Money in the Bank has altered the careers of many superstars over the course of WWE history, and it promises to do the same for several more on Sunday. Aside from WrestleMania and Royal Rumble, perhaps no pay-per-view is more of a game changer than Money in the Bank.
Two Money in the Bank briefcases will be on the line with the winners earning a world title shot at a time of their choosing during the next year. In addition to that, five titles are on the line, so what happens at Money in the Bank will have a major impact on the direction of the WWE moving forward.
Here are three matches in particular that will change the complexion of the company and set things on a different path as the year progresses.
WWE Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match
The Money in the Bank ladder match to earn a shot at the WWE Championship has appropriately been labeled the "All Stars" Money in the Bank ladder match.
All six men involved are former world champions, and they would all be believable with the briefcase in tow as well. With CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Christian and a returning Rob Van Dam vying for the contract, this match has the potential to be the year's best.
Picking a winner isn't easy, and that's probably why there are so many different theories floating around. The most popular one seems to be that Bryan will secure the briefcase and cash it in to face John Cena for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam.
That is a definite possibility, but I've been firmly in the Orton camp since before the Money in the Bank matches were even announced. He is a main-event player who hasn't been in the main event in nearly two years. Now is the time to change that.
Some fans might be concerned about putting Orton back in that spot due to his past issues with wellness policy violations, but he seems to be over that.
The one thing that Orton is missing right now is depth to his character. A heel turn has been teased here and there over the past couple months, and the WWE has an opportunity to make it happen by having him win Money in the Bank and reclaim his spot as the company's top heel.
WWE Champion John Cena vs. Mark Henry
Mark Henry has been a part of the WWE for 17 years, and he has never come closer to winning the company's top prize than he is right now. Henry's work as a heel has been absolutely fantastic, and he's definitely deserving of the WWE Championship match he'll have against Cena on Sunday.
With all of that said, The World's Strongest Man won't reign supreme, and he won't win the WWE Championship for the first time in his career. He will change the course of the company, however.
As great as Henry winning the title would be, it doesn't have long-term cachet. Henry can be used in a different way to further the WWE Championship storyline moving forward, though. Cena always seems to overcome the odds, so look for him to beat Henry with a big Attitude Adjustment. As Cena is celebrating, however, Henry will get up and take out his frustrations on the leader of the Cenation.
This will prompt Orton to run out and hit Henry with an RKO. Rather than saving Cena, though, he will then cash in his newly-won Money in the Bank contract. The Viper will punt Cena in the skull, pin him and become the new WWE Champion.
This will also complete his long-awaited heel turn and lead to an Orton vs. Cena feud, which has always been a crowd pleaser in the past. Orton has admittedly been stale for quite some time, but this would certainly change that.
World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match
If the WWE Championship contract Money in the Bank ladder match is largely about the short-term future of the company, the World Heavyweight Championship version is unquestionably focused on the long-term future of WWE.
Aside from Jack Swagger, none of the participants in the match have ever held a world title, but the winner is all but guaranteed to be World Heavyweight Champion during the next year, so a new star will be born.
Even though this match lacks the star power of the other Money in the Bank ladder match, it's intriguing nonetheless.
Swagger, Antonio Cesaro, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, Dean Ambrose, Fandango and Wade Barrett are all heels, and they all happen to have the ability necessary to be world champion. A case can be made for pretty much anyone in the match, but common sense suggests that Ambrose is the odds-on favorite.
Ambrose is really the only one among them who has won matches and been built consistently as of late. He is also the United States Champion, which some view as a hindrance, but it's important to remember that The Miz was United States Champion when he won Money in the Bank as well.
Ambrose is ready for the big time right now, and having him win Money in the Bank would ensure that The Shield remains relevant. It could also potentially lead to the group breaking up down the line, and perhaps even set up a triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX.
Money in the Bank Match Card
|John Cena vs. Mark Henry||WWE Championship|
|Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler||World Heavyweight Championship|
|WWE All Stars MITB Ladder Match (CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Sheamus vs. Christian)||WWE Championship contract|
|WHC MITB Ladder Match (Dean Ambrose vs. Fandango vs. Damien Sandow vs. Antonio Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger vs. Wade Barrett vs. Cody Rhodes)||World Heavyweight Championship contract|
|Curtis Axel vs. The Miz||Intercontinental Championship|
|Ryback vs. Chris Jericho||N/A|
|AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn||Divas Championship|
|Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. The Usos||Tag Team Championships|
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter