Fury threatens to blind foes enough to keep victory away as they collide at WWE Money in the Bank 2014.
The splintered parts of what was once The Shield meet in a seven-man battle with a career-changing opportunity on the line. It will be a struggle to not let their animosity ruin their chances of winning. The Funkadactyls may find themselves too focused on their own bad blood as well.
The upcoming pay-per-view promises to feature at least one championship coronation, but a pair of brutes from the swamp are likely to add to that.
The TD Garden in Boston welcomes one of WWE's newer events, but one that has already developed a reputation for delivering thrills. Roman Reigns, The Usos, Seth Rollins and others look to continue that tradition.
Who will end the night with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? Whose rivalry will keep them from being triumphant?
Backstage reports, hints WWE has planted over the last few weeks and picking apart current storylines separates the favorites from the long shots and provides a clear look at what to expect on June 29.
News, Potential Spoilers
The portion of the audience that chants "Cena sucks!" may not like how the pay-per-view plays out. There are reasons to believe John Cena will end the night as champion.
If that word from backstage isn't convincing enough, the poster for the summer's premier event might be. Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com reports that WWE sent out an email with a preview of the SummerSlam poster. It features Brock Lesnar and Cena's faces side by side.
The email notes, "We have an early sneak peek at SummerSlam's poster, which seems to pit John Cena against the man that brought down the streak, Brock Lesnar."
Cena and Lesnar is a match big enough to headline SummerSlam. Fans may be pining for new faces, but the evidence is showing the same one remains on the marquee.
The latest backstage buzz also suggests how the Divas title match will play out. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports (h/t Middleton for Wrestling Inc) "Cameron may be getting involved in the Naomi vs. Paige Divas Title Match at Money In the Bank to further her break-up angle with Naomi."
That likely means that Naomi won't win, instead focusing her attention on her former partner. It's the scenario that WWE appears to be heading toward with as much as they have barked at each other lately. It won't be a shock should the narrative unfold this way.
Money in the Bank will showcase Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose's feud as well. The former partners may prevent each other from winning the Money in the Bank Ladder match or simply spend much of it looking to hurt each other.
Expect that bout to lead to another, regardless if one of them walks away with the briefcase. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Chris Cash of Wrestle Zone) reports that there have been discussions "to have Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose at WWE Battleground."
This is another non-shocker. Their rivalry has been intense, each of their recent meetings escalating into brawls. It's inevitable that their story would stretch out beyond a single pay-per-view.
Bad News Barrett may not be around to join in the fray. Despite being one of the official entrants in the Money in the Bank Ladder match, an injury may keep him out.
WWE.com reports that during Tuesday's SmackDown tapings, Barrett "sustained an injury to his right shoulder when he was thrown into the barricade by Jack Swagger."
He has yet to be pulled from the match, though. It appears WWE is taking a wait-and-see approach here. Rollins indicated as much when in an interview with Mike Jones of DC 101, he said, "I think we're still waiting to see how that goes."
- Summer Rae vs. Layla (Fandango as referee)
- Rusev vs. Big E
- Stardust and Goldust vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel
- Paige vs. Naomi (Divas Championship)
- The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family (Tag Team Championship)
- Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston (Money in the Bank Ladder match)
- Kane vs. Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus vs. Cesaro vs. Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns (WWE Championship Ladder match)
Summer is the younger of these two foes. She's the up-and-coming newbie who happens to be on Total Divas as well.
It makes more sense then to use this feud to boost her. A win here improves her resume. Layla has already won the Divas title and been one of the key women in the division.
To get Summer into that spot, she needs memorable wins. Count on her getting one here, perhaps with Fandango's help.
Big E is the only man to test Rusev at all, but their collision at Payback didn't even go four minutes. WWE is building up Rusev as an unstoppable destroyer and doesn't seem ready to change direction yet.
The company has given Rusev more screen time and more chances to steamroll over people.
Take that as a hint that he will continue winning here as Rusev continues to climb upward. With as powerful as WWE has made the bruiser look, it's not going to give him his first loss without more buildup and against a bigger, more established opponent.
Big E is just not the man to end the streak. It will be a more marquee name that gets that job.
Cody Rhodes' new persona is the focus here. Fans have only seen Stardust in action once, and now he gets a coming-out party at Money in the Bank.
A win against Ryback and Axel gives him momentum and has the Rhodes boys charging up the tag team ranks. A loss would stall that momentum.
It's clear that WWE is more interested in showcasing Stardust than the duo of RybAxel, as it has given the face-painted Superstar attention via a recent photo gallery and a photo set of what other wrestlers would look like with a Stardust-like makeover.
Count on WWE beginning Stardust's journey with a win to make the most of that attention.
Cameron Costs Her Partner
Fans didn't need a backstage report to see this coming.
Cameron and Naomi's relationship has become increasingly contentious. They have squabbled in backstage interviews, and Naomi recently watched her partner take a beating from Paige.
Things were tense once more on Friday's SmackDown. After Cameron lost to the champ, she went after her, but Naomi stood between them, catching a number of wild blows in the process.
The story has centered around the issues between The Funkadactyls so far, and there's no reason to think that stops here. To take that rivalry forward, Cameron is going to interfere and cost Naomi her shot at the title.
It's a narrative staple for pro wrestling, one that WWE has hinted will happen again.
Bringing Gold to the Backwoods
In the four months that The Usos have been tag champs, there haven't been many key moments. A lot of the blame for that goes to WWE's creative team, but history shows that teams that aren't red hot or locked into a prominent story don't the hold titles for that long.
Go back to Air Boom, Kofi Kingston and R-Truth or The New Age Outlaws.
Without much momentum, WWE moved on from these teams not too long after their title wins. The focus went elsewhere.
The potential excitement of a title change and a new team on top of the division will be hard for WWE to pass up. The tag team division isn't as thrilling as it was late last year. Look for the company to try and fix that by moving the belts.
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan have been getting more mic time lately. That's a signal of WWE looking to spotlight Wyatt's guardians.
There's no easier way to do that than to award them the championships.
Selling Out is Worth It for Rollins
The process of elimination leaves Rollins and Ambrose as the two favorites to claim the Money in the Bank briefcase.
Barrett may not even end up being in the match thanks to his injury. WWE has highlighted Ziggler lately, including presenting a video he narrated about wanting to win this match for the second time. It's hard, though, to imagine WWE pushing him to that level again after recent word that officials consider him too "injury-prone" and "snakebit" to be a reliable top guy, per PWInsider (h/t Nick Paglino of Wrestle Zone).
As for Kingston and Swagger, they haven't been nearly high enough on the card lately to be serious considerations here.
That leaves the two featured stars in this story: Rollins and Ambrose. Their rivalry is certain to be a major part of the bout, as it has been a prominent part of Raw and SmackDown over the last few weeks.
Last year, WWE focused much of the pre-Money in the Bank attention on Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow's tension and possible split. Their collision at the end of that match led to Sandow's win and a feud erupting between them.
Expect the same pattern this year, with Rollins emerging as the victor. Having The Authority and Triple H in his corner gives him the edge, as does the likelihood that Ambrose is so blind with rage that he trips up before the finish line.
The Champ is Here Again
More exciting options exist, but too many things are pointing Cena's way.
The F4WOnline report above and the aforementioned Lesnar vs. Cena SummerSlam poster are reason enough to believe that the company will crown him once more. Hesitance to elevate a new wrestler could play a factor as well.
WWE may not be ready to have Cesaro, Wyatt or Reigns make the climb to the top tier, but it knows it can rely on Cena in that spot.
Reigns is more likely to plunge deeper into his feud with Triple H anyway.
It's not a thrilling scenario for those tired of seeing Cena continue to add to his championship collection, but it's the most probable one. He remains a huge star and a great spokesman for the company, and pitting him against Lesnar at SummerSlam is a money match.
It would take guts and vision to hand Cesaro, Wyatt or Reigns the title, but the company is more likely to play it safe. Cena's 14 previous reigns show just how often WWE turns to him to hold the championship.
Things are in line for it to happen one more time, whether the Boston fans boo or cheer the decision.