Whenever we draw closer to Money in the Bank (whether it’s at WrestleMania or is its own pay-per-view), we begin examining the chances that each superstar has of winning.
Almost instantly, we can eliminate a few stars as potential winners of each match, as there seems to be virtually no chance they will emerge victorious.
Likewise, we establish the favorites right away, with two, three or perhaps even four guys in each MITB match appearing to have as good a chance as anybody of actually winning.
Sometimes, that list is even smaller.
Like with Alberto Del Rio in Raw’s Money in the Bank match last year, it was pretty obvious from the get-go that he would win the briefcase and the guaranteed World title shot that came along with it.
But as we approach the 2012 MITB matches, there is no Del Rio that sticks out in either match.
In the WWE Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder match (that’s a mouthful, huh?), there are circumstances that could lead to all four participants winning the match.
His feud with CM Punk never really seemed to receive a proper ending, so I could see the WWE having Jericho win this match in order to give us the final phase of Jericho vs. Punk.
We also have to consider the possibility of a potential feud between Jericho and Daniel Bryan, because the WWE certainly teased beef between those two on Monday’s Raw.
Also, Jericho has yet to win a pay-per-view match since his return, so there’s the possibility that this is his first major win since his comeback.
Given his recent involvement in the WWE title feud, a Kane MITB win makes a ton of sense.
He has beef with both Bryan and Punk, and he also has some history with AJ, who’s at the center of that feud.
From a logic standpoint, Kane winning is something that works really well, regardless of who wins the WWE Championship match at Money in the Bank.
Big Show is being pushed as an unstoppable monster right now, and despite the loss to John Cena at No Way Out, I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon.
Show has largely stayed away from the WWE title throughout his career, but he now has an opportunity to win the belt that’s evaded his grasp for roughly a decade.
He could do that by beating Punk for the WWE title. After all, Punk vs. Big Show is one of the rumored WWE title matches for SummerSlam.
Let’s just come right out and say it—being that this is Cena’s first MITB match, he’s got a great chance of winning it.
It’s hard to imagine Cena entering this match only to lose it, especially with another potential feud with Punk lined up for him.
Punk vs. Cena at SummerSlam isn’t a given, but it is rumored to happen next month, according to F4WOnline (h/t WrestlingInc.com).
When you think about all the possibilities that stem from each guy winning—whether it’s Kane, Y2J, Cena or Show—they all make some sense.
Even though I think Cena’s the slight favorite, he’s not jumping out at me as the clear-cut winner of the match, making it pretty unpredictable.
Last week, the World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder match seemed unpredictable, too.
The first five superstars who were announced for the match were Tensai, Tyson Kidd, Damien Sandow, Christian and Santino Marella.
Realistically speaking, the only one out of that group who I could see winning the match is Christian, but given that he’s currently holding the Intercontinental Championship, even that seems unlikely.
Tensai, Kidd, Sandow and Santino have never won World titles, and none of those four seem poised to win one anytime soon, either.
The two favorites seem to be the most recent additions, Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler. They're two future World champions just waiting to happen, and now could be the time when they take one huge step toward achieving that goal.
But the other five all stick out as wild cards, which is precisely what makes this match so hard to predict.
With so many odd variables in it, I can’t definitively say that one guy is going to win the match, because seeing the majority of these competitors emerge victorious would undoubtedly be a huge surprise.
Much like the WWE title MITB match, the WHC match is one that could go a different number of ways, and I love it.
While Ziggler and Rhodes stick out as the favorites, this match sort of reminds me of the 2011 SmackDown Money in the Bank when guys like Sheamus were clear-cut favorites as well, but Daniel Bryan wound up shocking us all by winning the match.
The WWE is giving us what we used to get during the early MITB matches: balance.
There was so much balance throughout the MITB matches from 2005 to 2010 that at least half the field appeared to have a legitimate shot at winning it.
Each and every single one of those matches was loaded with talent, and it wouldn’t have been shocking to see any superstar involved walk away with the victory.
I mean, would we have been that surprised if Chris Benoit won it in 2005, if Randy Orton, Edge or Jeff Hardy won it in 2007 or if Chris Jericho or MVP won it in 2008?
Not really, right?
Well, it looks like we’re getting that unpredictable balance once again in 2012.
Every superstar in the WWE title MITB match is a decorated former champion who has a storyline reason to win the bout and go after the WWE champion.
Meanwhile, just about every star in the WHC MITB match is an unproven star who would shock the world if he won the match. After all, none of these competitors have ever been long-term main eventers.
Thus, we're getting very balanced and unpredictable matches, but in very different ways, with one match full of proven vets and one full of guys looking for a chance to make it to the top for the long haul.
I’m not sure we can say that these Money in the Bank matches are the most unpredictable ever, because just about every Money in the Bank has been pretty damn unpredictable.
But I will say this: Even if I think I do, I don’t really know who’s going to leave that pay-per-view with a briefcase in hand.