The World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match features a wide array of up-and-coming superstars, any one of whom could feasibly walk away with the briefcase.
Yes, even Wade Barrett.
This MITB match is unlike any that we’ve ever seen before in that almost every single competitor in the bout—except for perhaps Dean Ambrose—has been booked very poorly in recent months and is entering the match with virtually no momentum.
That bodes well for Barrett, despite the fact that he’s probably been booked worse than any superstar in this match in 2013, which is really saying something.
Ironically, all seven competitors in this WHC MITB match have been labeled “future World Champions,” only to see themselves getting the shaft from the creative team so far this year.
Barrett definitely fits that bill. Despite his holding the intercontinental championship twice so far in 2013, the creative team has shown absolutely no confidence whatsoever in him since he returned last September.
He hasn’t had any meaningful feuds. He hasn’t gotten any mic time. He’s lost match after match after match. He’s been completely overlooked when it comes to major matches and storylines.
Yet Barrett, oddly enough, has as good a chance as anybody not named Dean Ambrose to win the WHC Contract MITB Match at the upcoming pay-per-view.
At least on paper, Ambrose is probably the favorite going into the match. Despite some so-so booking of his United States championship reign, he has, overall, been booked to be a more dominant wrestler and, quite frankly, a bigger deal, than anyone in this match.
The only other superstar in this match who’s even sniffed the main event in 2013 is Jack Swagger, who had a lackluster push as the No. 1 contender for the World Heavyweight Championship that did next to nothing for him.
Considering that he wasn’t able to get over despite having a great manager like Zeb Colter by his side, Swagger has got to be considered the biggest long shot in this match. He just had a chance to solidify himself as a top guy. There’s no reason to give him another one.
If Swagger is indeed the long shot here and if Ambrose is the clear-cut favorite, that puts Barrett with Fandango, Cody Rhodes, Antonio Cesaro and Damien Sandow in the “Hey, perhaps one of these guys could actually win it” group.
Fandango, however, isn’t a likely choice to become “Mr. Money in the Bank.” He’s taken a dramatic fall in popularity since WrestleMania (thanks in large part to his concussion and subsequent absence), and truth be told, his gimmick doesn’t scream “main event” in the slightest.
You could argue the same about Sandow, too.
Although the “Intellectual Savior of the Masses” is a very good overall performer and ridiculously entertaining, there’s been virtually nothing to suggest that the WWE has any plans to elevate him to the main event. He hasn’t risen above the midcard at any point in his career, and aside from the first few months after his debut, he’s lost as consistently as anyone who’s on TV every week.
The same could be said about Rhodes, who—although he might have the biggest upside of anyone in the match—has been stuck in no man’s land for as long as anyone can remember. Despite having all (yes, all), the tools, he just hasn’t been able to break that glass ceiling yet.
Meanwhile, there’s really no telling what the WWE actually thinks of Antonio Cesaro. There’s a report out there that he’s viewed as “boring” by company officials, but that same report notes that he’s also viewed as one of the top workers in the company. Either way, it’s just hard to picture him being a MITB holder when he hasn’t really gotten over and is only just getting any sort of a push.
So, what about Barrett?
As shocking as this may sound when you consider the atrocious booking of his character in 2013, he may actually be second only to Ambrose as far as favorites in this match go.
Yes, it’s been a really rough ride for him over the last seven or eight months. But of all the superstars in this match, he’s definitely been the closest to solidifying himself as a top guy.
Barrett almost did that in 2010 when he was feuding with the likes of John Cena and Randy Orton as the leader of The Nexus. He almost did it again in late 2011 when he feuded with Orton for a second time. Then, he seemed poise to do it again on the road to WrestleMania 28 in early 2012 before an unfortunate injury derailed him.
Who is the favorite to win the WHC Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match?
It’s never been about a lack of skills with Barrett. It’s been about unfortunate incidents—whether it is injuries or subpar booking—holding him back.
Now, however, the WWE has a perfect opportunity to make up for all the wrong it’s done Barrett over the course of the last year.
The WHC Contract MITB Match is, perhaps more so than any other MITB match in history, wide open. But Barrett has shown in the past that he’s capable of working at the top of the card and doing so effectively—which is something that Swagger couldn’t even do as World champion or No. 1 contender.
It might be surprising to think that Barrett could come out of nowhere to win a Money in the Bank match, but should it be?
It’s not uncommon, after all. Swagger did it in 2010. Daniel Bryan did it a year later. Barrett might follow suit.
Unless the WWE goes the obvious route and gives the briefcase to Ambrose (the frontrunner), we’re going to get a curveball at Money in the Bank. It could be a minor one (Cesaro) or a major one (Fandango).
But if it’s Barrett, it will be the most logical one, and Barrett will get another main-event shot, which he definitely deserves.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!