Friday, May 26, 2017

TWB ODDSMAKERS: The WWE World Championship Money in the Bank

Is Money in the Bank Corbin's for the taking?
Photo Credit:
The calendar has almost reached the month of June, and you know what that means. It's time for dads, grads, and Money in the Bank. This year, the briefcase will belong to only one brand, Smackdown, and confined to only the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, although I wouldn't put it past WWE to pull a fast one and have the winner try to cash in on the Universal Champion. But that's fodder for another site altogether. Anyway, six wrestlers have been announced for the fray: AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Shinsuke Nakamura. The field seems loaded, and conceivably, any one of them could win and have it make narrative sense. But some winners make more sense than others, and I'm here to place odds on each one, including people who aren't even in the match.

FIELD 250-1 - Okay, so I don't think any more people are going to be added to the match, because really, who else could be added already on Smackdown who warrants inclusion with this group of main event guys and Dolph Ziggler? But the specter of a NXT call-up or a flash RAW trade is always in the works for a WWE that hasn't quite shaken the Vince Russo Swerve for Swerve's Sake mentality completely. That being said, while one must account for a surprise entrant in this day and age, even surprise ones. However, one class of surprise entrant could end up in the match, and that's the loser(s) from the WWE Championship match, if it happens to go on earlier than the ladder match.

Dolph Ziggler 100-1 - The Dolph Ziggler ship has sailed, and WWE knows it. He's feuding with Shinsuke Nakamura now because WWE knows he's not afraid to prop-bump to make him look good, and because Ziggler is a layup of a wrestler for Nak to get decisive wins against in his first program. He'll probably fall off a ladder and wear gaudy and somewhat racist gear, but if he wins the briefcase, I will eat a buffet of like 100 hats.

Rusev 99-1 - I give Rusev slightly worse odds than Ziggler only because he still feels viable. But whether his current demands of Shane McMahon lead to him being put in an actual title match or even in the Money in the Bank match as a later insertion, I don't think it's his year. Rumblings put him in a marquee match against McMahon at SummerSlam, and it feels like the Papa Vince and his Smackdown creative team are going to give the case to someone with a little more immediacy to cash in.

Jinder Mahal 50-1 - I don't think Mahal makes it to Battleground as the Champion, but whether he's cashed in upon or loses straight up to, ugh, Randy Orton is a mystery. I can see him getting inserted late and having a strong showing with copious Singh Brother interference to follow up his big win at Backlash, but I'll still be surprised if he gets the nod over five of the six guys already announced.

AJ Styles 25-1 - Styles could win the briefcase, but if ever a time presented himself to take it, it was last year, before his first title, before he had "earned" the respect of the greater WWE Universe or some shit. I'm not speaking for the fans at large, because I'm not sure how entrenched he was upon arrival, but I'm going by bullshit WWE narratives. Anyway, he feels like a classic, noble babyface right now, and he doesn't need the subterfuge of a cash-in to believably win the title.

Randy Orton 20-1 - I honestly want to say that Orton has no shot at the briefcase if he fails to win the Championship. However, WWE loves punishing its fans with him, so these odds are given out of abject fear that Vince McMahon continues to love Orton's reactions that even if he's not the Champion, he has the ace up his sleeve to get it.

Sami Zayn 12-1 - Zayn is floating in this formless void right now where he's getting stories but that they give him no upward mobility. I'm not sure main roster creative particularly knows what it has with him, which is why I can see him getting the Daniel Bryan in 2011 Memorial Briefcase Win. But unlike other guys that WWE has just floating aimlessly like, uh, Baron Corbin, I'm not sure I can convince myself that Zayn is a guy they only push when someone other than, like, Kevin Dunn gets McMahon's ear for a moment or two. The ultimate "believe it when I see it" push candidate.

Kevin Owens 10-1 - Owens, on the other hand, seems to have gotten several votes of confidence and a huge platform time and time again to show it. The only reason I don't peg him as the favorite is because he almost feels above the briefcase if that makes sense. Like, he will continue to get big stories where he's at the center of attention, and giving him the briefcase would feel superfluous. Conversely, I can see him holding both the US Championship and the briefcase in some Gem-fusion of asshole cocksurety. So it's a hard call either way.

Shinsuke Nakamura 5-1 - Nakamura would be the favorite if I didn't think that WWE wasn't planning on putting him in a title program for SummerSlam without any trickery. Besides, his positioning has been all on the up and up since coming to NXT. I feel like having him ensure a title shot by cashing in ahead of time could be on the table, but it would be wholly unnecessary. Still, WWE has been known to be super redundant with pushing guys, so who knows.

Baron Corbin 2-1 - Corbin checks a lot of boxes for a potential briefcase winner. He's got nothing going on right now that could be described as more than seg filler. He's being declawed so to speak, especially in taking back-to-back clean losses to Zayn. He's a WWE body guy that the company has put a lot of stock behind since coming to the main roster. He's not won a title since even coming to NXT. And to top it all off, his MO all along has been to make as few friends as possible so that sneak attacking someone is right up his alley. He's so typical a briefcase winner that I'm surprised WWE is even making him go through the motions to take the thing home. The only reason he's at worse odds than even money is because WWE has populated the field with four other probable winners so far. But Corbin feels as close to a consensus favorite going in that one would be abjectly stupid not to peg him as the one with the best odds to win.

And there you go, a field of six (or more) ready to battle over the right to clobber Rusev, Randy Orton, or Jinder Mahal in the back with a briefcase and win the WWE Title. Now watch this entire table be proven wrong and Ziggler cause an entire arena of people to groan at him trying to make Money in the Bank great again or some shit like that. Anyway, check back here when the rumored Women's Money in the Bank match gets announced so I can give specious odds for someone like, say, Asuka to win a match she isn't even announced for!