Chris Fitzpatrick examines the participants in each Money in the Bank ladder match and their odds of winning.
First off, before I get to my odds for the Money in the Bank Ladder Matches, I want to follow the popular trend and weigh in on C.M. Punk. Last night, my wife and I were on the couch watching Monday Night Raw the same way we do every week. It should have been the normal process – we watch the opening segment while eating dinner, get some ice cream during the first commercial, do some housework during the Divas match (unless Beth Phoenix is involved, in which case she’s glued to the set), and remain 75% fixated until we either tap out and go to sleep or something interesting happens.
Admittedly (and I am not proud of this), last week was one of those nights when we tapped out at 10:00 pm and crashed. As a result, I awoke to my cell phone totally blown up with texts and Facebook tirades regarding C.M. Punk’s apparent "shoot" at the end of Raw and subsequent feed-cut. When they aired the clips during the opening of last night’s show, my wife’s jaw dropped. When Punk claimed that he hoped the WWE would be better off if McMahon died, she gasped. Then, knowing that I am a regular on Wrestlezone’s main page as well as the forums, she turned to me and asked one question.
"Is this real?"
Such a loaded question because, for the first time in a while, there is no clear cut answer. Too many shades of gray.
"I honestly am not sure." I replied. Now to be fair, I was fairly sure this had been a "worked shoot" as many of you have mentioned on the forums. If it had been a pure unscripted shoot and the bosses not known about it at all, then Punk’s feed would have been cut sooner. But the end of Punk’s WWE contract is certainly real (whether or not he has or will resign is a mystery to me), as are many of the things he said regarding ROH, Paul Heyman, etc.
I didn’t recant my non-committal answer until Vince – I’m sorry, "Mr. McMahon" showed his hand a bit by exclaiming that he didn’t care what the hell the fans thought. There’s no truth to that statement. That’s the character, Mr. McMahon talking, and not Vincent K. McMahon the entrepreneur. Each paying fan is just another click on the pedometer that is Vinnie Mac’s ego. He’s earned it, and he’s done so by trying to give the fans what they want. So while it’s all clearly somewhere in between "work" and "worked shoot," I for one don’t really care. Simply stated, I don’t care because I am truly interested in seeing what happens next. Work, shoot, or in between, I’m hooked.
That said, the confrontation between Cena and Punk will occur in 12 days at Money in the Bank, and it just wouldn’t be a MITB PPV without my giving you all the odds each participant has in the two ladder matches. We’ll start with Smackdown, since I just covered Raw’s big story.
Smackdown Money in the Bank
Heath Slater, 50-1. It’s great that he’s getting some PPV time in something other than a tag team match, but he’s an unremarkable part of the roster with zero personal heat coming in. Likely, he’ll be on the receiving end of a big spot from Kane or S(h)eamus.
Justin Gabriel, 45-1. Let’s all face it – he’s in the match solely so he can hit a 450-splash from the top of a ladder. He may also be here to finally split from Slater and Barrett.
Kane, 35-1. He won last year, and doesn’t strike anyone as a viable 2-time winner. He took the WHC last year out of dire need for a stable champion, but with Orton and Christian at the top of the heap, Kane doesn’t need to come to the rescue this year.
Sin Cara, 30-1. He just lost his first match, and despite being "Triple H’s pet project," he’s no place close to a major title shot. He’ll botch some big spots and he’ll hit some big spots, but he is a crash and burn away from being an after thought in this match.
Daniel Bryan, 25-1. He’s a babyface with very little momentum. That never bodes well in a match like this, which favors heels seeking a breakout. Bryan is a great mid-card worker, but not a guy I see holding a briefcase.
Wade Barrett, 10-1. Odds suddenly improve when we get to my top 3. Barrett just dropped the IC title to Big Zeke, and is now seeking a new program. I have too strong a feeling that the MITB ladder match is the venue against which the Corre will finally split, which means Barrett getting his chance wrecked by Gabriel and Slater is just too likely.
Cody Rhodes, 6-1. The Dashing One has really come into his own as of late, and I could absolutely see him as a clear foil to Randy Orton in the short term. I still don’t think he’s a long term championship contender, but he’s a guy who could very feasibly win this match.
S(h)eamus, 3-1. The big man from Ireland has been on the fringe of the Orton / Christian feud for some time now, and has heat with both men. Plus, since he’s a two-time former WWE Champion, a Smackdown main event at Summer Slam consisting of S(h)eamus and Orton would be a draw. The potential foil here is the fact that S(h)eamus clearly doesn’t "need" the Money in the Bank briefcase to be a relevant title contender, but he’d sure be a safe bet. Overall, though, unless you want to donate your money, don’t bet outside of the top 3.
Raw Money in the Bank
Alex Riley, 45-1. Too new, too green, and embroiled in an unresolved feud with The Miz. Last night’s Raw further showed us that there is still bad blood with Riley and Miz, and with Riley 2-0 against his former friend, Miz will be pre-occupied with ending Riley’s chances.
Evan Bourne, 40-1. Just like Justin Gabriel and Sin Cara on Smackdown, Bourne isn’t a serious contender for the briefcase here. He is there to do some amazing high spots – probably with fewer botches than Sin Cara – and then get flattened.
Jack Swagger, 38-1. He’s won the Money in the Bank before, and won the World Heavyweight Title as a result. And from there? One of the worst world title reigns ever. Swagger has been embarrassed by Evan Bourne for weeks now, and last night on Raw had a HUGE win <smirk> over…Sgt. Slaughter!?
The Miz, 20-1. I don’t generally like the guys who are in unresolved feuds coming in to these matches. Miz’s feud with Riley is heating up, which makes Miz a prime target of a big let down in this match. Plus, Miz had the case for MONTHS last year, and if he had it again now, fans would get a little annoyed.
Kofi Kingston, 20-1. Same odds as Miz for many similar reasons. He’s still in a feud over the US title with Dolph Ziggler, who is oddly not in this match at all. I’d not be shocked if Ziggles interferes. Kofi is also a face (MITB favors heels) in whom I lack confidence to be able to carry that briefcase around for a while.
R-Truth, 15-1. As interesting as Truth with the Money in the Bank case would be – for about 2-3 weeks – the Little Jimmy puns would run their course really fast. Truth is a strange case of a heel who works better when the odds are stacked against him. Comspiracy claims and all. Plus, there wasn’t very much too fascinating about his one-month program with Cena that makes ANYONE want to see it again.
Rey Mysterio, 10-1. It’s no secret that I am not a Mysterio fan. I respect Oscar Guttierez, but I am way past the Rey character. The 619 is the most obnoxiously overdone finisher since the Worm. But that said, the guy is consistent and always a threat in a match like this. Let’s just say for a second that Punk somehow beats Cena for the title. Wouldn’t Rey be a magnificent choice for Punk’s first defense? The two have had wars in the ring. Even Cena vs Rey would be interesting because it would test the loyalty of WWE’s 6-14 year old market. Puberty be damned!
Alberto del Rio, 2-1. My overwhelming favorite, much the way he was for the Royal Rumble. There’s just something so natural about del Rio riding into an arena in a Bentley and emerging from the drivers seat with the MITB case in hand and odd scarf (mid-summer, mind you) around his neck. He’s a logical future contender for John Cena, and as he won the "new" #1 contenders match last night on Raw, he is sort of left twisting in the wind. del Rio was sent to Raw to be a top heel to John Cena. If Punk did not and does not resign, it’s del Rio’s "brass ring" to grab.
To close up – I watched the "Best of WCW Monday Nitro" DVD with a good friend and fellow wrestling fan on Sunday. If you have nothing to do on a rainy afternoon, this is a great watch for the sake of nostalgia and the value of "those who have not learned from history are doomed to repeat it." A few take-aways:
1. I’m sure his beef is legit, and I have no reason to doubt the man. He has a hell of a lot more experience than I do. But regardless of Mark Madden’s professional beefs, there was a time Diamond Dallas Page was over as hell.
2. Bill Goldberg will never happen again. And I don’t mean the man individually. I mean the sudden and unstoppable heat. My friend Adam, with whom I watched the DVD, astutely pointed out that, at the time of occurence, Hogan vs Goldberg was the biggest Monday Night Main Event in wrestling history.
3. Billy Kidman vs Juventud Guerrera and Chris Jericho vs Rey Mysterio are two indisputable reasons why the WWE should bring back the Cruiserweight Division.
4. How Torrie Wilson isn’t regarded as the hottest woman in wrestling history across the board is beyond me.
If you’d like to chat Punk, my MITB Odds, or any other professional wrestling (or non-professional wrestling) topic, please check out the Wrestlezone Forums! http://forums.wrestlezone.com/.
Happy 4th of July!
Chris "IrishCanadian25" Fitzpatrick