Since its inception in 2005, Money in the Bank has gone from a signature single match at WrestleMania to one of the most hotly anticipated Pay-Per-View events of the year. This year’s event has an added twist as for the first time ever, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is on the line in a multiple man ladder match, as well as the now-traditional match in which the participants battle it out for the briefcase which guarantees a championship shot at any time in the next twelve months.
The Money in the Bank briefcase has been the catalyst for the rise of a number of superstars in WWE history. The inaugural winner and WWE Hall of Famer Edge won the first Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 21, and would go on to successfully cash in on John Cena to win his first WWE Championship in January 2006. CM Punk won back-to-back ladder matches at WrestleManias 24 and 25, and would go on to cash in and win the gold from Edge and Jeff Hardy respectively. Rob Van Dam’s first (and only) WWE title victory came after he cashed in his shot against John Cena at the ECW Pay Per View One Night Stand in 2006. As odd as it may seem now to look back on it, The Miz was another successful ‘Mr Money in The Bank’, cashing in on an injured Randy Orton to win the title in late 2010, which would eventually lead to him headlining Wrestlemania 27. It can also ignite a feud and reinvigorate a stale character, as seen by Randy Orton’s cash in on Daniel Bryan following HHH’s outrageous betrayal at last year’s Summerslam.
The briefcase is not an automatic rocket to the upper echelons of WWE, however. Jack Swagger’s win at Wrestlemania 26 and subsequent cash in victory lead to one of the more uneventful title reigns of recent memory, as was Alberto Del Rio’s in 2011. And spare a thought for Damien Sandow, whose win last year ended up being a damp squib, as he unsuccessfully cashed in on John Cena on Raw last October.
This year’s event is really a two match show:
Eight go for the Gold – The main event of the evening is the aforementioned WWE World Heavyweight Championship ladder match, with John Cena, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and Kane all vying to leave as champion. With Daniel Bryan’s neck injury being worse than first feared, there was little choice but to relieve him of the belt and put it on the line here. While there are eight participants, at least three can be discounted as being in the running to win – Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and Kane. That leaves the interesting dark horses in Cesaro and Bray Wyatt, the disaster waiting to happen of yet another Randy Orton title run and the two most likely winners in Roman Reigns, fresh off the dissolution of The Shield, and John Cena, the safest pair of hands WWE has.
It may be too early for a Reigns title win here as his chase for the gold has been far too short, as popular as he is. Another scenario could see a Reigns win but a Seth Rollins cash in (more on that later), but that could be seen as a waste of Reigns’ first title win. If Luke Harper and Erick Rowan were to win the tag titles, then perhaps Bray Wyatt could make it a clean sweep for the Wyatt Family and walk out champion? Cesaro’s association with Paul Heyman and the return of a certain Brock Lesnar for Summerslam also raises the possibility of the two ‘Heyman Guys’ going head to head for the title at WWE’s traditional big summer event.
Lesnar’s imminent return (and WWE’s accidental leak of the Summerslam poster) means that now the most likely scenario is a Cena win and Cena vs Lesnar II headlining Summerslam, with Lesnar looking to avenge his loss to Cena in a classic at Extreme Rules 2012. Cena is the go-to guy in situations like this and, like him or loathe him, he remains WWE’s biggest star. A transitional title reign at this stage is probably the best for all concerned.
Rollins favourite for the briefcase: In the traditional Briefcase Money in the Bank match, the odds appear to favour Seth Rollins, who has a ton of momentum behind him following his betrayal of The Shield and subsequent aligning with The Authority. Rollins, who many thought would be left behind when The Shield inevitably imploded, has instead found himself front and centre and is adapting to the role with great gusto. All eyes are on him this Sunday, so expect a big performance.
The only other real contender for the MITB briefcase is Rollins’ former Shield partner, Dean Ambrose. Ambrose has reinforced his place as wrestling’s best crazy man over the last couple of weeks, with his demented interviews and sneak attacks on Rollins echoing the likes of Roddy Piper and Brian Pillman in their prime. Despite the sad news of Preston’s finest Bad News Barrett’s injury potentially putting him on the shelf, the rest of the cast for this match (Dolph Ziggler, Rob Van Dam, Kofi Kingston and Jack Swagger) will ensure that it will be a high flying and hard hitting war.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Cesaro vs. John Cena vs. Kane vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus
The Usos (c) vs. The Wyatt Family for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Seth Rollins
Paige (c) vs. Naomi for the WWE Diva's Championship
Layla vs. Summer Rae with Fandango as referee
Big E vs. Rusev
Anything else? Daniel Bryan will make his first appearance back since being stripped of the World Heavyweight Championship – in the pre-event build up show.
How can I watch it? Sky Sports Box Office from 1am Monday morning, with the show priced at £14.95 for UK customers and €21.95 for viewers in Republic of Ireland.