By Michael Yoder
It’s crazy to think that we are almost one month removed from the enormous, impressive yet underwhelming show that is WrestleMania 32. Unfortunately, WrestleMania brings to an end, without a doubt, the most enjoyable stretch of WWE programming throughout the year. WrestleMania season is always fresh, exciting, and must-see TV. On the flip side, the months after Mania are slow and difficult to watch. This period of WWE programming lacks star power (Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker and others always leave us for a few months) and offers us unimportant “B” pay-per-views with minimal storyline development (Payback, Extreme Rules).
As fans, we need to sift through the garbage in order to find gold and in a few short months, thankfully, gold will be upon us! As the temperature rises and the weather improves, so does WWE programming. The month of June brings us the end of the school year, the start of summer, and the Money in the Bank pay-per-view/special. Money in the Bank is one of my personal top 3 specials and almost ALWAYS provides us with great memories. The event itself has given us the infamous Punk/Cena match of 2011 and almost always provides us with a thrilling ladder match. From a storyline perspective, it is a vital event that helps to shape the landscape and future of the WWE. In my opinion, no other special except for the Royal Rumble is more important. The 2016 MITB ladder match offers up MANY exciting possibilities and I will dive into who I think will be participating in the match as well as their odds of winning the briefcase, and inevitably becoming the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
The Money in the Bank Ladder Match
It will be very interesting to see how many superstars perform in the ladder match this year. In years past, the ladder match would have anywhere between 6 and 10 superstars vying for the contract and a shot at the WWE WH Championship. This year, I believe there is so much well-deserved talent that it would be absolutely criminal if there is less than 7 superstars competing in the match. While I do believe there will be 7-8 superstars in the match, I’m going to move on and discuss my TOP 5 contenders for the MITB briefcase…
Honorable Mentions: AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, Dean Ambrose, Apollo Crews
First things first, all four of these superstars are TREMENDOUS in-ring talents but unfortunately, just barely outside of my TOP 5 for one reason. That reason is that the roster is just INSANELY deep at the moment. If this was 2013/2014, any of these four would probably be favorites to win the ladder match…
5. Bray Wyatt
My first contender is currently on the disabled list with a calf injury but should be back well ahead of the Money in the Bank PPV, barring any setbacks. Listen, it is absolutely no surprise that WWE has dropped the ball with Bray and his family. Honestly, they’ve dropped the ball more than once and the fact that the audience doesn’t view Bray as a total joke says something about the character and his talent.
Before his injury, he was slowly turning face and hopefully, the crowd reacts positively to this because it’s very exciting and may bring about many great opportunities.
If reports are true (and let’s all hope that they are in this case), Vince McMahon and the higher ups are WWE are finally warming up to Cesaro and willing to give him the push he has always deserved. What better way to launch his career into the main event level than with the MITB briefcase?
If Sheamus can win MITB in 2015, there is no doubt in my mind that Cesaro should be given the opportunity and be able to run with it.
3. Kevin Owens
As a fan of Kevin Owens, I hope his character really stops being the whiny, crybaby heel who complains about everything and goes back to being the asskicking prize-fighter who beat John Cena handily in his first WWE match. The pairing of KO and the MITB briefcase would provide for some excellent and entertaining segments.
The briefcase would also play well into Owens personality as a smart heel who picks his spots wisely and becomes WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
2. Seth Rollins
What else is there to say? Imagine the main event ladder match is about to begin when all of a sudden, Shane McMahon shows up to tell us that there is a surprise contestant. The crowd in Las Vegas would GO ABSOLUTELY NUTS for his return and a babyface Rollins is a character that everyone would enjoy watching.
Admittedly, Rollins is at a level where he really doesn’t need the briefcase to get over but it would be a nice accomplishment for the former WWE champion who really never lost the title.
1. Finn Balor
Hey VKM and WWE writers, pay attention. Do you want to make new superstars so you don’t need to rely on the John Cenas and Brock Lesnars of the world? This is how you do that. Putting Finn Balor in the MITB ladder match for his first WWE televised match would establish him as a main event player.
Taking it a step further, booking him to win the briefcase in his first WWE match against 6-7 other worthy superstars immediately gives him some credibility and tells the WWE Universe that Finn Balor is going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
Overall, I am really looking forward to Money in the Bank 2016, as I believe the ladder match has the potential to be an all-time great match. This year, there are so many worthy contenders for the briefcase and whoever ends up climbing that ladder will have a great future ahead of them.
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