Although it’s a strong field at Money in the Bank, only one wrestler will climb the ladder and unstrap the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Who is the most likely candidate?
Actually, there are two. John Cena and Roman Reigns are the favorites going into the championship ladder match, and it’s a safe bet one of them will walk out of Boston with the belts.
If you look at WWE’s booking the last few weeks, Cena and Reigns make a lot of sense. Reigns was given a victory in a 17 minute battle royal, at last eliminating the unstoppable Rusev to claim a spot in the all-important ladder match. The win was portrayed as a big deal and was one of two momentous happenings on Monday Night Raw.
The other major occurrence involved Cena defeating Kane in a stretcher match, earning a spot in next Sunday’s ladder match. Without a doubt, WWE has given Cena and Reigns the most momentum heading into the PPV on Jun. 29.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a “swerve” of some kind, i.e. giving the title to somebody you wouldn’t expect. But knowing the direction WWE is likely headed, I wouldn’t count on it.
Whoever wins the championship at Money in the Bank will likely headline SummerSlam, and as of right now Brock Lesnar will be their opponent. Obviously, WWE wants Lesnar in the world title picture when he makes his return. He did conquer the Undertaker‘s undefeated streak at WrestleMania, after all. Since Brock is a heel, it makes sense to go with a babyface champion to oppose him. Lesnar has been off TV since the night after ‘Mania.
Sheamus is the only babyface in the match other than Cena and Reigns, and he’s already the United States Champion. He’s not a strong enough opponent for Lesnar at this stage of the game, so don’t expect the Celtic Warrior to pull off an upset. Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Alberto Del Rio and Cesaro are all heels, so the dynamic isn’t quite right. Cesaro is a dark horse because of his connection to Paul Heyman, who also manages Lesnar, but don’t place a hearty wager on the King of Swing.
Reigns is a strong possibility and he’s been chosen as the company’s next top guy. But he’s probably not ready for the championship. It’s not a matter of popularity — Reigns has already caught on with the fans in a big way, but his ability to perform in 15 to 20-minute singles matches on PPV is questionable. You don’t need a champion who consistently delivers great matches, but you don’t want someone who embarrasses themselves either.
Another part of the equation is “the chase.” In wrestling, the chase for the belt is often more important than actually winning it. There’s money to be made having Reigns engage in a long quest for the championship. It’s also a good way to ensure the fans are not only ready for the change, but want to see it happen.
So what does it all mean? Unfortunately for the smarks, Cena is definitely the favorite to win the match. It’s not the most exciting direction in the world, but there’s nothing wrong with giving the belt to Cena. He’s still the company’s biggest star and a rematch with Brock Lesnar would draw money. For those of you (like me) who tried to forget, Cena beat Lesnar at Extreme Rules in 2012. With the title on the line, the rematch would theoretically mean more than the last one.
The ladder match at Money in the Bank is going to come down to Cena and Reigns, with Cena likely going over. I can’t wait to see how the fans react.