When the news hit this past Monday that the Money in the Bank ladder match for a chance at the WWE Championship would only include former WWE Champions, a lot of negative feedback came in.
The Money in the Bank ladder match has historically been known to make the careers of stars who have not yet climbed to the top of the mountain yet in their careers. Many of the winners in the history of the match have won their first world championships with the briefcase won by the ladder match winner. In fact, when the briefcase has been cashed in, the challenger has never lost his title match. It's safe to say that you can go from a nobody to a world champion in no time with the Money in the Bank match.
The Money in the Bank match for this year's WWE Championship chance will only feature men who have already won that championship, which doesn't create any new stars and certainly no new champions. Since when has that become a terrible thing, though? Only 43 men have been the WWE Champion in the 49-year history of that title. It is the most prestigious title in all of sports entertainment and reads as a who's who of pro wrestling's greatest superstars. Sure, some names are not in that fraternity and others are on there for odd reasons. It still is a very exclusive honor to be a WWE Champion.
Instead of giving the briefcase to someone who may be untested and will seem like a fluke champion, WWE is giving an established ex-champion a chance to be Mr. Money in the Bank. Too often, a briefcase is given to a superstar before he is really ready for that next step in his career. It ends up setting a guy back even further than if he had waited to build up to that level instead. This is in reference to the Jack Swaggers of the world.
Would you rather throw a guy like Cody Rhodes or Wade Barrett into a storyline where he becomes WWE Champion and suffers once he isn't champion anymore simply to give him a title reign? Not every superstar can do what happened to Dolph Ziggler, who had a world championship for a matter of minutes and took a year-long journey back into that picture.
Thus far, WWE has stated that John Cena, Big Show, Kane and Chris Jericho will compete in this Money in the Bank match. In Money in the Bank history, the smallest field has been six men, two more than the current number of participants. Current members of the roster that are former WWE Champions are rather limited. Don't expect The Rock, Brock Lesnar or Triple H to appear in this match. There also shouldn't be any ideas of Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam or Kurt Angle making a shocking return. Sheamus is a little bit busy as World Heavyweight Champion, which leaves just three possible participants.
The Miz is off filming a movie and likely will not be able to return in time for Money in the Bank. Meanwhile, Alberto Del Rio can put his World Heavyweight Championship aspirations aside to try and win his second straight RAW Money in the Bank briefcase. The sixth participant could then be Rey Mysterio, a rival of Del Rio's, a former WWE Champion last summer and a man who just finished serving a suspension for a Wellness Policy violation.
Over a week ago, I wrote a piece on this website arguing whether or not there was a curse attached to the Money in the Bank match. As I look at this match being formed with established champions vying for the chance, it is WWE's attempt at making a popular match into a prestigious one. The days of winning the briefcase, becoming world champion, losing the title and fading back to obscurity are gone.
As these older stars ultimately leave, new stars will need to emerge. SmackDown's Money in the Bank will likely give us all a brand new superstar in world title considerations. If the avenue of Money in the Bank seems flawed and does not lead to extended success at the top, it will only be a disservice to the next generation.
Besides, the RAW brand has historically been where the main event players gather. The gap between the main event and the rest of the roster is very steep. Could anyone really justify Alex Riley or Epico as Mr. Money in the Bank?