The World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match looks a lot different than your typical Money in the Bank match.
Since its inception in 2005, the MITB match has largely relied on a formula that sees the bout feature a mix of both main-eventers and fast-rising up-and-comers.
It’s generally a nice blend of former World champions, upper mid-carders and future main eventers, all of which are household names in pro wrestling.
But that’s just not the case this year.
The 2012 WHC MITB match is shaping up to be the least star-studded affair in Money in the Bank history.
Just look at the participants in the previous 10 MITB matches:
2006: Bobby Lashley, Finlay, Matt Hardy, Ric Flair, Rob Van Dam (winner) and Shelton Benjamin
2007: CM Punk, Edge, Finlay, Jeff Hardy, King Booker, Matt Hardy, Mr. Kennedy (winner) and Randy Orton
2008: Carlito, Chris Jericho, CM Punk (winner), John Morrison, Mr. Kennedy, MVP and Shelton Benjamin
2009: Christian, CM Punk (winner), Finlay, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, MVP and Shelton Benjamin
2010 (WrestleMania): Christian, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Evan Bourne, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger (winner), Matt Hardy, MVP and Shelton Benjamin
2010 (MITB PPV, SmackDown): Big Show, Christian, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Kane (winner), Kofi Kingston and Matt Hardy
2010 (MITB PPV, Raw): Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne, Edge, John Morrison, Mark Henry, Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase and The Miz (winner)
2011 (Raw): Alberto Del Rio (winner), Alex Riley, Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Rey Mysterio and The Miz
2011 (SmackDown): Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan (winner), Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Kane, Sheamus, Sin Cara and Wade Barrett
Although some of those matches certainly had more star power than others, the common link between them all is that each featured a number of guys with some incredible name value.
But the 2012 World Heavyweight Championship Contract MITB Ladder Match?
I just don’t see “it.”
Here are the participants who have been announced for the match so far: Tyson Kidd, Tensai, Santino Marella, Christian, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler and Damien Sandow.
Who’s the draw? Who’s the money-maker here?
Christian probably brings the most name value, and even though he’s an established veteran and former World champion, you could argue that even he isn’t a very big draw or a must-see attraction.
Meanwhile, the two major up-and-comers, Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler, will probably steal the show. But even though they're both phenomenal talents, they've yet to be taken in by the masses (or the creative team) as bona fide stars.
They're the two most talked about performers here, but they probably don't fit the bill as household names just yet.
When you look at this match, that’s what people will say about it.
It’s a far cry from the 2007 Money in the Bank match, which was absolutely loaded with talent top to bottom, or the 2005 one, which featured five guys who had either previously won a World title or would go on to do so.
But this 2012 WHC MITB Match doesn’t compare too favorably to any of the previous ones.
It features a guy who is a great worker but has jobbed for the last two years (Kidd), another guy who was a major failure as a main-eventer (Tensai), a purely comedic character (Santino) and an unproven superstar (Sandow).
They are all WWE superstars. But they are not superstars in the true sense of the word—not yet at least.
I personally don’t mind this because I think the point of every Money in the Bank match should be to use it as a platform to create new stars rather than as one that gives proven stars another chance to shine.
That’s exactly what this match is doing, but it’s doing that so well that it will cause most fans to complain.
“This match has no star power.”
“Why should we want to match this match if it’s all jobbers and mid-carders?”
We’ll continue to hear things like that until this match is over and done with.
And while I get that this match isn’t quite as star-studded as your typical Money in the Bank, that’s exactly how it should be.