WWE Money in the Bank Preview: All Eyes on Punk, Bryan and AJ

John Canton@johnreportContributor IIIJuly 14, 2012

Graphic courtesy WWE.com.
Graphic courtesy WWE.com.

There are four announced matches on the pay-per-view portion of Money in the Bank, with a pre-show match also announced.

Even though they refuse to announce more matches, Money in the Bank is still one of my favorite annual PPVs because I find the ladder matches to be very exciting and generally well booked. Plus, this could be the first PPV since December's TLC event where the WWE Champion CM Punk actually gets to wrestle in the last match.


Pre-show: WWE Tag Team Champions R-Truth & Kofi Kingston vs. Hunico & Camacho (Non-Title)

I think putting on throwaway matches on the pre-show is a negative way to begin a PPV. It doesn't add much. We all know the champs are winning this non-title match and that it means absolutely nothing. It's a good way to get the crowd excited, I guess. That's really it.

Regarding the Primetime Players title shot, they addressed it on SmackDown with a tweet from A.W. saying they didn't want to have their shot on the pre-PPV show. In other words, they know the pre-PPV match sucks. Way to draw up the interest in the pre-show, WWE.

Winners: R-Truth & Kofi Kingston


Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Championship Contract: Dolph Ziggler vs. Christian vs. Tensai vs. Santino vs. Damien Sandow vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes

This match features four of my favorite people in WWE in one match: Tyson Kidd, Dolph Ziggler, Christian and Cody Rhodes. Due to this, there will be plenty of marking out going on by yours truly as I watch these guys put on what should be the more entertaining of the two ladder matches. I don't mind Sandow, Santino, Sin Cara and even the loud man Tensai either, so I think the mix of talent involved here is pretty awesome.

Before anybody says that there are people in the match that have no chance to win, just remember that Heath Slater was in a MITB last year, so it is an annual tradition.

The one person I wanted to focus on is Tyson Kidd because I think this is a true breakout match for him. Even though he's been a part of WWE for six years (that includes developmental) and been a pro wrestler for 17 years (started at the age of 15), he's yet to be featured as a singles wrestler at a high level.

He's a guy with the ability to work a high flying style as well as a technical one, so that makes him valuable in my eyes. While he's not considered a big wrestler, neither are the two guys in the WWE Title match, so maybe WWE is ready to push a guy like Kidd.

I'm hoping there are some spots in the match that allow him to shine. I have no doubt that my fellow Canadian will leave this match impressing a lot of fans and more importantly his bosses as well.

Despite all of the hope I have for Kidd, I don't think he'll win. I think this match is about Ziggler and Rhodes.

All year I've been saying that one of them is going to win MITB because they're destined for main event status. Ziggler has already been at that level this year thanks to feuds with CM Punk and Sheamus as well as his cup of coffee World Title reign last year when he feuded with Edge.

Rhodes had a long reign with the Intercontinental Title and he dropped in just time to be elevated to the next level. It's tough to pick between them really, but I think Ziggler is the more appropriate choice. He's the more polished of the two.

They could even turn Ziggler face after winning this because a lot of the "smart fans" get behind him at the shows and you can hear the chants for him increasing.

This will be a good match. They'll likely get between 15-20 minutes of action, the spots will be well placed considering the talent in the match and hopefully there's a dramatic finish as well. Like most people, I'm going with Ziggler. He's the obvious choice. He's also the right choice.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler


World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio

If we had to name a "lock" on this show, then this match would be it. Sheamus will retain his World Heavyweight Title versus Alberto Del Rio. I think Del Rio is one of those transitional opponents in that he's there for Sheamus to beat before he moves onto a more threatening opponent next month, which could be Wade Barrett or the returning Randy Orton.

This feud is okay, but it's not at the level of Sheamus/Bryan and I think Del Rio has lost a lot of the steam he had last year. Last year he was seen as a true top guy. This year he's not perceived to be at that same level.

This will be a 10-15 minute match that Sheamus wins clean. If they do a finish with a DQ ending it could lead to a SummerSlam rematch, but I doubt Sheamus leaves without his World Heavyweight Title.

Winner: Sheamus


Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a WWE Championship Contract: Big Show vs. Kane vs. John Cena vs. Chris Jericho

Remember when WWE thought it was such a big deal that John Cena was going to be in a Money in the Bank match that they considered it a "major announcement?" It's really not a major announcement, but it will be interesting to see Cena in a match like this because it doesn't happen very often.

I know there are rumors that other people could be added to this match since it's for former WWE Champions only. That would mean guys like The Miz (who is done filming The Marine 3) and Rey Mysterio (whose suspension is over) could be late additions to it. They could even add Alberto Del Rio to it after he loses to Sheamus.

A lot of things could happen, but I think they'll just keep it as a four-man match. If any of those guys do get added, I would think it would be only one of them, but working a five-man match is harder than a four way so what would be the point?

If you bring back both Miz and Mysterio then you lose some of the luster of a return. I just don't see the need to add people to it. A four-way match is enough for me.

There are two obvious favorites here in Cena and Big Show. With Chris Jericho, they're pushing the idea that he created the match (it's true—read his second book) so that makes him an expert in it, despite the fact that he's never won one of these. They're also pushing the story of Kane being a former MITB winner, which gives him a legit shot at winning too. I don't think anybody really believes in either of them, which leaves us with the other two.

In Show's case, he is getting the big push as the unbeatable giant, even though we've seen him lose many times in his career. They keep trying to put over the idea that things are different now and he's more violent now, so if they want us to believe it they will put him over here.

With Cena, it's all about putting him back into the WWE Title picture. This will be a quick way to do that. Of course, they could always have him win some number one contender's match to get there, but I think this is more likely because it would be different to see a top guy like Cena carrying around that briefcase.

The pick is another obvious one—John Cena. I think SummerSlam is too big of a show for him to not be in a WWE Title match. I think at the end of the WWE Title match (yes I think it will go on last), Cena's music will hit and instead of him cashing in Money in the Bank he'll cut a promo.

He'll say that he is cashing in his briefcase at SummerSlam against the WWE Champion (wait for my pick there) and he'll do it in a match rather than a cheap attack because that's the kind of guy he is.

That way Cena is in one of the two big matches at SummerSlam with Lesnar/HHH being the other one. It's not like they're going to have a SummerSlam without Cena in one of the two biggest matches. Cena's been out of the WWE Title picture for nearly one year. It's amazing that it's been that long.

Guess what? After Sunday he's back in the picture. Officially.

Winner: John Cena


WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan w/AJ as Special Referee

One year ago, CM Punk won the WWE Title at Money in the Bank to one of the loudest ovations in the history of WWE. Also one year ago, Daniel Bryan won a Money in the Bank match much to the surprise of many, including myself. Now they're wrestling for the WWE Title in what will likely be the last match on Sunday's PPV.

And people are complaining about WWE right now? Are you freaking kidding me?

Yes, I will admit that this past Monday's Raw was a very bad show that I wish I never saw, but it's not due to the in-ring performances of these guys. Punk and Bryan are the two best performers so far in 2012, and for them to be involved in a WWE Title match for the third straight PPV is a wonderful thing.

It could be a lot worse, believe me. Smile. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Last month at No Way Out I thought Daniel Bryan would walk out as WWE Champion because they could have had him win by beating Kane and that could have led to the rematch with Punk here. Instead Punk won, Bryan became the top contender again and they have placed the "crazy chick" AJ in the role of referee.

If they get 20 minutes of time in the ring then I expect another match of the year contender like their Over The Limit match. There is more of a story here, though, so that will help it in terms of crowd reactions. It could also hurt in the in-ring performance sense too.

Still, if you give these guys time you know you're getting a high quality WRESTLING match and for this WRESTLING (all caps again) fan there's not much more you can ask for.

There are a lot of ways this match could go. Having AJ as the referee has thrown in a major wrinkle and has led to yours truly thinking there could be a number of different outcomes. We could see AJ screw CM Punk (not literally) at the end of the match because he turned down her marriage proposal. That could lead to her being a "power couple" with Daniel Bryan one more time, or they could keep her on her own to continue the craziness.

I don't think Bryan will win, though.

While I would like that, I think we're going to see Punk vs. Cena in a SummerSlam re-match for the WWE Title. Of course they could have Bryan win, which would then lead to a singles match versus Cena or possibly the addition of Punk to make it a three-way.

I feel like I'm rambling now. The possibilities are endless. My feeling is that Bryan will try to cheat, AJ will prevent that from happening and Punk will capitalize with a GTS to retain his WWE Championship.

Like I said, there are a lot of things that can happen here. That's why I like it so much. I've been frustrated with some of the match finishes involving these guys on Raw in the past few weeks mainly because the matches haven't really mattered as much as they should, but in this case the match matters a whole lot and that's what has my interest.

Who will win? What will AJ do? What happens next? These are all things we don't know and they are the reason why I'm very interested to see what happens in the WWE Title match this Sunday night.

Winner: CM Punk


Final Thoughts

I think it will be an above average PPV.

It's very odd that there are only four announced matches, though. I would expect them to possibly add a random divas match whether it's singles or a tag and appearances by the likes of Ryback and/or Brodus Clay are also very likely. It's not like you're going to have four matches get 45 minutes of screen time.

The four advertised matches will all get plenty of time though, which is a good formula for success when it comes to a PPV event.

John Canton is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. You can read more of his work at his website TJRWrestling.com and follow him on Twitter @johnreport too.


    TNA Loses Its TV Deal in the UK

    Pro Wrestling logo
    Pro Wrestling

    TNA Loses Its TV Deal in the UK

    Corey Jacobs
    via Wrestling News

    Twitter Reacts to Top Stars and Moments of Clash of Champions

    Pro Wrestling logo
    Pro Wrestling

    Twitter Reacts to Top Stars and Moments of Clash of Champions

    Erik Beaston
    via Bleacher Report

    Clash of Champions Highlights and Low Points

    Pro Wrestling logo
    Pro Wrestling

    Clash of Champions Highlights and Low Points

    Anthony Mango
    via Bleacher Report

    Biggest Stars of Clash of Champions

    Pro Wrestling logo
    Pro Wrestling

    Biggest Stars of Clash of Champions

    Kevin Wong
    via Bleacher Report