Bad News Barrett injured his shoulder last night, most likely taking him out of this Sunday's match for the Money in the Bank contract at the eponymous pay-per-view event. It's not official yet, but it's clearly touch and go right now. If he's out, then who should take his spot?
If Christian is cleared to return, then he's the best choice on paper. He's a ladder match veteran, he's a fairly big name and he's a great wrestler. He's the closest thing to an equivalent replacement to Barrett.
However, there's a reason that I added the "on paper" qualifier: He's 40 years old and incredibly injury-prone. He really has no business being in a ladder match at this point in his life, especially in his first match back after being out of action for several months with a concussion. Putting him in this match would be a bad, incredibly short-sighted idea.
If he's been cleared, would Christian be a good replacement for Bad News Barrett?
From there, it only gets more difficult. With there finally being one world title again, going back to a single ladder match should have made the match more loaded. The WWE World Heavyweight Championship being vacated and put on the line in another ladder match weakened the pool of prospective talent for the briefcase match.
Cesaro, Sheamus, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt and Alberto Del Rio are all guys who conceivably would have been in the briefcase match if Daniel Bryan vs. Kane was the title match of the show.
Now they're in the title match along with Kane, John Cena and Randy Orton. It's entirely possible that Cena and Orton would have been in the match anyway, but neither would have been a favorite to win it the way they are now; Cesaro likely would have been.
Unless WWE is planning on switching the briefcase later on (which they did once before, with Edge beating Mr. Kennedy when the latter was injured in 2007), it's entirely possible that they will be giving the briefcase to someone who wasn't originally slated to win it.
Of the wrestlers in the match for the briefcase, Barrett was one of the clear favorites along with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Obviously, this is more complicated if he was winning it, but I don't think he was.
From there, it comes down to what WWE wants to do with the spot: Do they want a "star" (relatively speaking) replacing Barrett or do they want to replace him with someone who will add to the match from an in-ring quality standpoint?
The ideal replacement archetype would be...
As star power goes, the best choices would be for The Miz (who was filming a movie) or Mark Henry (who seemingly disappears with Big Show for weeks at a time for no apparent reason) to return in the match.
Miz is the better stylistic fit of the two, but how much sense he'd make depends on what the company's plans for him are. If he's going to remain a babyface or a weird neutral, tweener character whose motivations change by the week, he works best. If he's going to be a strong heel, he should wait to have a more impactful debut.
Henry isn't a great fit for ladder matches, but he's a longtime star who reliably gets good crowd reactions. It's not like he couldn't add to the match at all, either; I bet he could work some compelling spots with Kofi Kingston that utilize their respective strength, leaping ability and body control.
If the idea is just to make the match better, then they can just plug in any one of a number of undercard high-flyers. Sin Cara would be the biggest name out of this group, which also includes Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd. If they wanted to really go outside of the box, Adrian Neville or Kalisto could get called up from NXT for the match.
Realistically, though, Sin Cara, being the biggest star, if almost by default, probably makes the most sense, though Gabriel hasn't been beaten down as much as some others at his level.
Who do you think should get the spot if Barrett isn't cleared? Let us know in the comments.