Handicapping the Money in the Bank Ladder Match
As per usual, the card for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view—sorry, “special event”—is shaping up to be solid from top to bottom. I’m certain everyone will be glued to their computer monitors on June 29.
With the field of seven participants in the ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title having been set, it comes time to make predictions as to whom will walk away with the championship.
This year’s competitors are John Cena, Randy Orton, current United States Champion Sheamus, Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, Alberto Del Rio, and Roman Reigns.
Because it’s impossible to know for certain when Brock Lesnar will return, we must surmise it. It makes the most sense for him to return at SummerSlam on August 17, since that’s the next pay-per-view in the “Big Five” of SummerSlam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, WrestleMania and Money in the Bank. (I know it’s traditionally a Big Four, but I think MITB has earned that distinction). Survivor Series isn’t until November, and by then it would have been a full seven months since MY CLIENT, BROCK LESNAR, CONQUERED THE UNDERTAKER’S UNDEFEATED STREAK AT WRESTLEMANIA.
Seven months is a little too long to keep someone like Brock out. Therefore, I’m proceeding under the assumption that Brock will return in August at SummerSlam, and that he’ll be granted a title match, commiserate with his accomplishment of ending The Streak.
Therefore, it seems logical that the champion going into SummerSlam will be a face. The in-between PPV, Battleground on July 20, seems a rather minor venue for a World Title change to take place. (I know there was a WWE Championship won at last year’s Battleground, but that was to decide a vacancy, after all.) Therefore, I predict that the ladder match will be won by a face, who will retain at Battleground and face Lesnar at SummerSlam.
This logic would seem to eliminate four competitors from winning the ladder match—Orton, Cesaro, Del Rio, and – sadly – Wyatt. (I, for one, would love to see Wyatt win the WWE championship someday, just as long as someone tells him he doesn’t have to sing that bloody song during every promo.)
This leaves the three faces as the most legitimate contenders for the title victory—Cena, Sheamus, and Reigns. Sheamus, though he has world championship experience, doesn’t seem like a marquee face to me. Though Sheamus v. Lesnar would be a unique, unexpected, vicious, and fun match, it doesn’t scream “SummerSlam” main event, you know?
I’d love to see Roman Reigns win the championship, but I think The Authority will find some way to screw him out of it. Besides, Reigns is important enough to WWE’s future that his first title win should happen at a WrestleMania or a SummerSlam.
This leaves, alas, John Cena as my likeliest pick to win the ladder match. Shocking, I know. Try to look forward to the endgame—with any luck, Lesnar creams Cena at SummerSlam.
However, a lot of this depends on how quickly Daniel Bryan can get back into action. If he can make it back by Battleground, WWE might have a heel go over at Money in the Bank, and have him be a transitional champion, dropping the belts to Bryan at Battleground and setting up a dream match—Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar—at SummerSlam, as many people are predicting.
Ultimately, the winner of the ladder match will likely be a reflection of Bryan’s short-term availability. If Bryan vs. Lesnar is still likely, I think Bray Wyatt then becomes the obvious choice to win the ladder match. Wyatt wouldn’t be hurt by a one-month title reign the same way Reigns might be hurt by a two-month one. Besides, Wyatt got the best of Bryan in their fantastic Royal Rumble match, after which The Wyatts moved on to The Shield and ultimately to John Cena. Bryan and Wyatt have some unfinished business, and what better way to gain retribution than by defeating Wyatt to recapture the gold?