The Ladder match at Money in the Bank not only offers a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship but a stage on which to prove that one is ready to ascend the company ladder.
WWE has recently gone the "all-star" route with these matches, pitting a collection of established stars against each other. While star power can certainly boost these bouts, they should also showcase up-and-comers.
Knocking around the eventual winner, going on a tear mid-match and composing a number of stirring, violent images would elevate someone like Bray Wyatt or Big E, though Roman Reigns will likely be too busy in search of vengeance against Seth Rollins.
The pay-per-view's main event is no longer a traditional Money in the Bank Ladder match thanks to Stephanie McMahon stripping Daniel Bryan of the world title. The vacant belt will now be the prize, not the briefcase that usually awaits the winner.
Even with the shift, it's important not to fill the battle with only men who have been there before. Doing well in a match like this can elevate those on the cusp of headlining status. So far, Cesaro is the only emerging star with a chance to do this.
Monday's Raw saw "The King of Swing," Randy Orton and Sheamus added to the field.
Cesaro earned his way in with a victory over Rob Van Dam. Sheamus qualified via a hard-fought win against Bad News Barrett.
Orton had the easiest path, getting the nod to join the match while sitting poolside somewhere:
That leaves two or three spots left. John Cena is likely to get one, since he is as deserving record-wise to join the fray as anyone on the roster. WWE might then go with Mark Henry, Kane or Big Show to serve as the bout's big man.
Recent Money in the Bank history has seen WWE go with names like these in the biggest matches.
Last year, CM Punk, Orton, Bryan, Sheamus, Christian and Van Dam all competed for the WWE title contract. Only Bryan and Christian had never won that championship before. In 2012, Cena beat out Chris Jericho, The Miz, Kane and Big Show to win the briefcase.
Other than Cesaro, this year's field looks as packed as those two.
That's good for entertainment value in a way, as there's plenty of star power, but making a habit out of this misses out on opportunities to make new stars. Punk helped establish himself as a headliner with his Money in the Bank performances, even the one at WrestleMania 23 which preceded his two wins.
WWE would be wise to use this bout to advance Wyatt and Big E.
There is word that the company is "considering a second ladder match where the winner would get the future title shot,"per Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t PWMania.com).
Even if that comes to fruition, Wyatt would be better off in the primary Ladder match unless he wins the second. Colliding with Cena, Orton and Sheamus would help convince the audience that he is on their level.
Being one of the many runners-up in a potential traditional Money in the Bank Ladder match isn't nearly as beneficial as nearly getting the victory against the big boys.
We've seen such as scenario when the quality of talent in the two Ladder matches is as disparate as it has been in recent years. In 2012, while future Hall of Famers like Jericho, Kane and Cena battled it out, the second Ladder match felt like a minor league affair with Santino Marella, Tensai and Sin Cara all in the mix.
Neither Wyatt nor Big E have had a WWE title opportunity yet.
Adding that to their resume would put them above those haven't. Cesaro experienced that when WWE placed him in the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE title in February.
His current momentum can be heavily attributed to how powerful he looked knocking Christian with uppercuts and brawling with Sheamus. WWE could have just gone with Big Show in that spot but instead announced that Cesaro was on the rise by placing him in that steel structure.
There is a similar chance for any rising stars WWE enters into the Ladder match at Money in the Bank.
Fans have seen the same names cycle through the title picture. Orton, Sheamus and Del Rio have held the WWE title or World Heavyweight Championship a total of 817 days since 2011. Having Big E and/or Wyatt slide into contention against these vets would benefit them by association alone.
Having dark horses in the race creates excitement; a mix of the old guard and the new guard does as well.
WWE has to consider this when deciding the next entrants in the championship Ladder match. Big Show qualifying for the June 29 title bout is a far less interesting option than letting Wyatt loose among Sheamus and company.
Let new gladiators into the arena and allow them to prove their power.
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