Championship Ladder Match Will Reveal WWE’s Long-Term Booking Plans
The ladder match at Money in the Bank for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is the major drawing card for the show. Some writers have espoused the belief that the PPV will be a disappointment. They may be right in terms of overall match quality, but the lure of crowning a new champion should bring in substantial viewership. If not, the WWE has to be concerned about the supposed value of their top prize.
The contest will feature John Cena, Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, Cesaro, Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio. Neither Del Rio nor Sheamus has a prayer of winning the belts, but the rest of the field is wide open. The unpredictability of the match, along with the guarantee of a new champion, should be enough to carry the PPV.
Daniel Bryan still has a claim to the world title, and one would assume he’ll be trying to win it back when he returns from injury. We still don’t know when he’ll be cleared to compete, but company officials have benchmarked SummerSlam as a worst-case scenario. If that’s the plan, it makes sense to have a heel champion for Bryan to face at the biggest event of the summer.
If Bryan still isn’t healthy enough to wrestle, or if the WWE has lost interest in him completely, everything is out the window.
On the heel side, Wyatt, Orton and Cesaro are all viable candidates to win. Winning the straps would elevate Cesaro or Wyatt, even if their reign is destined to be transitional. An Orton victory would induce more than a few groans, but if the idea is to build a challenger for Bryan to defeat, he may be the best option. Orton losing the titles to Bryan at SummerSlam wouldn’t hurt his character at all, but it may do damage to the younger, less established wrestlers like Wyatt or Cesaro. It’s a tough call.
A victory for Reigns or Cena would seem to indicate a substantial change of plans. A win for Reigns would be especially bad news for Bryan, demonstrating that the WWE has found its new star and has no intention of looking back. Cena claiming the straps would also hurt Bryan’s chances of immediately regaining the spotlight. Cena lost his championship to Bryan at last year’s summer spectacular, so don’t bet the farm on that happening a second time.
The winner of the ladder match will provide a significant clue towards the company’s booking direction. Is everything being built around Daniel Bryan, or will the WWE make a new star and never look back? We’ll find out on June. 29.