Your SO OF COURSE preview of WWE Money in the Bank, 2015

In this day and age you can’t just “predict” a PPV anymore, you have to to account for the capricious whims of WWE’s septuagenarian, sleep-deprived egomaniac owner. You can’t just “preview” a PPV…you have to Preview how things should go, in a reasonable and sane world, and then add “so of course…” and explain what Vince McMahon will probably do instead.

So consider this your “so of course” predictions for WWE THIS PPV ACTUALLY MATTERS!

wwe-money-in-the-bank-2015-poster

Hey look, Dean Ambrose is on the cover! He joins other men such as Hornswaggle and Kofi Kingston who were prominently featured on the poster without having a snowball’s chance to walk away with any sort of prop.

Money in the Bank (henceforth, MITB and then later, just MIB as I’m hoping one day Channing Tatum will host Raw and spin this concept off into the 21 Jump Street Franchise) has become the de facto King of the Ring and actually does that concept better than KOTR since there’s no chance someone like Mabel (too soon?) is going to be able to climb a ladder to win, so it does a good job of winnowing the guys in line for a prospective push to the more athletic types. And since athletic types are usually the great wrestlers, the odds are usually good that a hardcore fan’s darling will win the case and eventually win the gold.

[not pictured: MITB winner Mr. Kennedy, MITB winner Jack Swagger, MITB winner Kane, MITB winner The Miz]

For the first four years of this PPV, there were two ladder matches to quench the fans insatiable thirst for jumpy flippy stuff. Last year was the first to feature a single MITB match on the PPV due to the merging of the World Heavyweight Title with the WWE Title, but the company fell into a second ladder match due to Daniel Bryan’s injury.

gif-cry

Sorry.

This time WWE had to create their own reason for a second ladder match. Of course, it shouldn’t be too hard to reverse-engineer a ladder match, since the company books at least one every December for the TLC show, and there have been a plethora of other ladder matches over years to draw inspiration from. These are professional writers making lots of money working for a man who built the modern wrestling world through his own creative prowess and vision. Add in the fact that the main title feud is between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose—former tag partners torn apart by jealousy, ego and love of coney island wieners—and you’d have to be an idiot(s) to be unable to come up with a good story that leads to a ladder match.

SO OF COURSE!

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the prelims:

~~~~~

PRESHOW TALKING, TEDIUM AND TATTOOS.

Renee Young will delight as always, Booker T will say nonsense, or–if absent–Byron Saxton will say nonsense, and Corey Graves will make too much sense, do his job too well and make me preemptively sad to see him promoted and ruined. Those three will kick us over to the ring for the preshow match that is designed to entice fence-sitting fans to go ahead and order the show. Let’s see who they’ve lined up this month…

KING BARRETT vs R-TRUTH

Oh, well heck.

Normally I would start with “this feud started when…” but to my knowledge this isn’t even a feud. Is it? Is this like a Smackdown-only thing? I know R-Truth came out on Raw assuming he was in the MITB match, only to be informed Vince got his black people mixed up again. I think that’s all I saw of him on Raw before this match was announced. But then again Monday’s Raw was so boring I spaced out after eating a bowl of ice cream. When I came-to Joey Mercury was talking and I just gave up on life.

I don’t want to spend 300 words (again) on why Wade Barrett is being misused. It’s been happening since literally the dawn of time. Literally.

lightwade

His opponent is R-Truth, former two-time NWA champion, former tag partner to Road Dogg, former arachnophobian. For like two weeks of his WWE career (which began, off and on, in 1999) he has mattered. Both of those weeks came during his feud with John Cena in 2011 when he beat up the champ, lit up a cig and spoke bug-eyed about a conspiracy. That’s all there is. There is nothing more.

What should happen in this match?

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But seriously, no one cares about either of these characters. Truth is an almost-two decade wrestling vet, Barrett is immensely talented but totally impotent. Neither of them matter. What should happen? Wade should bull-hammer Truth’s head off, then bull-hammer JBL’s head off (for the way he says “RAWLBULLHAMMA!”), then bull-hammer Vince’s head off. Then eat a crumpet. He deserves so much better than all the abuse he’s taken. He’s like a Saw victim at this point, with all the teasing and then torturing, push/no-push, start and stops his career has had.  He needs a decisive win at the bottom of the card to start slowly rehabbing his character.

So of course…

mitb 01 truth

MAIN SHOW BRU HA HA

NEW DAY vs PRIME TIME PLAYERS

So last month I speculated that New Day would retain the Tag titles in the Elimination Chamber match by pinning the Lucha Dragons. I figured that would kick off a pre-SummerSlam feud between those two teams, allowing Kidd and Cesaro to pursue solo careers. Instead Kidd did something to his spinal cord and just typing those words make me have a wince-face. Meanwhile the Lucha Dragons stepped into the cage last month and had the most epic brain fart in history. Sin Cara started suplexing guys, powerbombing guys, strong arming guys and other heavyweight wrestler stuff. Kalisto meanwhile had what can only be described as “an episode” and proceeded to climb to the apex of the cage, hang there for a bit, swing back and forth and then just fall. I have no idea what they were trying to accomplish but the moment they stepped in the cage it was like the claustrophobia got to them and they just mentally couldn’t even.

Long story short: The Prime Time Players are your new number one contenders. They’ve got a fine enough bit of crowd support (more than they’ve ever had), a good enough t-shirt, and the all important “diversity” factor that WWE loves. In other words, they’re the perfect team to take a loss and give New Day another convincing win on their resume. It’s also worth noting, even though it has happened before, that this will be a Tag title match between two African American teams. It’s a rare occurrence and nice to see, but in the end New Day has too much going for them and the PTP are not the right team to finally knock them off their perch.

So of course…

mitb 02 tag

BIG SHOW vs RYBACK vs THE MIZ

Unpopular opinion: The Miz was the more entertaining part of the Miz/Mizdow team. The Miz does his character better than 75% of the roster. He works the stick like a pro, knows how to push the fans’ buttons, can get talent like Alex Riley and Damien Sandow over just by association.

Yes I’m putting Sandow alongside Riley. He may be ten times the wrestler, but he never got any solid reactions in any of his gimmicks before “Mizdow” and hasn’t since “Mizdow” either. And you can blame Vince McMahon for that, but remember that everyone has to deal with Vince’s insane ideas. The playing field is level. Miz is absolutely right: Sandow was nothing before or after Miz. Of the three guys in this title match, Miz more than any of them deserves to hold the strap. I can’t believe I’m even typing the words: He should take the belt and then feud with Ryback for a few months, because that’s the best chance The Big Guy has of getting any sort of sustained reactions.

….whatsthat?

BIG SHOW vs RYBACK

gif-facepalm

So this thing. Well I assume this is just another in a long line of attempts to use Big Show to put over a “young” talent. In this case it’s a talent with as much wrestling experience as John Cena, but you can’t win em all so let’s just be happy that this will be a one and done feud for Big Show. He’ll probably disappear for another two months after this until the next young up start like Dolph Ziggler needs a feud.

So of course…

mitb 03 big show

MONEY IN THE BANK

Seven superstars will have the opportunity to troll the audience and the champion for up to a year by holding a spray-painted briefcase with a big sticker on it. It’s kind of a big deal.

Of those seven are six who belong (sorry Kofi), five with even an outside chance (sorry Orton), four that either fans or Vince care about (sorry Sheamus), three that have a legit shot at winning (sorry Neville), two the story of the match is built around (sorry Ziggler) and one that should win (sorry Kane).

The question is, will Roman win clean and continue on as a babyface, pointing to a Rollins title win later that night, or will Roman turn heel and be helped by Kane to win the match, putting the title match up as anyone’s game. There’s a lot of places you can go with an Authority-backed Reigns and a champion-Rollins. Paranoia and insecurity would be the name of the game and Rollins would find himself in Orton’s shoes from the end of 2014. The problem with that would be who would be the big babyface challenger. Really you’d need two, one for Reigns and one for Rollins the champ. In that case you’d think Lesnar and Ambrose would fill the roles.

On the other hand, a heel Reigns could feud with champion-Ambrose going forward, leaving Rollins to either play a tweener role or move off to a non-title feud with Lesnar.

And then you have the more-likely scenario of Roman as a babyface carrying the case and playing mindgames with Rollins the champ. Either way, it looks like Roman (and the audience) is ready for him to to take a little bit more of the spotlight, the way he was planned to back in January.

So of course…

mitb 04 mitb

KEVIN OWENS vs JOHN CENA

Well well well, look who has some odds that need to be overcome. It’s the guy everyone and their mother knows is almost unstoppable yet commentary spends half their time telling us about all the adversity he overcomes. Is it really “climbing the mountain” when you’re the mountain? Are you really overcoming the odds, when the odds in your matches typically begin with the letters “L”, “O” and “L”?

Cena is such an interesting character for the wrestling fan of the internet age. He’s essentially Hulk Hogan of the 80’s, but Cena has actually laid down more than Hogan did in his first four-year title run. His worst years (for fans) are over, those years between 2006-2011, when he was in and around the title picture constantly and when his feuds were the same three-month turds with the same five guys rotated in and out with a random one-off Great Khali or R-Truth or Bobby Lashley tossed in there for variety. Those days are over and were it not for Bryan’s serious injury last year and the need for someone with credibility to drop the belt to Lesnar, Cena probably would be coming up on two years out of the main title picture.

His worst period is behind us but it was such a scarring time that it’s made us hate the booking around the character as an automatic. He drops a match to Kevin Owens clean as a whistle and the consensus on the internet (after the euphoria died down) was “ugh, Cena is going to squash him like a bug now to make up for the loss.” We can’t even enjoy seeing a new talent beat the top guy in the company. We’ve been burned too many times.

Might this time be different?

The same worries I’ve had with Cena in the midcard are still there, namely that he is still the Most Important Guy in the company and if you actually win the feud with him then there’s nowhere to go but to the WWE Title picture, and if that is otherwise occupied you end up dropping down the card because nothing, other than the top title, is on Cena’s level. If you should lose the feud with him (and everyone does) then you get the double whammy of dropping down the card a loser. Ask Bray Wyatt how that works out.

Right now Kevin Owens is sitting at 1-0 over John Cena, but once upon a time so was Rusev. On the other hand, Owens is much more versatile as a character than Rusev so at the very least he has a better chance of bouncing back when Cena beats him three times in a row. I say that in jest, but only a little. There’s the rumors that WWE wants to position Owens as the number 2 heel behind Rollins, but that means nothing: That just means its a bigger victory for Cena when he gets his W back.

Cena did all this talk on Monday about proving himself and never giving up and showing Kevin Owens what a real man is and I just wanted Owens to say “so? I beat you last month. You didn’t prove anything. I did.” But he didn’t because he’s a TV character that has to play the role needed for him written for him. What should happen? Owens should either win or there should be some kind of DQ non/finish. I’m okay with Cena getting a win back, but not in the way he beat Wyatt and Rusev. I don’t want to post the “stop he’s already dead gif” on the SO OF COURSE preview of Battleground. What I’d love to see is Owens get DQ’d for excessive violence, then Cena get DQ’d for the same at Battleground, and then for Cena to win at SummerSlam, tying up the feud before both men move on. That preserves Owens and Cena and gives them a chance to revisit the feud down the line.

So of course…

so of courseUh…Vin–

mitb 05 cena

ugh

PAIGE vs NIKKI BELLA

Seriously, this well has been gone-to enough now. There’s nothing left to be done with Paige vs Nikki. The problem is, it seems obvious that WWE either wants Nikki to hold the belt until she breaks AJ’s record for consecutive days as champion, or they want her to hold it until they are ready to call up Charlotte, or both. On the other hand there’s the fact that Paige is the most over Diva on the main roster and is pretty much the only one left other than Natalia (who has been more of a manager lately) who can call a match. So unless they are ready to call Charlotte up and give the Divas division a shakeup, then something has to give: Either Paige loses and steps away from the title picture for a while, or Paige wins and Nikki’s title reign just becomes a “long” one, but not a “historically long” one.

What needs to happen? Who cares, just call up Charlotte and announce a total makeover (no pun intended) of the division. Scrap the butterfly title, scrap the idiotic stories, feature divas who can work matches and give them stories that are not insulting to build those matches around. In other words, join the 21st century. That’s what needs to happen. There is so much money being left out of WWE’s pockets by refusing to get behind a serious divas division. Female fans would relish the opportunity to be more than a +1, who tags along with boyfriends/husbands and could actually get behind a Divas match, instead of getting angry at their boyfriends for just staring at the behinds of Divas during their matches. A total makeover of the division is needed but just throwing new bodies into the fray isn’t going to change anything. Change has to start at the top with the man in charge.

So of course…

vince

Vince! Are you even watching the Divas’ matches?

mitb 07 awake

SETH ROLLINS vs DEAN AMBROSE

As already mentioned, a lot of how this match goes down will depend on who wins the briefcase. Also, remember when I said this:

For the first four years of this PPV, there have been two ladder matches to quench the fans insatiable thirst for jumpy flippy stuff. Last year was the first to feature a single MITB match on the PPV due to the merging of the World Heavyweight Title with the WWE Title, but the company fell into a second ladder match due to…unfortunate circumstances.

gif-myemotions-2

Sorry.

This time WWE had to create their own reason for a second ladder match. Of course, it shouldn’t be too hard to reverse-engineer a ladder match, since the company books at least one every December for the TLC show, and there have been a plethora of other ladder matches over years to draw inspiration from. These are professional writers making lots of money working for a man who built the modern wrestling world through his own creative prowess and vision. Add in the fact that the main title feud is between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose—former tag partners torn apart by jealousy, ego and love of coney island wieners—and you’d have to be an idiot(s) to be unable to come up with a good story that leads to a ladder match.

And of co…eh hem…OF COURSE WWE didn’t do that. Instead they took a blood feud and turned it into a looney tunes skit.

So what should happen in this match? Based on the way they booked the past two weeks, I’m baffled as to why they didn’t just give Dean Ambrose the victory at Elimination Chamber. He got the emotional “victory” and the photo-op title pose, the crowd surfing celebration and has walked around with the strap for two weeks. He’s everything but the champ. What gives? At this point having him win the title would be mistimed. The perfect moment passed and now they are just chasing it, trying to recapture it when they had it in their hands.

Usually when they finally give the guy the title, it’s too late for it to be effective.

At this point Ambrose should not win the title. It seems my dream of Rollins vs Lesnar for the belt at Mania 32 is not going to come to pass. So if it’s a Shield triple threat we’re looking at then I would save Ambrose’s win for Mania, and have the Rumble be the launching pad to that win. That would mean using the Rumble to put over a superstar that is actually popular, but stranger things have happened. In that case I would say Rollins should hold the belt through SummerSlam at least. Seth has been so neutered as champ thanks to inept creative work the only thing he has to lean on is the fact that he’s at least the champ. It could be worse: He could be a loser who can’t beat his midget security team and is no longer the champ. That would be horrible.

So of course…

mitb 08 title

Oh well. There’s always NXT.

mitb 09 bray

Here’s to Sunday.

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