WWE Money in the Bank 2014: Most Likely Breakout Stars at Event
What would Money in the Bank be without a breakout performance or two? Or six?
Throw a ladder in the middle of the ring, open the floodgates for a sea of wide-eyed young talents and there is no limit to how crazy the bumps will be.
Each year, WWE Superstars reinvent ways to deliver strong ladder matches—whether it’s jumping off them, through them or with them.
But in a transitional period with the WWE main roster filled with its most proverbial call-ups in years, breakout performances are mandatory for those who would like to stay on the WWE roster.
With SummerSlam just two months away, it’s safe to consider this month’s showcase as a qualifier in and of itself. Those who remain impressive will be one step closer to punching their tickets to a big-four WWE pay-per-view.
And while a potential second Money in the Bank match would exclusively feature breakout candidates, the ongoing split of The Shield could play host to strong performances without the use of a ladder.
Breakout candidates cannot have competed in a singles match at WrestleMania XXX.
With only one match currently announced, their candidacy will also be based on the strength of their television booking, which is always an indicator of where talent will stand on pay-per-view.
5. Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins doesn’t have a choice but to break out, does he?
With the success of The Shield immediately followed by his heel turn, anything he does will now be compared to the high standard he set alongside Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns for two years.
WWE allowing Rollins to cut his own promo on Raw, and become a vigilante independently of Evolution thus far, means the company must have faith in him as a singles performer.
Hopefully, this means he will have a bit more rope should he fail to deliver at Money in the Bank, but if that’s the case, his opportunities will only become more limited.
A showdown against fellow ring general Dean Ambrose would be a safe choice for a pay-per-view match that could make both Shield alumni shine.
The pressure will remain on Rollins to tell the story as a heel, however, rather than just bump like crazy and put on a good wrestling contest.
At this point, he has established himself as a credible performer. It’s everything in between, from the intangibles to the promos to the storytelling, that will decide whether or not he is ready to become a star.
Cesaro’s character may need a bit more depth, but his innovative move set will be perfect for a ladder match. Last year, he was somewhat of an afterthought in an otherwise brilliant World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank match.
Now, with his Big Swing at the peak of its popularity, it would be considered an upset if he didn’t at least integrate that move with a ladder.
WWE officials seem very high on Cesaro at the moment. Not only is he protected by pairing with all-world manager Paul Heyman, but he was reportedly kept away from the WWE Intercontinental Championship since the secondary title would potentially hurt his stock, per the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestlingInc).
According to F4WOnline (h/t WrestlingInc), Cesaro is considered a favorite to win Money in the Bank, depending on Daniel Bryan’s status.
Now, this should be taken with a grain of salt, because plans in WWE are always subject to change. But with Cesaro entering this match as a favorite, there’s a strong possibility he will be at least one of the stars of this main event.
Sheamus may seem like too much of a veteran for this list, but he needs to be considered only because he has a strong chance of winning the Money in the Bank match.
Remember, he and Daniel Bryan were reportedly on the books before the Yes Movement got its hands on the WrestleMania card, per PWInsider.com (h/t Wrestle Zone). Sheamus makes sense as a short-term heel champion who can transition into a championship program against Bryan, provided he’s healthy.
WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross recently spoke of a potential Sheamus heel turn, per JRsbarbq.com (h/t ProWrestling.net): "I could also see Sheamus trading in his protagonist jersey for an antagonist one sooner than later. Sheamus is a very smart talent who, I think, would be able to add the necessary heel nuances to his game."
Sheamus has quietly become the hottest star on the WWE roster in terms of wins and losses.
In the past month, he holds victories over Dean Ambrose, Wade Barrett and Cesaro. No other WWE Superstar can lay claim to that impressive string of wins in such a short period of time.
It should be a surprise to nobody if he continues his winning ways at Money in the Bank.
2. Luke Harper
Luke Harper has continued to receive opportunities to shine as he emerges from the shadow of Bray Wyatt.
After a Wyatt victory over The Usos last week on Raw in a non-tag team title match, a tag team championship rematch at Money in the Bank is imminent.
His big-man-who-works-like-a-luchador style is unlike any in the WWE. And with every Suicide Dive, he’s leaping closer to a chance to break out on his own.
Harper has done the majority of the promo work of the Wyatt tag team and has set himself apart as a better wrestler than Erick Rowan.
Following their tag team match against The Usos, James Caldwell of PWTorch stated that “Luke Harper really stood out in this setting as a potential future top singles heel.”
Harper will have a chance to continue his momentum at Money in the Bank. Championships never really suited the Wyatt Family mystique. But win or lose, if a potential Wyatts vs. Usos match outdoes its Raw counterpart, Harper will play a significant role.
1. Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose may not have as much of a spotlight as Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns, but that just makes him more dangerous as a breakout candidate.
He delivers a better, or at least a more unique, promo than Reigns, and few would argue that he is more seasoned in the ring.
When all is said and done, Ambrose could be the top star to emerge from The Shield solely because he doesn’t seem to have as much front-office support as Reigns or Rollins.
That mold of the independent wrestling transplant who plays the role of the underdog is perfectly optimized for the Reality Era. These days, fans tirelessly support the Daniel Bryans of the world who seem to be getting a raw deal.
Ambrose’s style is so beautifully erratic that fans will have no choice but to gravitate toward him. And whether it’s with a ladder or in some form of a match against Seth Rollins, Ambrose’s breakout potential is as good as anybody’s.
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