WWE Money in the Bank 2012: AJ, CM Punk and a MITB Preview!

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WWE Money in the Bank 2012: AJ, CM Punk and a MITB Preview!
How can she slap?! The Punk-AJ-Bryan takes another turn as AJ slaps CM Punk. (From Tumblr via WWE.com)

It's safe to say that the Money in the Bank briefcase challenges all titles as quite possibly the most important "championship" in the WWE. 

It's bulletproof in terms of being successfully cashed in, and we are now at a point where it's no longer about when a potential winner will fail to win a major championship, but rather when a MITB winner will inevitably become a world champion. 

Along the lines of the King of the Ring and Royal Rumble, both diluted over the past several years by Royal Rumble winners losing at WrestleMania and the King of the Ring tournament being inexplicably jerked from pay-per-view, Money in the Bank is the new standard-bearer of opportunity in the WWE. 

But this year's MITB pay-per-view is just as much about the high-drama WWE Championship match as it about a briefcase and a ladder.  AJ's waffling adoration for CM Punk, with Daniel Bryan still in the picture, will likely be paid off in some respect come Sunday. 

This is an angle that screams SummerSlam payoff given how quickly it has become television catnip for wrestling fans, but hopefully paying customers will at least see some form of closure with the diminutive diva serving as a special guest referee. 

Who knew they made referee shirts in size Malibu Barbie?

Themes to watch for

Do or Die.  Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho fall into this category more than anybody else.  Both have been languishing in world title pictures to no avail, and while Jericho can spend the rest of his wrestling career laying on his rockstar back while still one day cruising into the Hall of Fame, Ziggler gets closer to "The One" Billy Gunn with every job.   

Ziggler finds himself as a modest favorite in a wide-open world championship Money in the Bank match, and should the WWE squander another opportunity for Ziggler to finally become a legit world champion, he'll just begin to wither away faster than the peroxide in his head. 

Love and Titles. All eyes will be on AJ for this Sunday's WWE Championship match, as she is just as much of a prize as the belt CM Punk has had around his waist for the better part of eight months.  This time last year, CM Punk became a first-time WWE Champion.  This time this year, AJ could very well screw him out of it. 

Monster Truck Ladders.  While the world championship Money in the Bank delivers far more promise in the high-spot department due to a field that is sufficient in athleticism, the WWE Championship Money in the Bank match leaves a bit more to be desired. 

Can you picture John Cena doing a backflip off of a 20-foot ladder?  Kane certainly won't perform a Shelton Benjamin-like springboard onto a trio of competitors, which by the way makes for a dangerous human net to catch a diving superstar.  And, no, Big Show probably won't even touch the top rope. 

Expect a handful of spots with swinging ladders and probably a chair thrown in to break the monotony of what can't possibly be the high-flying spectacle we've come to expect from Money in the Bank. 

Predictions

Tag Team Match: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth over Hunico and Camacho

WWE Championship Money in the Bank Match: Chris Jericho Def. John Cena, Big Show and Kane 

World Championship Money in the Bank Match: Dolph Ziggler def. Cody Rhodes, Christian, Santino Marella, Damien Sandow, Tensai, Tyson Kidd and Sin Cara

World Championship Match: Sheamus over Alberto Del Rio

WWE Championship Match: Daniel Bryan over CM Punk   

Projected Buyrate

WWE Money in the Bank has under performed on pay-per-view given its built-in brand name and last year's pay-per-view being widely lauded as the best pay-per-view of 2011. 

AJ's crazy-stupid-love angle serves as a good hook, but let's be conservative and say 170,000 buys. 

Watch Big Nasty and Justin LaBar debate who AJ should choose and follow him on Twitter @ThisIsNasty!

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