Philly card in the spotlight tonight
WWE brings its Money In The Bank pay per view tonight to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
It's expected there will be a raucous live crowd on hand to witness John Cena defend the WWE championship against Mark Henry, and former champ Dolph Ziggler challenge Alberto Del Rio for the world heavyweight crown.
However, this would seem to be a rare ppv where the title matches aren't likely to be considered the main events by the majority of the crowd, at least not the matches of greatest interest as far as the crowd is concerned. Recognizing that, WWE newspaper advertising featured wrestlers climbing and falling from a ladder while trying desperately to reach the MITB briefcase dangling from the wire above the ring.
There are two MITB ladder matches tonight that provide the winners with the coveted opportunities to cash them in for title matches at whatever moment they deem appropriate. Competing on the ladder for the WWE title shot will be Randy Orton, Sheamus, C.M. Punk, Daniel Bryan, Christian and the returning Rob Van Dam. Kane was ousted from MITB as a result of the attack on him by the debuting Wyatt Family at Raw last Monday.
Those pursuing the magic briefcase for a world heavyweight title match include Antonio Cesaro, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Jack Swagger, Fandango and Dean Ambrose.
Also slated for action on the ppv would be Curtis Axel defending the I.C. belt against the Miz, and Kaitlyn challenging A.J. Lee for the Divas crown. Chris Jericho faces the Ryback in a bout that has had virtually no television buildup. The Shield defends the tag team straps on the pre-show against the Usos.
This past week saw a huge grand opening of the new WWE Peformance Center in Orlando. Lots of video of the press conference is available on various wrestling websites, along with plenty of interviews. They made it a real big deal, complete with the governor of Florida, Rick Scott and other area politicians on hand for the hour- long press conference hosted by Michael Cole and Triple H.
There was certainly no expense spared to create the state of the art facility and there was a good bit of media coverage for the event. Dr. Joseph Maroon spoke about the company's commitment to the wellness of the performers and the politicians gushed over the jobs the center was bringing to the area.
Xavier Woods, holder of a master's degree in psychology, talked about the commitment by WWE to helping developmental talent continue their education and a Full Sail University student was brought out to be given a $10,000 scholarship. Sheamus was also among those who spent some time at the podium singing the praises of the facility. A full evening of NXT tapings took place later that Thursday evening, the first without our own Rob Naylor working behind the scenes.
At Monday's Raw, Vickie Guerrero was fired as general manager and replaced by Brad Maddox. Have to be honest that up until the last second, I was hoping it would be the ultimate swerve and that Jiminy Cricket (Naylor) would be brought out as the new GM, but alas, it was not to be.
Raw ratings have been up slightly recently, but an even bigger surprise would have to have been that TNA had about the normal rating for their Impact show on July 4. Normally, ratings would take a huge dive with everybody and their brother out watching fireworks at that point in the evening, but while the company doesn't do anywhere near the WWE number of viewers, their fans must be extremely loyal for Impact. It doesn't translate well into ppv buyers, but their T.V. fans are certainly faithful.
Older fans would enjoy an interview with the venerable long-time Memphis wrestling announcer Lance Russell that is currently available on liveaudiowrestling.com. He was interviewed expertly by the LAW's Dan Lovranski, who always does his homework and consequently, an excellent job on interviews.
(Shamokin's Bill Gilger "arranges" the interview each week with The Insider)