Bray Wyatt and Cesaro are rounding out the eight-man ladder match for the vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship that will take place at Money in the Bank on Sunday, June 29. The bout will be the main event of the night and crown a new champion.
And while many fans likely have their favorites, the truth is that the two aforementioned Superstars are perhaps the least likely to win. In fact, both Cesaro and Bray Wyatt could definitely be called dark horses in this match.
The most obvious reason for that is inexperience. Basically, neither man has been a WWE or world champion, and in Bray's case, he has yet to hold a title at all. Even though being a former champ is not exactly a prerequisite to winning it again, the truth is that in today's WWE, it could make all the difference in the world.
The last three top title-holders in WWE have been Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton and John Cena. Both John and Randy have been there and done that, with a combined total of 26 WWE and world titles. Anytime either man gets the strap, it typically means that WWE is going with the established star over the inexperienced one.
It also means they're going with who they know.
Both Orton and Cena deliver. They are very consistent with what they bring to the ring and what they bring to the championship gold that rests atop the company ladder. They can be trusted to get it done and get it done on a very high level.
Daniel Bryan's case may be a little different, but the end result was very similar.
Daniel did not have a track record when it came to being a consistent, dependable headliner but that was created for him. From the moment he was screwed out of the championship at SummerSlam in 2013 to the moment he finally won it at WrestleMania 30, Daniel was presented as a viable, moneymaking champion.
Fans supported him, they rallied behind him and it made all the difference in the world. Soon, WWE could realistically envision Daniel Bryan at the top of the heap thanks to the positive support he had and to the work he was doing in the ring.
Bryan's role as a main event star had to be earned and it took eight months of turmoil and frustration to get him there. Fans went along on the wild ride from start to finish.
Cena, Orton and Bryan are all trusted to deliver, and they do every time. Bryan is in an elite class as a guy that the company obviously feels can handle the pressure and therefore given the responsibility to perform at a very high level.
That is what main event stars do. And that is the kind of guy that WWE evidently believes should hold its top championship.
So, both Orton and Cena are in the ladder match, as well as Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Kane and Roman Reigns. Five out of those six have been a top titleholder in WWE and Roman is perhaps the man that will one day take Cena's spot as WWE's number one guy.
But where does that leave Bray Wyatt and Cesaro?
Neither man has been to the mountaintop in WWE. Neither man knows what that feels like or perhaps understands the heavy spotlight that comes with it. For The Eater of Worlds and The King of Swing, Money in the Bank is unknown territory.
But how much will their inexperience on that main event level come into play on June 29?
Another factor that may be holding both men back from possibly winning the title at Money in the Bank is the fact that both are still growing as WWE Superstars. While the same can be said for Roman, the truth is that his evolution may come on the fly due to his potential future as the face of the company.
But Bray is in an odd place right now; fans are fully embracing him, yet he is still technically a heel. He is getting a positive crowd reaction in many cities that WWE travels to despite consistently targeting babyfaces like John Cena in storylines.
Would WWE give him the title belt right now, knowing his uncertain status in the company? Would being champion help him or hurt him? And would he be able to carry the load with a character that has only recorded a few substantial wins over top stars during his relatively short time with the company?
The same could also be said of Cesaro in terms of crowd reaction. For all intents and purposes, he is still a heel and so is the man that represents him, Paul Heyman. Yet week in and week out, Cesaro has the crowd on his side. They marvel at his strength and they praise him for his work in the ring.
Much like Bray, Cesaro has only a handful of quality wins over top-level talent. While Heyman's influence is indeed helping him and improving his status, is it too early to consider him a legitimate contender to become WWE World Heavyweight champion?
The fact is that in today's WWE, where trusted names and fully developed talents are trusted to carry the ball, there may not be room for guys like Cesaro and Bray Wyatt at the top. That is not to suggest that that they don't each deserve an opportunity—but right now?
Perhaps it is too early for either one of them to be given the shot that so many fans feel they both deserve.
Cesaro and Bray Wyatt are dark horses in the ladder match at Money in the Bank. And while it's not unheard of for a dark horse to come out on top, one has to wonder if that will indeed be the case for either one of these men.
Money in the Bank may not be the destination, but it might be another step on the way there for both Cesaro and Bray Wyatt. And as they are each expected to turn in a quality performance on June 29, maybe that's all that matters.