The Money in the Bank pay-per-view event is one of the most-anticipated shows on the yearly World Wrestling Entertainment calendar. Fans tune in to see which WWE competitor will end up with the MITB briefcase, which contains in it a (storyline) contract for an upcoming World Heavyweight Championship match. A plethora of superstars have utilized a MITB victory to propel themselves into the main event picture in the past, and the perception is that those who purchase the MITB show or who attend it live and in-person are watching the crowning of who will be the next big star in WWE.
Seth Rollins was the last case of a former midcard wrestler using a MITB contract to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Rollins was the first person to cash in his briefcase on the biggest stage in all of North American professional wrestling when he stormed to the ring during the Roman Reigns versus Brock Lesnar match at WrestleMania 31 and then pinned his former “Shield” teammate to win the top title in the company. Some fans and insiders have, since WrestleMania, viewed Rollins as being nothing more than a transitional champion, and thus he could be a potential back-to-back MITB winner.
The WWE has seemingly moved to a booking system that involves champions holding onto their titles for longer than just a month or so, and thus it may be foolish to suggest that Rollins is not going to remain the company's top champion up through at least SummerSlam 2015. What is not all that crazy of a suggestion is that one of the other two former members of the Shield will end the MITB show standing tall atop the ladder with briefcase in hand. Which of those two is chosen, if either man gets the rub, will depend on how the WWE pushes those two individuals.
The WWE is nothing if not a company that is keen on repetitive storylines, and the company putting the MITB briefcase into the hands of Neville would be a “wash, rinse, repeat” style of booking. We saw it with CM Punk after his run in the rebranded Extreme Championship Wrestling. The company gave the same type of run to Daniel Bryan. Why bother saddling Neville with either the Intercontinental Championship or the United States Championship when the company could have him get over as the MITB holder who wins matches on television and at pay-per-view shows?
14 Sami Zayn
No babyface in the WWE, not even Daniel Bryan, would be perceived to be more of an underdog than Sami Zayn, and thus the storyline that involves him making a run with the MITB briefcase writes itself, as Zayn could qualify his way into the contest with a fluke win against a top competitor. He has the skills to work an entertaining ladder match and the crowd would erupt with a massive pop were Zayn to be in possession of the briefcase at the end of the match. From there, WWE could go one of several ways with the character before deciding when he cashes in.
13 Kevin Owens
Anyone who has any questions as to how Kevin Owens made his way onto this list has obviously not been paying attention to the NXT product in 2015. Owens has been the top performer for that brand during the first half of the current year, and all indications are that those running WWE are high on the wrestler formerly known as (his real name) Kevin Steen. Owens versus Roman Reigns and Owens versus Brock Lesnar would make for some fun brawls, and Owens could also hold the briefcase for up to a year while notching victories on Raw.
12 Finn Balor
Finn Balor quickly became one of the top babyfaces of the NXT brand, and there is little doubt that he has the in-ring skills to work with anybody on the main WWE roster. It is only a matter of time before Balor gets his shot on the main roster, and that could begin with a surprise victory at the MITB show. While Balor has no business in cashing in the MITB briefcase at any point in 2015, he could be booked strong up through the winter months so that he is over with fans up through the days leading up to WrestleMania 32.
11 Randy Orton
Of all of the wrestlers showcased in this piece, Orton is probably the safest choice; not “safe” as in he is the most-likely to win it, but safe in that Orton can switch from babyface to heel at the flip of a switch. Orton is also talented enough to work safe and entertaining contests with anybody on the main roster. A performer who is in such a high spot on cards like Orton does not need the MITB briefcase to get himself over, but the WWE has not, in the past, shied away from going with a veteran in this match ahead of an up-and-coming wrestler.
Every such list of potential MITB winners deserves an upset pick, and that is how Stardust makes the cut this time around. The WWE has done just about anything possible in an attempt to make Cody Rhodes a top wrestler in the company, and that includes handing him a silly Stardust gimmick that Rhodes has done well to make his own. Assuming that the WWE is still high on Rhodes being able to, at the very least, work in a World Heavyweight Championship contest, Stardust could be handed a surprise MITB victory this coming June.
Sheamus has, according to wrestling journalists and supposed insiders, been a favorite of those running WWE for years, and the company handing him one of the two midcard straps would do little for that title and for the character. It is understood that the company only has so many main event spots – which is a good argument for the return of the brand split (another piece for another day) – but Sheamus could hold onto the MITB briefcase for months until he cashed it in versus a wrestler such as Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar or even John Cena.
8 Dolph Ziggler
With every 12 months that pass by, it is yet another year when the WWE refuses to give Dolph Ziggler a push up to the main event of shows. Ziggler is not getting any younger as a performer, and the guy puts his body on the line each time he is written to be in a ladder match. Forget everything that has happened in past storylines regarding the character. Winning the MITB briefcase has, in previous years, served as a reset for wrestlers, and that would be the same case for Ziggler if he was finally given a real chance to run with the ball for a significant length of time.
7 Brock Lesnar
No performer in the WWE is more over than Brock Lesnar and having him throw guys around in a ladder match would make for great fun for those watching. Add in the factor of manager Paul Heyman carrying around the briefcase for months while at the same time threatening that Lesnar could cash in at any moment, and those who watch WWE on a weekly basis should hope that Lesnar returns to win MITB. Not even Lesnar's limited schedule keeps this from being a possibility, as Heyman could serve as the mouthpiece for “The Beast” at Raw and SmackDown events.
We have arrived at the point where the WWE has to decide just what the company has in Rusev. Is he eventually going to be one of the top players in the promotion, or will Rusev be nothing more than the heel foreigner who continues to feud with American wrestlers? The idea of Lana carrying the MITB briefcase around and cutting promos about Rusev eventually cashing that contract is entertaining in theory, and there is no reason that the WWE would have to make a final decision on Rusev winning or not winning a championship in 2015.
5 Seth Rollins
Since breaking up The Shield and turning heel to join up with The Authority, Seth Rollins has been playing the role of the conniving and cowardly heel. It would thus not damage the character too much were he to lose the World Heavyweight Championship at some point, only for Rollins to then repeat as a back-to-back MITB briefcase winner. The WWE could then essentially repeat storylines from 2014 that involved Rollins, which may be ideal if the company does not want Rollins to do a job to Brock Lesnar at an event such as SummerSlam.
4 Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns was knocked back down back to the midcard following his WrestleMania 31 defeat to former partner Seth Rollins, but a short feud with Big Show should not have anybody believing that the WWE has given up on Reigns being the next top babyface in the company. Reigns has the look that the WWE loves in main even players. He is, despite what occurred at WrestleMania 31 and at the Raw that followed that pay-per-view, still largely over among fans. Reigns winning the briefcase could set up a potential three-way match involving all former Shield members down the road.
3 Daniel Bryan
There are two things that could make Daniel Bryan a favorite to win MITB when the evening of the pay-per-view show arrives: He never lost the World Heavyweight Championship in a match, and he remains an over babyface with the majority of in-house crowds. The biggest concern with having Bryan once again hold the MITB briefcase is that his body has begun to betray him, so much so that he was taken off of the European tour that followed WrestleMania 31. Odds are that Bryan will never be at 100 percent again as an active in-ring performer. Can the WWE trust him to be able to perform in main events for months and months?
2 Bray Wyatt
The breaking up of the supposed cult family has done zero favors to Bray Wyatt, and not even a short and contrived feud with The Undertaker could light a spark under the character. Wyatt needs a jump-start in the worst way and that could come at MITB if he is booked to win the briefcase. It would be the logical next-step in the advancement of the performer, as Wyatt really can only do so much in the middle of cards. Does anybody out there really need to see Wyatt have multiple matches with the likes of Ryback? I didn't think so.
1 Dean Ambrose
Logic suggests that the time for Dean Ambrose to win the MITB contract and emerge past a stale midcard status has arrived this spring. It is hardly a secret that the WWE has been high on all three Shield members since that faction was called up to the main roster, and Ambrose is the last of them to be pushed up to the top of cards. What is a further positive for predicting Ambrose as the favorite to win the 2015 MITB briefcase is that he has the mic skills and in-ring abilities to play either babyface or heel, and thus he could cash in his opportunity in a variety of ways over a year-long period.