wrestling / Columns

Who Should Win The Men’s WWE Money In The Bank Briefcase?

July 15, 2021 | Posted by Mishal Shuhaiber
WWE Money in the Bank

2021’s WWE Money in the Bank show is more than just another show on the company’s yearly calendar. This event is one that will surely go down in the history books.

After almost a year of watching WWE programming from the isolation of the company’s performance center or an arena packed with digital fans watching from around the world through hundreds of LED screens, WWE is finally returning to the place it tends to shine brightest, in front of tens of thousands of fans. Regardless of the situation across the globe and the still ongoing pandemic, very few things have had me as excited as the return of fans.

Fans are what breathe life into sports in general, cheering for their favorite athletes, booing those they oppose, chanting whenever they see fit, screaming at the top of their lungs at the highest point of each evening and crafting an atmosphere to suit the story playing out in the middle of the arena. Being one of those lucky enough to attend shows both small and large over the course of my life, I can tell you few experiences are as memorable as being a part of a live event.

And with the return of fans into arenas, very few events are as worthy of welcoming fans back as Money in the Bank is. Putting aside the likes of WrestleMania or the Royal Rumble, Money in the Bank is easily my most anticipated yearly event on the calendar. It’s a show and stipulation packed with so much history behind it. Whether we talk about the rise of superstars such as Edge, The Miz, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan or Dolph Ziggler, or even the countless classic matches held under the show’s banner since 2010, it’s a night that always tends to deliver.

Of course, the Money in the Bank ladder match is the highlight attraction of the evening as it is a match that has both brought us classic matches talked about to this day and some of the biggest stars we know of right now. With it comes a plethora of routes the company can go over the coming year in terms of both its mid-card and main event picture on both brands depending on the winner. The most fun part of all this is the speculation. Money in the Bank matches are unpredictable, packed to the brim with stars across both brands and have the potential to sway in multiple directions at any time.

With Money in the Bank 2021 right around the corner, it’s time to take a look at the field of men’s competitors this year and which one of them (in my opinion) has the best chance of winning, and more importantly, which ones deserve it the most.

Ricochet (RAW)

WWE Main Event Ricochet

There’s arguably no star in this list that I’m as divided over as Ricochet at the moment. A former NXT North American Champion and former United States Champion, the man hasn’t been in the best of spots since early 2020 following a devastating defeat to Brock Lesnar in Saudi Arabia. From there he’s bounced around to feuds with the likes of The Hurt Business, Retribution, Mustafa Ali and Sheamus with no real purpose in mind when it comes to the man’s future.

One of the advantages of the Money in the Bank briefcase is its tendency to be claimed by the most unexpected array of superstars. Jack Swagger, Damien Sandow, Otis, all of these names were either marked as underdogs or the least likely to claim the briefcase in the respective contests they were booked into. To some extent, Ricochet holds that mantle for me. His most recent booking and character work leave a lot to be desired but WWE has shown a solid ability to turn things around when they truly want to make a star work for their product.

While I don’t see him claiming the briefcase due to multiple different factors, Ricochet would be my darkhorse pick for this year’s contest.

Seth Rollins (SmackDown)

Seth Rollins WWE Smackdown

Let’s face it, Cesaro should be in this slot.

As excellent as Rollins has been since the start of 2021, the last thing he currently needs is a briefcase to justify his position as one of the company’s leading characters on weekly television. He’s done it all from being a Grand Slam Champion, Royal Rumble winner, Mr. Money in the Bank, a WrestleMania headliner, the title of 2021’s Mr. Money in the Bank is better suited for someone who could use the boost to catapult them into the title picture.

With his feud against Cesaro still likely to continue and the always looming tease of a potential outing against the current Universal Champion Roman Reigns a very realistic possibility, Rollins seems set in terms of what he’s involved with currently in storyline and a potential avenue he could go once all is said and done on his current program.

Like any match he’s in, look for Rollins to be a key feature on the matches highlight reel, but this victory isn’t something I feel he needs to stay relevant.

Drew McIntyre (RAW)

Drew McIntyre WWE Raw 6-14-21

There isn’t much to say on this one. Drew McIntyre has essentially been the guy that carried Monday Night RAW through a global pandemic at a time that the show desperately needed a new star and leader to carry programming forward. He’s spent much of the last year as WWE Champion, racked up quite the resume against a who’s who of talent across the red brand and despite no longer holding the gold, is still proof that when their minds are in the game, WWE can produce some truly incredible characters.

That being said, I think his time in the WWE title scene has run its course, at least for the time being. Considering the degree of talent available across both the red and blue brand who could potentially contest for the WWE or Universal Championship, it’d be a bit disappointing if the company resorted back to having McIntyre overtake the title scene all over again, particularly since his feud with Lashley doesn’t need revisiting anytime soon.

McIntyre has become a star over the past year and in no way am I saying he isn’t a tremendous talent, but I can’t think of a name on this list that needs a Money in the Bank briefcase less than Drew McIntyre at this point.

Big E (SmackDown)

WWE Smackdown Big E.

When we look at the field for this year’s Money in the Bank competitors, there are few as deserving of being in a World Championship Match as much as Big E does currently. The former New Day member has it all; charisma, in-ring ability, a brilliant gimmick, consistent match quality and a vocal fanbase similar to that of Kofi Kingston during his ascent to the title picture in 2019. Big E is in my eyes, what a WWE Champion should be.

As much room as Roman Reigns is taking up over on SmackDown over the past ten months, Big E has managed to carve out quite the resume working outside of the main event scene by being placed in a series of great outings against Apollo Crews, physical wars against Sheamus, and a highly entertaining feud against Sami Zayn that saw him capture the Intercontinental title for the first time since 2013. It hasn’t been uncommon to hear that there has been a great level of interest to see him collide against Reigns in a match that everybody wants to see amongst two of the hottest commodities on SmackDown.

Big E winning Money in the Bank isn’t only a long-overdue push into the main event picture, it gives him potentially classic matches against two dominant title holders in Reigns or Lashley, elevates a new star the company is desperately looking for and gives a long-standing mid-carder the push he’s deserved for far, far too long.

Riddle (RAW)

Riddle Raw 4-19-21 WWE

Despite the absolute shambles that RAW’s product has been in for the better part of the last three years, there have always been glimmering rays of hope across the landscape on nonsense we see on a weekly basis under the red brand. And currently, the man known as Riddle hasn’t just been delivering but exceeding every possible expectation we had for him when he moved over late last year.

Riddle started off as a borderline comedy act on RAW but has slowly turned into one of the few consistently enjoyable acts on offer every Monday. He’s been tearing it up in underrated gems against the likes of AJ Styles, Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, John Morrison and Bobby Lashley, as well as forming an oddball partnership with Randy Orton that is so random it manages to work to perfection. As of this writing, Riddle is on another level entirely as opposed to much of the other content we get on weekly television. He’s a rare act that utilizes comedy overwhelmingly, yet it still a threat in the ring every time he’s pitted in a match against a more established opponent and delivers on practically every occasion.

Picturing him as WWE Champion doesn’t seem realistic in my mind, but if there’s anyone stealing the show on Sunday night in front of a sold-out crowd, it’s this man.

“King Nakamura” (SmackDown)

SHinsuke Nakamura WWE Smackdown

There’s very little to say about Shinsuke Nakamura in regards to this year’s Money in the Bank contest. While Nakamura was and still is amongst my favorite wrestlers living today, it’s clear that there is a metaphorical ceiling present that limits his movement up the card at this point. Due to the different circumstances, he’s working with as opposed to his excellent NXT run, the “King of Strong Style” is still entertaining to watch but lacks the edge that made him what he was during his days in NJPW.

Nakamura still has all the tools to deliver quality matches every time he steps into a ring and while it isn’t exactly the way I’d use his character, the work he’s doing alongside Rick Boogs and Baron Corbin at the very least grants him better exposure than none at all.

Maybe one day we’ll see Nakamura gain at least one more shot at a major championship in WWE, but right now, this just isn’t his moment.

John Morrison (RAW)

John Morrison WWE Smackdown 11020

John Morrison is an odd case that I can’t quite put together. Despite his pairing with The Miz being fairly entertaining and his recent string of matches against the likes of Ricochet being perfectly solid, something about his return hasn’t reached those heights he’s more than capable of achieving.

Morrison has shown that he’s more than capable of leading a brand outside of the WWE. His work in Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground was arguably the best of his career, proving himself more than capable of leading a product. Since his return though, I can’t really say the same. He’s had some entertaining moments with The Miz, but it wasn’t until his partner’s injury that he’s had a little bit more shine on him as a superstar. In a way, the recent events might be a blessing in disguise, and with Morrison’s in-ring style being beautifully suited to a stipulation like Money in the Bank, this Sunday could finally feel like the performance I’ve been wanting out of him since his return last year.

The poetry behind Morrison capturing the briefcase mere months after his partner successfully cashed in to claim the WWE Championship would be cool in theory, but based on recent booking it’s hard for me to believe Morrison will make that jump straight into the main event scene. But then again, only time will tell.

Kevin Owens (SmackDown)

kevin owens wwe smackdown

In my ideal world, Kevin Owens would be a fixture of the upper-mid to main event card on either brand he’s on. The man is simply too talented, too entertaining and far too consistent to not place at the top of whichever program he’s attached to. Over the last year, he’s put on classics against the likes of Roman Reigns despite a string of losses, taken Seth Rollins to the limit, reminded us of his brilliance against Sami Zayn, delivered some great matches in the midst of a terrible feud against Aleister Black and even gave Logan Paul of all people a Wrestlemania moment. There’s nothing Kevin Owens can’t do if given the opportunity.

Back in 2016, it was Owens who proved he had what it took to carry the biggest prize on a brand when he held the Universal Championship for upwards of six months and in the process made every week of television more entertaining than the last. He’s a natural-born professional wrestler, exceeds in every aspect, always delivers and makes his name stick with audiences that watch him.

Another Owens run with the World Title doesn’t seem like a route we’ll see anytime in the near future due to the number of talents clearly being positioned for that spot heading into next year’s WrestleMania, but should he pull off the upset Sunday night, I’ll be the first one out of my seat screaming.

Who do you think should win the men’s Money in the Bank briefcase? Let us know in the comments section!