I love wrestling, I admit it. You do too or you wouldn’t be reading this, so it’s a good thing I can save my “defense of liking wrestling” for another time.
Instead, we can all look forward to one of the coolest pay-per-view concepts the WWE has ever come up with, Money in the Bank. Multiple superstars + ladders + a briefcase guaranteeing a title match is such a basic concept on paper but it’s pure genius to actually execute.
Some of my favorite matches are those that are unpredictable. Who’s going to win this match? Is one of the most important questions for a wrestling fan heading into a big match. If every damn person watching knows the outcome before it happens, it takes all the fun out of it.
But with Money in the Bank, Elimination Chamber, and Royal Rumble matches, who the hell knows what’s going to happen? Sure, you can pick favorites heading in (as I’m about to do) but do you really know what’s going to happen? With so many possible outcomes, you don’t.
Plus, Money in the Bank matches are a guaranteed fun match even if the outcome doesn’t go as you want it to. They never fail to produce incredible spots by those who aren’t afraid to put their bodies on the line and can think of creative ways to use a ladder as a weapon.
With not just one traditional money in the bank ladder match, but another with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line, it’s time to look at who is in the best position heading in to take home the gold and the briefcase. Like I mentioned, these outcomes are entirely unpredictable but it’s fun to look at the odds heading in to see where everyone is shaping up.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Seth Rollins vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Jack Swagger vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Bad News Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler
For each of these matches what I’ll be doing is looking at each individual participant, examining their chances of winning and what it would take for them to get the victory.
Kofi Kingston Wins if….
The WWE has a total change of heart on his potential in the next week. It’s not going to happen. Kingston is in this match for one reason and one reason only: to be the spot guy.
Something crazy will happen involving ladders and diving off of them and Kofi will be the one to pull it off. Frankly I’m surprised he is even in this match. With young stars ready to breakout like Big E, Bo Dallas, and Rusev, putting a guy like Kofi in the match who has no chance of winning devalues it a little bit.
Kingston’s window in which he could have been a world champ came and went around four years ago. Now he exists to boost young talent and do cool spots in rumble and ladder matches.
Chances of winning: 1%
Rob Van Dam wins if….
He is retiring very soon and they want to give him a very very brief final hurrah. That’s the only way RVD walks out with the briefcase.
Van Dam hasn’t been a good wrestler since about 2004 and it annoys me that he is taking spots away in big matches like this from guys who actually deserve it.
He doesn’t even serve a purpose of doing the cool spots anymore. Now as he is into his 40’s, RVD isn’t going to be pulling out any ECWesque jumps, spills, and thrills any time soon. Instead he’ll probably spend 90% of the match catching his breath on the outside.
Chances of winning: 2%
Jack Swagger wins if…..
While I feel like there’s a better chance that Swagger wins then RVD or Kofi I can’t actually think of a scenario in which he does. They believe in him like they did in early 2013 I guess?
Jack Swagger has been a “real american” now for a year and a half (!) and it peaked after the first month it was introduced. Swagger was one less DUI away from being a two-time World Heavyweight Champion and now he jobbing out to a Russell Brand look alike.
Secretly, Swagger is actually really good in the ring, and if you give him the right angle and feud (maybe a face turn and feud with Rusev) he could be an important part of the show. But Jack Swagger: WWE World Heavyweight Champion? Not a chance. An unsuccessful future cash in is the only way he wins this match.
Chances of winning 3%
Dolph Ziggler wins if….
The WWE starts listening to the internet again. NERDY NERDS like me have been clammoring for Dolph Ziggler to be a WWE Champion for, oh I don’t know about five years now. He finally pulled it off in 2013 only to see a concussion stop all of his momentum.
A few apparent arguments backstage later and Dolph is back in the mid-card. But watch him wrestle and there is no possible way you can tell me this guy isn’t a main eventer.
His match with Bad News Barrett this past Monday was just another example of Dolph…erm stealing the show. The in ring skills are there, the promo skills are there, he’s got the look that the WWE loves, he sells better than anyone since Shawn Michaels, but he won’t win this match.
HHH even acknowledged recently how people have been telling him for years how good Dolph is this past Monday on Raw which somehow made it worse. IF YOU’RE AWARE THAT LIKE HIM WHY WON’T YOU LET HIM WIN. Wrestling is so stressful sometimes.
Chances of winning 10%
Bad News Barrett wins if….
Vince McMahon likes his gimmick as much as I think he does.
Quick backstory on the current Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett. He came in on NXT back when NXT was a game show and won the whole thing. He then became the leader of the “Nexus” a group of future WWE stars (Daniel Bryan, Bray Wyatt, (as Husky Harris) Ryback (as Skip Sheffield), Darren Young, David Otunga, Justin Gabriel) and just murdered everyone from John Cena to Bret Hart.
It seemed like a virtual guarantee that Barrett would be the groups breakout star and win multiple world championships, thus becoming the first ever brit to be a WWE world champion. He wrestled Randy Orton for the WWE Championship in the main event of Survior Series 2010, and despite losing still looked to be a guarantee of a future champ.
But it never happened. Barrett fell when the Nexus broke up, and bounced around in the mid-card for three years despite his great in-ring ability and genius work on the mic. He was supposedly booked to win Money in the Bank in 2012 but Big Show broke his arm and he was forced to miss nearly a year of action. He won the Intercontinental Championship a few times but was nowhere near the main event. Just when it seemed like all hope was lost, Barrett was repackaged as “Bad News Barrett” a stupid character he did on the JBL and Cole show where he just shows up and says bad news.
Against all of the odds in the universe, the gimmick got over due to Barret’s natural delivery and charm. I do it, you do it, everyone does the “I’M AFRAID I’VE GOT SOME BAD NEEEWS” in a british accent all the time, because it’s awesome and hilarious. Now Barrett is back as the IC champ and is surging up the WWE ladder once more. Could it be that Barrett will finally fufill his potential of being a WWE World Heavyweight Champion? Maybe, eventually, but not yet.
In short, Bad News Barrett > Bad News Brown
Chances of winning 15%
Dean Ambrose wins if…
The WWE feels Seth Rollins works better as the hunter instead of the hunted.
I can’t say enough good things about how The Shield’s breakup has gone since it happened three weeks ago. I was entirely skeptical (and sad :() after the coolest stable in the last decade finally broke their two year run of dominance by way of Seth Rollins of all people betraying his brethren.
But looking back now, it seems to work well. Rollins has always been the best worker of the group, but he doesn’t have the charisma of Reigns, or the uniqueness of Ambrose.
Having Seth be the guy who breaks away and turns heel allows Reigns to go on his big singles push as a babyface and gives Seth something other to be then “guy who talks second in Shield promos”.
I was most concerned about how the Shield’s breakup would affect Dean Ambrose. I wasn’t sure if he really worked as a single babyface. After all if anyone was to turn on The Shield I would have paid good money guessing it would be Dean, since he is the most natural heel on the entire roster. He plays the manic, szicho better than Brian Pillman ever could have dreamed of.
But somehow someway, Dean has gotten over completely. The crowd pops evert time he gets on the mic or jumps Seth Rollins and it was a beauty to watch him work his way into the MITB match by legitimately threatening to hijack the match if he wasn’t in it.
The dude is so good at playing crazy it makes me wonder sometimes. What I don’t wonder about anymore is if I think Dean Ambrose would be a good WWE World Heavyweight Champion, the answer is a definitive YES (Daniel Bryan voice).
Chances of winning 24%
Seth Rollins wins if….
Things go as everyone is expecting them to go.
Taking the easy way out and being predictable is 99 times out of 100 a bad thing in wrestling.
If Cena were to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship ladder match (which we’ll get to later) per say, that would be boring and predictable. Batista winning the 2014 Royal Rumble is another example of this.
But Seth Rollins winning the Money in the Bank would be one instance where taking the easy way out is actually the best way to go (other than Ziggler winning which you’ll never convince me isn’t the right move).
Rollins had his big moment turning on The Shield but it doesn’t mean shit if he doesn’t parlay that into a run as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. We all know Rollins has all the potential in the world, and now with The Shield behind him and the authority at his side it’s time to strike while the iron is hot.
Not to mention, the long awaited Rollins vs. Amrbose and Rollins vs. Reigns singles matches would have a little extra kick if the championship or briefcase was on the line in them. I expect Rollins to win this match (likely with a little help from his friends) but it won’t bother me in the least if he does.
Chances of winning: 45%
Ladder Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Sheamus vs. Cesaro vs. Kane vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton
Now for a first: an eight man ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. How badass does that sound? Very. But the match could be ruined if the result goes the way I think that it might…
Alberto Del Rio wins if…
Umm…the WWE is going on an unannounced tour of Mexico sometime soon? I dunno, I don’t think even that would be enough to propel Alberto Del Rio back to the main event.
In 2011, no one was hotter than Alberto Del Rio. But now that he’s lost his expensive cars, his personal ring announcer, gone through multiple uninspiring world title reigns, and a face turn to boot, ADR’s act has worn entirely thin.
I don’t even think Del Rio was supposed to be in this match. I think they rushed his qualifying match with Dolph Ziggler before they really knew whether Daniel Bryan was healthy enough to wrestle at the PPV. They thought they were qualifying Del Rio for the briefcase match, but had to scramble and make the WWE World title ladder match and just kept him in it to save face and have someone to take the pinfalls in 4 on 3 handicap matches.
Chances of winning: 1%
Sheamus wins if…
His merch has quadrupled in sales since he became the United States Champion (lol).
Is there any character on the show more insufferable than Sheamus? He’s basically John Cena without the pedigree to back up all his schtick. There’s only so many times I can hear “WOELL I’M GUNNA HAV TA KICK YER TEETH DOWN YUR THROAT FELLA” with no context before it drives me insane.
In the ring, Sheamus is actually awesome. I was so excited for his long awaited heel turn but Daniel Bryan had to up and ruin it by getting injured forcing them to keep all their popular babyfaces as good guys. No one is a better hoss fighter than Sheamus other than Cesaro, and it legitimately looks like he’s beating the shit out of his opponent (and getting the shit beat out of him) which is an underrated quality in a wrestler.
That said, Sheamus would have been much better off actually, I don’t know defending his US title at this PPV. Why can’t you give me Rusev-Sheamus or whatever and leave the ladder match to the actually important people?
Chances of winning: 2%
Kane wins if….
They really really want to milk his feud with Daniel Bryan for all it’s worth. I mean it was bad enough Kane already main evented a PPV once this year, but again? Ugh.
I really enjoyed Kane back when he was managed by Paul Bearer and even tolerated him when he was impregnating Lita and locking people in freezers (oh how I miss 2004). But now? The dude is 47 years old, has been around for 20 years, and the WWE still thinks people should be terrified of him whenever he shows up.
He just lost a stretcher match to John Cena last week, why in the hell would anyone be threatened by him beating seven guys younger and with a much better recent track record than him?
Just because you’re calling him “THE DEMON KANE” now doesn’t mean he’s a threat. I was tempted to just write WHY IS KANE IN THIS MATCH 100 times for this entry.
Chances of winning: 5%
Bray Wyatt wins if…
The WWE wants to build its next super faction. In April 2013, Dean Ambrose beat Kofi Kingston for the United States Championship at Extreme Rules. That same night, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns beat Team Hell No for the WWE Tag Team Championships. Giving The Shield ALL THE GOLD.
Well the WWE has their chance to repeat that as Bray Wyatt is in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match and Erick Rowan and Luke Harper of The Wyatt Family are facing The Uso’s for the WWE Tag Team Championships this Sunday at Money in the Bank.
On the surface it doesn’t make sense that someone like Bray Wyatt, a bayou cult murderer would give a shit about winning championships. But he has explained it well (unsurprisingly since he’s the best talker in the WWE currently) by saying that to him the WWE World Heavyweight title is all about the power it posses.
I can’t see Wyatt going on a lengthy title run, at least not yet. But if they’re going to give it to a heel placeholder, why waste it on Kane or Randy Orton? Daniel Bryan coming back and beating Bray for the strap would be a great moment, and would elevate Wyatt’s character even further. That said, don’t get your hopes up followers of the buzzards.
Chances of winning: 7%
Cesaro wins if…..
Creative has something in mind for a feud with Paul Heyman guys.
No offense to Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, or anyone else on the roster, but other than Daniel Bryan there is no better worker right now then Cesaro. Here’s a guy who has been wrestling for over a decade (funny how the guys who go through the indies seem to always end up being the best wrestlers…) and is just now getting to the top of his game. He is legit the strongest guy in the WWE and can put on a pretty great match with anybody.
The story basically writes itself too. Cesaro wins the WWE title ladder match after fellow “Paul Heyman guy” and conquerer of the streak Brock Lesnar interferes on his behalf. We find out the next night that Lesnar did this with the understanding that Cesaro would hand over the title to him, which Heyman instructs him to do. Cesaro refuses, turns face and boom you’ve got a fantasy booking for the Battleground and SummerSlam main event.
Cesaro is in need of a face turn too, and has been since his big win at WrestleMania XXX. While going with Paul Heyman is never a bad thing per say, he has halted his momentum to a degree. He hardly will do the swing anymore since the WWE knows how over it is and they don’t want the crowd cheering a bad guy.
Giving him the title would elevate Cesaro the one final step to making him a true main event caliber guy. It would also allow Daniel Bryan to ease back into the title picture later on around the time of Survivor Series. Bryan could then get involved with a champion Cesaro or the Money in the Bank winner (Cesaro-Bryan-Rollins Triple Threat please and thank you) and by then Cesaro would have successfully been elevated. It all makes sense, but unfortunately it still feels like a long shot.
Chances of winning: 10%
Randy Orton wins if…
The WWE needs a placeholder.
As boring as it would be to see Randy Orton win the WWE Championship again and add another world championship bringing his total to 13 (!!!!), it would sort of make sense.
Think about it, Randy is the authority’s guy through and through and he never got pinned to lose his championship in the first place. Rollins or HHH interfere on his behalf and Kane helps him out in the actual match and Randy takes the win. But then….Daniel Bryan returns and gets his rematch at Battleground and they have one final match which sees Bryan taking back the championship.
This accomplishes a few things. One: we see a match with Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan at Battleground that doesn’t end with The Big Show interfering and knocking everyone out (I was in the live crowd and may still be a little bitter). Two: It lets Bryan come back as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion with little or no obstacle, which really is probably what should happen considering Bryan never really got a shot to do much with his long awaited reign at the top. Three: It lets someone be the placeholder champion who can take it.
Let me explain on that one. Say you have Reigns, Cesaro, or Wyatt win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, their first of their careers. However instead of letting them have a lengthy, memorable run with the title, they drop it in under a month to a returning Bryan. This may actually do more damage then good for the up and comer. While yes, they get their name in the record books as a WWE World Heavyweight Champion, they are almost immediately devalued and fall back down the card when they lose it. This is also known as Dolph Ziggler syndrome (*weeps*).
But with a guy like Randy Orton, he isn’t going to be affected either way. He’ll still be Randy Orton for better or for worse. Maybe I’m spinning this too much but I’m almost talking myself into liking Randy Orton winning the championship.
Chances of winning 15%
Roman Reigns wins if….
The WWE wants to create its next megastar.
So, I’m going to put Roman Reigns as a co-favorite in this match along with John Cena (which I’ll get to) but if he was going against anyone else, Reigns would be the crystal clear favorite going in.
Anyone who’s been watching the show can see a potential Reigns win coming from a mile away (which, like Rollins isn’t necessarily bad). Even if he loses, Reigns is practically guaranteed to be screwed out of a victory and not lose cleanly. He is this close, this close to being the next mega star in the WWE he just needs that one last win.
As I count right now there are only two megastars, John Cena and Daniel Bryan. If you really wanted you might be able to make a case for Orton but regardless it’s not enough. Reigns has everything the WWE wants to see in a big time money maker. The long hair, the heavyweight build, the devilish good looks, the spear, the relation to The Rock, everything. It also doesn’t hurt he’s been kicking ass and taking names in The Shield for the last two years.
Reigns’s mega push has been on the precipice for about a year now. He eliminated every member of the opposing team at Survivor Series, eliminated 11 men in the Royal Rumble, and was generally getting most if not all the pinfalls in Shield six man tag team matches.
I like Roman Regins a lot, but I’m still not sure he’s ready. He looks just…uncomfortable to me sometimes in the ring. He’s got the signature moves down with the superman punch, spear, and cool looking drop kick on the outside apron thing, but other then that, could he carry a match?
Maybe, maybe not. It doesn’t really matter. Reigns just has it. A lot of guys get these big pushes because of how they look (What’s up Ryback?) but can’t sustain it. I would be surprised if Reigns fell into that category. Even if he’s not ready in the ring, he’ll get better and has his whole career ahead of him. Besides, there have been much worse wrestlers to win world championships (The Great Khali was a World Heavyweight Champion once and main evented pay-per-views, never forget).
Will he win this match? Probably, maybe, who knows. With eight guys involved you can’t buy too much into one of them even when all the signs seem to be pointing in his direction.
Chances of winning: 30%
John Cena wins if…
They want a return to the status quo.
There’s really nothing that can be said about John Cena here that hasn’t already been said a million times. But I’ll try anyways.
He’s a good professional wrestler who will end up having the most ever championship reigns in the history of wrestling because he is very popular with an age group that the WWE now targets to sell merchandise. He has taken themes like “never giving up” and “overcoming the odds” and built an entire career out of them. He somehow went from white guy who raps to the most popular invincible guy in the history of the WWE.
It’s not even that I hate John Cena, I don’t. I’m just so unbelievably sick of him. I’m sick of the five moves of doom, sick of him overcoming the odds at any cost, sick of him winning matches we’ve seen a thousand times before, sick of him beating guys who need more than anything to not lose to him.
I understand to an extent that it’s not his fault. He’s a company man and is just doing what he’s told. But holy shit, if anyone has a say in the direction of their storylines it’s John Cena. Yet, we get the same thing year after year, match after match, PPV after PPV, rinse and repeat, with numbing repetition.
Which brings us to Sunday. All the dirt sheets are saying John Cena is the favorite to once again win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank. He will likely then go on to feud with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam and generally do all the things that Daniel Bryan can’t do because he’s hurt.
The fans finally forced the company to go out of their comfort zone and build a new star last year with Bryan, but now that he is incapable, they panic and go back to the status quo.
Their answer to “What will we do if Daniel Bryan can’t wrestle this summer?” is apparently: “Just have Cena do it.” The issue is we’ve seen John Cena do it, so many times, we can’t take much more of it.
Maybe the WWE will take a chance this Sunday. Maybe we will see Roman Reigns or Bray Wyatt or Cesaro win their first ever major championship. Maybe Sheamus or Alberto Del Rio or Kane will pull off the massive upset. Maybe Randy Orton will be the first ever two-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Or maybe John Cena will win…..
It’s probably gonna be that.
Chances of winning: 30% (+Cena factor, times percentage by 10)
Chances of winning: 300%