The ladder match to decide the next WWE world champion is set to host a convergence of the present and the future.
Monday's Raw completed the field for that bout, blending established veterans with emerging stars. The move adds intrigue to the match, builds toward the future and varies up things at the top.
Last year, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Christian and other former world champs battled for the WWE title Money in the Bank briefcase. In 2012, John Cena joined a cast of all-stars in that year's version of that contest. Each time, the rich got richer, and bloated resumes grew more bloated.
WWE isn't going that route this year.
Yes, Orton, Sheamus and Del Rio were all officially entered into the bout for the vacant world championship, but so were up-and-comers Cesaro and Bray Wyatt. When WWE hit the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, it made sure to keep that balance as it added two more competitors.
Roman Reigns emerged victorious from a Battle Royal he wasn't supposed to be in.
Triple H had banned him and Dean Ambrose from the match. He convinced Vickie Guerrero to let him in courtesy of an odd story about coffee, vomit and job security. Titus O'Neil, RyBaxel, Bo Dallas and Rusev all fell before the gladiator.
He last ousted Rusev to win the Battle Royal and join the ladder-match field.
Cena earned the final spot later that night. He outlasted Kane in a Stretcher Match to do so.
That gave the upcoming ladder match an 11-time WWE champ as well as a man who has yet to win a singles title with the company. That juxtaposition runs throughout the clash's entire lineup.
Orton, Sheamus, Cena and Del Rio have a total of 33 world titles among them, have headlined seven WrestleManias and have won the Royal Rumble five times total.
Wyatt, Cesaro and Reigns have a zero in each of those categories.
WWE can rely on its biggest names to draw fans while giving new names a chance to shine. Competing in this match elevates Wyatt's, Cesaro's and Reigns' resumes. Should one of them go on a tear and get inches away from victory, it's going to be a valuable addition to their collection of moments in WWE so far.
Battling against WWE's best is the company saying that they belong on the same tier as those guys.
Not everyone is invited to this party. Not everyone gets to play in this league. Just ask Damien Sandow.
Officials could have gone with Kane, Mark Henry, Rob Van Dam or Big Show instead of the younger talent, but when they went to book WrestleMania 31 and 32, they would find themselves in the position WWE has been in recently. Its top stars have been part-timers and Cena and Orton, who have been in the same lofty position for years.
WWE has to keep reaching back into its past to get folks excited about today.
The process of building new stars has to include opportunities like this ladder match. Reigns has churned up his momentum with memorable performances at Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble. With his first chance at the WWE title, he can compose more images of his dominance.
Cesaro knocking Cena off the ladder with an uppercut, Wyatt smashing a ladder into Orton's gut and Reigns Superman punching Sheamus just as he is about to grab the title would help add to these stars' lore.
Pad their greatest hits collection. Have them thrive in an all-star environment. Be bold and put the belt on one of these men.
This is how to expand the population on top.
A more immediate result of this wise grouping of wrestlers will make the match more fun. It's hard to root for Cena to win WWE title No. 12, see Orton reclaim his crown so quickly or see Del Rio return to main eventing.
There's now a chance that a man who has never won the company's top prize reaches a major career milestone at Money in the Bank.
The Cesaro era, Reigns' time or the epoch of Wyatt could begin on June 29. Three men on the cusp of megastardom, a reach away from WWE's highest rungs, are set to do their best to take the next step upward.
That in itself makes the Money in the Bank main event a thrilling one.
As Jim Ross tweeted, fans love "new."
That's what WWE infused into the upcoming ladder match. The next generation collides with the current one in the ideal balance of today and tomorrow.
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