This Sunday is the Money in the Bank pay-per-view and just as always, there is a chance for the entire landscape of the company to change when someone reaches up and pulls down that illustrious briefcase.
The rules are the same as always: multiple men compete in a ladder match and the winner receives a contract that can be cashed in at any time for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship title shot that he is virtually guaranteed to then win, considering the circumstances and history’s track record.
In the past, this has been used to alter the balance of the roster and push people to the moon, changing them overnight from a hopeful to a champion. It’s a very powerful instrument that can’t be wasted on just anybody, so who should win it this year?
Looking at the field of competitors, there really is an obvious choice, but let’s examine why that’s the case by ruling out everyone else beforehand.
Since moving up from NXT to the main roster, Neville has yet to achieve a title or any kind of major victory, but he’s been holding his own extremely well. Despite losing every match he’s had for a title as well as coming up short in the King of the Ring tournament, Neville’s still booked strong enough where his placement in this match isn’t questioned by the audience. That in itself is impressive, as it means he’s gone from a rookie in the eyes of most fans who don’t watch NXT to someone who could justifiably win the world title by the end of the year.
Sadly, WWE has to book him to lose yet again. It’s too soon for Neville to win the biggest title in the company even if he were to cash it in several months from now. Yes, he’s “The New Sensation”, but that shouldn’t be mistaken as “The Next Big Thing” quite so fast. His role in this match should be more for the athleticism and spots than actually being a potential winner.
If The Celtic Warrior was going to win something around this time frame, it was the Intercontinental Championship, not Money in the Bank. Sheamus returned with a mean streak, but he hasn’t been booked as the biggest threat in the world to go along with this. He’s far from jobbing out every week, which is good for his career, but he’s also not in a position to be the next world champion. Sheamus appears to fit nicely in the midcard more than in the main event and that should suit him perfectly fine for a long while. Of course, the Money in the Bank contract extends for an entire year’s period, so it isn’t as though having a heel champion causes a conflict for a heel like Sheamus in the same way it would with the Royal Rumble, but it still does play a factor.
For example, even if Seth Rollins were to drop the title to Dean Ambrose at this event, WWE would need to give Ambrose a few months of a reign to not make him look ridiculous. Sheamus would probably not be able to cash in to defeat him until around Survivor Series. Would anyone really want to see Sheamus walking into WrestleMania season with the title? Pass.
The time where Randy Orton was a top priority is long gone. He’s still a highly valuable asset, a popular superstar and a talented wrestler in more ways than one, but he’s not the big fish in the pond anymore. Orton is here to bring some more credibility to the match as he’s not only a former winner, but a former champion. The Viper is a big enough name to help put over the winner of the match and to look like someone who has the ability to win at any given moment considering his past experiences.
If Orton were the one WWE wanted to win, there would be more happening with him at the moment. He doesn’t have a solid feud, nor does he even make his presence felt strongly. Essentially, he’s been a placeholder, so that’s what he’ll be doing here.
Everything that was said above about Randy Orton can be said about Kane, but amplified. The last time Kane will ever taste world title gold has already come to pass, so he won’t be winning the briefcase for a second time. His role in this match is to provide the same credibility as Orton, but to also represent The Authority. Naturally, Kane will be entrusted to win the match and to keep the title within the grasp of Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Seth Rollins more than anything else.
True, the problems between Rollins and Kane have yet to be fully squashed, so there’s a potential that Kane wins and cashes in on him. In a way, it would bring closure to something that started at last year’s event when Kane helped Rollins win the contract to begin with. Full circle storylines are fun and make perfect sense, so it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for Kane to pull out the upset. The smart money isn’t on him, though, as he’s been in six of these and only won once.
A few years ago, Dolph Ziggler was able to successfully cash in his Money in the Bank title shot to dethrone Alberto Del Rio on Raw the night after WrestleMania 29. It was one of the most memorable cash-ins, but not much came out of it, as Ziggler would soon suffer a concussion injury that would force WWE to backtrack and build the division around Del Rio some more. Since then, Ziggler hasn’t been given another shot at the top, which is a shame, as he’s one of the best performers on the roster.
There is a bit of a double-edged sword when it comes to Ziggler that gets in the way of him winning this match. He’s been to the peak before and he’s proven himself in the ring, but that means WWE doesn’t have an itch to tinker around with that anymore. Now, he can be entrusted to go out there and have regular feuds with other people to help fill out the midcard. His feud with Rusev is not a physical one at the moment due to The Bulgarian Brute’s injury, but that’s the positioning that Ziggler will find himself in the for the next few months—not fighting for the world title. In a way, The Showoff is suffering from Shawn Michaels syndrome, where he’s bankable and it can be easily argued that he deserves a title, but a good manager knows not to put every egg in one basket. Ziggler is best utilized elsewhere to boost other things as opposed to being “the guy”, so WWE will definitely not be awarding him this achievement for a second time.