WWE Money in the Bank 2014: GSM's Pick, Preview and Potential for Each Match
On Sunday, June 29, WWE will present its fifth annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view event, live from the TD Garden in Boston at 8 p.m. ET. The show has been one of WWE's most highly anticipated events since its inception in 2010, and this year's installment is no different.
The main event will see eight of WWE's top-tier talents compete in a Ladder match for the vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Which of these valiant competitors can we expect to ascend the ladder and grab possession of WWE's most prized possession?
The show's other headlining match will of course be the annual Money in the Bank Ladder match that sees the winner receive a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight title at the time and place of their choosing for up to a year. Which young up-and-comer will secure the contract and a future title shot?
Elsewhere, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan will finally get their shot at the WWE Tag Team Championships against The Usos. Can the entire Wyatt Family leave Boston with gold?
Here I will provide my personal preview, prediction and potential for every match on the advertised card.
Stardust and Goldust vs. Rybaxel
After embarking on a losing streak, tension was teased between Cody Rhodes and Goldust starting in April. They lost a series of matches to the team of Ryback and Curtis Axel, causing Cody to deem himself "unworthy" of being Goldust's partner.
All of the partners he picked for Goldust failed, so he decided to repackage himself as Stardust and reunite with his brother. Sure enough, it brought them luck as they defeated Rybaxel on the June 16 Raw. On the June 24 Main Event, Rybaxel challenged the dynamic duo to a match at Money in the Bank, which the Rhodes brothers accepted.
Personally, I'm still not buying into the whole Stardust shtick. It was fine for a one-off thing, but I don't have faith that it has much lasting power. Cody was better off being himself and I don't see the point in reuniting the Rhodes brothers after weeks of it being teased that a breakup was on the horizon.
I guess a split is still possible depending on what route this angle takes, but only time will tell. Either way, the Rhodes brothers are coming out on top here.
The last number of matches between the Rhodes brothers and Rybaxel have been nothing special, though they had a pretty good matchup at Payback. With not many matches on the undercard, I fully expect this match to be given more time than it would on an episode of Raw or SmackDown, but that won't make it any more special.
Rusev vs. Big E
Rusev and Big E began feuding in May with Rusev getting the better of the former Intercontinental champion at every turn. The two collided at Payback in a match that was won by Rusev.
Their rivalry continued past that point, however, with Big E challenging Rusev to a rematch at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Can Big E finally knock off the Bulgarian Brut once and for all?
It's been an on-and-off feud between these two in recent months, but its served its purpose in getting Rusev over and furthering his momentum. I was glad to see Big E as the last man standing on SmackDown, but he still little to no chance of being the one to end Rusev's undefeated streak. Hopefully after this win, Rusev can go on to bigger and better things such as a feud with an established star.
Rusev and Big E had a surprisingly good match at Payback for it only being four minutes long. I'd love to see them get more time this time around and really show the WWE Universe how well they can work together.
Layla vs. Summer Rae (Fandango as Special Guest Referee)
The one-year partnership of Fandango and Summer Rae was cut short following WrestleMania when Fandango "dumped" Summer via Twitter. He'd soon find a new dance partner in Layla, who also become his new squeeze.
Summer returned to WWE on the May 19 Raw with a vengeance, attacking Layla and claiming Fandango as her own. The two have feuded ever since, leading to a match at Money in the Bank where Fandango will serve as the special guest referee.
Perhaps I'm alone here, but I have had zero interest in this love triangle since it started a month ago. I simply have no desire to see two heel Divas feud over a male Superstar, especially when said Superstar has never meant any less.
It's encouraging to see a story developing in the Divas division that isn't over the championship, but I still couldn't care less for it. Nevertheless, officials are probably higher on Summer than they are on Layla right now, so a victory for the former NXT rookie is more likely.
Although I haven't enjoyed the feud whatsoever, there's no denying that Summer and Layla are capable of having a good match together. As long as they keep the shenanigans with Fandango to a minimum, I'll be content. It's also encouraging to see two women's matches on a pay-per-view card for the first time in what feels like forever.
Paige vs. Naomi (Divas Championship)
On the June 16 Raw, Paige was victorious in her match against Cameron—who had slapped her in the face earlier in the evening on the WWE App. The next night, Paige fell short to Naomi on WWE Main Event in non-title action, granting Naomi a future shot at the Divas Championship.
Cameron grew upset over the fact that Naomi didn't back her up in her brawl with Paige, causing dissension between the two. Whether she will play a part in Sunday's title match remains to be seen.
The Divas division, in my opinion, has been in a slump since AJ Lee's Divas Championship feud with Kaitlyn last summer. Sure, Paige winning the title from AJ upon her debut on the main roster one night removed from WrestleMania 30 was a cool moment, but WWE hasn't followed it up properly.
Say what you will about Cameron and her abilities—or lack thereof—at least her apparent heel turn is interesting since The Funkadactyls have been a unit for so long. Paige will probably be overshadowed by the dissension between Cameron and Naomi in this match, but the timing doesn't feel right for a Naomi title win at this time.
It's no secret that Paige and Naomi are two of the better in-ring workers in the Divas division today, so their match has the potential to be very good. Their Main Event match a few weeks back, albeit brief, was very fun to watch, so it's possible that the Divas could be given more time than usual.
The Usos vs. the Wyatt Family (WWE Tag Team Championship)
For the better part of the last six months, The Usos and The Wyatt Family have traded victories in tag team action. Their ongoing rivalry intensified when The Usos got involved in John Cena's feud with The Wyatt Family, costing Bray Wyatt his Last Man Standing match against Cena at Payback.
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan exacted revenge the next night on Raw when they defeated the twin siblings in a non-title match, earning a shot at the WWE Tag Team Championships in the process. The Wyatt Family have decimated The Usos at every turn in the weeks leading up to Money in the Bank, but can they finally take the straps from Jimmy and Jey at the event?
The Usos have had a fun run as WWE Tag Team champions over the last four months with successful title defenses against The Real Americans, Los Matadores and Rybaxel. If they are to defeat The Wyatt Family on Sunday, what's next for them? The tag team division is nearly depleted and there aren't any teams left to defend against.
One can argue that an Ascension debut is imminent, but that might be a long shot. That said, I still have faith in it happening sooner rather than later, so I see The Usos picking up the win here. The Wyatt Family don't necessarily need the straps, though them winning the belts would surely be interesting.
While The Usos and The Wyatt Family have clashed countless times in the past, all of their matches have been great. The two have have such awesome chemistry together that I have no doubt they'll produce another gem of a bout on Sunday. If given an appropriate amount of time, their match could serve as a reminder of what tag team wrestling is all about.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
The Money in the Bank Ladder match has been an annual tradition in WWE since 2005. Once a staple at WrestleMania, the matchup was given its own pay-per-view in July 2010.
The stipulation of the match states that whoever claims the contract hanging high above the ring is able to contend for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at any time and any place of their choosing. The contest usually features some of WWE's brightest prospects and most talented athletes, and this year's installment is no different.
Of the seven contestants in the match, only two of them seem like viable candidates: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. With The Authority in his back pocket, I could very well see Rollins winning the briefcase and going on to feud with Daniel Bryan over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at some point down the line, leading to a stellar series of matches between the two.
At the same time, it's also possible that Ambrose pulls down the contract and The Authority makes his run as Mr. Money in the Bank as miserable as possible. Everyone else involved doesn't have a chance of winning, though Bad News Barrett is a dark horse.
It's still unknown whether he'll be able to compete due to a recently suffered injury, but I hope he does. He's due a world title run, and this match can provide that the opportunity for him. With all that said, I'll go with the obvious and pick Rollins to win it.
Since 2010, the SmackDown version of the MITB Ladder match has always stolen the show at the annual event. Granted there is only one MITB match this year, but of the two Ladder matches, I think this one has the potential to be better. Not only because the talent may be of main event caliber, but also because they're all fantastic athletes who will go to great lengths to entertain the audience.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match
Once Daniel Bryan was deemed physically unable to compete at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, he was stripped of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship by The Authority on the June 9 Raw. It was then announced that a Ladder match would be held at the event to crown a new champion.
John Cena, Roman Reigns, Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus all earned their spots via qualifying matches, while Randy Orton and Kane were granted theirs. It's guaranteed that we will have a new champion after Sunday night, but which of these valiant competitors will it be?
Unlike the Money in the Bank Ladder match, there are countless possibilities as to who can emerge victorious in this match. Kane has no chance of winning, but being a MITB veteran, he's a welcome addition to the match. Randy Orton's last title run fell flat and I have no desire to see him hold it again any time soon.
Sheamus would be a likelier candidate if he wasn't already holding the United States Championship. Alberto Del Rio winning would be a surprise, but not in a good way considering he has no heat right now. I'd love to see Cesaro, Bray Wyatt or Roman Reigns score the victory, but a title win for any of them still feels premature at this point.
Thus, my official pick is John Cena. I cringe at the thought of him holding the strap yet again, but he's the only one who makes sense right now, and it's easier for him to drop the belt in a month or two than anyone else involved.
What this match lacks high-flying competitors, it makes up for in star power. The only combatant to have never competed in a Ladder match before is Wyatt, but even he will adapt to the environment and flourish. The mystery of who will walk out as champion makes this match all the more exciting and I personally can't wait for it.
Read more prediction pieces for past WWE pay-per-views here.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.