Randy Orton won the Money in the Bank briefcase for a future WWE title shot just eight days ago, but the speculation about when he will cash it in has already begun.
With Orton currently one of the most popular babyfaces in the company but speculation continuing about a possible heel turn on the horizon, there are literally countless situations for a possible cash-in from “The Viper.”
Will he cash in within the next few weeks? Will he wait the better part of a year like Dolph Ziggler did?
We just don’t know, but Orton himself said on last week’s Raw that “we’ll never see it coming,” which certainly makes things interesting as we head into SummerSlam and the fall.
Orton has a lot of power in his hands thanks to that red briefcase these days, and an upcoming cash-in will likely turn his career around and really shake things up in the WWE.
And just when will that cash-in happen?
Let’s break down the odds of when “The Viper” could strike and become the WWE champion.
On An Episode of Raw in 2014: 50-1
Could we see Orton follow in the footsteps of Ziggler and wait a while (until 2014, perhaps) until he cashes in? Anything is possible, but it’s certainly not likely.
With Damien Sandow holding a MITB briefcase as well, one of the two briefcase holders figures to hold it for an extended period while the other will likely cash it in in the near future—just like John Cena and Ziggler did last year.
Sandow should hold it for a while because it could add to his gimmick and give him time to build up some credibility. Meanwhile, Orton is a major star who doesn’t need to hold that briefcase for six months or more.
Consider Orton entering 2014 with the briefcase still in hand a long shot at best. Odds are, he’ll have cashed it in long before then.
Over the Limit: 30-1
So, the WWE brought back Over the Limit and stupidly sandwiched it between Night of Champions and Hell in a Cell in October, huh?
Not sure what possessed company officials to do that, but hey, perhaps the usually forgettable Over the Limit PPV can be memorable after all if it comes along with an Orton cash-in.
Don’t hold your breath on that, though.
Over the Limit will likely have one of the lowest, if not the lowest, PPV buyrates of the year, so it’s hard to imagine the WWE wasting a huge moment like an Orton cash-in on a PPV that may be the least watched one of 2013.
Perhaps the WWE could have the Orton cash-in take place here to make the PPV feel special, but with a number of better options, look for the creative team to book this cash-in to happen elsewhere.
Survivor Series: 24-1
No one has ever cashed in a Money in the Bank briefcase at Survivor Series, but hey, there’s a first time for everything.
Despite technically being a “Big Four” pay-per-view, Survivor Series has—aside from the 2011 one that featured The Rock—not felt like a very important PPV in recent years, and a major event like an Orton cash-in could potentially change that.
Survivor Series will have one of the biggest viewing audiences of the year, so the WWE may want to capitalize on that by having Orton cash in on whoever’s holding the WWE Championship at the time at the PPV.
It would be pretty surprising to see Orton hold onto the briefcase that long, but if he does, Survivor Series may be the perfect time for him to become WWE champion.
Hell in a Cell or WWE TLC: 12-1
Whether or not Orton turns heel when he cashes in, it will be very fitting of his character for him to do it without any warning whatsoever.
Orton’s warning to Cena that he’ll “never see it coming” is a telltale sign that he will take advantage of a battered and weakened champion in order to cash in, and there’s no better time and place to do that than at Hell in a Cell.
Hell in a Cell matches are downright brutal, so whoever emerges from the WWE title match at that pay-per-view with the title in hand will be incredibly vulnerable after the match is over, which would give Orton the perfect chance to strike. Ditto for WWE TLC.
He’s likely going to cease an opportunity to easily win the title, so why not do it when it might be easier than ever?
Night of Champions: 8-1
Night of Champions is less than two months away, and if Orton cashes in soon like he’s expected to, then he might very well do it at that pay-per-view.
Let’s say, for example, that Orton doesn’t cash in at SummerSlam (or on Raw before/after the PPV) and Cena and Bryan face off in a WWE Championship rematch at Night of Champions.
Couldn’t Orton cash in then?
Judging by what we saw from Orton on last week’s Raw, there’s a good possibility that he is going to cash in on either Cena or Bryan, depending on which one of those stars is holding the belt in the coming months.
This would be an ideal situation that could perhaps spark an Orton heel turn and/or reignite his rivalry with either Bryan or Cena to give the WWE a major rivalry heading into football season.
An Episode of Raw This Fall: 4-1
Plenty of superstars have cashed in on the WWE’s most watched show, Monday Night Raw.
Dolph Ziggler just did it. CM Punk’s done it twice. The Miz did it, too. So did Cena, albeit unsuccessfully. Edge did as well.
Thus, it’s a safe bet that Orton could do what so many other superstars have done in the past and cash in on an episode of Raw rather than a PPV. It’s a likely scenario that has played out a number of times because it’s when viewership is at its highest.
If the WWE wants as many eyes as possible on Orton’s cash-in, you can rest assured that Orton will cash in on Raw this fall in an attempt to draw some viewers away from Monday Night Football.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via WrestlingInc.com), “Word going around WWE is that the current plan for SummerSlam has Daniel Bryan defeating John Cena for the WWE Title, only to see Randy Orton cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, take the WWE Title and finally make his long-awaited heel turn.”
Though now a little obvious because this plan has leaked on the Internet, this is an incredibly logical situation that could really provide the WWE with a much-needed burst of excitement.
Orton and Bryan have a lot of recent history with each other, but their mini-feud never really seemed to get any closure. Therefore, this rumored situation of Orton cashing in on Bryan immediately after he becomes WWE champion could lead to some closure for what had been a great little TV rivalry.
The WWE may have scrapped this idea by now since it’s leaked online, but just because it’s predictable now, that doesn’t make it a bad idea.
Not only would this give Orton a potentially momentum-changing heel turn, but it would also give the WWE a very entertaining top storyline to carry the company into the fall.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!