Tonight is the Money In The Bank go-home edition of WWE Monday Night Raw. It's the first live show since CM Punk's now-famous shootish promo two weeks ago, as last week's show was taped the same night since the crew would be heading overseas. With all of the buzz they've generated, it should be interesting to see what kind of angle(s) they shoot tonight.
The framework has already been set for the Cena vs Punk match for the WWE Championship at Money In The Bank. The stipulation that Cena will be fired if Punk "leaves with the championship" (not if he just wins it, only if he leaves with it) has pretty clearly telegraphed Punk winning the title and the Raw Money In the Bank match winner cashing in his shot immediately to win the title himself, possibly at Vince McMahon's behest. Other scenarios have been speculated about, both as modifications of the above (Punk beats the Raw MITB winner and then McMahon sends out the Smackdown MITB winner) and otherwise (Punk leaves with the belt to set up some hot fresh angle while Cena rests up and lets nagging injuries heal.
Still, it's clear that we're supposed to expect Punk to win the title and then lose it immediately. With Alberto del Rio being the best pick in the Raw Money In The Bank match and the show being in Punk's home town of Chicago, the situation would give Punk a sympathetic sendoff and propel Del Rio into a long-rumored Summerslam match with Cena for the title.
So, what do we get tonight?
I figure that it will be interesting and figure we'll get some strong promos covering some of the same talking points as before, but otherwise, I'm not really sure what to expect. Punk's promo blew everyone away and last week's angle was executed strongly enough to satisfy those who were worried about the premise from reading spoilers. With that track record, I've sure it'll be good, but I'm not quite sure what direction they'll go in.
Here's a guess, though: It would make sense to stress the hell out of the carefully worded stipulation and I expect that at the very least.
While it's not exactly the same scenario, when John Cena was injured right before No Mercy 2007, they guaranteed that a new WWE Champion would be crowned at the PPV and it did very good business. While there won't be an explicit guarantee here, this program has done a great job of making the title seem more important, they actually had Vince McMahon say he doesn't think Cena can beat Punk, and it's clear they want the stipulations to be interpreted the way we're all doing it. Between the very strong implication that we'll see at least two title changes and the great hype job they've done in general, I think this show will get them out of the rut that the buys for the lower-level PPVs have been in.
Ignoring the main event for a moment, I'm curious if the lack of a Money In The Bank match at Wrestlemania this year will make this show more seem more important to the fanbase than last year's did.
Anyway, I expect an entertaining show since Raw has had a streak of good shows for the last month or so and they desperately need one to follow up on what's happened so far. Danyon will be doing a liveblog of the show tonight as usual.
One last note: If someone on the show explicitly mentions the possibility of the Punk wins the title -> MITB winner cashes in his shot and wins the title -> Cena isn't fired scenario, then there's no way it's happening.