Once again this year, the Money in the Bank pay-per-view will feature ladder matches for both World and WWE title match contracts, despite earlier rumors this year that there would only be one match, with the winner picking which title they wanted to go after (similar to earlier MITB matches). On Monday night RAW, guest General Manager Vickie Guerrero announced the one for the WWE title contract would feature only former WWE Champions, but tonight on Friday Night Smackdown!, announced that the World title contract match would be open to anyone. Furthermore, instead of participants simply being named, men on both brands would have to qualify for the match, and we would see qualifiers this week as well as next week. Five qualifying matches took place tonight, with the rest taking place on next Tuesday’s live episode, dubbed “The Great American Bash”. Although it hasn’t been confirmed, we are likely to see three more qualifiers to fill the traditional 8-man match, but since it appears the RAW match will only feature four men, there’s a good possibility more will be added. The first five participants are set, and they are as follows:
Damien Sandow - Sandow made quick work of Zack Ryder tonight, and is my early pick to win the entire match (unless Wade Barrett makes his return, which is possible. More on that in a bit). This will not only be Sandow’s first MITB match, but his first PPV match period since returning to WWE after being absent for several years. Sandow is currently undefeated and there appears to be big things in the work for him. They don’t get much bigger than winning MITB, since it currently has a 100% successful cash-in rate.
Tyson Kidd - This one was actually very surprising, considering Kidd hasn’t won a televised match in months, and has mostly been used for fodder for newcomers and more established stars. He defeated Jack Swagger, who has been in 2 MITB matches (including winning one and successfully cashing in), who appears to be in the midst of a losing streak since breaking ties with Vickie Guerrero. Much like Sandow, this will be Kidd’s first time in MITB, despite being with the company for several years. Regardless of win or lose, a strong performance in the match could really turn things around for Kidd.
Christian - You could be looking at the odds-on favorite here, seeing as Christian has been in more ladder matches than damn near everyone in the entire WWE (save for Chris Jericho). Christian actually won a tag team match tonight to qualify, beating David Otunga and Cody Rhodes. Although Christian is the current Intercontinental Champion, you know he’d love nothing more than to get back in the World title picture, and a win in MITB guarantees that. This will be Christian’s 5th appearance in the MITB match, tying with Kane for most appearances.
Santino Marella - While Marella is pretty much a lame duck entry here, you should still expect a great showing. Marella has been having the year of his career in 2012, having held the WWE United States Championship for the past several months with several successful defenses, not to mention competing in the Elimination Chamber back in February and nearly upending then World Champion Daniel Bryan for the title. Marella qualified in the aforementioned tag team match, as Christian’s partner.
Tensai - The man formerly known as Albert and A-Train has had a rough start since returning to WWE, but that could change. He is in the midst of being repackaged by WWE in hopes of getting him over more with fans, and a strong showing at MITB could certainly help WWE’s cause with him. Even if he doesn’t win (which is likely), if he can look dominant throughout the match, this could continue the original push he was slated for, and eventually lead him to bigger things. Tensai defeated Justin Gabriel to qualify for this match.
We will find out the rest of the names next week, with Cody Rhodes being a possibility (despite losing the tag match), as well as Wade Barrett, Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz and Kofi Kingston being some other likely candidates.