The Money in the Bank Ladder match, established in 2005, is one of WWE’s greatest attractions each year. It sees several Superstars vying for a chance to win the Money in the Bank briefcase hanging high above the ring, which is all but a one-way ticket to becoming world champion.
Unless your name is John Cena or Damien Sandow, every individual to possess the opportunistic briefcase has gone on to hold the prestigious prize. It has launched many of WWE’s top talent into super stardom including the likes of Edge, CM Punk and Rob Van Dam.
Since 2010, there have been two Money in the Bank Ladder matches each summer with one being for a shot at the WWE Championship and the other being for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship.
However, with the two titles now merged, there will be only one MITB match this June, making it that much more important to win. Of course, the match’s contestants are still unknown (and probably will be until after Payback), but there are five Superstars who come to mind as potential candidates to become the next Mr. Money in the Bank.
At this time one year ago, Cesaro was floundering in the midcard after his loss of the United States Championship. His alliance with Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger as The Real Americans a month later brought him back to prominence, gradually winning over members of the WWE Universe with his signature swing.
At WrestleMania 30, Cesaro took a big step forward into reaching main event status when he won the first ever Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The next night on Raw, Cesaro became the newest “Paul Heyman Guy” and has been running rampant on the WWE roster ever since.
He has the in-ring skills of a world champion and the mouth piece in Paul Heyman, now all he needs is opportunity. With CM Punk and Daniel Bryan temporarily gone from WWE, a vacant spot has been left atop the WWE and Cesaro is primed to take it.
With or without the Money in the Bank briefcase, I could certainly see Cesaro contending for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship by year’s end. However, capturing the contract would only speed up the process.
Two “Paul Heyman Guys” in CM Punk and Rob Van Dam have won the Money in the Bank Ladder match in the past, so it’s possible Cesaro could be the latest addition to that list.
Six days prior to the 2013 Money in the Bank pay-per-view, The Wyatt Family debuted on Raw and viciously attacked Kane, thus rendering him unable to compete in that Sunday’s All-Stars Ladder match.
Fans speculated on whether Bray Wyatt would replace Kane in the matchup, but obviously, it was far too soon for the cult leader to become Mr. Money in Bank much less compete in the contest. However, is he ready for the big time one year later?
In the last year, Bray Wyatt has disposed of everyone who has stepped foot in this path of destruction including the likes of Big Show, Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. Wyatt was even in one of the headlining matches at WrestleMania 30 against John Cena, the face of the company.
Whether damage has been done to Wyatt in his recent feud with Cena is debatable, but there’s no denying that he’s proven that he belongs in WWE’s main event scene. With a lack of true heels at the top of the roster right now, I could easily see Wyatt as world champion at some point down the line.
With Luke Harper and Erick Rowan at his disposal, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for them to aid Wyatt to victory in next month’s Money in the Bank Ladder match.
For years, fans have looked at Cody Rhodes as the odds-on favorite to win the Money in the Bank Ladder match. However, for one reason or another, Rhodes has come up short each time.
Since breaking off on his own in 2010, Rhodes has proven himself to be worthy of being world champion. He hasn’t been properly utilized as a singles star since his run as Intercontinental champion in late 2011, but has had many fun stints in the tag team ranks with the likes of Ted DiBiase, Damien Sandow and Goldust.
In recent weeks, tension has been teased among the Rhodes brothers, seemingly foreshadowing a heel turn for Cody. However, once he is out on his own once again, who’s to say he won’t resort back to being a directionless midcarder?
At the age of 28, WWE officials may feel there’s still plenty of time for Rhodes to blossom into a main event star. However, after the reaction he received last year from the Philadelphia crowd at Money in the Bank, I think it’s time for Rhodes to finally get his due in the main event scene, especially given the lack of depth in the roster at the moment.
After months of being hyped up via vignettes, Rusev finally made his main roster debut one night removed from WrestleMania 30. Since then, he has been seemingly unstoppable, squashing the likes of Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Sin Cara and others.
It’s been obvious for quite a while now that WWE officials are keen on pushing Rusev straight to the top. With his developing in-ring skills and his mouthpiece in Lana, Rusev has already garnered good heat from live crowds after associating himself with the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.
Rusev has yet to capture any gold in WWE, but that won’t stop him from jumping straight into the main event scene sooner rather than later. It’s always possible that WWE will push him in a similar fashion to Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus by having him win the world title in his rookie year, but hopefully they learned their lesson with those two floundering Superstars and won’t take that same route.
While I won’t say Rusev as WWE World Heavyweight Champion is completely out of the question, I’d personally wait a while before having him chase the strap. It’s far too soon for that and having him take the slow approach would prevent him from quickly fizzling out.
However, this is WWE we’re talking about here and if past monster heels have been any indication, WWE likes to put championship gold on them before long. Thus, while Rusev is certainly a candidate to win this year’s Money in the Bank Ladder match, he is not as likely to win it as some of the other individuals on this list.
Bad News Barrett
In 2012, it was heavily rumored that Wade Barrett was due for a Money in the Bank Ladder match win at WrestleMania 28. Originally, plans called for him to win the briefcase and go on to contend for the WWE Championship against CM Punk.
However, due to suffering an elbow injury that February, Barrett was sidelined from action indefinitely and those plans were scrapped. Although Barrett returned with a brawler gimmick in the final few months of that year, he never came close to contending for a world title.
Barrett was once again inactive in late 2013, coming back with the “bad news” gimmick he had used on “The JBL & Cole Show.” He went months without actually competing in a match, but made a return to the ring on the Raw after WrestleMania 30.
In the last two months, Barrett has not only made the most of the gimmick by getting himself over, but has since captured the Intercontinental Championship for the fourth time in his career. With wins over Sheamus, Rob Van Dam, Dolph Ziggler and others, Barrett appears closer to the main event scene than ever before.
I’d prefer he have a nice, lengthy run as Intercontinental champion before focusing on the WWE World Heavyweight title. However, if there was ever a one way ticket to the main event scene, it’d be the Money in the Bank contract.
Even if the British brawler was to win the opportunistic briefcase this June, he wouldn’t have to cash in right away. Rob Van Dam and The Miz have held midcard championships in the past while Mr. Money in the Bank, and MITB winners such as Edge and Dolph Ziggler have gone nine to ten months without cashing it in.
Of everyone listed here, Barrett, to me, is the most ready to become a world champion. He’s been ready for years and being more over than ever before, there’s no better time for him to win the MITB briefcase than now.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham “GSM” Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and “like” his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.