@JoeyStyles: I’ve been saying this frequently in predictions; picking a winner in a seven-Superstar Ladder Match really is a guess. Still, based on his recent career trajectory, I’m guessing Roman Reigns will win the contract as karma for Seth Rollins cashing in his contract at WrestleMania on Reigns. WINNER: Roman Reigns
@HowardFinkel: This is one of my favorite matches. It’s a mixed bag of Superstar styles and strategies that will end with one competitor gaining possession of the vaunted briefcase and contract within. And I truly believe that fate will be in the corner of Sheamus. For some reason, I just feel that The Celtic Warrior, who looks great to me, will be primed to outlast the field and lay claim to the valuable piece of luggage at the top of the ladder. WINNER: Sheamus
Jeff Laboon: Kofi Kingston is one of the most athletic, acrobatic Superstars ever, but he’s never challenged for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship one-on-one in his eight-year career. Big E and Xavier Woods will do their part to fix that. WINNER: Kofi Kingston
Matthew Artus: Everybody loves a Cinderella story, which may make Roman Reigns or Neville a trendy pick. Yet, Kofi Kingston is one appearance shy for the most Money in the Bank Ladder Match entries without a victory. He won’t tie Christian’s record. WINNER: Kofi Kingston
Bobby Melok: Though he has been on the main roster for a few months, I expect Money in the Bank to be Neville’s coming out party. The New Sensation won the NXT Championship in a Ladder Match, so will surely be out to show why he’s called The Man That Gravity Forgot, and pick up a guaranteed WWE World Heavyweight Title Match along the way. WINNER: Neville
Kofi Kingston: 2, Roman Reigns: 1, Sheamus: 1, Neville: 1
Winning the Money in the Bank Ladder Match can change a Superstar’s career, instantly launching him into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture. The likes of Edge, Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins have graduated from future star to WWE World Heavyweight Champion, thanks to the contract. On June 14 at Columbus, Ohio’s Nationwide Arena, six Superstars — Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, Neville, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns and Sheamus — have been announced for the battle to secure WWE’s equivalent of a winning lottery ticket, earning a future date anytime, anywhere with the champion.
With two former Money in the Bank winners and three former World Champions in the field, a new face could take a massive step toward his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Ziggler won the briefcase in 2012 and cashed in the night after WrestleMania 29, but a concussion abruptly cut his long-awaited World Heavyweight Title reign short. Two years after his dream reign turned into a nightmare, Ziggler can finally right that wrong. Kingston always wows the WWE Universe and his competition with his in-match acrobatics and improvisation with a ladder. But after five appearances, the eight-year WWE veteran has never competed one-on-one for a World Championship.
WWE’s newest Superstar, Neville knows plenty about Ladder Matches, considering he captured the NXT Championship in one. Despite a lack of experience, The Man That Gravity Forgot aims to stun his much more seasoned competition. With three Money in the Bank appearances under his belt, Orton knows the dangerous bout as well as anyone. He followed his lone win in 2013 by joining The Authority and unifying the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships. Reigns had to watch “Mr. Money in the Bank” Rollins leave WrestleMania 31 with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, stealing his storybook moment. Money in the Bank 2015 represents his first step in rewriting history. A three-time WWE Champion, King of the Ring and Royal Rumble Match winner, Sheamus hopes to add another accolade to his resume with a Money in the Bank victory — while also proving WWE is the “land of the giants.”
Watch the always chaotic, always exciting matchup when WWE Money in the Bank airs live on WWE Network, on Sunday, June 14, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. P.T.
Five larger-than-life WWE® Superstars and Divas will be in attendance at Wizard World Comic Con Chicago when The Undertaker®, Sting™, Randy Orton®, Daniel Bryan®, and WWE Diva Paige™ appear during the pop culture extravaganza, set for August 20-23 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Randy Orton (4:30-8:00 p.m.) and Daniel Bryan (5:30-8:30 p.m.) will appear on Thursday, August 20, greeting fans, signing autographs and posing for photo ops (Bryan will also conduct a question and answer panel at 8 p.m.). The Undertaker (3-7 p.m.) and Paige (3:30-7:30 p.m.) will attend on Friday, August 21 (Paige’s question and answer panel is set for 7 p.m.). Sting is scheduled for Saturday, August 22 (11 a.m.-3 p.m.), and will make a rare appearance in face paint.
“I love coming back to Wizard World, the fans always make me feel at home,” says Daniel Bryan. “I am honored to be here and look forward to meeting the WWE Universe in Chicago.” “The fans in Chicago have consistently supported WWE at Wizard World, and we have always strived to bring them the biggest and the best,” said John Macaluso, Wizard World CEO. “We are in absolute awe of The Undertaker, Sting, Randy, Daniel and Paige and are proud to be able to bring this remarkable lineup of WWE talent to Chicago!.”
@JoeyStyles: In an interesting series of twists, champion Seth Rollins chose to have Randy Orton’s outta nowhere RKO banned and the challenger chose a Steel Cage Match so The Authority could not interfere. Orton can use something else to beat Rollins, but Rollins can’t use somebody else to help him because his new adversary Kane will make sure of it, right? Wrong! I don’t buy that Kane is fed up with being The Authority’s hired muscle. I think Triple H having to keep the peace between Rollins and Kane is a ruse. As WWE’s longest tenured Superstar, Kane knows that you grin and bear whatever position The Authority gives you. When it seems that Orton is about to take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from The Authority-installed Rollins, Kane will interject himself into the Steel Cage Match (which has no disqualifications) and personally see that Rollins remains champion. WINNER: Seth Rollins
Anthony Benigno: If this were just a regular Steel Cage Match minus the RKO, I’d go with Orton. The Viper’s got the deeper arsenal, more experience in these sorts of matches, plus, he’s got the dreaded punt in his back pocket. However, this match will hinge on Kane’s status as keeper of the keys for the steel cage. The Director of Operations has been on the outs with Rollins for some time now, and no amount of smoothing-over on the part of Triple H seems to have swayed him from his general disdain for the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He’s still an Authority employee, though, so expect this match to go much as Rollins’ Money in the Bank victory did: The Architect will earn the win on the shoulders of The Devil’s Favorite Demon. WINNER: Seth Rollins
Scott Taylor: Despite the uncertainty surrounding Kane’s role as “gatekeeper,” I have no doubt that Seth Rollins has plans B, C and D ready to go. The WWE World Heavyweight Champion didn’t get to where he is without outsmarting the competition along the way. WINNER: Seth Rollins
Matthew Artus: As one of two Extreme Rules grapplers whose experience at this event dates back to its ECW One Night Stand days, Randy Orton feels like an obvious choice. However, the banned RKO and Seth Rollins’ record of escaping cagey confines due to unannounced guests (Bray Wyatt or Brock Lesnar, anyone?) put the odds in favor of The Authority’s golden boy. WINNER: Seth Rollins
@HowardFinkel: Getting the RKO banned was smart strategy from Rollins. But you can’t downgrade Orton’s chances of winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship just due to that. Orton’s got Rollins exactly where he wants him — in the cage — and you know how that can go. I am also curious as to what frame of mind Kane will be in this Sunday as gatekeeper of the cage. Regardless, I look for Rollins to eke out a victory and retain his championship. WINNER: Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins: 5, Randy Orton: 0
#7 Randy Orton — 609 days as champion
Number of reigns: Eight | Longest individual reign: 203 days
Bet you didn’t realize that Randy Orton has spent more time with the WWE Title around his waist than Superstars like The Rock, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. The Viper doesn’t always receive the admiration that these rarified champions get, which may be owed to the controversies that often surround the title’s journey to Orton’s hands.
Take, for example, The Viper’s first WWE Championship reign, which began when Mr. McMahon literally handed the thing to him. Awarded the vacant title by WWE’s Chairman at No Mercy 2007, Orton immediately lost the championship to Triple H before winning it back the very same night — making him a two-time champion in the course of a few hours.
Eight reigns in the books, Orton stands as the Superstar with the seventh most days as champion. Whether or not this has endeared him to the WWE Universe is another question.
Seth Rollins’ first defense of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship will come at Extreme Rules against the very Superstar who pinned the self-proclaimed “Future of WWE” at WrestleMania, Randy Orton.
Orton, a 12-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, was named Rollins’ challenger on the April 6 Raw, after defeating Roman Reigns and Ryback in a No. 1 Contender’s Triple Threat Match. Now, he looks ahead to his opportunity against the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at Extreme Rules.
The WWE Universe is still raving about Orton and Rollins’ last encounter at WrestleMania, where The Viper ignited The Show of Shows by inconceivably countering Rollins’ Curb Stomp into a high-elevation, highlight-reel-worthy RKO. Whereas Rollins and Orton’s deeply personal and longstanding grudge was the foundation for that bout, their rematch at Extreme Rules will be not only emotionally charged, but also for the grandest prize in sports-entertainment.
Since then, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion has appeared less-than-eager to again cross paths with The Viper, but he will have no choice on Sunday, April 26, when Extreme Rules airs live on WWE Network.
Can The Authority’s boundlessly athletic poster boy — a CrossFit-conditioned machine who is arguably the most dynamic in-ring competitor to wear the WWE World Heavyweight Title — silence the doubters and cement his first championship reign with a pivotal victory over the more seasoned Orton, a third-generation Superstar who was pegged as a Legend-in-the-making his rookie year? Or will The Viper, who craves the opportunity to tap into his extreme and most sinister instincts, remind Rollins why he is the master of the RKO “outta nowhere,” and return to championship glory at Rollins’ expense?
Watch this gigantic WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match live when Extreme Rules takes over WWE Network Sunday, April 26, starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.