Top 5 Best Options to Win Men’s 2019 WWE Money in the Bank Briefcase
One of the most important events in the WWE year is the annual Money in the Bank ladder match, as whoever holds the briefcase gets a title opportunity at a moment of their choosing.
Seventeen out of the past 21 Money in the Bank winners were fortunate enough to become champion after their cash-in, so with that success rate, obtaining the contract almost guarantees a future title reign.
The 10th-annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view is fast approaching, though so far, no matches have been advertised, nor have any participants in this year's ladder match been announced.
But now that the Superstar Shake-up has changed the rosters of Raw and SmackDown around, plenty of names stand out as potential choices for who could grab the men's briefcase when May 19 rolls along.
Let's take a look at some of those names and try to narrow it down to the top five Superstars who WWE should consider making the next Mr. Money in the Bank.
While this list focuses on the top five, it's worth talking about some of the Superstars who were just shy of making the cut but who could still be in the running to win Money in the Bank this year.
Some people, like Ali, Aleister Black and Ricochet, would be great to see in that type of spot, but it wouldn't make a ton of sense. They're still so new on the main roster that they should focus on midcard belts and work their way up to the main event naturally instead of being given a free pass.
Generally speaking, Money in the Bank is a gimmick that works best when a heel can capitalize on a wounded babyface and take advantage of their weakened status to swoop in and steal a title, rather than someone who would have more honor than that.
Since The Miz is a babyface now, he's in a similar position, outside of being a veteran, not a newcomer. The same goes for Rey Mysterio. Both can't sneak in and capture a title in a dirty method without it tarnishing their characters.
To an extent, this is even why a heel like Drew McIntyre wouldn't be the best choice this year, as he's largely booked as someone who is credible enough to take the fight straight to his opponent. Sure, he could win the title in a roundabout way, but there are enough cowardly heels already, and he doesn't need to turn into one of them.
Instead, he should continue to be someone who challenges Seth Rollins directly, which is the opposite of what Baron Corbin does.
If WWE wants to poke the bear and drive people nuts, Corbin would be a great choice to mess with the WWE Universe. After enough teasing that he would become the next champion, it could all pay off with him losing and getting his comeuppance.
Rusev could use this accolade, as could Cesaro. EC3, if WWE ever decides to push him, would be a great candidate to carry this around. Even Bray Wyatt could have a fun new twist on the briefcase by carrying around something different, as could Daniel Bryan with an eco-friendly version of it.
Last, but not least, is Sami Zayn, who would have been the sixth person on this list and was just narrowly beaten out due to one factor, which is that his promos have been so good lately that he doesn't need the briefcase in order to find himself worthy of a main event title shot.
5. Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley's return to WWE was off to a rocky start, but everything leveled off once he turned heel and partnered up with Lio Rush as his mouthpiece.
Unfortunately, things got hectic around WrestleMania with WWE playing hot potato with the Intercontinental Championship. The goal in mind was to build interest for that one match without really trying too hard, so a title change back and forth was the easiest way to do it, but it didn't quite position Lashley in the best spot going forward.
Now, he's on the rebound and in need of re-establishing himself as a true threat to the Universal Championship, particularly as he has had more than enough matches with Seth Rollins where nobody would be that interested in a regular feud anymore.
With the Money in the Bank briefcase, he bypasses all of that with another easy fix. Winning that gives Rush more to tout and be pompous about, while boosting Lashley's credibility going forward—assuming WWE doesn't fall into the trap they almost always do, where they start jobbing someone out once they win the briefcase as they think the inevitable cash-in will erase all that damage.
In effect, Lashley would be holding a championship that doesn't need to be defended, so he wouldn't have to be factored into storylines and he'd still be relevant.
Eventually, whether WWE would want to pull the trigger and give him an actual world title reign or have him fail his cash-in, at least he'd be a viable contender and not someone who is the third wheel on the job squad to The Shield like he's been for months.
4. Kevin Owens
Doesn't it seem as though Kevin Owens should have already won the Money in the Bank briefcase by now? In some alternate timeline, he cashed in and became a champion two years ago.
It's strange that someone who has been so perfect for the gimmick of a prizefighter who has all the tools to win any match yet is cowardly enough to back down from any worthwhile fight and tries to cheat to give himself an edge wasn't ever chosen to hold a briefcase yet.
Now that he's turned babyface, those aspects of his character are no longer in the spotlight, so the circumstances this year are far different from before, but that doesn't rule him out.
When a heel is popular enough to be cheered, the best thing WWE can do with them is keep some of those attributes and just swap their opponents with other heels, so they don't lose what makes them interesting by becoming another homogenized babyface.
Owens can no longer be a coward, but he can still take advantage of opportunities, particularly months down the line when a heel champion has beaten Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship.
Theoretically, if someone like Randy Orton captures the WWE title, Owens could be a great counterpoint who cashes in and beats him soon after and ruins the party for that heel.
Then again, there will probably always be a temptation to turn Owens heel in the future, and if that is ever in the cards, cashing in on Kingston and dethroning him for the title would be a great way to do that, particularly if his association with The New Day continues.
Owens is exactly the type of Superstar who is reliable and bankable enough to give the briefcase to and trust that he will fit into a multitude of different plans further down the line, even if there aren't any firm ideas set in motion right now.
3. Bobby Roode
Since coming to the main roster, Bobby Roode has been less glorious and more inadequate.
Once at the top of the food chain in NXT and someone who seemed poised for stardom in the main event scene on Raw or SmackDown, Roode somehow fell so far that within no time he was struggling in the midcard and forced to pair with Chad Gable in a makeshift team to hold on to any scraps of relevancy.
These past two years have not done him justice, as he's far more talented than the opportunities he's been afforded, so it's time to get him back on track.
Turning him heel and breaking up his tag team with Gable was the first start of this healing process, with the next phase being either a title run or, even better, the Money in the Bank contract.
In TNA, Roode was majorly successful playing a character with a focus on money, so he has experience doing this type of gimmick. Whether he's carrying the briefcase himself or gets some sort of lackey or valet to carry it for him, this is the type of thing that can make him a big deal again.
Using this to propel him into a feud with Rollins is simple, easy, helps save his career, gives fans a dream match and makes one more main-eventer for Raw, and there can never be too many of those.
Winning the Universal Championship may be too much to ask for, but at least being in the discussion would be much more in line with Roode's talent than the pittance he's been living off this past year in particular.
One of the most fun aspects of Money in the Bank is seeing someone transition from an upper-midcarder to a main event player, much in the way the King of the Ring tournament used to lift Superstars to the next level.
There are tons of talented wrestlers worthy of this discussion, like Buddy Murphy and even Cesaro, but none have a better chance this year to be in that position than Andrade.
Alongside Zelina Vega, Andrade went from being forgotten about in NXT to winning the championship in a short amount of time. He's yet to find that success on the main roster, but that is surely in the cards for 2019.
Granted, Andrade could benefit from winning a midcard title first and having a run with that, but not only is that not a necessity, as plenty of people have gone straight to a world title and succeeded, there's also nothing stating he can't do both.
The Miz held the Money in the Bank briefcase simultaneously with the United States title, so Andrade could do the same if WWE wanted to double-down on him.
A prospective feud with Rollins would be something to look forward to, with or without the belt on the line, but something as big as this could be what it takes to make Andrade the Hispanic star WWE has so desperately wanted for years.
1. AJ Styles
While Lashley could get back on track, Owens could be a safe and fun option, Roode could finally reach his potential and Andrade could be made with the Money in the Bank, when viewing this through the lens of WWE logic, none of those Superstars compare to AJ Styles.
He is undoubtedly the biggest star on the list, so WWE will naturally gravitate toward him, as one of the other trends for Money in the Bank winners can be summed up as "wrestlers who have already been to the mountain top and don't need this to win another title, but giving them the briefcase makes them all that more dangerous."
For instance, Orton's cash-in on Bryan in 2013 was well after The Viper had won multiple titles. Sheamus did the same to Roman Reigns in 2015.
Knowing someone has already proved themselves capable of winning a world title means the lingering threat of the Money in the Bank cash-in isn't just a potential to have a new champion, but nearly a certainty.
That could be a great story to tease between Styles and Rollins, with The Phenomenal One not necessarily playing a heel outright, but at least teasing the idea that he may be tempted on some random night and feel the need to cash in on a vulnerable Rollins. All is fair in love and war.
Like Owens, Styles could be put on the back burner until something happens to dictate what his direction is. Also, adding the moniker Mr. Money in the Bank could help solve the problem of him no longer being able to say SmackDown is the place he built, now that he's on Raw.
If there is suddenly a need for another heel, Styles can turn by winning the title from Rollins in an underhanded fashion. If someone like McIntyre takes the belt, Styles can be more honorable and use it to challenge him in advance for an event to come, without needing to win a No. 1 contender match.
The Phenomenal One has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time in WWE, and this is another thing to check off on his already Hall of Fame-worthy career.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.