Writer's Note: It's rare that I write a column on a Thursday night (I'm usually either working or watching Impact), but since I'm in the middle of previewing Money in the Bank with Skitz - that column will be up before Saturday evening - I need to find a way to pass the time. I COULD post TNA Wednesday a day late, but I haven't posted anything WWE-related in over a week, so that will change right about......now.
Do you like Heath Slater? Well, you shouldn't. He's a heel and he's terrible at cutting promos (half the time I don't understand a word he's saying). However, he seems to have found something he's really good at - jobbing. I'm not talking about Brooklyn Brawler or JTG-like jobbing, but losing in such ridiculous fashion it's actually entertaining to watch. Ever since Slater started cutting promos on RAW a few weeks back, he's done such a great job at getting under people's skin that no matter which legend comes out to face him/shut him up, they receive a pop (even Doink and Bob got SOME reaction). With the July 23rd episode of RAW less than two weeks away, chances are we'll see Slater taken to school only one more time. Therefore, here are five legends I would love to see make a one-night-only return and squash The One Man (Rock?) Band:
Okay, maybe I'm pushing the envelope by calling Tommy Dreamer a WWE "legend", but there's no denying the legacy he left behind in ECW. Dreamer was a fan favourite throughout most of his ECW and WWE career, as many fans never lost respect for him after his infamous clash with The Sandman in ECW where he endured countless kendo stick attacks. Dreamer remained a loyal WWE employee for many years and was the final ECW original to depart WWECW, but not before receiving a short but decent title reign and putting over countless young superstars in the process. In fact, Dreamer's final WWE match saw him put over none other than Long Island Iced Z, Zack Ryder!
If Dreamer returns to RAW on Monday and gives Heath Slater an "Extreme Rules" beating, you know the fans will love it, and Slater will sell the assault beautifully. Why the hell not?
The Iron Sheik
I'm actually a bit surprised that good old Sheiky has yet to receive a call to appear on RAW. It's been quite some time since the former WWE Champion wrestled for the company, and who better to make an example out of than Heath Slater? I know many people would rather see Sheik cut a promo, but with WWE being PG, that's probably not a good idea (Note - for you newer fans who have no idea what I mean, follow Sheik on Twitter and it will all make sense). Because of Sheik's potty mouth, we'll have to settle for a quick squash match against Slater. Hey, beggars can't be choosers.
As much as I dislike Shane Helms, I would be alright with him making a one-off appearance on RAW. Why? Because for several years, The Hurricane was one of WWE's most beloved characters. He was a bit like a pre-Santino - someone who the fans always got behind despite not being very successful in the ring. In fact, many would argue Helms' best days as a WWE performer came when he dropped the superhero act and started competing "seriously" as Gregory Helms on SmackDown. That being said, nobody would give a shit if 'Gregory Helms' returned on RAW to face Slater. Nope, it's the sound of "Stand back! There's a hurricane comin' through!" that will get the crowd on their feet. Like I said, I may not be a big fan of Helms the person, but The Hurricane showing up would be a nice surprise.
Does anybody know what's going on with Big Poppa Pump? I know he's been silent on Twitter for several weeks thanks to TNA serving him with a lawsuit for running his mouth, a.k.a. telling the truth, about Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and their beloved offspring. Therefore, I have no idea if Steiner is legally allowed to show up on RAW this Monday. But if he is, I'd love to see him confront Heath Slater. Could you imagine Scotty getting in Slater's face and telling him off, nose-to-nose? He would probably flub a line or two, but it would make for great television. Hell, any time Scott picks up a microphone, you're basically guaranteed a good time. A one-on-one match would be fine, but seeing Steiner and Slater going at it on the mic? That would be priceless.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
It may not seem like it (probably because Austin was heavily involved in Cole vs. Lawler and Tough Enough last year), but Austin hasn't been on WWE television for quite some time now. I know he's been busy with his reality show Redemption Island, but it's hard to imagine one of WWE's top superstars of all-time won't be involved with the 1000th episode of RAW later this month. Therefore, Stone Cold coming out and hitting Slater with a Stunner on Monday makes perfect sense to me. Is it an original, never-before-seen concept? No, but it doesn't have to be. The crowd always goes bananas for Austin, and for him to come down and shut up one of WWE's most annoying villains would be the icing on the cake. I think the real question at hand is who wouldn't want to see Slater eat a Stone Cold Stunner? The move needs some redemption after Andy Leavine horribly no-sold it last year, and who better than Slater for the job?
Honourable Mentions: Batista, John Bradshaw Layfield, Goldberg, The Boogeyman, Lance Storm
What about you? Who would you like to see make a surprise appearance on Monday and put Heath Slater in his place?
2. Day 2
Chrisss We are days - no, scratch that - HOURS away from one of WWE's better Pay-Per-Views in recent memory, Money in the Bank. Although this year's card is significantly different from last year's offering (John Cena in a MitB ladder mach - say what?), the announced contests are quite appetizing. What do you think, oh wise one?
Skitz Me likes. While not nearly as appealing of a card as the 2011 edition, I'm still sold. The unpredictability of the RAW & SmackDown ladder matches has been scaled down a bit this July but I don't mind given the spotfests deliver.
Chrisss That I agree with, although I'm not completely sold on the WWE title ladder match. Knowing Big Show, he'll probably slow down the pace and make me want to slit my wrists. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. As usual, we have the pre-show match to get out of the way, which is none other than:
Pre-Show: WWE Tag Team Championship - R-Truth & Kofi Kingston (c.) vs. Hunico & Camacho
Skitz Still scratching your head as to why the reigning champs aren't defending their straps against the Prime Time Players at said event? You aren't the only one, dude. My guess is that R-Truth's injury threw the intended feud off course and therefore management is now saving the bout for SummerSlam. Personally, I felt the company could have (and should have) flipped the switch considering it'd spare us from another garbage segment; probably involving either Brodus Clay or Ryback.
Chrisss I stopped scratching my head over this nonsense days ago, bro. Mainly because it was giving me a headache. What really irks me is why they didn't put this on the main card. THERE'S ONLY FOUR MATCHES ANNOUNCED! Of course, we all know Ryback will get a squash match, but I have a bad feeling we'll get a Brodus squash as well. I'd rather they put this match on the actual show and book Brodus vs. Otunga in a Lumberjack Match or something for the pre-show instead.
Skitz Agreed. In a perfect world, WWE would give the four advertised bouts roughly 25 minutes each and limit the shitty filler. As for the pre-show match itself, I'm expecting a generic (albeit decent) tag team contest and nothing else. Kofi will amp the crowd up which is what management is betting on but you're correct... It would serve much better as the pay per view opener. Kingston & Truth were just beginning to hit their stride when Killings injured himself and subsequently disrupted the duo's evolving chemistry. Lets see if the energetic negros can get shit back on track at MITB.
Chrisss Poor Kofi isn't lucky when it comes to tag team partners. Who knows, maybe it's a sign that WWE should stop pushing him as a tag team specialist and give him a strong singles push?
As for the actual match, do the poor challengers have any chance of winning the titles? Any? Even the slightest?
Skitz Goddamn and here I was thinking it was a non-title bout for some strange reason. Nevertheless, Hunico and his sidekick have zero chance of claiming gold. I didn't even realize Camacho wrestled for fuck sakes. The faces will go over strongly this Sunday and start concentrating on Abraham Washington's clients. You know... the ACTUAL #1 contenders.
Chrisss I didn't even KNOW this match was happening until I saw someone talk about it on Facebook (then again, I only watched half of last week's RAW, so what do I know?). Anyways, Little Jimmy Got High for the win, no doubt about it.
Chrisss' pick: Truth & Kofi retain the titles
Skitz' pick: Truth & Kofi retain the titles
World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Santino Marella vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Tensai vs. Christian vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow vs. Sin Cara
You know what's the funny thing about this match? I can see half of the guys winning, while the other half don't have a prayer. Care to guess who falls into each category (I'll give you a hint - don't bank on Tensai).
Skitz Funny because I can only picture two of those eight competitors realistically leaving Phoenix with the blue briefcase - Ziggler & Rhodes. Folks can plead each guy's legitimacy as a World Champion over and over but guess what? They're both ready. Dolph has a slight edge head-to-head but at the same time, some areas of Cody's skill set are noticeably better. The Blonde Perm's recent work and promos suggest that he makes more sense as the next Mr. MITB but the second generation star has an equal shot.
Chrisss Everyone knows those two are the favourites, but you're forgetting about the wildcards - Tyson Kidd and Christian. I know people are saying it's too early for Kidd to win the briefcase, well, so was Daniel Bryan at last year's event and look how well that turned out (awesome, obviously). As for Captain Charisma, wouldn't it be cool if he wins the briefcase, cashes it in, and pulls an Ultimate Warrior by being both IC and World Champion? You know, the same thing Cody Rhodes wanted to do? I know it's farfetched, but it would be a unique way to further the Rhodes/Christian rivalry.
But yeah, Ziggler and Rhodes are easily the favourites.
Skitz I love the attention and hype which Kidd is receiving ever since qualifying. Lord knows it's overdue. Tyson makes for a nice story and all but c'mon now. People appear to be losing their fucking grip on reality lately. As far as the Canuck having a legit chance at seizing the moment, you don't leap straight from Superstars to winning a contract guaranteeing a World Heavyweight Title opportunity. Captain Charisma snagging the briefcase isn't too far fetched but highly unlikely. Christian had his coming out party last summer and seems comfortable carrying the Intercontinental Championship. I anticipate him putting together a lengthy reign before dropping the strap to somebody like Sandow.
Chrisss I guess I have to agree with you on all those points, even though I feel you're under-selling Tyson just a tad. Anywho, I'm going with Cody snagging the briefcase, as I feel Ziggler doesn't need the briefcase to transition to the main-event as much as Cody does.
Skitz No he doesn't... but I'm still picking Dolph to emerge victorious. The poor fellow's come so close to capturing the belt on numerous occasions. I'm assuming WWE takes the heel route where Ziggler capitalizes on a beaten down World Champion down the road to cash in and become the top guy. The rest of the field is pretty self explanatory. Damien's awesome but too new, Tensai is still on the rebound after flopping initially, Sin Cara is extremely unreliable and Marella winning is laughable.
Chrisss Marella being in the match is laughable by itself. Not because of his character or skill, but the fact that RAW's midcard champion is competing for an opportunity to win SmackDown's world title. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense, does it?
Nice of you to go against my pick, we agree way too often for our own good. Let's just hope one of our guys wins...
Chrisss' pick: Rhodes wins the briefcase
Skitz' pick: Ziggler wins the briefcase
WWE Championship Money in the Bank Ladder Match: The Big Show vs. John Cena vs. Kane vs. Chris Jericho
Skitz Admittedly, this is the bout I'm least looking forward to from the outset. Management should've expanded this bad boy to six participants minimum. Too many slow workers involved and not nearly enough variety. Y2J is basically the only hope this contest has of succeeding and pleasing the crowd. I also feel as if there isn't much guesswork compared to previous years. More question marks than certainties in this instance worries me.
The eventual victor seems pretty obvious... the match quality however not so much.
Chrisss I'm with you, buddy. If WWE wanted to include only former world champions, why not borrow The Miz for one night only? He can go back to filming The Marine 3 the next day. Why not bring back Rey Mysterio? Why not extend the stipulation to all former world champions so Jack Swagger could get a spot as well? The way I see it, we're going to witness A LOT of carrying from Cena and Jericho. Good luck, guys.
Is there really any other outcome besides a Cena victory?
Skitz Nope. I mean Big Show's still being booked impressively but then why didn't he dominate Cena at No Way Out? Or win for that matter? The giant's push will sputter eventually as per usual and that's when I can stop worrying about him regaining the WWE Championship. The RAW offering at MITB is severely lacking and the company has no excuse for excluding so many viable contenders. Even the addition of JBL would've been a welcomed sight!
Chrisss In your dreams, mortal! JBL is too busy climbing mountains to be bothered trying to save this disaster. Whatever, let's just hope Cena wins the briefcase and either turns heel by cashing it in on Punk or becomes the first person in history to not win the title, either scenario I'd be more than happy with.
Chrisss' pick: Cena wins the briefcase
Skitz' pick: Cena wins the briefcase
World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus (c.) vs. Alberto Del Rio
Ah, I see Vince is still trying to push Del Rio to the moon, except this time it's on SmackDown instead of Monday nights. Now, we were supposed to get this match two months ago at Over The Limit, but we were spared. Then, another miracle occurred when Del Rio suffered a concussion weeks before No Way Out and Dolph Ziggler (thankfully) took his spot. But we finally have to go through with the most unanticipated match of the year this Sunday.
Skitz ADR catches too much flack in my opinion. Is the dirty Mexican mediocre on the mic? Absolutely. But when push comes to shove, the guy delivers when he has to; especially against the companies' premiere talents. If you go back and analyze 2011 as a whole, Del Rio was featured in plenty of last year's most compelling matches. The bastard can hold his own between the ropes which is half the battle (and more than we can say about many of the dudes who Vince has force fed us in the past).
Chrisss Oh, I'm not saying Del Rio is a terrible wrestler, because he's not. His matches with Christian, Edge, and Punk were all fantastic. I have little doubt his bout with Sheamus this Sunday will be anything worse than decent. However, it just seems like Del Rio is constantly in the title picture when he's healthy, and that has been the case since SummerSlam '11. I'd rather see him in a non-title feud for a change.
Skitz Well you may be in luck following this Sunday. I suspect management will pit somebody fresh against the Great White at the August spectacle. And although ADR's made him look like a bitch over the last couple weeks, I wouldn't be surprised if WWE ends up scheduling Del Rio versus Sin Cara for SummerSlam. As for the outcome, it's a no-brainer. Sheamus is in the safe zone and secure as champ thru Night of Champions easily. I'm not buying into these reports regarding the Mexican Aristocrat reclaiming the belt before 2013.
Chrisss Yup, White Triple H is going to keep the title a bit longer, no doubt about it. I suspect he'll face Randy Orton at SummerSlam, a match I have no problem with, especially at the biggest PPV (party? LOL) of the summer. I don't think we'll get Del Rio vs. Cara, but something like Del Rio vs. Kane instead. Random, but it could be entertaining.
Chrisss' pick: Sheamus retains the title
Skitz' pick: Sheamus retains the title
WWE Championship: CM Punk (c.) vs. Daniel Bryan (Aj is the Special Guest Referee)
Skitz I often wonder how long the Creative Team can run with the AJ psycho angle. You've gotta figure much longer and smarks will begin to turn on the storyline (as they do with everything else eventually). WWE will probably end up stretching the Divas' popular character too thin and suffer from it but that's not a major concern right now. This scenario seems oh so similar to the Royal Rumble back in January. During late '11, Punk & Ziggler put together several awesome performances but suffered on PPV because of Laurinaitis' constant pestering. I expect this Sunday to be no different. Mr. Sobriety & the YES Man gave us plenty of memorable matches throughout March and at OTL. You'd be a fool to think A.J.'s involvement in the WWE Title bout won't hurt the fluidity and false finishes.
Chrisss Yeah, I had one of my readers echo your worries. He even warned we might be in for a comedy match come Sunday night. While I wouldn't go that far, I do believe Aj will disrupt the flow, but she will add drama that Big Johnny couldn't. See, there's three possible outcomes come Sunday evening. A) Aj sides with Punk and screws Bryan for what he did to her in the past. She sides with Bryan, revealing she never stopped loving him. C) She can't choose a winner and so the match goes no-contest or something. Or maybe Bryan wins and Cena cashes in right after? Bope.
Skitz Exactly. The Straightedge Superstar has had an awesome run as WWE Champion but Punk's on the hot seat. Whether the whole thing turns out to be planned or not, Cookie Monster will receive the shaft and lose his belt in a screwy fashion. Then just as D-Bry starts celebrating, Cenation will appear and flatten the American Bandwagon to regain the strap. Ultimately, I believe the company is secretly investing everything in a Rock/Cena rematch at SummerSlam. And in their minds, the only way to raise the stakes in said rivalry is by including the WWE Title. Such booking makes the winner a foregone conclusion but Vince wants to repay his golden goose for putting over Johnson at WM28. Personally, I'd much rather watch Punk/Rocky next month but there's no history and both stars are faces.
Chrisss So you're basically throwing Punk and D-Bry under the bus so we get a Rock vs. Cena match at SummerSlam? UGH. What's worse, if Cena wins and cashes in on Sunday, he'll technically be main-eventing another PPV, which would cause the IWC to explode. But yeah, I predict Bryan wins the title on Sunday and this match hopefully closes the show.
Skitz Mmmmm I believe it will. Don't get me wrong, homie... I definitely do not wanna endure Cena/Rock II. A Punk/Bryan ironman match is more my speed but I don't see it materializing. Judging by his tweets, Dwayne's clearly setting his sights on the WWE Title and I assume his appearance on the 1,000th episode of RAW will be an announcement regarding such. If Cena does indeed cash in his briefcase immediately, who knows what SummerSlam holds for Cookie Monster & D-Bry.
Chrisss Not a WWE Championship match, by your logic. Oh, well. I'm going to try and stay positive and predict Bryan wins the title and Cena doesn't cash in immediately afterwards. I know it's a long-shot, but someone's got to believe.
Chrisss' pick: Bryan wins the title
Skitz' pick: Bryan wins the title; Cena cashes in MitB and wins the title
Any final words, Candyman? You watching the show or skipping it?
Skitz Oh I'll be tuning in alright. OTL and NWO didn't empty my pockets but the next pair or pay per views surely will. Money In The Bank is historically a pretty eventful show and the 2012 installment should follow said pattern. If RAW's ladder match delivers the goods, the PPV could border on great. Either way, I'll park my ass on the couch and find out.
Chrisss Well, that does it for us! Agree with our picks? Want to share your own? Want Skitz banned from posting on the Main Page? Then tell us!
3. Day 3
Yes and no.
I'm not going to give you a match-by-match breakdown of last night's show, as my colleague The Doc has already done a fantastic job of reviewing each match, but I will say I was pleased with Money in the Bank. I thought from top to bottom, it was a really good show. Not as good as last year's Pay-Per-View, but MUCH better than last month's No Way Out. Every advertised match delivered, as none of them (the MitB matches and the two world title matches) dipped below a three-star rating, in my opinion. The match of the night was easily Punk vs. Bryan, but I was surprised by how entertaining RAW's MitB ladder match turned out to be (of course, the last-minute addition to The Miz definitely played a factor in keeping the pace quicker than predicted). Even the three filler matches were decent, as each man and woman seemed thrilled to be on the card and made the most of their PPV time.
However, I do have several complaints about last night's show, so please bare with me:
First off, Sin Cara needs to go away before he seriously injures someone. If you missed the show, you might not know that Cara went for his top-rope C4 on Dolph Ziggler. In typical Cara fashion, he botched the move and both men ended badly, and many people (including the commentators) feared Ziggler broke his neck. Thankfully, Ziggler was alright and as we all know, ended up winning the match to become Mr. Money in the Bank.
But I've had enough with Sin Cara. His matches are sloppy, the lighting during his matches are stupid and annoying, and as he proved last night, he's unsafe to work with. I would be more forgiving if Cara was usually cautious when he wrestled, but last night was not the first time he came close to seriously injuring his opponent. Cara has been with WWE for over a year, and he still wrestles like a newly-arrived star from Mexico who can't speak English and communicate with his opponents. It's time to get this fucker out of the company before he ends someone's career.
Speaking of Ziggler, I was really disappointed when he unsuccessfully tried to cash in his briefcase after Sheamus defeated Alberto Del Rio. The thing I like the most about the MitB contract is the surprise factor. The superstar with the title shot should either wait until nobody expects him to cash in before pulling the trigger, or pull a Rob Van Dam and hold onto the briefcase until the timing is right. Last night, Ziggler tried to do what CM Punk, The Miz, and Del Rio have attempted in the past - cashing in the briefcase the first opportunity they got. Story-line wise, it was stupid for Ziggler to try and cash in last night. When he won the contract less than twenty minutes earlier, the man appeared half-dead. Had the referee rung the bell, Ziggler would have been in a disadvantage against Sheamus, as Ziggler got beat up more than Sheamus did. I hope Ziggler doesn't try and cash in the briefcase every other week, or else the excitement over him winning the contract will soon fade away.
Can someone please explain to me why the WWE Championship match was once again DID NOT close the show? I know John Cena was in the RAW MitB ladder match, and there was a lot more star power involved in the five-man match than Punk, Bryan, and Aj, but come on already. Since the match's inception, MitB has never been placed high up the card, be it at Wrestlemania or at it's own PPV. Yet, now that Cena's in the match, it can now take the top spot? Bullshit. Punk and Bryan had the Match of the Night, no question about it, and it saddened me to see them go on fourth-to-last.
I'm not taking anything away from the RAW MitB match, because it was way better than it had any right to be. From everyone working together to bury Big Show under a pile of ladders, to a nice showdown between Miz and Jericho, as well as the closing moments between Cena and Show, I really enjoyed the match. The Cena victory did not surprise me at all, and for all of you complaining, I'd rather see Cena carry the briefcase than (shudder) The Big Show. Besides, it will be funny to see if Cena will walk around with a briefcase without a handle thanks to that botched yet innovative ending. In many ways, I consider the match a flashback to Triple H vs. Kevin Nash at last year's TLC. Nobody cared about HHH and Nash's feud and many predicted it would be the worst match of the night. Instead, they surprised everybody and had a decent match. So, just like at TLC, kudos to the RAW MitB participants for using their veteran experience to pull off a good match.
That being said, Punk vs. Bryan should have been the main-event. With both men being in the main-event of RAW for the past two weeks, I figured it was a lock they would finally get a chance to close the show on Sunday. But, I was wrong, and with Punk retaining the title, I really don't understand why they didn't get to go on last. It's like somebody else said, "The fans already paid money to see the PPV. It's not like they're going to change the channel or leave the arena after Cena's match." Furthermore, had the RAW MitB match taken place before Punk vs. Bryan, you would have been eager to see if Cena would have tried to cash in after the match. But nope, WWE took the safe route and the WWE Championship is yet to be defended in the main-event at at PPV in 2012.
So, besides those three issues, I really liked the show, and so did my friend Silvia who I went to the theater to see it with. We both thought it was a lot of fun, and despite getting two of my predictions wrong (I thought Cody would win MitB and Bryan would leave with the WWE title), I can honestly say I enjoyed the PPV. In a way, I'm glad it wasn't as good as last year's show, because I'm now looking forward to SummerSlam next month, unlike last year, when I was content with seeing one of the best PPVs in a long time.
How about you, folks? Did you enjoy the show? Love it? Hate it? Love it, despite Cena winning? Well, let me know!
Did You Know?
The SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder match has kicked off the Pay-Per-View every year since it's 2010 debut.
Got something you want to get off your chest? Go for it: