Full Odds for Every Money in the Bank Ladder Match Participant
The WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder match at Money in the Bank 2014 promises to showcase new blood, but two familiar faces stand as the biggest favorites.
It's best not to bet against John Cena in any match, as WWE has consistently awarded him wins and afforded him numerous title runs. He leads the field heading into the pay-per-view, while Cesaro's, Roman Reigns' and Bray Wyatt's chances of victory aren't nearly as good.
A number of factors determine each combatant's odds of winning, including recent victories and momentum, championship pedigree and the company's confidence in the Superstar.
The June 29 pay-per-view would be better served with a surprise winner, a new champion who has never worn the belt. Still, that doesn't mean that it's a good idea to call up one's bookie and give him a name other than Cena's.
Alberto Del Rio (50-1)
Before qualifying for this match, Alberto Del Rio hadn't done much of anything in 2014.
He served as Batista's appetizer before WrestleMania 30, lost in the first round of the Intercontinental Championship No. 1 Contender Battle Royal, fell to Rob Van Dam in a Beat the Clock challenge and didn't make it on either the Extreme Rules or Payback cards.
The fact that the spotlight is only minimally shining on Del Rio points to him being filler for the Ladder match at Money in the Bank. He brings championship pedigree, but WWE's booking of him since losing the world title at Survivor Series suggests that he's not longer at headlining status.
With little momentum and fewer storylines centered around him, Del Rio enters as the biggest long shot.
Cesaro was riding a momentum train that churned ahead early in the year. The train's pace has since slowed.
Winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and aligning himself with Paul Heyman elevated him. More recently, he's failed to win against midcard champs. Bad News Barrett retained in a Triple Threat match against him, and Rob Van Dam and Cesaro failed to knock off Sheamus at Payback with the United States Championship on the line.
Those victories both had asterisks, thanks to Barrett's distraction in the former and some pulled tights in the latter. Those are the kinds of wins heels tend to get, but Cesaro hasn't been made to look as dominant and powerful as he was heading into Elimination Chamber.
It doesn't appear that WWE is quite ready to have him ascend to its highest rungs.
Randy Orton (32-1)
"The Viper" has been rather quiet of late.
Other Superstars are earning more screen time, and even the stories involving him aren't truly about him. Triple H, Randy Orton and Seth Rollins all have issues with The Shield, but the spotlight has zeroed in on Triple H's bad blood with Roman Reigns, as well as Rollins' and Dean Ambrose's animosity. Orton has been sliding into the background.
What makes him more likely to come out the victor at Money in the Bank in spite of that lack of momentum is his history and association with The Authority.
If Triple H costs Reigns a shot at winning, he'll most likely attempt to have Orton win in his place. He's still very much The Authority's crony, a position which earned him a number of title opportunities in 2013.
While going with Cesaro, Reigns or Bray Wyatt as champion would require the proverbial leap of faith from the company, Orton is an old standby in that position.
WWE has ridden with him as its top titleholder eight times now, having him reign as world champ for a total of over 600 days. That's more than Steve Austin, Randy Savage or The Undertaker. Even with other stars rising above him, there's still a decent shot WWE returns the belt to his waist.
Bray Wyatt (20-1)
Choosing Randy Orton as the next world champ is safe but boring. He only lost it a little more than two months ago and spent the second half of 2013 either chasing or holding the title.
Bray Wyatt represents a shift in focus toward the next generation of stars. He's an emerging commodity whom WWE may wish to tap into even more. There's an electricity surrounding the notion of a Wyatt title run.
He has issued hypnotizing sermons on a weekly basis and delivered some violent, enthralling bouts so far.
WWE appears to be highly supportive of "The Eater of Worlds," both in how much airtime he gets and the number of wins he has on his record. He easily handled Big Show on March 28 and toppled Sheamus on April 29, for example.
Does WWE believe Wyatt to be a top-tier star right now, though? He only scored one victory in his three-match series with John Cena, and that win came by way of The Wyatt Family assisting big-time. Those outcomes seemed to signal that Wyatt is just below headlining level for now.
Wyatt is only 27, so perhaps the company is being patient with him, waiting until he's more battle-tested before fitting him for a crown.
Roman Reigns (18-1)
If it weren't for Triple H looming behind him, Roman Reigns' odds would shoot up.
Those two are rumored to meet one-on-one at SummerSlam, per PW Insider Elite (h/t WrestlingInc.com). Their hatred for each other was already at a high point when Reigns wormed his way into the Battle Royal on Monday's Raw, defying the COO's orders. The safe bet now is that Triple H will find a way to prevent Reigns from winning at Money in the Bank, leading to their collision later in the summer.
Of all the emerging stars, though, Reigns has the most momentum.
While Cesaro and Bray Wyatt earned their way into the Ladder match with a traditional win, Reigns tore apart a whole swarm of Superstars. He hurled Titus O'Neil, Bo Dallas, Rusev and others over the top rope to get his crack at the title.
All that follows a Royal Rumble where Reigns was one elimination away from winning and tossed out more foes than anyone in Rumble history. Pinning that kind of feat to Reigns' chest is a clear sign that he's pegged to be a world champ in the future.
It looks as if Triple H will make sure that future doesn't unfold until after Money in the Bank.
Having Sheamus win the world title would be a big enough surprise to make the outcome exciting, but it would also be a safe move on WWE's part.
Sheamus has the advantage over Roman Reigns, Cesaro and Bray Wyatt in that he is a proven commodity. He's been world champ, WWE champ and a headliner. WWE knows what it's getting if it puts him on top.
It may be his current title, though, that keeps him from winning at Money in the Bank.
No one has won the WWE title as U.S. champ. One has to go back to 1990 to find a time when the Intercontinental titleholder won the WWE Championship. History is not on Sheamus' side for that reason, but a number of other factors are.
He's fared well in recent bouts against his opponents at Money in the Bank, for one. Sheamus bested Alberto Del Rio on May 26, pinned Cesaro at Payback and looked to be close to taking out Randy Orton on Feb. 17 before The Shield attacked him.
A number of recent wins against Bad News Barrett have boosted his resume as well.
Combine that momentum with what he could garner by turning heel at Money in the Bank and his championship pedigree, and he slides ahead of rising stars like Reigns in terms of odds. It's his longtime rival who has an even better chance of winning on June 29.
John Cena (6-1)
WWE champions make up an exclusive club, and John Cena is a longtime member.
Of the last 10 times a wrestler has won that title, only once (Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam) has it been someone's first time to hold that belt. WWE tends to give multiple turns on the mountaintop to wrestlers, sometimes to a stubborn degree.
That has often been the case with Cena, who has been WWE champ 11 times.
That makes him the safe bet the majority of the time, and it's true here as well. He doesn't have a midcard title that may hold him back like Sheamus, he doesn't have a rival who may get in his way like Roman Reigns, nor does he require WWE to venture into the unknown as with Cesaro and Bray Wyatt.
Even on Monday's Raw, with Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose all having major parts on the show, it was Cena who earned the main event slot. He was there last week as well, teaming with what's left of The Shield.
One of WWE's biggest faults in recent years has been its overdependence on Cena.
The company would be wise to avoid doing that at Money in the Bank, but habits are hard to break. Until it shows it will truly puts its faith in a new crop of stars, the most likely scenario is the continuation of the status quo.