maryse is busy doing Teddy, Alicia will have to do. Guess this isnâ€™t your summer, Eve. Douche.
Winner: Alicia Fox
Layla (C) vs. Kelly Kelly
Raffi Shamir: I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I actually like Laycool. When they first started I saw them as nothing more than a Beautiful People knockoff (Which they were and still are) but they just pull it off so well and they’re just fun to watch. As long as they don’t wrestle. As for Kelly Kelly, she’s just another random opponent here.
Kyle Sparks: There’s still gas in the tank for this Lay-Cool concept. Not only for them being co-champions, but chicanery such as bait-and-switch of title participants and all sorts of tomfoolery. No way they drop it this soon. Sorry, Kelly. Back to being eye candy for you.
Winner – Layla (STILL Women’s Champion)
Mark Allen: With AJ Lee apparently coming to SD from developmental it’s best to keep the belt on Layla and Michelle, the hottest women’s gimmick they’ve had in a long time. They’ve still got a lot of mileage on them before they lose the belts and split up.
Winner – Michelle
Kelly Floyd: Layla will hang on to this, for sure. Kelly has gotten the upper hand in nearly every match, I think it’s time Layla puts her in her place. However, I do anticipate some LayCool tension…perhaps this is when we could begin the rift?
Winner â€“ Layla
Andrew Wheeler: Seriously? Seriously?! Two Diva matches? So one-half of the LayKers is facing one half of Silicone Valley. Yeah, I donâ€™t think so. Hereâ€™s what I think theyâ€™re going to do: Layla retains thanks to Michelleâ€™s interference (or maybe Kaval?), and at the next PPV, we get a tag match between LayKers and Silicone Valley, and whatever individual scores the pinfall is the new Womenâ€™s Champion.
And that’s our view. Come back to Pulse Wrestling on Sunday night for the full, live coverage of WWE Money in the Bank.
Tags: alicia fox, big show, chris jericho, christian, Cody Rhodes, David Hart Smith, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, edge, evan bourne, Eve Torres, hart dynasty, jack swagger, jimmy uso, john cena, John Morrison, kane, Kelly Kelly, Kofi Kingston, Laycool, Layla, Mark Henry, Matt Hardy, money in the bank, Pay Per View, PPV, randy orton, Raw, rey mysterio, sheamus, Smackdown, Steel Cage Match, ted dibiase, The Miz, The Nexus, Tyson Kidd, usos, women's championship, World Heavyweight Championship, WWE, wwe championship, WWE Divas Championship, WWE Unified Tag Team Titles