To coincide with my previous post of the worst choices for Mr. Money in the Bank 2016, it’s only fitting to turn things 180 degrees and talk about the more positive side of the outcomes: the best possible options to retrieve the briefcase this year.
As I mentioned before, this list takes into account the names that realistically could be chosen. This means only the currently active roster members and nobody who is so far down the hierarchy of importance in the company that they’d never get a chance. You might be a big fan of Titus O’Neil, but after his suspension and the way he’s been booked since then, don’t hold your breath.
From Payback and Extreme Rules, AJ Styles has proven in a short amount of time that he can be taken seriously as a main eventer in WWE. Sure, he was a world champion elsewhere, but while being top dog in TNA is more of an achievement than most professional wrestlers will ever come close to matching, it still doesn’t mean that’s any equivalent to the same level in WWE.
However, his involvement in the Bloodline vs Club feud and his two matches with Roman Reigns have been great. The fans are eating it up, the in-ring competition is fierce, and perhaps most importantly of all when it comes to factoring in his Money in the Bank chances, Styles hasn’t looked bad despite losing. In both of their encounters, he’s put up a great fight and lost by circumstances that paint him as a guy that could have taken the belt if a few minor things had gone his way.
With Seth Rollins returning and seemingly staking claim as the next in line, Styles should be free to compete in the ladder match as one of the featured favorites. He’s someone the fans adore, so the popularity factor isn’t a question, and the future potential of a world title reign in his name is not something that sounds odd, but believable.
If you’re looking for someone who has the right amount of credibility both going into this match and leaving it, few are in a better position than Styles.
I’ll admit that while I’m a fan of his work, I sometimes think the WWE Universe is a bit too trigger-happy when it comes to Cesaro. He’s shown glimpses of greatness in various ways, but I can normally think of at least a handful of people I’d pick over him in almost any scenario.
This year’s Money in the Bank, though, is a situation where I’m believing into the hype. He’s still got a long way to go with gaining more charisma on the mic and with his character, as a tear-away suit isn’t going to convince me that he’s the most interesting man since The Undertaker, but he’s working at it and his in-ring ability hasn’t diminished with his injury.
Cesaro is the type of guy that can be given a slow build over the course of months, amassing more and more attention from the audience as one of the possible “next guys” to keep your eye out for. He’s had great matches with main event talent, so it’s not a question of whether or not he can go in that regard, but just about his brand recognition and staying power with keeping the audience’s attention for a feud.
WWE could give him the briefcase and start allowing him to show off more of his bite than his bark so when he cashes in, people are excited, as they’ll know the champion is definitely screwed to be wrestling someone of that caliber.
Easily, hands down, my favorite to win the briefcase this year is Kevin Owens. This guy has it all and has shown it time and time again. Few are more entertaining to watch in the ring than Owens, who seems to have good chemistry with damn near everybody he wrestles despite their styles, and even less people can match his level when it comes to promos.
There’s a reason the first main roster feud Owens had was with John Cena of all people, and why he was given the NXT Championship practically on his debut in the company—he commands that kind of admiration. Normally, when somebody loses, their stock drops and they need to scratch and claw to get back to the spot they were before. Owens, on the other hand, takes that loss and turns it around into something to add to his character’s motivation, amping up his intensity and coming off more desperate than ever to regain some kind of gold.
He’s a prize fighter, but he’s also someone who backs down from fights now and again. He’s smart and plays mind games without having to do any literal hocus pocus. Imagine the fun that could come out of him teasing the champions that may pass while he holds the briefcase, taunting them that at any time HE so chooses to be the perfect time to exact his master plan, he’ll be snatching the belt away from them. Just having that power alone will make his character even more of an insufferable ass to be around as he gloats that he’s got his side plates already designed for when he inevitably wins the title and how he should be treated with the respect of a world champion already because of how the future is set in stone that he’ll be the champ.
Worse off, when he proves himself to be right, the gloating would magnify even more. He told us so, for months, and he’s a former NXT and Intercontinental champion who destroys people and follows through with his promises, so why would it be anything different? Likewise, that’s why we should believe that he’ll hold that title for as long as he damn well pleases, which could be forever, setting up feuds with so many great people down the line like the aforementioned AJ Styles and Cesaro, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and more.
Who do you think would be the best choices WWE could make for this year’s Money in the Bank winner? Do you have any favorites you’ll be rooting for? Let us know in the comments below!