Well here we are at the midway point of the 2014 WWE PPV year, and for the first time in many years we have both creative and fiscal uncertainty. Of course the company isn’t going broke or anything, but with delayed Wrestlemania payouts and lower than expected WWE Network subscriptions things are not totally rosy. The creative situation is much more tenuous; with Daniel Bryan on the shelf for a while this PPV was completely thrown out of whack. So this Sunday in Boston we have Money in the Bank, for the first time happening a month back from its usual July slot. Because of the injury to Bryan, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is also in a ladder match. So we have two ladder matches on Sunday, one for the belts and one for the briefcase. The briefcase is now a swank shade of gold since there aren’t two briefcases because there aren’t two belts. With two ladder matches eating up about 14 guys, that means the rest of the undercard will be pretty thin. It’s like those late-1980’s Survivor Series PPVs that had only three or four matches. As of this writing there is no pre-show match but apparently former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan will be on the pre-show to talk about being stripped. I’m surprised he’s not on the main PPV, but I guess it’s to get people to subscribe and watch the pre-show on the Network. Incidentally, the WWE Network is now on Amazon Fire TV, for those that have it and have been waiting to subscribe.
As of now we have seven confirmed matches, and a few of them are gimmes so we’ll cover them quickly. There’s a Rusev/Big E rematch from Payback that Rusev wins, a Summer Rae/Layla “Fandango’s women” match that nobody cares about, and the awesome “Dust Brothers” will beat Rybaxel. Frankly Rusev would be better off in another match, but I’ll talk about that when I get there. So here’s the breakdown.
Paige © vs. Naomi
For those who read my Raw recap from this past week and listened to the newest episode of PTBN’s Main Event, I actually enjoyed the Naomi/Alicia Fox match. Naomi definitely wants to jump off this “Funkadactyls” crap and be a legit worker in the Divas Division. The tension is continuing to build between Naomi and Cameron, and a Cameron heel turn Sunday is clearly in the works and will likely happen. As for Paige? Well no one is a bigger fan of her than I am, and she is definitely getting a bum rap for not “being over”. They haven’t enhanced her character, as she just comes in wins matches and leaves. At least this past week she had a chance to sit at the announce table and show some promo chops, but everybody kept talking over her and she never had a chance. This match will be fairly solid and Paige will win thanks to a Cameron heel turn. Will Paige turn heel too? Probably not, but some feel that will help her character. I don’t agree, although she may have the same problem I think Bo Dallas is having: a gimmick that worked fine in NXT, but on the bigger stage it just seems small and “indy looking”. Time I guess will tell. She keeps the strap. SCOTT’S PICK: Paige
TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Usos © vs. Rowan & Harper
If there’s any obvious chance that a title change can ever occur, it’s here. Bray Wyatt’s guys are so over on the heel side right now that it seems a foregone conclusion that the Usos drop the straps here. However I think with all the uncertainly of creative right now, I think they will play it safe and make this a solid title defense for the Usos. They will drop the straps to Rowan & Harper sometime down the line, perhaps the next night on Raw. In terms of the match itself, it might be the match of the night. All four guys (even Rowan, per se) are at the top of their game right now and their interaction so far in singles matches has been really good. Considering there’s only three other matches on the card, I can easily see this match being between 15-20 minutes. That thought alone could make this the best tag team title match on PPV in many years. I’m thinking the opposite of popular opinion and I like Jimmy & Jey to retain their titles here. Again, a rematch the next night on Raw sees Harper & Rowan finally grab the straps. Or at Battleground next month in Tampa. I like the “underdogs” here. SCOTT’S PICK: Usos
MONEY IN THE BANK MATCH FOR BRIEFCASE CONTRACT
Seth Rollins vs. Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston
Do you get the feeling the same guys are in these ladder matches the past few years? When Triple H was firing these guys’ names off last Monday on Raw, I’m thinking “Wow this match is a throwaway.” However I will say that in the same breath the mystery around who wins is even greater. Maybe there are a few throwaways. Jack Swagger has now served major injuries to two guys over the past year (Ziggler last year, and Barrett this week on Smackdown) so I can’t see him being rewarded for that. RVD is there to bump, nothing more. I thought Barrett was a bona fide favorite there, but he dislocated his shoulder this past week on Smackdown. He hasn’t been replaced yet, which means maybe a swerve on the show itself. The other three guys are all conceivable favorites. Yes, even Dolph Ziggler. I feel over the past few weeks on free TV that he’s somewhat getting pushed again after another sloppy Swagger moment ruined his World Title run last year. I think he could be the guy that through “collateral damage” could win the briefcase. As for Rollins/Ambrose, they are the showcase guys in this match. Ambrose has proven he was the right guy to keep a babyface and turn Rollins heel. Rollins plays off that corporate frat boy asshole look (like Orton in 2005 and Cody Rhodes from 2008-2010) better than Ambrose. I think they definitely did the right thing there, and allowing Ambrose into the ladder match was genius because it may make Rollins more self-conscious and allow someone else to win. I think Kingston could have been replaced with Rusev and he could have really shown his big man talents here and not have to be pinned. This match will definitely have its flipping and flopping moments, but in the end I like the “show-off” to be the recipient of Ambrose tossing Rollins off the ladder and win the briefcase for the second time in three years. SCOTT’S PICK: Dolph Ziggler
MONEY IN THE BANK MATCH FOR WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Kane vs. Cesaro vs. Randy Orton vs. John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus
When are they going to shorten the title’s name? Ditch the world and call it the WWE Heavyweight Title, like the early 80’s. Anyway, we have an all-star group here that is going for the richest prize. Now I know what most of you are thinking: WOW THE SHEAMUS HEEL TURN IS HERE! Nope. Believe it or not, that’s too predictable. He’s already US Champion and they probably won’t do another tournament as they just did the IC contenders tourney. Del Rio is a slot filler, nothing more. He’s gone by the end of the summer anyway. Roman Reigns will screw Kane over and that creates a match at Battleground, but he won’t win. Not yet. Bray Wyatt and Cesaro are wild cards here, for a couple of reasons. First they are great athletes who are deserving of being at the top of the food chain. The other angle is that they are technically both heels, but if either guy is a fingernail away from grabbing those belts the TD Garden will go insane. So it’s almost like an extra pair of “babyfaces” in the match. The creative group is under the gun to do something, and having either of these guys win would be a huge “outside the box” move. Then there are the stand-by guys; Randy Orton and John Cena. Orton never received his rematch after losing at Wrestlemania, and perhaps he would have gotten his match with Daniel Bryan on a Raw or maybe here. Cena is always a favorite, and let’s remember his triumphant return to Boston back in 2008 at Survivor Series when he beat Chris Jericho. Many think the safe route would be to go with him, but I think another safe route is going the other way and hand the title back to Orton. If that rumored Amazon poster of Cena facing Brock Lesnar at Summerslam means Cena wins here, then WWE will definitely go with something else. I think they take a safer route here and have the Authority (probably a Rollins run-in) help “the face of WWE” win back his titles. This match will be good, not as good as the other one but solid. SCOTT’S PICK: Randy Orton
So there are my predictions for this Sunday in Boston. Stay with Place to Be Nation for other great MITB coverage, such as this week’s editions of The Kevin Kelly Show, The Steve Corino Show and PTBN’s Main Event. Check out my go-home Raw recap for the final build. Check out Place to Be Nation Sunday night for our monthly live blog during the broadcast, with luminaries like Brad Woodling and members of the Main Event’s “Core Four.” Enjoy the show!