July 12 - Money in the Bank
July 11 - Wyatts/The Shield
Money In the Bank
I apologize if I’m repeating myself. I know I have made the following statement before, but I don’t think it was in a column.
I really don’t mind the gimmick Pay Per Views that WWE has introduced over the last few years. Not all of them are stellar (I don’t think we’ve seen Hell in a Cell deliver yet), but for the most part they work. I still think adjustments can be made, but in a business like wrestling, it’s easy to give ideas but harder to execute. Thankfully, Money in the Bank has turned into a true stand out event year after year.
It’s easy to see why it has made an impression, and why it’s always in July. The most similar WWE event during the PPV calendar is 6 months away with the Royal Rumble (one of the original gimmick PPVs). Think about it: a single title match main event, and a star studded #1 contenders match on the same card. The fact that WWE has made it connect on not just the top tier with the WWE title, but also on the 2nd tier with the World title is a credit that is often ignored.
Both Money in the Bank and The Royal Rumble do a great job of showcasing the future of the WWE. Just being included in the MITB matches is a sign that your star is shining. Winning is obviously the ultimate brass ring to grab from the show, but there’s always a silver lining for those who don’t grab the briefcase. This is just like in the Royal Rumble, where there is not only a winner, but also another person who gets recognized for lasting the longest or a monster who makes an impact with his elimination record. The Money in the Bank formula is still evolving, but the World Title blue briefcase winner is in a very similar position as whoever lasts the longest in the Rumble. There’s no more important piece of evidence of this then to look at who won the blue case last year, and who lasted the longest in the recent Rumble match. Now look at where that man is.
It also leaves the door open for a #1 contendership to be used for SummerSlam, WWE’s supposed second biggest event of the year. I mock that, because SummerSlam has never felt bigger than the Royal Rumble, and often is outshined by events like Money in the Bank, TLC, and even Survivor Series. But, if WWE presents it as a huge deal, then many will follow that mindset. Having a briefcase heading into that PPV helps sell a title match. Since the advent of the 2 MITB case system, we’ve seen every SummerSlam be effected by a briefcase in a main event match (either a cash in or rematch from one). Expect this year to be more of the same. Astutely, there’s lots of speculation that the WWE Title All Star MITB winner will use their option to challenge for the title at SummerSlam (or cash in later Sunday night again leading to a rematch at SummerSlam). We shall see.
I won’t get into the predictions game. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been that great at them. Even I am second guessing my idea of Wade Barrett winning the blue case. What I can predict is that once again Money in the Bank is going to deliver an event that will be regarded as one of 2013’s best PPVs, just like every MITB since 2010.
Money in the Bank is usually a game changing event. While cashing in the briefcase is never the main event breakthrough WWE presents it to be, it’s always an exciting course of events. That’s something wrestling lacks on a regular basis. Promotion for matches that are exciting are lower than they’ve ever been, but the draw of the Money in the Bank ladder matches sell themselves. It’s not just one night of excitement, it’s the start of what could be several events. Who can deny the excitement if Daniel Bryan wins the briefcase this weekend? And once the PPV is over, who won’t want to tune in to Raw and see if he follows it up with challenging John Cena or Mark Henry for SummerSlam? And if that match gets booked, who won’t be excited for SummerSlam?
The chain reaction of events can all start with a well booked Money in the Bank event, just like the Road to Wrestlemania starts at the Royal Rumble.
Adding a well booked WWE Title match is gravy. I can’t say Henry vs Cena is on the same level as Punk vs Cena from 2 years ago, but the retirement speech segment was possibly the best WWE title involved segment in over 2 years. Even with the rather lame follow up to that over the recent weeks, there’s more excitement for this WWE Title match than anything since Cena took the strap back.
Money in the Bank is a PPV event that will last, and will soon put itself in the Big category of PPVs. It’s already in my top 3 of the year. A strong 2013 edition will only help the new legacy of the Money in the Bank.
Lots of talk about Bray Wyatt these days, and rightfully so. The business we so thoroughly enjoy is constantly looking for the “Next Big Thing” and our excitement gets ramped up whenever there’s a hint of something on the verge of breaking out. The Wyatt Family has been treated tremendously over the last 2 months on WWE TV, and during the even more impressive display of talents on NXT.
It comes at a strange time, as there’s more than enough talent on the cusp of superstardom. There’s even complaints that the attention spent on the Wyatts are part of what’s led to the Shield to becoming an afterthought on WWE TV. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When a talent catches on, it’s very understandable that breathing room could be an asset to their development. The Shield have been riding an insane wave of momentum that they have earned with outstanding performances in every aspect needed from a WWE talent. Just 2 months ago at Extreme Rules, they pulled off an Evolution/Horsemen moment in winning titles for the entire stable.
Since then however...
I’m not bothered in the slightest, nor am I worried about their future. The Shield caught on quickly by defeating top names in mostly 6 man tag team matches. Where else can they go from here? WWE knows they are a hot commodity, or else they wouldn’t have put titles around all 3 of their waists. And before anyone complains about how little those titles mean, I won’t argue you, but remind you that there is a major difference between holding the US and/or Tag titles separately, and winning them for the group all in one night. The Shield is in no risk of being jobbers.
This all seemed to start when they lost in 6 man tag action to Christian and the Usos on Smackdown a few weeks back. I remember a lot of people complaining about it, as it seemed ludicrous that a team who beat Ryback, Sheamus and Cena only 5 months ago would lose to the recently returned Christian and the Usos who have not won a PPV match... maybe ever? I wish WWE would have highlighted this loss better, and made it as big a deal as it should have been. Maybe Michael Cole dropped the ball on commentary, but it definitely should have been highlighted that while 3 major singles stars might have trouble teaming together against a 3 man unit, tag team specialists might be able to overcome the same challenge. Usos are brothers, so it’s easy to give off the semblance that they are a better 2 man unit than the Shield due to their history together. It’s a bit of a reach, seeing as they’ve been rather useless in the tag division since they debuted, but if that’s the only complain you have, then you can’t enjoy the Usos winning any matches by that failed logic. Christian has been portrayed as a tag team specialist for his entire career, so he can fit in with the Usos in successful fashion, as we saw. Now I can connect those dots for myself, but WWE should have done more to draw attention to this.
Since that loss on Smackdown, The Shield have not been in a high profile position at all. Oh No!
Calm down, children. All is well. The Shield need to continue to win, right? So by putting titles around them, you need to create challengers. Usos have been out of the spotlight for long enough that one of the only ways to get them over as a threat to the Tag Team Championships would be a non-title victory over the current champs. Dean Ambrose needs a singles challenger in the upcoming months, and by having Christian get the pin on him in 6 man action, that match is now open for the future. It was solid booking, especially when the rematch on Raw the next week was a victory for Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose.
But what does this have to do with the Wyatts? Not much yet. But WWE took notice of how well a stable can work in an era where every member of their roster wants to be a singles star. Cena has surmounted so many odds, but there’s no harm if he loses to the Shield in a game of numbers. Stables aren’t new to WWE, but they’ve been ignored for a long time it seems. The business is cyclical, right? Or least that’s what we are told often enough. Maybe the time to have teams of 3 or more has come back around. So maybe the success of the Shield can be copied by the Wyatt Family.
Thankfully, other than being heels in a group of 3, these guys have almost nothing in common. The Shield are showcased as 3 evenly matched individuals with a common goal of destruction. The Wyatt family, so far, have a single leader who commands 2 giant minions to do his biding. They might follow completely different paths. I see the Wyatts being the tag team that is managed by Bray for a while. Similar to how Roddy Piper debuted in WWF in the 80s in a manager/antagonist role, Bray Wyatt will do a lot of talking, but use his henchmen do the dirty work. Awesome. Create a hatred for the man before he even gets in the ring. Then, when the time is right, he can have a singles match where he looks just as much of a force as his 2 monsters by his side.
I remember reading a request that Bray takes the spot of Kane in the Money in the Bank ladder match. I get that, but I hope not. In a debate of hotshot vs slow build, there’s no clear answer because every situation is different. It was wrong for Alberto Del Rio to be pushed as much as he has, but the counter argument is the name of the perhaps the most successful wrestler of all time: Hulk Hogan. He won the WWF Title in January 1984 after debuting only a month earlier after coming from the AWA. If something connects, there’s nothing wrong with running with it. They did it with The Shield. I doubt they’d have put Cena in a match against them and lose if the plan wasn’t to let these guys run wild for a while to give them steam.
But I would hold off putting Wyatt in a singles main event position. Let his tag team bring destruction to the WWE for a bit, and let Bray stay out of the ring for now. Eventually, we will be aching to see him wrestle someone like Orton or Cena, with or without the title.
As for the Shield, they will sadly defeat the Usos in the MITB kick off this weekend, and move on to something else by SummerSlam. Unless WWE decides to team up 2 single stars as a team like Miz and Jericho or Punk and Daniel Bryan, The Shield won’t have a lot of direction as tag team champions. They will continue winning over the Prime Time Players, Tons of Funk, and the Usos until something else comes along to draw their attention. The US Title will be the key in pushing The Shield, as there are not enough teams that matter, but there’s always someone ready to challenge for the US title and make it matter. Christian could be an awesome man for the job, but so could The Miz, Jericho, or even Daniel Bryan.
The future is still bright for the Shield, even with the Wyatt Family around. Let The Shield steal the show in their awesome tag matches, and very soon will we see the get more. But it is not The Shield show. They are still threats. Trust me, when they win on Sunday (maybe even Ambrose with the briefcase), there could be a loud ovation on Monday when their music hits unexpectedly while someone like Sheamus, Cena, Orton, Punk, or Daniel Bryan is in the ring. Same goes for “we’re here.”
And on that note, Peace out
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