For years since I started this blog, I have analysed the Money In The Bank ladder matches. I have gone through each competitor and labelled their chances of winning, using the tags none, unlikely, possible, dark horse and favourite. I don’t think I’m going to tag everyone in the same way this year, but I’m still going to take each man in the match and assess their chances individually. What am I waiting for, let’s get to it!
Sami has been really impressive since bursting on to the main roster full time in March. He has put on some really good matches including a match of the year contender with Kevin Owens at Payback (and of course the match against Shinsuke Nakamura on Wrestlemania weekend, but that was under the NXT brand). Against Cesaro last night on Raw, I felt like the match was just kicking into another gear just as it ended. So he is more than capable of hanging with the best from a technical standpoint. But in terms of his mic work, his character and his familiarity, he’s not at main event level yet. I think he will come across really well, but I would be surprised if he walked out with the briefcase.
Did you know Jericho invented the Money In The Bank Ladder match? It’s not like he ever mentions it. It’s also true behind the scenes, as he genuinely did help come up with the concept of the match. He has been valuable if unspectacular in 2016, establishing AJ Styles earlier in the year before pushing boundaries with Dean Ambrose since Wrestlemania. The thing is, he is very much set in the veteran role of putting over younger talent, and that means there won’t be a world title in his future any time soon. Without any real chance of that, there is no reason for him to win the briefcase. He’s bringing credibility to the field, but that’s about it.
The Swiss Superman will presumably be the man many people want to win this match. He is over with the fans, and we know he can go in the ring. The only thing that seems to be stopping him reaching the very top is lack of backing from the powers that be. This match would be the way to change all that. But for some reason, I just don’t see it happening. I think he’s more in line for the Intercontinental Title when The Miz returns to action, and once he has had a good run with that he can move up the card after the Brand Extension later in the year. I think WWE will tease the Cesaro win, and I would love to see it happen, but I think there are more likely options this year.
Alberto Del Rio
Ugh. Del Rio bores me, I’m not even going to try to hide that. If I’m going to fast forward through parts of Raw, they tend to feature Del Rio. In a similar way to Jericho, he is there to give the match credibility as a past winner, who successfully cashed in and became a world champion (of course, WWE won’t mention he cashed in against CM Punk). Del Rio hasn’t looked like getting anywhere near the world title picture in recent times, and I can’t see that changing here. Last year they made a mistake in having Sheamus win it with no build, no reaction and no real threat – WWE would be repeating that mistake here if Alberto walked out victorious.
Now we get down to the big question – will the winner be Owens or Ambrose? Owens has had a very good year – going all the way back to a very impressive Last Man Standing match against Ambrose at the Royal Rumble that I think people have forgotten about because it has been overshadowed by a lot that’s happened since. He is the best wrestler with a mic in his hand in the company right now. He is one of their better in ring talents – and with the current roster that’s saying something. Recently he has been caught up in several battles with Sami Zayn, but I think that’s a rivalry that needs to be put aside for now. It’s been going on for six months on WWE TV (longer on NXT, and even longer than that on the indies), and I think both men need to move on. For Owens, is there a better place for him to go than into the world title picture? And wouldn’t this briefcase be the perfect opportunity for him to do just that? Owens is a very credible candidate to win here, and it would be well deserved if it was to happen. Plus, the whole concept lends itself to a heel holder. But he’s not my pick.
This man is. The Money In The Bank briefcase works best when it’s held by someone on the cusp of true main event status, who fans will buy as a major player in the title picture. Ambrose has already had title shots, and he’s come very close to winning the big one. The fans have rallied behind him possibly more than ever before. There was a time I worried about him losing a lot of major feuds, but he has maintained excellent pops throughout. His segment with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns this week on Raw was I believe the first time any of the participants in the ladder match had interacted directly with the WWE Champion. That shouldn’t go unnoticed. And with the extenuating story with The Shield members, it just feels like the perfect time. It may – whisper it quietly – even lead to the triple threat match we’ve been waiting to see for two years now. And looking at the bigger picture, with the reactions Seth Rollins has been getting since he returned despite good heel work, he won’t stay in that role too much longer. That means there could be a top heel spot open for Ambrose, and he could quite easily justify a turn because of his lack of success at this point. Just think: Reigns walks in as champion, Rollins wins the Royal Rumble, Ambrose cashes in. It’s as though the stars are finally aligning for the former Shield member. Money In The Bank could, and I believe should, signal Ambrose’s breakthrough to superstardom.
This year Money In The Bank has the tagline “The Greatest Money in the Bank of All Time”. While that remains to be seen for the overall show, it might just ring true for the ladder match itself. I can’t remember the last time the field was so strong. There are four participants who I think have a chance of winning, and they are all over, and could all so great things with the briefcase. I am so excited to see what will surely be a fantastic match, and to see what the knock on consequences of it are for the rest of the year.