Ever since being created at WrestleMania 20, the Money in the Bank ladder match has been one of the most anticipated matches in the yearly WWE calendar, with the winner of the illustrious briefcase going on to bigger and better things (more often than not). From Edge to CM Punk and on to the likes of Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan, this opportunity works as a launching pad to superstardom, and there are many performers today who sit on the precipice of said superstardom. And while there are those such as Damien Sandow who fail to capitalize on such an opportunity for one reason or another, being Mr. Money in the Bank is typically a guaranteed ticket up the higher reaches of the card.
From NXT upstarts to former World Champions to future stars, there are many great candidates to win the briefcase in 2017, and with the two current World Champions in the company, this adds a whole new element to being crowned Mr. Money in the Bank. The following are 15 candidates to take home that illustrious briefcase this year.
*Note: While we are aware that Money in the Bank is a SmackDown-specific PPV, there's nothing stopping the WWE from booking a match for the Raw brand to have a winner of their own.
15 Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins' main event run began with the Money in the Bank briefcase, and a few years later, he could be crowned Mr. Money in the Bank once again. This may not be a popular choice, due to Rollins’ constant presence in the main event over the past few years, but putting someone the caliber of Seth in the match will give it added prestige. After he was made the number one pick in the 2016 brand draft, you can’t put it past WWE to give him another shot at the World title, as he is seen as one of the only genuine stars the company is currently building, and someone with such athletic ability would make the match even better, as he would have a great chance to show it off.
14 Tye Dillinger
This one is a longshot considering The Perfect 10 is still in NXT and that he has never won the NXT Championship, but he is a ring veteran and is well-liked by his peers and the fans alike, so you can't discount anything. After his debut in the Royal Rumble, there is no way that Vince McMahon and management can ignore his popularity, but the downside is that he has never been pushed beyond midcarder/upper midcarder in NXT, which brings into question his power as a true draw. Fans do love to join in with the “10” chant, and that must be tempting to push him on the back of, but at the end of the day, this is still very unlikely. Nonetheless, this is not the time for WWE to play it safe, and this may be a risk they decide to take.
Even late last year most fans would have scoffed at the notion that Neville was fit to be Mr. Money in the Bank, but after a heel turn, he has reinvigorated his career. Now, the King of the Cruiserweights has potential to move up from the division, as he would look right at home with the main event talents on Monday Night RAW. With a revamped look and a new attitude, Neville should definitely be considered for the opportunity, as he has become one of the biggest highlights of RAW since his well-timed heel turn. He is still quite young despite his plethora of experience, and WWE should try and give him the ball to see if he could run with it, as WWE may be looking to stock up on cruiserweights to deepen the division after WrestleMania 33.
12 Austin Aries
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived recently lost to Neville at WrestleMania, but it’s hard to imagine someone that has held both the TNA and Ring of Honor World Title will be held down in the cruiserweight division his entire career. As such, Money in the Bank is the perfect time to show that he belongs in the upper echelon in the WWE. He may not fit in with the gargantuan stars like Brock Lesnar, Goldberg or even Roman Reigns on RAW, but if he was moved over to SmackDown, Aries vs. the likes of AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose would all be fantastic feuds. Similar to CM Punk, this would also provide Aries with an opportunity to turn heel, which is where he truly excels, so you may write off this idea at first, but the more you think about it, the more A-Double makes sense as Mr. Money in the Bank.
11 Dolph Ziggler
Every year that the discussion of Money in the Bank comes up, Dolph Ziggler has to be near the top of the list, as he has been seen as someone who has World Champion potential,. As is the story of his career, the WWE never decided to pull the trigger on it. Sure, he was given some brief reigns as World Champion, but the fans were fully behind him. He would have made a great long-term champion, but the company was never fully invested in him, and his career has remained stagnant since. His heel turn has ignited his career again, and while he will probably just been a midcard heel for the remainder of his career, you can never rule out the idea of Ziggler as Mr. Money in the Bank.
10 Bobby Roode
If anyone in NXT fits the mold of Vince McMahons idea of a World Champion, it is the "Glorious" Bobby Roode, as he is very experienced, fantastic in the ring and has the prototypical WWE look. He has great charisma and an aura about him that makes him look like a genuine star, but since he's 40 and not getting any younger, this should be the year WWE at least considers him for a chance to become Mr. Money in the Bank. Again, this one is quite unlikely, as his name hasn’t been floated around for a promotion after WrestleMania, but you can’t discount it as the company quickly gave him the NXT Championship, showing they have an immense amount of faith in him. No doubt he will be higher on this list in 2018, but for now, he is an intriguing option.
Cesaro is no doubt one of the most talented wrestlers in the world, but as we all know, Vince McMahon definitely has some questions about his It-factor, and he doesn’t think that fans could get behind him as a champion in the WWE. The majority of the WWE Universe, especially the "Cesaro Section," strongly disagree with this claim, and have been getting behind everything he’s done for the past year, hoping to push him to the top of the card. Unfortunately Vince is set in his ways, but if they ever wanted to try and see how he could go in the main event, Money in the Bank is the perfect time to do it, as winning the briefcase has launched the careers of Edge, CM Punk and even Daniel Bryan.
8 The Miz
The Miz has accomplished an awful lot since he came to the WWE over a decade ago, but it seems that he is doing his best work in 2016/17 with his wife Maryse by his side, and one last shot at the main event seems imminent. Outside of AJ Styles, it seems that the Miz is seen as the top heel on SmackDown, and if two separate Money in the Bank ladder matches occur this year, a sneaky, cowardly heel with his conniving wife besides his side should be the first choice to win the match. The cowardly promos and fantastic Talking Smack segments would just get better if he won the brief ase, and if he managed to cash in successfully, we could be in for some of the best television we’ve seen in quite some time.
7 Braun Strowman
No one would have thought this when he made his debut in the Wyatt Family, but Braun Strowman is possibly one of the best things going on WWE television right now, as his act is believable and he has improved quite a lot since his early days on main roster television. In fact, he has been having some of the best RAW matches since the brand split, even making a match with the Big Show entertaining, making him an obvious choice to become World Champion within the next year. Big men have typically not won this type of match, but Strowman could be the exception, as him destroying everyone in the match with a multitude of ladders would be incredibly entertaining, and it could set him on a crash course with Brock Lesnar.
6 Sami Zayn
Longtime fans of NXT know just how amazing Sami Zayn is, but ever since coming to Monday Night RAW last year, his booking has been up and down and incredibly disappointing for those fans who have stuck with him throughout his long and emotional journey to the main roster. He has recently been featured heavily towards the top of the program, but reports say that the McMahons are again down on Zayn, eerily similar to the story of Daniel Bryan, who still rose to the top of the card despite Vince and company not being high on him. Sami’s rise may not be as huge for the company, but he has a genuine connection with the crowd and deserves his chance, so Money in the Bank would be the perfect place to start. As he is arguably the biggest pure babyface the WWE has, Zayn of course would forego his surprise Championship opportunity to challenge the champion respectfully, which could end in fantastic underdog matches against the likes of Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe or even Brock Lesnar.
5 Shinsuke Nakamura
Shinsuke Nakamura is quite possibly the biggest star that NXT has ever had, and his time in developmental is coming to an end, which leaves everyone questioning how he will succeed when he arrives on the main roster. From the majority of fans' perspective, Nakamura will be a gigantic star, as he is both enormously charismatic and a hard-hitting performer in the ring, giving him the potential to be the biggest Japanese star in the history of the WWE. He is almost 100% expected to debut on the main roster following WrestleMania, and if the WWE are looking to replace guys like John Cena, Brock Lesnar and Goldberg at the top of the card, then pushing Nakamura as high as they can straight up will be a perfect idea, with Money in the Bank being the perfect place to begin his ascent.
4 Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens is coming off a long run as the Universal Champion, and although his reign wasn’t as good as a lot of people expected, he is still an incredibly talented performer. If booked correctly, he could no doubt have another long, entertaining run at the top. We have seen how good he can be when he is booked as the sarcastic, ruthless heel, and performers with those talents typically thrive as Mr. Money in the Bank, meaning you can’t rule out him as one of the top candidates to take the briefcase. With an impending U.S title reign expected after WrestleMania, this one may not happen this year, but before his career in the WWE is out, expect Kevin Owens to become Mr. Money in the Bank at least once.
3 Baron Corbin
When he came out of NXT a year ago, there were many question marks about every aspect of Baron Corbin's game, from his in-ring work to his rusty promos. Almost one year later, he has been one of the biggest bright spots on SmackDown Live every week. He has competed for the WWE Championship on two occasions in the past few months, and he is one of the most believable characters in the entire WWE. This makes him a perfect candidate for the Money in the Bank briefcase, as the Lone Wolf looks like a genuine threat to anyone holding the top championship belt, and it would play perfectly into his character with the two World Champions, with the Lone Wolf able to stalk and decimate his prey.
2 Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe recently made his debut on Monday Night RAW, and after 15 years on the independent circuit, those who had their doubts about his standing on the main roster have been immediately silenced, as he has been presented as a huge star to this point. After taking out Seth Rollins and then laying waste to Sami Zayn, it’s unknown where he stands for WrestleMania, but if the WWE continues to have him look so good, it’s only a matter of time until the Universal Title finds its way into his crosshairs. There are many different ways to go about this, but the best would be through the Money in the Bank briefcase, as Joe would make a great holder, and watching the Destroyer using a ladder on up to seven victims would be great to see.
1 Finn Balor
Ever since he went down with a shoulder injury at SummerSlam 2016, fans have been eagerly awaiting the return of Finn Balor, and they are anxious to see whether he will remain in the main event scene, or fall down in favor of the older guys who have been pushed since. One way to tell that the WWE are fully behind someone is if they get the Money in the Bank briefcase, as the majority of the winners have gone on to become main event stars following their victory. It’s just a matter of time until the Demon becomes World Champion yet again, and although it may be the obvious choice, this would be a great beginning to the redemption story of Finn Balor.
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