Pros and Cons of Each Superstar Winning Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Stagnancy or dynamism awaits at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder match at Money in the Bank 2014.
When choosing which Superstar grabs that vacant title, the company must consider what kind of matches he will deliver on center stage, if his charisma and presence are worthy of the marquee and the appeal of his future title matches. The company also has to decide between relying on proven moneymakers or going with an emerging star with empty spaces still left on his resume.
Sheamus, Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio and John Cena represent the status quo to varying degrees.
Elevating one of them to the throne is safer but less intriguing. The bout also features Roman Reigns, Cesaro and Bray Wyatt, three men who would force WWE to rely on the unknown but who all teem with great promise, ready to be tapped.
A Sheamus reign promises hard-hitting, compelling fights in main events to come. Chest-hammering and jaw-kicking await his challengers.
That physical style makes him an intriguing opponent for Brock Lesnar, should he come back at SummerSlam with his eyes aimed at the world title. There are few Superstars on the roster who could realistically engage Lesnar in a brawl, doing more than surviving against him.
Sheamus is one of them.
Sheamus vs. John Cena (with a Sheamus heel turn) has some appeal as well, as does Daniel Bryan challenging him upon his return from injury. Those two have had stellar matches before (Extreme Rules 2012 in particular), and WWE would have plenty of history to draw on.
"The Celtic Warrior" has also been at the mountaintop before. The company knows what it will get with him as champ.
Although it would be his third WWE title win, Sheamus hasn't held that belt since 2010. There's both a familiarity and novelty about him taking it home once more.
Should Sheamus earn the victory on June 29, he would have to vacate the United States Championship. He has recently upped its prestige by defending it more often than previous champs and bringing his star power to the title.
Having him simply toss it aside in favor of a superior championship devalues the U.S. title.
As WWE champ, he's sure to get additional mic time. His mic work is a downgrade from many of the potential winners at the event. The company doesn't often let Sheamus say more than a handful of words, preferring to let him just ball up his fists and get to work.
It's harder to do that with him at the top spot.
WWE can enter another Randy Orton world title reign with confidence. He has certainly been in this position before, winning a total of 12 world championships in his career.
He's a reliable top heel, able to work standout matches against just about anyone. His mic skills are underrated as well. While not an elite mic worker, he can effectively irk the crowd with his arrogance as he proved in early 2014 and for much of his career.
Orton has faded from prominence lately, becoming a nondescript figure in The Authority's entourage. A win here gets him a bigger share of the spotlight and allows him to return to more autonomous villainy.
An Orton victory will induce deja vu. At last year's event, Orton won the Ladder match at the main event.
In addition, it hasn't even been three months since he lost the title at WrestleMania 30. He won the belt back in October, beginning his eighth reign. "The Viper" spent much of the second half of 2013 either with that championship or as the No. 1 contender.
Beyond that, though, Orton and John Cena have hovered around the world title scene for years.
Going with Orton once more here is sure to inspires a lot of sighs. It would be the latest resume booster for a man with a bloated one.
One also has to wonder how thrilling his upcoming title match options would be. Seeing Daniel Bryan take him on once he returns has little spark. It's a pairing WWE has to let rest for a long while. Orton vs. Cena at Battleground or SummerSlam lacks freshness as well.
Crowning Roman Reigns at Money in the Bank would be a case of culling momentum when it's still gathering speed.
Reaction for Reigns has grown louder and more passionate, fans roaring for him when he nearly won the Royal Rumble and when he stood opposite Rusev in a Battle Royal that decided who would next enter this Ladder match. He offers fans a new face in the title scene, an exciting alternative to going with a man who has previously held the championship.
With the title around his waist, his feud with Triple H would now feature a title match. He would be a thrilling option as Brock Lesnar's SummerSlam opponent, one beast looking to topple another.
Even if Reigns' turn as champ is short, adding this win to his resume and getting him valuable experience in the spotlight help build toward the future.
WWE can't have John Cena and Randy Orton main event WrestleMania 31, 32 and 33. The audience hungers for novelty, for emerging stars to take great strides. WWE can have Reigns do that at Money in the Bank.
Of the three men in the match who have yet to win the WWE title, Reigns is the most unproven. Bray Wyatt and Cesaro have had far more opportunities in longer singles matches.
Reigns, meanwhile, has spent the majority of his run in tag team action. Questions about if he can translate his explosive, exciting offense into lengthier in-ring stories remain unanswered.
That's true as well for his mic ability. He has shared talking duties with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose for the most part. WWE can't be sure of what he can do with the spotlight zeroed in on him.
He certainly looks like top-tier talent at times, but Money in the Bank may be too early to have him ascend that high. After a feud with Triple H and another high-level star, the "Reigns as WWE champ" conversation will be much different. For now, there's a big risk of the company moving too fast to award him that honor.
Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio enters Money in the Bank as the dark horse, despite his experience.
Fans are focused on the red-hot Roman Reigns, the emerging star in Bray Wyatt as well as John Cena looking to return to the company's top spot. Going with Del Rio here would be a shocker. The unexpected route would make for some widened jaws on June 29.
Like Sheamus, it's been years since he was WWE champ. It was back in 2011 when CM Punk began his historic reign by besting Del Rio.
That means that there is an element of freshness to Del Rio winning but coupled with security on WWE's part.
Once he wore the championship, WWE knows that it would have fantastic matches in the upcoming main events. Del Rio is an experienced, accomplished ring worker with standout showings in the past against Dolph Ziggler, Cena and Christian.
The concerns about another Del Rio reign, though, center around how much appeal his matches would have.
Del Rio's bouts are well-worked and technically sound, but he lacks the kind of presence to make fans care about the results. Cena isn't a better wrestler than him, but his matches tend to feel bigger and more significant than Del Rio's.
Imagining whom Del Rio would face in the coming months isn't exciting. Del Rio against Brock Lesnar doesn't feel like a SummerSlam match. Cena vs. Del Rio at Battleground isn't going to draw fans in. It's too familiar a matchup, the spark from their rivalry long gone.
Del Rio also has the least amount of momentum of his opponents. While Sheamus, Cesaro and Reigns have been winning a number of matches and getting a lot of the spotlight, Del Rio is without much of a narrative right now.
That is likely to leave a Del Rio victory at Money in the Bank feeling hollow.
Should Cesaro exit the TD Garden in Boston with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, fans will be buzzing. Despite being a heel, Cesaro is increasingly popular. His hard-hitting style was once underappreciated, but now his uppercuts are inspiring audiences to howl.
WWE would help build a new star by adding Cesaro's name to the world title history books.
He offers a fresh, exciting alternative to John Cena, Randy Orton and the old guard. "The King of Swing" has been on the cusp of becoming a headliner in 2014. Giving him that role would be fun to watch, the crowd scooting ahead to see how he does.
As a bonus, Cesaro as champ means more for Paul Heyman to brag about. Count on him being astoundingly irritating should his client capture the gold.
The company would then have a litany of great options for the next few pay-per-views. Cesaro vs. Daniel Bryan, Cena or Brock Lesnar are all potential classics. Cesaro has had great showings against Bryan and Cena in the past, and a battle of Heyman guys against Lesnar promises to be a magnum opus for "The Swiss Superman."
WWE would have to approach a Cesaro reign with uncertainty. He has yet to be in a headlining position. Would he be able to handle the spotlight? Would his popularity hold?
Those are the questions WWE will have in additions to ones about Cesaro's mic work. He has been extremely dependent on Heyman. That didn't hamper Lesnar in the past, but he has a powerful presence that Cesaro has yet to display. Watching Lesnar stand next to Heyman is like watching a lion snarl alongside a lion tamer.
Cesaro hasn't proved that he can be magnetic on that level.
Dependability and security are WWE's should it decide to have John Cena be champion. He has been the cornerstone of the franchise for years.
Choosing him to be the company's top guy isn't so much a promotion for him as it is a confirmation.
There will be a plethora of fans in neon cheering him on should he win. Kids, many members of the military and casual fans will be happy to see the ultimate good guy triumph once more.
Cena as a champion sets up a big SummerSlam match against just about anybody. If Daniel Bryan is healthy by then, a rematch has great promise. Another go-round with Brock Lesnar is a money match as as well.
Cena winning is the most boring and predictable option on the table. Fans have seen this story play out several times already, as Cena is already an 11-time WWE champ. He last held the title last August, a reign sure to be fresh in fans' minds.
Should his next reign come at Money in the Bank, WWE misses out on a chance to elevate a new star, to offer something new.
Even without the title, Cena has remained a marquee figure. Other Superstars need that prop more. Handing it to him has little dramatic effect and doesn't affect his career nearly as much as it would that of someone yet to stockpile so many accomplishments.
The sinister Bray Wyatt as champion is an electric storyline.
He's a new face, an exciting, improving prospect zooming up WWE's ladder. Choosing him is investing in the future, testing out a potential new marquee talent and trusting that he fulfills the promise he has shown so far.
WWE knows for sure it's getting A-level promos every night. Wyatt has nailed his promos throughout his run, and the WWE title in his possession only gives him more ammo for his diatribes.
His vicious, hard-hitting style makes his future title bouts appealing. Daniel Bryan could close out his story with "The Eater of Worlds" when he returns. A feud with Sheamus promises to be a top-notch battle, and should Wyatt turn babyface, he makes a fun foe for Brock Lesnar.
Wyatt hasn't won any titles yet. Boosting him all the way to world champ is a hurried route. He's young and has only had a short time on the main roster.
At his best, he's been stellar, but some of his matches have been subpar. His Inferno match against Kane last year comes to mind first. The Steel Cage match against John Cena at Extreme Rules disappointed as well.
Can Wyatt be consistent in the spotlight? Can he deliver against a variety of foes? Will his current popularity fade?
These are the biggest concerns for WWE when considering whether or not to crown Wyatt. Going with the unproven requires a touch of blind faith. Cesaro, Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt appear to be top-tier talent in the making, but WWE doesn't know that for sure.
The company must either trust its instincts and go with one of these up-and-comers or return to what's worked in the past. It can leap into the unknown or carefully step somewhere familiar.