Radical Predictions for WWE Money in the Bank 2014

Photo courtesy WWE.com
For the fourth week in a row, WWE is in the thick of another excellent round of programming this time featuring some of the year's most memorable segments (Vickie's pudding-soaked farewell and Ziggler vs. Barrett just this past Monday, for example), and seems to be gearing up for a fourth stellar Pay-Per-View in a row with Money in the Bank.

Hit the jump to break down what could very well go down at the forthcoming special event, along with some radical predictions for the ladder-based affairs.

Photo courtesy WWE.com
Summer Rae vs. Layla
with Special Guest Referee Fandango
A heel vs. heel feud centered around another heel. I'd like to invoke Vince McMahon's recent quote regarding "no more heels and faces", but this dull angle is one I think all of us are just patiently waiting out due to the villainous calling cards of each character involved.
I'm not sure many expected the ballroom dancer gimmick to last Johnny Curtis much more than a year, if that, yet here we are at nearly a year and a half of Fandangoing. The guy has potential, and a face turn could push him to a place where he begins to thrive.
After a few minutes of catty back-and-forth, expect Fandango to throw his hands up and leave, washing his hands of the jealous women who have but shown their worst sides leading up to Money in the Bank.

Winner: N/A

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Rybaxel vs. Goldust & Stardust
Though it was certainly an unexpected route to take, the past month's new partner angle for Cody Rhodes and Goldust seemed, if not fruitless, at least insignificant. Then Stardust appeared, and all was right with the world. The team evolution for the Rhodes brothers is wildly entertaining ("Now I'm the normal one!"), though the makeup could begin to run as soon as this Sunday at Money in the Bank.
Ryback and Curtis Axel are on somewhat of a hot streak as their personal improvements and team chemistry has really begun to shine of late, but they still feel expendable, and even in victory they are fodder to the Rhodes brothers' story. It would do them well to remain strong here, however, so they can move on to possibly contending for tag team gold in the near future.
It could be asking too much for a major storyline development in this undercard match, but I foresee a scenario in which Goldust takes the fall, leading Cody to quietly perceive that he, himself, was never actually the weak link.

Winners: Rybaxel, via Axehole

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Big E vs. Rusev
This rematch from Payback has yet to be confirmed, so it is possible there will be a stipulation added. Or perhaps this will be added to the pre-show, to pad the promoted Daniel Bryan interview that will surely just be a generic series of heroic recovery sentiments followed by a monosyllabic chant.
Anyway, I'm greatly enjoying this feud of colliding patriotic ideals as Big E and Rusev are two of the newer stars with the most potential on the roster and it's a thrill to see them working together. It's always a thrill to see Lana, as well, naturally.
After classic foreign heel Rusev's victory at Payback he enjoyed a unique award ceremony that went uninterrupted and increased heat in a way we've not seen in ages. Problem is, with nearly every appearance since then he's been back to seemingly shorter and shorter squash matches. Call me impatient, but I think a couple squashes in a row and you're good. We get it. We want to see the monster unleashed against stronger opponents.
Big E simply must win this outing against Rusev, not just because Big E could use a big win, but because Rusev could really use a first loss so he doesn't get booked in to a corner and become stale. Expect a hard-hitting contest between these two brutes that ends, quite possibly, with a Lana meltdown. Rubber match at Battleground?

Winner: Big E, via Big Ending

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Paige (c) vs. Naomi - Divas Championship
I'm quite pleased to see Naomi finally legitimately contending for the Divas Championship - I popped almost as much for her deserved win over Paige on last week's Main Event as I did for Ziggler's non-title upset over Bad News Barrett on the following SmackDown.
It's also about time the "Funkadactyls" parted ways (the Funkasaurus isn't even employed by WWE anymore), which appears to be a sure thing through an interesting aftermath to Paige and Naomi's first singles bout added to Cameron's lack of storytelling abilities flooding commentary on Raw.
Paige's reign has been gradually losing steam as we've all simply been waiting for AJ to return (which, if new pregnancy rumors are true, will no longer be happening any time soon, if at all), but the Anti-Diva still holds on to a certain something that sets her apart.
At Money in the Bank Naomi will give Paige a run for her money that will hopefully result in a contest equal to the pair's impressive prior collision. Cameron will get involved, however, to set up a brief feud that will put Naomi over while Paige moves on to her next challenger.

Winner: Paige, via DQ

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The Usos (c) vs. Luke Harper & Eric Rowan - Tag Team Championships
The road to this match has felt slow due to its inevitability over the past 2 months or so, yet despite my lack of enthusiasm for the current tag champs, the matches have been consistently entertaining as the Usos continue to form good ring chemistry with just about everyone crossing their path.
Still, it's no contest. Rikishi's twins' rare victories in this series go only so far as to create a minor, insignificant belief that the official babyfaces could pull this one out at Money in the Bank.
Harper and Rowan have had this coming, however, and Harper in particular has done his best WWE work yet over the past month, even excelling with promos what with his kayfabe patriarch being "reborn" in to the World Title picture.
Maybe WWE was just waiting until they had different entrance music for the big men?

Winners: Luke Harper & Eric Rowan, via Big Discus Clothesline

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Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match
Seth Rollins, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Rob Van Dam, Bad News Barrett(?), Dean Ambrose
Some of this outcome could be based on who is booked to win the other ladder match of the night, some of it may revolve around the apparent inevitability of Brock Lesnar taking the World Title at SummerSlam, and some of it may revolve around the recovery of Daniel Bryan. Or none of those things - it is extremely difficult to say.
Kofi Kingston and Jack Swagger, though solid in-ring performers who could each do well to turn heel and turn face, respectively, are the jobbers of this bout and stand absolutely no chance at becoming Mr. Money in the Bank.
Rob Van Dam has been stagnant and boring in his "legends" role of putting younger talent over, but this opportunity to work with such a wealth of fresh talent all at once seems to have reinvigorated him (as evidenced by his excellent work with Seth Rollins both in-ring and on-mic on the latest Raw), and he should put on a good show before taking a nap on the outside.
Bad News Barrett could have been a dark horse, but news coming out of SmackDown tapings that he's now sidelined with a shoulder injury could see him taken out of this match or replaced by someone like Bo Dallas, another highly entertaining heel that could reasonably win but won't because it's simply not time.
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are the deserving top picks to win this, and both make sense in different ways. I'm going to go out on a limb here, however, and say that Rollins and Ambrose will focus on their mutual hatred and hurl their grudge toward Battleground by repeatedly screwing one another out of reaching the dangling contract while someone else takes advantage.
This leaves the Show-Off. Dolph Ziggler is one of the hottest stars in the company today, as proven by the immense ovations he receives for the effort he puts forth despite constantly being booked a loser. Over the past month he's also been booked against Rollins on a consistent basis, contended for the Intercontinental Championship in a pair of utterly phenomenal matches with Barrett, and delivered another effective and true-to-heart promo about the symbolic nature of climbing that ladder once more.
It's far from a sure thing with all the factors in play, but I'm going to go ahead and call it now. And damn, it feels good to even type it:

Winner: Dolph Ziggler

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Ladder Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, John Cena, Kane
As with the contract ladder match, many unknown future factors are at work here, and the final call is hard to make. WWE has all but confirmed the obvious eventuality of Brock Lesnar winning the World Title at SummerSlam, and there's no way the Beast Incarnate turns face after last being seen stunning the world with a victory over The Undertaker at WrestleMania, right? So that means a face is going to hold the title for the next two months, right? Or will the title change hands again at Battleground? Or on Raw? Will Daniel Bryan and/or Batista come back after Lesnar wins, further complicating the situation? Who will wind up reaping the benefits of Lesnar's monumental WrestleMania win while part-timer Lesnar absorbs all the heat?
I made some predictions for this match last week after Raw, before "The Demon" Kane was added to the mix, which you can check out here. Most of those sentiments remain the same, but the recipe has been amended since.
I do not foresee a Kane win here. the Big Red Machine remains a suitably legendary muscle to interfere on behalf of The Authority, and that will be his sole aim here. That makes things look bleak for Roman Reigns, yet prosperous for Randy Orton. An Orton win would make particular sense as WWE has already been promoting Reigns vs. Orton for upcoming house shows. Where does it go from there, though? Is there really further longevity in a contemporary Orton title run?
We all know Alberto Del Rio winning would be even more stunning than the breaking of the Undertaker's Streak. Not going to happen.
I maintain that Cesaro is a dark horse, and his chances look a little better when considering the potential Lesnar angle that would arise from a Cesaro win.
Sheamus could be looking a little better, and while a heel turn to win would be ideal for the Celtic Warrior, remaining face heading in to a bout with Lesnar would surely make for an appealing match between perhaps the two stiffest workers in the WWE today. The US Title in this equation makes for a bit of a wild card.
Bray Wyatt as WWE World Heavyweight Champion is a very real possibility, especially with his cronies so likely walking out of the event as the Tag Team Champions. As with Orton, however, I am unsure where a Wyatt title run would lead in the current WWE climate.
All things considered, each passing development leading up to this match makes a John Cena win seem more and more like the eventuality. Though he's been working to build successors, cemented good guy Cena is still the most marquee full-time star the company has, and a main event SummerSlam title match against Brock Lesnar may just be the surest way to secure precious subscriptions from the coveted casual fan base as we near the 6-month renewal mark for the new (and super-awesome) WWE Network.
I'm going to choose to place a little more faith, however, in the forging of the new generation the WWE has been focusing so much on since WrestleMania. Even with Kane Orton, possibly Triple H, all the other competitors and some green mic skills working against him, I believe in Roman Reigns. Reigns might not have crossover popularity yet, but a win here would get people talking. The iron is blazing hot. Let the announced Reigns vs. Orton house shows for July be building to Reigns' defense of his newly won World Title. You know, before Brock Lesnar bursts in and decimates everybody.

Winner: Roman Reigns