If the WWE follows tradition, this year’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view will feature two matches of the same name—one for a WWE Championship opportunity and the other for a shot at the World Heavyweight title.
It’s a safe bet that we’ll get two of the highly-anticipated MITB matches at the PPV that bears its name. But what’s less certain is how many competitors will be in each match.
Throughout the history of the Money in the Bank match, whether it’s been at WrestleMania or at its own PPV, we’ve seen a wide array of competitors per match. There have been MITB matches with as little as four competitors and as many as 10, but also six, seven or eight participants.
Last year’s Money in the Bank PPV featured one MITB match with eight competitors, many of which had never competed in one before, and one MITB match that exclusively featured former WWE Champions, four of them in total.
The WWE should stay away from a “former champions only” MITB match this year because it takes away from the main purpose of the Money in the Bank match in the first place: Creating new stars.
Even though it remains to be seen what the WWE will do at Money in the Bank this year, it’s imperative that the company ensure that each match packs a certain amount of star power.
So, what should the WWE do with both Money in the Bank matches this year?
Have eight spots in the World Heavyweight title MITB match because that’s a bout that could be used as a stepping stone for an up-and-comer or one final chance at glory for a veteran. Opening up the field should make this match a quality one wrestling-wise, but also one that has the ability to create new stars.
As for the WWE Championship MITB match, that bout should feature six competitors—all big-named guys who we could feasibly see holding the most prestigious title in the company within the year.
But which guys should be in each match? Let’s take a look.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Heavyweight Championship Opportunity
Cesaro is in the process of being repackaged as a client of Zeb Colter and supporter of the United States. That’s essentially the same exact gimmick as Jack Swagger, but hey, that gimmick took Swagger to a WrestleMania World title shot.
By the looks of things, the creative team may be getting behind Cesaro again. Throwing him in the MITB match could be a sign of that, and although he likely wouldn’t win it, he’d surely improve the match’s quality.
Rob Van Dam
RVD is a safe bet to be in one of the MITB matches, but does anyone really see him coming back and gunning for the WWE Championship?
No, what’s more likely is that the WWE throws him in the WHC MITB match for two reasons: (1) He might actually win that one, (2) but even if he doesn’t, the match could ignite his first feud upon his return.
Damien Sandow is still losing far too many matches these days, but looking on the bright side of things, he’s been getting a lot more TV time and feuding with a top guy in Sheamus.
Sandow hasn’t had a real shot at attaining singles superstardom yet, but a MITB win (yes, it’s a long shot) could help him get there. At the very least, it could further his feud with “The Celtic Warrior.”
Although Sheamus has accomplished enough in the WWE that he doesn’t need to win the MITB contract, the truth is that he’s a top guy and you never know if the WWE will have him do it anyway.
If Sheamus continues to feud with Sandow, expect these two to be revealed as participants in this match. As mentioned above, it will further their feud, but will also give a top guy (Sheamus) something to do on the PPV.
While Christian did make a shocking return to the WWE on this week’s Raw, it wasn’t in a major storyline. It was with an easy squash match victory over Wade Barrett.
Apparently, the WWE hasn’t decided exactly what it wants to do with Christian. But as a ladder match stud and a very reliable vet, he’s a logical choice as a MITB match competitor—even if his chances of winning it are next to zero.
Barrett just lost the Intercontinental Championship at Payback and then followed that up by jobbing to Christian the next night, but it’s classic WWE booking for a midcarder (no matter how much he loses) to lose a midcard title and then instantly make his way up the card.
Although that certainly may not be the case with Barrett, it appears as if Curtis Axel and The Miz are going to feud over the IC title in the near future. That opens up Barrett for a major opportunity to leave that belt behind (it’s pretty much ruined him) and potentially turn his career around with a MITB win.
The creative team can’t seem to make up its mind with what to do with Rhodes these days, which is a shame because he’s a fantastic talent.
He has absolutely no direction whatsoever right now, and it seems as if he has no real shot at winning Money in the Bank match. But Daniel Bryan and Jack Swagger’s MITB wins came out of nowhere, which should give Rhodes hope.
Perhaps he will be randomly thrown into this match and follow suit by actually winning it.
Big E Langston
Admittedly, Langston as a World title contender already would be a bit of a stretch, but since its become clear that WWE officials are pretty high up on him, perhaps it isn’t that much of a stretch.
With Ziggler in the process of going babyface and potentially winning back the World title, an interesting scenario that could play out is Langston winning the MITB briefcase to challenge his friend (or former friend if they split).
That could be a really entertaining story that solidifies Langston as a top talent and helps the face turn of Ziggler go a little more smoothly.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a WWE Championship Opportunity
The Shield has had such a big presence in the WWE’s top storylines—and more specifically, the WWE title picture—recently that it would certainly be logical to give them one slot in the WWE Championship MITB match.
Who’s that spot go to? Ambrose.
Ambrose has clearly been positioned as the group’s biggest star, and even though he’s currently the United States Champion, we’ve already seen someone (The Miz) win the MITB match while holding the US title.
It would make so much sense for The Shield—which has essentially taken over the WWE—to have the power that comes with the MITB briefcase while also holding two other titles.
Many are surprised that Bryan isn’t challenging John Cena for the WWE Championship at this PPV, but just relax—Bryan’s time is coming.
He’s the most over guy in the company right now, and it would be absolutely asinine on the WWE’s part to not put him in the WWE Championship picture sometime soon.
Bryan should be there just because of how popular is, but maybe he’ll have to win his second MITB match to get there instead.
Orton has had a lot of beef with Bryan as of late, so if the WWE wants to continue with that story, then having one guy screw the other out of the MITB briefcase would be an easy way to make that happen.
Even if the WWE chooses to go a different route, however, it’s time for Orton to make his presence felt in the WWE title scene for the first time in a few years now.
Other than Bryan, Orton is the most over guy in the WWE right now. It would be silly not to capitalize on that.
We’ve all seen the story between Bryan and Kane play out over the last year-plus, and now, it’s come down to this: As revealed on this week’s Raw, they both want to win the WWE Championship.
In that sense, this story could easily come full circle by having both Kane and Bryan as competitors in the WWE title MITB match—with one ultimately costing the other the match.
Kane may not actually win the briefcase, but story-wise, it more than makes sense for him to be in this match along with Bryan and even Orton.
Ryback’s lost so many major matches that it’s almost silly to think that he deserves yet another shot at winning the WWE Championship.
But the WWE doesn’t always follow logic, and being that Ryback has spent the last eight or nine months chasing the WWE title, it’s safe to assume that he still wants to win it.
Although Ryback’s days as a legitimate title contender are over (did they ever really start?), the WWE probably doesn’t think that.
After what transpired at Payback and on Raw, it’s apparent that Chris Jericho doesn’t have much of a direction right now.
What grade would you give these two fantasy MITB matches?
Yet, he’s credited as the inventor of the Money in the Bank match, but he’s yet to win one. Maybe that changes this year.
Y2J really needs something to do, and a MITB victory could take him there while a MITB loss could ignite his next feud. Either way, he’s going to instantly improve the quality of this match because he’s one of the best ladder match competitors in history.
There’s no real way to guess what the WWE will do with either Money in the Bank match this year, but ultimately, the goal of both bouts should be three-fold.
One, the WWE should want to create new stars. Two, the WWE should pick the match’s competitors based on what it wants to do with future storylines. Three, the company should ensure that most of the bout’s competitors have a legitimate shot at winning it.
That way, both matches will seem important while also avoiding feeling predictable.
We want to see great wrestling at Money in the Bank, but we also want the match to make sense and benefit the WWE in both the short and long-terms.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!