Money in the Bank has evolved from a gimmick match at Wrestlemania to a stand-alone PPV event that serves as a bridge to Summerslam, the 3rd of WWE's 4 major PPV shows. This year's edition is a hodgepodge, to be sure:
Pre-show (on Yahoo!, WWE.com, & YouTube): WWE tag titles: The Shield (Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) vs. Jey & Jimmy Uso. Reigns, the son of Hall of Famer Sika (Wild Samoans), is a cousin to the challengers, who are the sons of former tag team & IC champion Rikishi. Rollins is still better known to most folks as Tyler Black from his days in Ring of Honor, and, before that, the short-lived Wrestling Society X. Of the four men in the match, Rollins is the most experienced of the group, and that will be a big difference maker. Meanwhile, the Uso twins are finally getting a shot at the gold that their father once held. Unfortunately, it's before the PPV, which has some people rankled. Considering the guy running the company doesn't have both oars in the water.....! On PPV, they'd get more time, to be sure. A short match favors the champs, so the pick is the Shield.
WWE Intercontinental title: Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Michael "The Miz" Mizanin. Miz can relate to the Usos and the Shield's plight. At Wrestlemania, his IC title match vs. then-champ Wade Barrett was bumped to the pre-show. Miz won, the dropped the title back to Barrett the next night so he could leave to make a movie for ABC Family, airing later this year. Axel, the former Michael McGillicutty, is the son of the late Curt Hennig, himself a 2-time IC champion and a Hall of Famer. Too soon to change the title again, so Axel gets the nod here.
WWE Divas title: AJ Lee (w/Big E. Langston) vs. Kaitlyn. A year ago, these two were the best of friends and tag partners as the Chickbusters (though that name was never used on WWE-TV). 7 months ago, a mentally distraught Lee turned heel, and, well, you know the rest of the story. Former champ Layla El has done her part to help Kaitlyn, but rumors have her turning heel, which makes little sense since 1) the Divas aren't getting enough air time, what with a reality show debuting later this month, and 2) the prima donnas doing most of the promoting for said show, the Bella Twins, figure to cut to the head of the line for the title, regardless of who wins. Now, it's Kaitlyn who's gone psycho, thanks to the psych games Lee's been playing. But Layla knows about that sort of high school level drama, since that was part of her repertoire as a member of LayCool 2 years ago. Best move here is to let the champ & challenger go at it, and may the best woman win. Too soon for another change again, so Lee retains.
Money in the Bank ladder match for the right to a WWE World title match: Wade Barrett vs. Jack Swagger vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Antonio Cesaro vs. Fandango vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow.
Let's break this down in terms of odds:
Ambrose, the US champion (7-1): Some say he could add to the gold he already has, but no, not now. Too soon to start thinking about splitting up the Shield, though that group has hit the wall.
Barrett (10-1): Former 3-time IC champion can't win the bigger prizes, but needs to win out here to get back into serious contention for the World title. He didn't exactly endear himself to Zeb Colter, Swagger & Cesaro's manager, not too long ago, which makes it all the more curious about Cesaro's association with Team Xenophobia. Barrett is there mostly as a tentpole for the others.
Swagger (6-1): The Oklahoma native is the only one in this field who's a past winner, which would actually make him a fit for the All-Star match for the other briefcase, but that's creative for you. Never sharp at the right time. Recent legal troubles prevent him from repeating here.
Cesaro (5-1): The "Swiss Sensation", as noted above, made a curious choice aligning himself with Swagger & Colter, one that I figure will eventually blow up in his face, especially if he wins. The bloom's off the rose on Colter, anyway.
Fandango (8-1): The dance master formerly known as NXT season 4 winner Johnny Curtis was in line for the IC title until a concussion knocked him out of last month's PPV, opening the door for Axel to take his spot. This may be a make-good for that misfortune.
Rhodes (3-1): Dusty's boy already made history by being part of the 2nd brother team to hold the IC title (Dustin, aka Goldust, was a multi-time IC champ). If he splits with Sandow here, as some think will happen, a long awaited face run begins. Cody's way overdue to make a big run to "tha pay winda", as papa Dusty would say. He's still got time on his side.
Sandow (3-1): Co-favorite in the field. He's playing Cody like a fiddle, waiting for the right time to finalize the split in their failed tag team. Too pompous to be holding the briefcase, which for a thug like him is a weapon he doesn't need.
My final four: Rhodes, Sandow, Fandango, Cesaro.
The final pick: Fandango.
Chris Jericho vs. Ryback. Ryback has been in a rut. Hasn't won a PPV match in almost a year, and has been badly misbooked by the fickle creative team and the brain dead chairman. The worse news for Ryback is that rumors have the stalest heel act on the roster, Vickie Guerrero, becoming his manager. That's a step backward for Ryback, really. As a vested veteran, Jericho will help elevate the younger wrestlers, because it's good for business. Pick: Ryback.
WWE World title: Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler. Speaking of breakups, Dolph's due for some heartbreak. Not only will he lose the match, but he loses his support team as well, as the schizoid AJ will dump him either that night or the next. Pick: Del Rio.
Money in the Bank ladder match for the right to a WWE title match: Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus vs. Randy Orton vs. Christian vs. CM Punk vs. Rob Van Dam:
Kane has been scratched due to an injury angle on Monday courtesy of the Wyatt Family. RVD will make his return to WWE after 4 years away, the last 2+ spent with TNA. The field:
Christian (5-1): A non-winner in this event, "Capt. Charisma" has 2 World titles & 2 ECW titles in hand since returning 4 years ago. Uncreative fumbled on his return from the DL, but, again, that's nothing new, as they tend to stall for the wrong reasons, due to a certain senile executive. Way overdue, like Cody Rhodes, for the brass ring.
Orton (10-1): Sorry, Randy, you don't need the briefcase. Just challenge your buddy John Cena for the title at Summerslam, and you'll be cool.
Sheamus (6-1): Begorrah, fella! The Celtic Warrior doesn't need the case, either. If either he or Orton wins, marks will think one or the other will turn, and Orton's been teased of late.
Punk (3-1): A 2-time winner (2008-9) in the World title chase, Punk is looking for #3. Not gonna happen.
Van Dam (5-1): They will go absolutely bat-shizzle insane in Philadelphia for a man they adopted as one of theirs years ago. You know what to expect from the guy who won a case in 2006, then cashed it in 2 months later.
Bryan (1-5): Everyone's picking him to win. He & Cena are each dating a Bella Twin, and will be part of that reality show as a result. For that reason alone, they pick him.
My final four: Punk, Van Dam, Christian, Bryan.
The final pick: Bryan.
WWE title: John Cena vs. Mark Henry. 2 years ago at this time, Henry was World champ. He & Cena have feuded before, but they want you to forget the past, as usual. Cena just won 3 months ago, but is better served chasing the title. Upset special: Henry.
Of course, I could be wrong.