The list of participants for the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank (MITB) Ladder Match was announced at the SmackDown! tapings earlier this week in Columbia, South Carolina.
And it's a doozy.
Vying for a crack at the Big Gold Belt at the MITB pay-per-view (PPV) on July 14, 2013 from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, are the following:
The first thing I thought when I saw this list was, "Wow, Antonio Cesaro has a real shot at winning this thing and going for the gold."
He's helped by his level of competition, as well as where they rank on the political totem pole.
Right off the bat, you can eliminate Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes. Both work well as comedic heels, but neither has their sea legs just yet. Of the two, I'd say the bearded braniac has the better chance, but there hasn't been much oomph behind him in recent weeks.
You're not welcome.
Fandango's heat went from Bhut Jolokia to Verkhoyansk in just one injury. I can get behind an Intercontinental title run or even a U.S. Championship reign, but his shelf life largely depends on how long audiences continue to sing along with his theme song.
Besides, Dean Ambrose is cutting in.
Unfortunately, the leader of The Shield will be left without a seat when the music stops. He already owns the U.S. title and I think that was his reward for doing work alongside Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. In order to get Ambrose the heavyweight title, you would have to free all three of their belts to prevent the storylines from getting bogged down with clutter and for me, the timing just doesn't feel right.
But he's a rock-solid number two pick.
Speaking of rocks, Wade Barrett, for all his physical tools, doesn't have the personality or charisma to sell the briefcase and make a title run do big business. The reason why Dolph Ziggler was such a meaningful MITB winner was the way he owned that contract, like it was the belt itself.
That shit felt special.
One person who is special, in his own little way, is Jack Swagger. After his run-in with the law, he tried to make some noise using Zeb Colter as his mouthpiece. Unfortunately, he came up lame both on the mic and in the ring, damn near killing "The Showoff."
Colter left him at the altar to team up with Antonio Cesaro.
The Swiss smashing machine came out on Main Event this week to establish himself as a heel reborn, throwing in a couple of shoot elements when he talked about knowing what it feels like to have to start at the bottom. Well, bottom or not, he's already held one title, captured the hearts of the IWC and done some crazy-ass shit inside the ring.
His work over the past year has laid a sturdy foundation for a late summer build to what could be an epic title run or at the very least, a prime time spot on SmackDown! more often than not. We've already witnessed what he can do, as WWE came close to pulling the trigger a few times, but it will still be fun to get to know him all over again, this time as a MITB winner.
You can see him. His time is now.