WWE Money in the Bank 2013: GSM's Pick, Preview and Potential for Each Match
In mere hours, WWE will present its fourth annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view event, live from the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia.
Since last month's WWE Payback pay-per-view exceeded expectations, all eyes are on Money in the Bank to continue the strong momentum. With this being the final event before SummerSlam, look for many feuds and storylines to reach their climax on this show.
After faking his retirement from the ring, Mark Henry set his sights on the WWE Championship and will challenge John Cena for the prestigious prize tonight. Will Cena overcome adversity once again, or will Henry walk away with the WWE title for the first time in his career?
Also, Dolph Ziggler will invoke his rematch clause for the World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto Del Rio. Will Ziggler win back the belt he should have never lost, or will Del Rio retain his most prized possession?
Similar to years past, the event will also feature two electric Money in the Bank Ladder Matches, with the respective winners earning a guaranteed shot at either the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship at a place and time of their choosing.
Those contests have almost always stolen the show each year they're contested, so it will be exciting to see which two stars walk out with a briefcase in hand.
Here, I will provide my personal preview, prediction and potential of every match on the advertised card.
The Shield vs. the Usos (Kickoff Match for WWE Tag Team Championships)
Preview: Following their explosive debut at last November's Survivor Series event, The Shield went on to take the WWE by storm. From John Cena to Ryback to The Undertaker, no one has been able to put an end to their path of destruction.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns solidified their dominance by defeating Team Hell No at Extreme Rules to win the WWE Tag Team Championships and have been running roughshod over the tag division since.
Standing in their way, however, is The Usos, who became the No. 1 contenders to the straps by winning a Triple Threat tag team match a few weeks ago on Raw. The two tandems are now on a collision course heading into Money in the Bank.
Prediction: As impressive as The Usos have been over the last month and a half, there's no way they're walking out of Philadelphia with the titles around their waist. Sure, they handed The Shield their second-ever defeat in six-man tag team action and are definitely deserving of the title win, but it's just not their time right now.
Rollins and Reigns have been champions for only two months, and there's no way they're dropping the belts on the pre-show. Also, The Shield needs all the momentum they can get if they plan on facing The Brothers of Destruction next month at SummerSlam.
Potential: These two tag teams first met in a match a few months ago on SmackDown. While the bout was fun while it lasted, it was only a few minutes long and hardly amounted to anything. With the pre-show being 30 minutes long, I surely hope they're given more time to shine this time around.
The Usos have been built up strongly in recent months, and it would be a shame to see them fed to The Shield so quickly. Give them a nice showing and plenty of time, and you've got yourself a tag team match worth watching.
AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn (Divas Championship)
Preview: AJ Lee and Kaitlyn have an extensive amount of history together, dating back to NXT Season 3 in late 2010. However, their friendship took a turn for the worst last year when AJ's mindset began to deteriorate and she severed all ties with Kaitlyn.
The two crossed paths sporadically over the next year before they engaged in a full-fledged feud over the Divas Championship. At last month's WWE Payback pay-per-view, AJ defeated Kaitlyn to capture her first Divas title. Since then, they've mocked one another on Raw and SmackDown in an attempt to gain a psychological edge over the other.
Prediction: While not everything about this feud has been perfect (particularly the terrible impressions from a few weeks ago), I've enjoyed how much focus this rivalry has gotten up to this point. As previously noted, AJ and Kaitlyn have history together, so I'm glad their feud has gone on as long as it has.
However, AJ is primed for a long reign with the belt and shouldn't drop it to anyone any time soon, so she's my definite pick to win this match.
Potential: There were reports circulating a few months ago that their matches down in NXT were merely exceptional, but their match last month at Payback exceeded expectations and was one of the best Divas matches in recent memory.
I have hope that lightning will strike twice and these two lovely ladies will once again prove why they are two of the best Divas in the division today.
Curtis Axel vs. the Miz (Intercontinental Championship)
Preview: At WrestleMania 29, The Miz defeated Wade Barrett to win his second Intercontinental Championship. His reign was short-lived, however, as he lost it the next night to Barrett before departing the company for a brief bit to film a Christmas movie for ABC Family.
Upon his return to the ring, Miz reset his sights on the Intercontinental title but came up short of winning the gold at WWE Payback. Now, the newly-crowned champion Curtis Axel will put his gold up for grabs against The Awesome One at Money in the Bank.
Prediction: Aside from that strange loss to Chris Jericho this past week on Raw, Axel has been brilliantly booked since being joined by Paul Heyman. He won the title a mere month ago, and there's no reason to take the title off him now.
There's a strong chance that he can be the one to finally restore some lost prestige in the Intercontinental Championship, and I believe that begins here with a successful title defense against Miz. As for Miz, he could always feud with Dean Ambrose over the United States title or enter a program with another top-tier star instead.
Potential: As I recall, these two met in a one-on-one match on an episode of NXT three years ago while Axel was still under the Michael McGillicutty moniker. They haven't squared off in singles competition since that point in time.
Their Triple Threat match last month at WWE Payback was better than originally expected, so their match tonight could easily impress as well.
Chris Jericho vs. Ryback
Preview: Upon Chris Jericho's return to WWE at the Royal Rumble this past January, it was initially reported by Marc Middleton of wrestlinginc.com that he would be facing Ryback at WrestleMania 29. While that match never ultimately came to fruition on The Grandest Stage of Them All, then-Managing Supervisor of Raw Vickie Guerrero made the match official for Money in the Bank two weeks ago.
Jericho has attempted to humiliate Ryback as much as possible in recent weeks, even giving him the nickname of "Cryback."
Prediction: I'm still unsure what to think of the recent "Cryback" gimmick, but at least it seems to be garnering Ryback more heat. Besides, it's a well-known fact by this point that Jericho will be taking another hiatus from WWE shortly after Money in the Bank, so it only makes sense for him to put over Ryback on Sunday.
Remember, the last win Ryback scored on pay-per-view was at last year's installment, so this victory will be crucial in building Ryback back up as a force to be reckoned with.
Potential: Their initial encounter on SmackDown in May was actually entertaining. Jericho played the underdog role well while Ryback was extremely aggressive on offense.
Their match on Sunday should be equally excellent and might very well be one of the best matches in Ryback's career to date.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler (World Heavyweight Championship)
Preview: One night removed from WrestleMania 29, Dolph Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to defeat Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship. It was only a month into his reign that he suffered a concussion and was forced to sit on the sidelines for nearly six weeks.
At WWE Payback, Del Rio viciously targeted the head of Ziggler, capitalized on the opportunity and won back the World title. Their feud has been much more enjoyable since the double turn, and now they look to clash once again at Money in the Bank with the title on the line.
Prediction: Ziggler hasn't fully established himself as a babyface yet, while Del Rio is flourishing in his new role as a heel. Either way, I'd be surprised to see Del Rio's reign end so abruptly on Sunday, so expect him to successfully retain the gold against Ziggler.
The bleached-blond Superstar will win the belt back at some point, more than likely in a Ladder match at next month's SummerSlam event.
Potential: Although we've seen them face off one too many times in the past, they've always managed to have quality matches. They have great chemistry together, and I expect their latest confrontation to be no different.
However, I hope they switch it up a little bit, as they've faced off too many times before for it to feel fresh at this point.
John Cena vs. Mark Henry (WWE Championship)
Preview: Following a series of cryptic tweets indicating he was retiring, Mark Henry cut a very emotional, heartfelt promo no more than 24 hours after WWE Payback concluded. Except Henry's promo wasn't heartfelt at all, as he faked the entire thing in an attempt to betray WWE Champion John Cena. He certainly got Cena's attention, who proceeded to accept Henry's challenge for a title match at Money in the Bank.
Henry has been riding a wave of momentum in recent weeks, and not even The Champ has been able to put an end to his reign of terror. Cena made it clear on Monday's Raw that if Henry doesn't walk out of Philadelphia with the WWE title, he will be nothing more than an embarrassment to his fellow Superstars.
Prediction: As much as I would like to see Henry as WWE Champion, there's a very small chance of it actually coming to fruition. Henry has gotten the upper hand over Cena at every turn, which would usually meant that Cena is going over, but I'm still undecided.
Cena's promo on Raw indicated that the stakes are high on Sunday, so I'm not sure if that was meant to make the match feel more important or foreshadow a Henry win. Either way, I don't see this feud ending here, so Cena successfully retaining here is the most logical scenario.
Potential: Their past matches together were never anything out of the ordinary, but if they can manage to tell a solid story in the ring, then I have faith that the match will deliver. Henry is underrated in the ring and can have great matches on occasion with the right opponent, and I think Cena can be that guy.
I don't see the bout closing the show, especially if it ends with Cena retaining.
World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Preview: Each year, eight SmackDown stars battle for a chance at one day becoming World Heavyweight Championship. However, unlike in past installments, this year's Money in the Bank Ladder matches features only seven Superstars instead of the usual eight.
With only one of the competitors being a former World Heavyweight Champion, this match is practically designed to showcase the stars of tomorrow and build towards the future.
Prediction: In all honesty, I can see any one of these seven vindictive villains emerging victorious in this match.
Fandango has upside but has a goofy gimmick and should never be in contention for a world title. Jack Swagger has already had his chance at glory and should not walk out with the briefcase. I wouldn't mind a Dean Ambrose win, but it's far too early to feature him in the main event scene and/or tease tension amongst the members of The Shield.
Cody Rhodes was my pick to win last year, but I'd rather see him turn face first before chasing the World Heavyweight Championship. Damien Sandow would be a great choice, but I see him splitting from Rhodes in the near future, which is why he's involved in this bout.
It would be a pleasant surprise for Antonio Cesaro to win, but I don't see him as a main event player while paired with Zeb Colter. That leaves Wade Barrett, who has been ready for a run with the World Championship for a long while, so he's my pick to win it.
Potential: The SmackDown Money in the Bank Ladder match has outshined its Raw counterpart every year, but it's going to be tough to decide which will be better this time around. Despite all the competitors being heel, I'm sure the live Philadelphia crowd will cheer for whoever and whatever they see fit.
As always, expect this match to kick off the event on a high note.
All-Stars Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Preview: Eight days removed from the WWE Payback pay-per-view, Stephanie McMahon announced that seven of WWE's most elite competitors would compete in an All-Stars Money in the Bank Ladder match.
The winner of the match will earn the opportunity to contend for the WWE Championship at any time and place or their choosing. Not only have four of the competitors won the briefcase in the past, but all seven Superstars have been World Champion at one point in their respective careers.
Prediction: Unlike the SmackDown version, this Money in the Bank Ladder match is a bit easier to predict.
CM Punk will be feuding with Brock Lesnar soon and doesn't need a briefcase in tow for a third time in his career. Sheamus doesn't need the briefcase and is better suited for the World Heavyweight Championship anyway. Rob Van Dam doesn't need to be in contention for a world title right now, as I'm sure he'll already have enough momentum upon his return to the company.
Christian would be a pleasant surprise, but unfortunately, I don't see WWE pushing him towards a world title any time soon. Randy Orton winning would be a cool swerve if it meant he would be turning heel soon, but not if it means yet another feud between him and John Cena.
Regardless of whether he turns heel or not, Daniel Bryan is primed to face Cena for the WWE title at SummerSlam (or later down the line), so he's my pick to win. As for Kane, he'll probably be removed after being attacked by The Wyatt Family on Raw, but I don't have the slightest idea who his replacement will be.
Potential: As noted earlier, it's hard to tell whether this Money in the Bank Ladder match or the SmackDown version will be better this year, but there's no chance of this match being underwhelming. It has a load of star power, most of whom have thrived in Ladder matches before.
I surely hope this match closes the show, as it could prove to be one of the most entertaining matches all year.
Although there have been some bright PPV moments this year, I thoroughly believe this year's Money in the Bank event could outlast them all and may rightfully be known as Show of the Year. It's more than often that WWE drops the ball on high hope shows such as WrestleMania 29, so fingers crossed none of the matches scheduled are victims of over-booked finishes.
Overall, the innovative show has the potential to be exciting, memorable and worth watching, with all the possible twists, turns and surprises making the event that much more suspenseful. I, for one, will be tuning in tonight to the intense action. I suggest you do the same.
All the buzz, controversy and mainstream publicity has led up to this, with every match holding some sort of excitement factor to it. With a highly anticipated show in WWE's hands, one can only hope the company doesn't let it go to waste.
Thanks for reading and make sure to comment with your thoughts and predictions on tonight's show. Above all else, enjoy tonight's show and the rest of the summer season.
Read more prediction pieces for past WWE pay-per-views here.