Best and Worst Options to Win Men's Money in the Bank This Year
Money in the Bank is a powerful accolade for any WWE Superstar to win. Capturing the briefcase means they can cash it in for a title opportunity at any given moment.
To date, 22 out of 26 men and women wielding the contract have gone on to win a championship. With an 84.6 percent success rate, as well as being a useful tool to reshape the roster, crown a new champion in the event of injury or pivot to a new creative direction with zero build, WWE cannot afford to give the briefcase to the wrong person.
With Roman Reigns currently holding both world titles, the men's Money in the Bank match will be a tricky one. WWE needs to think hard on how to avoid any errors, such as Otis' victory in 2020.
Let's break down some of the best options to win on July 2 and the Superstars who would make for the worst choices to be the next Mr. Money in the Bank.
Worst: All the Lower-Tier Talent
The most obvious pick for worst is also the most all-inclusive. Every Superstar who appears at the lower end of the totem pole would be a waste.
As mentioned, Otis was a funny midcarder. WWE gave him the briefcase, then had no idea what to do with him, spent week after week acting like it wasn't part of the storyline fabric, and eventually took it off him in favor of The Miz. When that happens, it hurts the credibility of the performer and the gimmick as a whole.
For example, the likes of Akira Tozawa or Reggie would be terrible picks. They regularly look like fools chasing the 24/7 Championship, and no one would take them seriously as Money in the Bank winners.
Even Superstars the next few levels up the hierarchy could still be bad choices. Mustafa Ali can't even win the United States Championship, so he won't be defeating Roman Reigns for the unified world titles no matter how much support he has on Twitter.
As tall as Shanky is, he doesn't look credible standing next to former WWE champion Jinder Mahal, who hasn't had a meaningful win in years.
This isn't a year to give it to a babyface in the hopes they'll climb the ladder of success only to prove they aren't on the same level. Nor is it time to give it to someone WWE has no intention of investing in.
Worst: Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton or Riddle
RK-McBro have a common enemy in The Bloodline, but any of them winning the men's Money in the Bank match would be a complete waste of the briefcase.
The concept works best when the title is always in jeopardy of a random cash-in. The spontaneity is what makes it interesting. Knowing in advance when someone is going to challenge for the belt makes it just a No. 1 Contender's match.
Drew McIntyre already has a title opportunity lined up for Clash at the Castle in September. Having him win Money in the Bank would be pointless if he has a championship shot in the pipeline.
Likewise, Riddle wants a title shot right now. He can earn it as soon as this next episode of SmackDown or any time in the coming weeks leading up to Money in the Bank. He doesn't need to win the briefcase.
Inevitably, when Randy Orton returns, we'll see him against Reigns, too. That will most likely be the follow-up to Riddle vs. The Tribal Chief and take place at SummerSlam on July 30.
Also, if any of these three were to try to cash in the contract and steal the title, they would come off as weak babyfaces who know they can't beat The Tribal Chief in a fair fight.
It would be just as bad for someone such as Bobby Lashley to do the same, but since McIntyre, Riddle and Orton are all being lined up for future title matches, it renders them even less useful picks to hold the briefcase.
Best: Cody Rhodes
Prior to his injury, Cody Rhodes was the clear favorite to win this year. He had all the momentum on his side and his sights on the title.
However, after tearing his pectoral muscle, The American Nightmare looks set to be sidelined for up to six months.
Then again, he wrestled a half-hour Hell in a Cell match with the injury. Never say never in professional wrestling.
The odds of Rhodes winning at Money in the Bank are astronomically slim, but John Cena's speedy recovery prior to the 2008 Royal Rumble is the stuff of legend. Maybe luck will shine on the former All Elite Wrestling star in similar fashion.
After all, The American Nightmare did say on Monday's Raw, "In four weeks time, if somehow, if some way, I was able to climb the ladder, I was able to grab said briefcase, I was able to cash that sucker in and become the WWE undisputed universal champion..."
That tease was all that was needed to keep his name in the mix, and imagine the crowd reaction if he does return for MITB.
Best: Sami Zayn
In all likelihood, anyone holding the briefcase is going to fail against Reigns, so the only thing WWE can do to make sure it isn't a complete disaster is to put it on someone who will find a way to have fun with it.
With Rhodes probably out of the picture, Sami Zayn has become the best person to win this year and turn it into something entertaining.
The Great Liberator has been trying to worm his way into the affections of The Bloodline, and he's there to interfere on their behalf when it's not even necessary.
Imagine if he won the briefcase and was told by Paul Heyman that Reigns is happy he won, since The Tribal Chief knows Zayn wouldn't be stupid enough to try to cash it in on him.
The cash-in could go one of two ways: Either he does try to win a world title and gets taken out by The Bloodline, or he could wait until after Reigns is no longer champion and target the babyface who beats The Head of the Table.
Perhaps Zayn can even hold it for a full year and start running out of time in the weeks leading up to Money in the Bank in 2023, when he can panic that he might end up making history as the first person to have his contract expire.
There are far more potential avenues to take with Zayn than to just give it to a babyface who will likely lose their title shot.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, Spotify and everywhere you find podcasts. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.