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Money in the Bank Breakdown: All-Stars Match for WWE Title Contract
By John Canton (@johnreport)
The main event for this Sunday's WWE Money in the Bank pay-per-view in Philadelphia may be John Cena vs. Mark Henry for the WWE Title, but that's not the match I want to see the most. I'm not trying to be disrespectful to them. It's just that this "All-Stars" Money in the Bank Ladder Match has become one of the most anticipated matches of the year to me.
What makes it so interesting? Three things:
1) The talent in the match. It might be the most talented field in WWE Money in the Bank history. There are seven men who are former WWE or World Champions and all of them are fan favorites. That's rare to see. It could create a situation where the WWE Universe ends up cheering for everybody in the match, which would create a very unique atmosphere.
2) The match itself. For most WWE fans, their favorite "specialty match" is the Royal Rumble. That's understandable because it's been around for over 25 years and is always fun to watch. However, I think an argument can be made that a Money in the Bank match is the best specialty match in WWE because of how great it has been since the first one at WrestleMania 21 in 2005. It's certainly an arguable point at the very least.
3) The prize. The Money in the Bank briefcase is special. It's powerful. It's like that winning lottery ticket we all hope to get one day. Okay so maybe you're not winning $20 million with it, but for a WWE Superstar that briefcase gives them a chance at major championship gold. Since every briefcase holder has won the championship when they cashed in (except John Cena last year), it's an example of how valuable that briefcase is.
This year's match to determine who will earn the Money in the Bank briefcase for a shot at the WWE Championship features seven men who have won major championships in the past.
Let's take a look at them to see who has the best chance to emerge as the winner. I'll least them in order from least likely winner to my choice as the winner.
Kane (1x WWE Champion, 1x World Champion)
Is Kane still in the match? We don't know. As seen on Monday's edition of Raw, Kane was brutally attacked by the debuting Wyatt Family and WWE.com has an article up about how we won't know Kane's status until Friday. Even if Kane does compete on Sunday, will he be too injured to win a match like this against such tough competition? I think so. I doubt we will see Kane emerge as the winner if he's physically able to compete.
There's also a chance that Kane could be replaced in the match. Personally, I hope that doesn't happen because I think the match would still be great with the six other talents in the ring.
Christian (2x World Champion)
Nobody in this matchup has more Ladder Match experience than Christian. His tag team Ladder Match with Edge against The Hardy Boys all the way back at No Mercy 1999 put him on the map in a lot of ways. That match was followed by a number of memorable TLC tag team matches (WrestleMania X-7 was my favorite) and many singles ladder matches as well. In fact, Christian's first World Title win was in a Ladder Match against Alberto Del Rio at Extreme Rules 2011.
Heading into this match I wouldn't call Christian the favorite, but he does have the veteran savvy to be considered a threat. Don't be surprised if there are a few moments in the match where Christian might have the upper hand. In the end, though, I don't see him as the winner of the match.
Sheamus (2x WWE Champion, 1x World Champion)
Sheamus had a very impressive 210 day World Title reign in 2012 that was overshadowed by CM Punk's 434 day WWE Title reign. It's been nearly a year since he was the World Champion and over three years since he held the WWE Title. Do you think he wants to get to that level once again? I do.
What I like most about Sheamus is he's one of the most physically imposing wrestlers in WWE, yet he can also keep up with the more athletic guys. He's one of those men that can have an entertaining brawl with Mark Henry or Big Show, but he can also keep up with quicker opponents like Daniel Bryan or CM Punk. He's very capable of putting on entertaining matches especially in a PPV environment. He's not just a brawler; he's an all around talent.
He's definitely a threat to win this match, but he's not my pick. It wouldn't surprise me if we see him challenging for a major championship soon, though.
CM Punk (2x WWE Champion, 3x World Champion)
The self proclaimed "best in the world" has been on fire since returning to WWE at Payback last month. His match with Chris Jericho at that event was outstanding and this past week on Raw he beat Randy Orton. Also in the past month he went face to face with Brock Lesnar, who showed up on Raw, gave Punk the F5 and we haven't seen him since then. You have to wonder if that will come into play on Sunday night.
What Punk has going for him is experience in this match. He's won two Money in the Bank matches (WrestleMania 24 and 25) in the past, which is something nobody else can say. When you've done it before that gives you an advantage. There's no denying that.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a CM Punk fan. I think he's an incredible talent. The question is, will Punk's focus remain on this match or could he be worrying about Brock Lesnar potentially lurking in the shadows?
Rob Van Dam (1x WWE Champion)
In a match full of fan favorites, I don't think anybody will beat RVD in terms of crowd support. They might, but I'm guessing the Philadelphia fans will absolutely love seeing RVD back in the city where he helped put ECW on the map.
A match like this favors a guy like Van Dam because as he said in his great interview on WWE.com there's nobody out there that has an offensive repertoire like him. His array of high flying moves and kicks coming at opponents from different angles make him stand out from the pack. Could we see a Van Terminator or a Five Star Frog Splash off a ladder? It's possible. If he hits something like that it could be a difference maker for him.
Since RVD is coming into this match fresh he could use that momentum to win the match. The question I have is will RVD go into the match trying to win or does he just want to leave an impression as a way to tell the WWE Universe that he's back and better than ever? Whether he wins or loses, I'm very excited to see RVD back in a WWE ring and look forward to seeing what he can do.
Randy Orton (6x WWE Champion, 3x World Champion)
Nobody in this match has won more major championships than Orton, who is one of my favorites in this match. Why? Because his focus is there and he's also never won a Money in the Bank match before. For a guy that has won virtually everything else in WWE, adding a Money in the Bank win to his resume would complete it even more.
I doubt I'm alone in noticing that Orton has been having incredible matches of late with a number of different opponents. In the last few weeks his performances against Daniel Bryan, Christian and CM Punk have all been fantastic. While not all of them were wins, the fact that Orton continues to perform at a very high level makes him very dangerous.
He's not my pick to win, but he is my second choice. I have a feeling that there are big things in Orton's future and whether he gets there by winning the briefcase or he finds another way, it's important that we don't look past him.
Daniel Bryan (1x World Champion)
My pick to win is Daniel Bryan because he's winning big matches, he's performing at a very high level and what makes him most dangerous is that he has a chip on his shoulder. Bryan feels that he's constantly being overlooked. What's the best way to shut up the critics? Win matches. Bryan beat Orton in a street fight on Raw a couple of weeks ago. This past week he defeated Sheamus with an inside cradle. In a Money in the Bank match it's not about a pinfall or a submission. It's about finding a way to come out victorious.
Two years ago at this same event, Bryan won a Money in the Bank match to earn a title shot at the World Champion. A few months later he successfully cashed in. If you look at where Bryan is now compared to where he was two years ago, I think he's in a better place today. He's more confident in his abilities. The reactions he gets from the crowd are as loud as anybody on the WWE roster right now. The "yes" chant is as popular as ever and the best thing about it is that Bryan is embracing it.
Daniel Bryan's also my favorite current wrestler in WWE, so I know that if he wins I will genuinely be happy for him. In my opinion he's as talented as anybody in the wrestling business today and seeing him move one step closer to becoming WWE Champion would make me very happy. Nobody deserves it more than him.
I think this is the year that he becomes the WWE Champion. When and where he wins that WWE Championship I don't know, but if he gets his hands on that briefcase he's going to be knocking on that door.
Will Sunday's All-Stars Money in the Bank match be a night where Daniel Bryan breaks through to become Mr. Money in the Bank one more time? Yes. Yes. Yes.
You can follow me on Twitter @johnreport, email me firstname.lastname@example.org and visit my wrestling website TJRWrestling.com for columns like my weekly WWE Raw Deal and others from our amazing staff.