Coming off of four of the most compelling and invigorating weeks of WWE television in ages, this year's Money In The Bank pay-per-view is set to be one of the most important events the WWE have ever produced.
Capitol Punishment was the first PPV in a long time that I have not previewed for this site, the reason being that I simply was not interested enough to put the time and effort into doing so.
However, the event itself wasn't bad in the end, but it wasn't good either. Hence, I give it a 6/10 rating.
But this upcoming PPV is probably the most captivating one in the last three years, so I would be a fool not to weigh in with my thoughts.
But without one man, this event would just be a typical PPV, and this man—responsible for the massive interest and online buzz—is of course the best wrestler in the world, CM Punk.
Punk is apparently leaving WWE after this event, and he wants to leave as the WWE champion in his home town of Chicago, but if John Cena loses, he is fired as per word of the boss Vince McMahon.
Punk has delivered the best promos of his career this past four weeks and has proven just how valuable he is to the business.
I'll get more into that later, but now lets start predicting...
I'm guessing this will kick off the show, as it is the weaker of the two Money In The Bank ladder matches, and the WWE tend to start gimmick PPVs with the gimmick match itself.
There are a number of people we can rule out here by inspection: Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, Sin Cara and Kane
I cannot see any of them getting a title shot because Gabriel/Slater/Cara are not ready for that yet and are only in the match to fill the spots; Daniel Bryan and Rhodes are feuding somewhat at the moment, and I don't think either has been pushed enough to warrant a title shot; and Kane won the match last year in what was undoubtedly the last big push of his career.
So it looks like a British or Irish win here between Barrett and Sheamus.
I think all the signs point towards Sheamus getting the shot, though I would not be surprised if Barrett won either.
I think Sheamus is the better choice of the two because he has really been impressive on Smackdown! since his move there, but Barrett is just the sort of character you could see hanging about with that briefcase for months.
Projected Rating: ***
The build for this match has actually been rather good as Mark Henry has become an unleashed beast since his return to Smackdown! and has been attacking Big Show on a weekly basis. This has included slamming Big Show through a table, ramming him through the side of a steel cage, and spearing him off the stage this past week on Raw.
A match between these two is never going to be more than a three-star affair, but I reckon it can still be entertaining if they really go at it and the match doesn't last over 10 minutes.
As for the result, does it really make any sense to have Mark Henry lose?
Probably, seeing as Big Show has been made to look weak in the feud so far.
So I can see Mark Henry dominating the match and then Big Show coming out of nowhere with his knockout punch.
This feud can then go into Summerslam, where Henry can get revenge.
Winner: Big Show
Projected Rating: **
I am really starting to get annoyed now with WWE and their Divas division. Why on earth are Beth Phoenix, Melina, Natalya, Gail Kim, and Alicia Fox taking a back seat for these two?
Actually, I can sort of see why Kelly is there, because she isn't terrible in the ring and she is popular with the fans.
But Brie Bella? Are you kidding me?
Quite apart from the fact that the Bellas get hardly any reaction from the fans is the fact that both of them are bad wrestlers compared to the ones mentioned above.
But then of course we have the other Diva who is bound to get involved in the match: Eve Torres.
She is yet another example of a Diva who has no right to be in the Divas title picture or getting more face time than proper wrestlers who are a lot more over with the fans.
Beth Phoenix, Melina, Gail Kim, etc., still get better reactions when they wrestle on Superstars than the Bellas or Eve.
I'm sorry to steal CM Punk's thunder, but the fact that Eve and Brie Bella are being given precedence over proper wrestlers makes me sick!
The match will probably last less than three minutes knowing the WWE, and Kelly Kelly will of course come out the victor as she only won the cheap and ugly looking belt a few weeks ago.
Winner: Kelly Kelly (Still Champion)
Projected Rating: 1/2*
I feel that the WWE have not done enough to build this match and set it aside from the previous three matches between these two.
Or it could just be that CM Punk has made everything else going on in WWE second rate compared to his exit from the company.
We now have the stipulation that if Orton is disqualified or the ref makes a bad call, Christian walks out with the title. I would be delighted if that were to happen as Orton is boring the life out of Smackdown! at the moment.
Guess what, WWE? The face turn completely destroyed Orton's character!
So I see another great match between these two that will last 15+ minutes, and to be honest I really don't know who will win the match. I would love to say Christian, but Orton is shoved down our throats as much as Cena is these days.
I'll go with my heart on this one and say Christian after he plants a weapon on Orton, getting him disqualified or something similar.
Winner: Christian (New Champion)
Projected Rating: ***1/2
Christian is celebrating after his match, but Orton attacks him and RKOs him post-match due to his stealing Orton's title.
Orton leaves Christian laying motionless in the ring when Sheamus's music hits, and the Celtic Warrior cashes in the briefcase, hits the Brogue Kick and the Celtic Cross to become the new world champion.
This makes sense as Christian will then have something else to whine about on Smackdown! and Orton will have a rematch clause as well, which sets up a triple-threat match at Summerslam for the belt.
Winner: Sheamus (New Champion)
This is certainly the stronger lineup of the two ladder matches, with a number of big-name stars.
In similar fashion to last time, we can eliminate some of the combatants from the outset because they are simply not ready to win.
So here are the people who will not win: Evan Bourne, Alex Riley, Kofi Kingston, and Jack Swagger.
That leaves four people who could easily win this match and be WWE champion.
But Rey Mysterio is a face, and I just cannot imagine him cashing in the briefcase on a weakened champion, unless he did it RVD style from 2006. I also don't think Mysterio can carry the Raw brand.
So that leaves us with three heels, on what (if my predictions are anywhere near close) will be a heel-heavy night.
The next person I eliminate from the match is R-Truth, because of the last remaining three, he is the one who most recently received a title shot and lost.
That leaves The Miz and Alberto Del Rio, and seeing as The Miz won the match last year, I will go with him again because he really has been pushed back recently and you have to believe it is only a matter of time before he is in the main event again.
Anyway, if Del Rio doesn't win, didn't he already earn No. 1 contender status? So it seems a waste to have him win.
Winner: The Miz
Projected Rating: ***3/4
Quite frankly this is the best feud I have seen since Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels in 2008, and it has all come about in just four weeks.
CM Punk has single-handedly made this match the most important match this year, and, really, I cannot fault the build-up, which is rare in any wrestling feud.
Punk cut one of the most memorable shoot promos ever on Raw three weeks ago, and when he returned this past week he stole the show yet again in an epic segment with Vince McMahon.
Has Punk re-signed with WWE or is he leaving? That is the the big question right now, and the answer, in my opinion, will determine the outcome of this match.
After having Vince so intently involved in this feud, there is literally no chance in hell of his not getting involved somehow come Sunday.
This in a way reminds me of WrestleMania X-Seven, in which the main event was Rock vs. Austin for the title.
Both men hated McMahon (or at least we thought they did), but he got involved in the match and shocked the world by forming an alliance with Austin to close what many believe to be the best PPV in history.
This won't be exactly the same, but it could be similar.
If CM Punk is leaving WWE, then really it makes little sense to give him the belt.
But it also wouldn't make sense to have Punk lose clean either because people are expecting controversy in the match.
So basically, if Punk is leaving WWE, I see a play on the Montreal screwjob.
I hope the WWE won't make it identical to the original, because that would suck, and I also don't think Vince is forming any sort of alliance with Cena.
So somehow he will cost Punk the match, which of course will lead to a Vince vs. Cena feud because Cena would argue that he didn't need help and that Punk was cheated out of the title.
Also, that sets the scene perfectly for Punk, should he return to the WWE later on.
However, if Punk has signed a contract with WWE and plans on not taking a break, then it will go down differently.
If this were the case, I see McMahon and Punk screwing Cena out of the title as an alliance. Cena is then "fired" and can go home for a couple of months to rehab the minor injuries he is said to be suffering from.
This to me would be the best result on Sunday, because it means Punk is staying with the WWE but also that he is remaining as a heel.
Punk and Vince could say that it was a plan all along to get Cena out of the WWE, and they can take over and run riot over Raw.
Of course Punk would get his own WWE title belt, finally ridding us of that hideous thing we have had to put up with for the past six years.
So then, do I think Punk has re-signed, or do I think he is gone?
I believe it is the former because I just cannot see why McMahon would let Punk have the freedom he has had if Punk were never coming back to WWE. If anything, Vince would've buried Punk on his way out.
Maybe Punk will lose clean to Cena. But if he does, it would completely suck, and I wouldn't want to be a security guard in that building in Chicago.
However, it is also possible that Punk has re-signed but will have a break after this PPV.
Indeed, in his revealing interview with GQ.com, Punk says, "I don't have anything to do for three months."
Now, to me that is a rather precise statement. This leads me to believe that there are two things that might be happening: Punk has signed a contract with WWE, but has a break after the PPV, or Punk is simply saying this stuff to build the PPV, and it may not be true.
So that brings in another possibility: Punk will walk out with the title only to come back at a later date.
I also see Punk remaining as a heel no matter what, not only because the role suits him so well, but because in the same interview Punk said that when the WWE are on tour there is a "heel bus" and a "face bus," and that he would never set foot on the face bus.
Given that the event is being held in Chicago, the WWE would be foolish to have Punk lose, so, weighing it all up, I go with Punk winning the title.
What happens after that is anyone's guess, but that is what makes for great television!
Winner: CM Punk (New Champion)
Projected Rating: ****