WWE Money in the Bank 2014: Weighing World Title Contenders' Chances

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With a shockingly excellent sophomore outing for the Payback event in the rear view, we're now on the heels of an unusually thorough and exciting Raw this past Monday (Stardust!) with Money in the Bank fast approaching on the horizon.

With Cena's carefully executed stretcher match victory over Kane, the final entrant for the WWE World Heavyweight Title ladder match has been decided (and let's hope runners-up such as Ziggler, Rusev and Barrett will be placed in a briefcase ladder match at the last minute).

Hit the jump to break down the chances of each qualifier in this year's Money in the Bank main event for the WWE World Heavyweight Title (which, with all due respect for each belt's history, should really be merged in to one new belt featuring the new WWE logo... I mean, right?).

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Alberto Del Rio

Why. I've been asking this about Del Rio for some time, even more than a year ago when he used to have apologists. Sure, I recognize his in-ring abilities as much as the next person, but "it" he simply does not possess. Especially when qualifying against someone as superb as Ziggler.
Things have seemed worse than ever for Mexico's dullest export of late, as his entrances and often meaningless victories have been met with completely dead crowds. Adam Rose's cheeseburger is more over than the now seemingly gimmick-less Mexican Aristocrat. I suppose, however, it doesn't hurt to have a complete non-threat in the match presumably serving as nothing more than a bump machine. If last year's Royal Rumble title defense against Big Show proved anything about Del Rio, it's that he can take a serious bump and keep on going, and we should expect nothing more out of the man on June 29.

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For someone who previously couldn't have drawn me to a hen house with a BOGO coupon (that's a saying, yeah?), Sheamus has been absolutely killing it in the ring since his Royal Rumble return this past January. The guy may be the stiffest worker on the roster at the moment, and with the right opponent he excels, as illustrated in what was easily the most entertaining qualifying match this year on last week's Raw. Problem is, the Sheamus character is just as directionless as ever, and possibly even more in need of a heel turn than Randy Orton was this same time last year. He's doing the US Title a favor by acting as its custodian for the time being, not the other way around.
A Sheamus win at Money in the Bank would be intriguing, no doubt, as not only would it raise questions about the future of the US Title but it would also quite possibly be the big boot in the butt the Celtic Warrior needs to regain the true main event status he seems to have been groomed for. Don't bet on it, however, as Sheamus has zero character momentum at the moment, especially compared to some others on this list.

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John Cena

Not to take issue with what was a perfectly appropriate and entertaining main event Monday night, but it did feel a little strange for Cena and Kane, two so very well established stars, to be at the top of a show so firmly and refreshingly built around building new stars. Cena's been in that awkward - though effective - position for a while now, though, where he's seemingly gearing down from the main event stage to work with fresh talent. The improvement in the previously very green Bray Wyatt through his non-title, 3-month program with Cena has been significant. I say "awkward" simply because Cena is the new Hogan (sometimes for better and sometimes for worse), and while he's around it always seems as though he simply belongs in the title picture.
I maintain that Cena has at least one or two title runs left in him before he hangs up his full-timer ball cap, but now is not the time. Since WrestleMania the focus of WWE has clearly and wisely been the next generation of talent, and Cena will do well to take another turn counting the lights for one of the up-and-comers.
The wild card that makes me believe in the possibility of a Cena win is the uncertain recovery time of one Daniel Bryan. An encore of last year's SummerSlam main event upon Bryan's return would surely be a big draw, and would pique my interest if built well.

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Upon his massive win at the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (coupled with his same-night split from the Real Americans), Cesaro seemed primed for big things. I'm not sure we've really seen anything big from the Swiss Superman since, though he's remained a highlight for the current programming, and with Heyman still by his side anything is possible.
This isn't another fluke qualification a la Elimination Chamber - Cesaro should be perceived as a legitimate threat at Money in the Bank. Certain wishy-washy directions his character has taken in recent weeks lead me to believe he's not too favorable a pick, but the guy's got the chops, and a solid face turn would assuredly propel him to new heights. He's the dark horse here.
The most appealing element to a Cesaro win is the subsequent likelihood of a Cesaro/Lesnar feud, as Lesnar should be returning some time around SummerSlam and likely sticking around through Night of Champions (on his usual limited date schedule). Everyone wants Lesnar/Bryan right away, but Lesnar's return doesn't necessarily have to be a title run, despite what Heyman's promo back in February laid down. From my outsider perspective, however, the real money in such a feud is in the long run - let Lesnar continue to absorb heat and look like the Beast Incarnate off his flabbergasting win at WrestleMania, then let the relatively new and full-time King of Swing usurp the benefits of that win with an underdog victory. Ah, fantasy.

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Randy Orton

On the surface, Orton was made out to be a paper champ throughout his latest title run(s), and had until very recently been the background member of a reunited Evolution. It seems realistic that the Viper could be set to revalidate himself with a Money in the Bank win in just under two weeks. I actually even like that Orton didn't have to actually qualify for the match, seeing as he's never received his contractual rematch after losing in the main event at WrestleMania.
Maybe it's too soon for one of the newer stars to claim the big one just yet. Maybe the golden boy needs to keep the strap warm for Bryan, even if this would just seem like a bad recurring dream. This would be a bummer of an outcome, but it is a very real possibility.
Then, Orton has won the last two major ladder matches the company has put on, so it could be someone else's turn... it could be time for someone to single-handedly thwart the meddling Authority... Who could that person be...

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Roman Reigns

What a time it has been for the members of The Shield. As a group they were pushed to the moon and earned every inch of the journey through blood and sweat, and now they are being pushed as individuals with slightly new looks and updated theme music, etcetera.
It may feel strange for the moment that Reigns is more concerned with the World Title than exacting revenge on Rollins the betrayer. It feels even stranger that he Looney Tuned his way in to the qualifying Battle Royal by spiking Stephanie's coffee, thereby making the Billion Dollar Princess projectile vomit all over Vicki in what was the most dubiously lowbrow segment since, well, probably when Titus O'Neil was uncontrollably vomiting on people at the Thanksgiving SmackDown. I'll gladly take it, though, as Reigns has gone from being a Most Improved Player to a Most Valuable Player with gusto, and I still go nuts from my couch every time he rallies in a big match.
Just think of how completely unglued the crowd will become if Reigns manages to pull down the belts on June 29th. I'm not sure the WWE can pass that up. Then, they sure did draw out that whole Daniel Bryan thing in the back half of last year, so I'll try to keep my hopes in check.

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Bray Wyatt

Degeneration X did it in the Attitude Era. The Shield did it last year. Plenty more have done it before those groups and plenty more will do it in the future, but the next faction to suddenly find themselves wrapped in gold could well be the Wyatt Family.
There's pretty much no way The Usos aren't dropping their tag belts to Luke Harper and Eric Rowan in the Money in the Bank undercard, and one can pretty much guarantee the newly crowned champs will be involved in the main event in some capacity.
I'm not Wyatt's biggest supporter, but I have seen his major gains and have defended his recent marquee losses as good booking for his developing character. A Wyatt win at Money in the Bank would just make sense at this point. The only thing really working against that theory is that Wyatt qualified on SmackDown as opposed to Raw.
The most appealing factor of seeing the Eater of Worlds at the top of that ladder is that I honestly have no idea what a Wyatt title reign would look like. Aforementioned wild cards will assuredly come in to play, and I do not have any inkling where their respective chips would fall under Wyatt's WWE. Will we finally learn what the message is? Who Sister Abigail is? Will Harper and Rowan open a Kool-Aid stand in the arenas? I would be quite intrigued to find out.

WWE Money in the Bank airs on PPV and the WWE Network June 29th.

1 comment:

  1. I Say John cena is going to win!!!! Anyone wanA bet!! anyone?????


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