Amid all the hype around CM Punk's worked-shoot (Well deserved, I might add), this past night on RAW WWE announced the eight men who will be battling it out for RAW's Money in the Bank briefcase at WWE's Money in the Bank PPV. Here's the line-up:
Alberto Del Rio
No huge surprises in the superstars competing, pretty much the entire RAW mid-card. Cena and Punk obviously are fighting over the title, with Big Show probably fighting Mark Henry. Rey Mysterio is notably absent, as he has been for every Money in the Bank ladder match. He seems like a good fit for such a high-flying endeavor, but it's probably because of his injuries. WWE doesn't want to take the chance of Rey being out long-term. Also no Morrison, seemingly because of his injury, which is a shame because you know he'd do something spectacular.
I like this line-up because even though some have more of a chance than others, I think you could make a feasible argument that anyone could win this year. In addition, Kofi, Ziggler, and Bourne could all provide us with some great moments and high spots.
Let's look at each individual's chances of being Mr. Money in the Bank and challenging John Cena, CM Punk, or any other WWE champion we may see.
The West African High-Flyer is no stranger to the Money in the Bank ladder match, having competed in three of them throughout his career, but he has yet to win one. Kofi has been in a rehash feud with Dolph Ziggler, and has lost his US title. So Kofi enters the match with very little momentum, but that can sometimes play to your advantage. Often it's the superstar that flies in under the radar that ends up winning.
For Kofi, though, I'm not expecting a win. WWE has just never really seemed interested in giving this guy a legitimate push, even though he has a unique style and gets a decent pop. He has a small chance of shocking everyone, but most likely he'll just be on high-spot duty.
Vegas Odds: 15-1
Rey Mysterio, the only true veteran in this match, competes in his first Money in the Bank ever this Sunday. Rey is another guy who can't seem to find a concrete place in the post-Draft RAW landscape. He hasn't had any major feuds and just seems to be thrown into matches every week.
Obviously you can ever rule out Mysterio winning a match, but you have to think WWE will have something a little more creative in mind than giving a title shot to Rey-Rey. Not to mention him and Cena don't match up particularly well.
Vegas Odds: 10 to 1
One of the few ROH alumni currently with WWE, Evan Bourne is certainly one of the more talented high-flyers WWE has had in recent years. And yet, he has been relegated to essentially jobber status. However, that doesn't mean he doesn't have a shot at coming out successful in this match.
If CM Punk is staying, having him involved with a former ROH alumni holding the briefcase could lead to some excellent programming. If Cena does take some time off to heal up his injuries, Punk could win the title with Bourne then having to win the title before Punk leaves. Come on, you know they'd tear the house down.
Maybe I'm grasping straws, but I think Evan has a chance to really break out this Summer. Or maybe he's just there to do a shooting star press off the ladder.
Vegas Odds: 6 to 1
Wrestlemania 26's Money in the Bank winner, Jack Swagger held the World Title once and seemed to go right back where he started after he lost it. So here we are, a year and a half later, and he's essentially in the same position again.
Can Swagger pull a CM Punk and win his second briefcase? I'm thinking not. I think Swagger will challenge Cena for the WWE Championship at some point down the line, but not via Money in the Bank. Still, I can't completely rule it out, as I didn't give Swagger much of a chance of winning the first time.
Vegas odds: 8 to 1
This was the one addition to this match that somewhat surprised me. You'd think after winning the Rumble and challenging for the World Heavyweight Title at Wrestlemania, that Del Rio would be above Money in the Bank status, and I personally saw him teaming with Mark Henry against Kane and Big Show at the PPV. And yet, here he is.
With Big Show seemingly moving on to Mark Henry, Del Rio winning Money in the Bank and immediately going after Cena seems a strong possibility. The rumours of a Cena/Del Rio match at Summerslam have been swirling for weeks now, so having Del Rio cash in on Cena at the PPV would be great set-up for that. Now, CM Punk is throwing a monkey wrench into those plans, and it's still unclear whether or not Punk is actually leaving, or this is one huge angle and a take on the "Summer of Punk" in Ring of Honour where Punk kept saying he was going to leave every week but ended up staying for a couple months.
Anyways, the bottom line is Del Rio has a good chance. It's not the way I would go, as I see Del Rio as already being ready for a title run, but don't be surprised if the charismatic aristocrat walks out of Chicago with the briefcase, or possibly the WWE Championship, in tow.
Vegas Odds: 4 to 1
R-Truth heads into this match with very little momentum. After getting the John Cena treatment at Capitol Punishment, and with other heels creeping up the card, R-Truth may have worn out his welcome in the main-event scene. The only real way for him to get back up there is by winning Money in the Bank.
Interestingly, R-Truth has never competed in a Money in the Bank match before. He was scheduled to compete in last year's RAW money in the bank but was replaced with Mark Henry. Perhaps there is some issue with R-Truth competing in a ladder match.
Anyways, I expect Truth's feud with a returning Morrison to come into play, possibly even an angle working JoMo into the match somehow. Have these two cost each other the briefcase, and face each other at Summerslam.
With father time not on Truth's side, I suspect they'll go with someone younger here.
Vegas Odds: 8 to 1
Unlike most (all?) of the other competitors in this match, Alex Riley has a ton of momentum going his way right now, as he is definitely a superstar on the upswing. After beating Miz, Riley seems primed and ready for stardom in WWE. The question is, will that stardom come via Money in the Bank?
Having the opportunity for a feud where Riley basically rises through the ranks the same way Miz did could lead to a great Wrestlemania feud if done right. Having him hold the briefcase while Miz berates him for just copying him would be some entertaining stuff.
Going against Riley is the fact that he's still relatively green as a babyface, and that babyfaces don't normally win Money in the Bank without turning heel shortly after (CM Punk, Kane).
Still, I think Riley as Mr. Money in the Bank is a perfect fit right now. He has a great shot of holding that case.
Vegas Odds: 5 to 2
The only former WWE Champion in the match, it's a little odd that after Miz' mega push, which culminated in defeating John Cena to retain his WWE Championship at Wrestlemania, he's right back where it all started: Money in the Bank.
Miz won last year's Money in the Bank contest, and it brought him to the main event. Where would a win this year take him? Probably the same place, which is why it's a long shot to think he'll win this year. It's better for his career as well as WWE if he wins the title back on his own, or perhaps in a multi-man affair, without the help of the briefcase.
If they're going to give it to an established name, they're better off with Del Rio, who at the very least has yet to win a championship.
Vegas Odds: 10 to 1