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Breakdown of the entrants in the World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Who will emerge victorious?

The stipulation has been named. The competitors are locked in. The stage is set for the World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match July 15.

But before the seven SmackDown Superstars vie for a shot at the invaluable contract in one of the most unpredictable match types in history, WWE.com gets you ready for all of the senses-shattering excitement with an exclusive look at each competitor. Here, we’ll dissect each challenger and give you the ultimate go-to guide for the free-for-all that will be the World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match.

Cody Rhodes

Cody Rhodes must defeat Intercontinental Champion Christian in order to qualify for the World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Match.

If at first you don’t succeed, file a formal protest with WWE’s Board of Directors.

On SmackDown on June 29, in a furious tag team contest against Christian & Santino Marella for treasured spots in the World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match, Cody Rhodes was accidentally hit by his own partner, David Otunga, allowing the Intercontinental and United States Champions to win the contest.

An unhappy Rhodes lodged a formal protest over the circumstances surrounding his defeat, (WATCH EXCLUSIVE) and fortune smiled on the second-generation Superstar. On the July 2 episode of SuperSmackDown LIVE: The Great American Bash, Rhodes was given a shot at redemption by Interim General Manager Teddy Long in the form of a one-on-one match against Christian. He successfully defeated his rival to gain a spot in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Now, the son of the son of a plumber finds himself in one of WWE’s most dangerous and most important matches. Luckily, Rhodes doesn’t lack talent – or confidence.

As the 26-year-old often reminds the WWE Universe, he’s one of the youngest, hungriest and most promising Superstars. He could indeed be the future of WWE given his incredible athleticism and in-ring abilities. The former Intercontinental Champion has everything is takes to compete in the World Title picture, everything except a guaranteed contract …

Tyson Kidd

Jack Swagger tries to end downward spiral against Tyson Kidd on SmackDown.

It may seem like an overused idiom when discussing WWE Superstars, but there are just some competitors who are tailor-made for certain match types. For example, Mick Foley is the undisputed king of the Hardcore Match, and you probably wouldn’t want to take your chances against The Undertaker in a Buried Alive Match. In that same vein, one can make the case that there’s never been quite a Superstar better suited for Money in the Bank Ladder Match than Tyson Kidd. Lightning quick and technically impeccable with uncanny balance inside the ring, Kidd brings a balanced offensive attack to Money in the Bank, and his willingness to perform high-risk maneuvers will only elevate the Superstar’s chances of pulling off a huge upset on the pay-per-view stage.

To get to where he is now, Kidd overcame steep odds. His defeat of Jack Swagger in upset fashion on the June 29 episode of SmackDown was surprising enough, but then, to further the case that Kidd belongs with WWE’s finest, he defeated the 360-pound Tensai on the July 2 episode of Raw SuperShow. That shocking upset proved the Hart family protégé has the chops to compete — and to win — on the big stage.

The young daredevil’s high-flying ways will put him right at home atop the steel ladder come Money in the Bank Sunday, July 15 in Phoenix.  If there were ever a sleeper choice to walk away victorious from the melee, it would be Tyson Kidd.

Damien Sandow

Zack Ryder and Damien Sandow compete in a World Heavyweight Title Contract Money in the Bank Qualifying Match.

Since he debuted in WWE on the April 6 episode of SmackDown, Damien Sandow has overcome every challenge that has been thrown at him. Despite this early success, the erudite Sandow is still one of the most unexpected entrants in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match.

“The Intellectual Savior to the Unwashed Masses” defeated fan-favorite Zack Ryder on the June 29 edition of SmackDown in the biggest win of his young WWE career. Now, WWE’s self-professed “academic” will be competing against dangerous and well-established Superstars like Intercontinental Champion Christian and United States Champion Santino Marella and hungry young lions like Dolph Ziggler and Cody Rhodes. It’s not just a huge leap for Sandow in terms of competition, but also in terms of match stipulation.

That’s where the questions really begin with the cerebral Sandow. He’s never competed against this many Superstars with this level of talent, and he’s never been in a Ladder Match, not to mention Money in the Bank, in WWE. Is he ready? Will his physical, bruising style help him in such a brutal contest? Does he have the necessary speed and athleticism?

Sandow has shown flashes of brilliance, and he looks like he could be a legitimate challenger to the World Title. However, there’s only one way to find out if he’s climbing the WWE ladder too quickly or if the “Unwashed Masses” that make up the WWE Universe soon have a World Heavyweight Champion who can boldly lead them to enlightenment.

United States Champion Santino Marella

Christian & Santino Marella team-up against the duo of Cody Rhodes & David Otunga in a World Heavyweight Title Contract Money in the Bank Qualifying Tag Team Match.

While on the surface Santino may not seem best suited to excel in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match, the United States Champion has continually surprised the WWE Universe with his resilience in 2012.

After shocking the world in February by winning an impromptu Elimination Chamber Wild Card Battle Royal, The Milan Miracle earned a spot in the SmackDown Elimination Chamber Match at the pay-per-view. Looking to capitalize on the huge opportunity, Santino outlasted five other competitors and came within moments of defeating Daniel Bryan to claim the World Title, proving that he belonged on the big stage.

Coming out of that bout, Santino could have gone in two directions. Instead of getting down about his near-win, the fan favorite took his career to another revel.

Marella, a noted underdog as the challenger to Jack Swagger’s U.S. Championship back in March, has now held that title for more than four months, successfully defending it on a number of occasions against an array of opponents.

Once again Santino finds himself an underdog in a major match with a lot on the line. Quirky outside the ropes, Marella will bring an eccentric offense to Money in the Bank. And considering the year he’s had, it would not be wise for the other six competitors to take The Milan Miracle lightly.

Tensai

Justin Gabriel faces Tensai in a World Heavyweight Title Contract Money in the Bank Qualifying Match.

Since he surfaced in WWE, the terrorizing Tensai has wreaked havoc in the squared circle, taking down everyone from R-Truth to John Cena. But it was his destruction of the high-flying Justin Gabriel on the June 29 episode of SmackDown that punched his ticket to the World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match.

Massive, powerful and relentless, the Japanese expatriate figures to play a major role in this contest, as he looks to gain a guaranteed shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. Tensai will surely make his presence felt in the match, but it’s possible that a Money in the Bank Ladder Match isn’t the best fit for a brawling behemoth. However, in Money in the Bank Ladder Matches, ladders aren’t just used for climbing, but for ruthlessly battering opponents. That sounds like a Tensai specialty, as he looks like the most forceful and physical presence in the match.

Will Tensai bring chaos and destruction to the Money in the Bank Ladder Match? Or was Tyson Kidd’s quick roll-up victory over the tattooed Superstar on Raw SuperShow a sign that it’s not yet Tensai’s time?

Dolph Ziggler

Alex Riley goes one-on-one with Dolph Ziggler in a World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Qualifying Match.

It’s official: The Showoff is money … Money in the Bank, that is.

After the events of Tuesday night’s SuperSmackDown LIVE: The Great American Bash, Dolph Ziggler will now compete in the World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Adding Ziggler to the fold of an already talented field of challengers will undoubtedly alter the landscape of the bout. As he’s shown on a continual basis for the past several years – and especially over the last few weeks – The Showoff is one of the most skilled Superstars on the WWE roster, a fact he hopes will become even clearer at Money in the Bank.

Ziggler’s skill set is well suited for Money in the Bank, as the rising Superstar will bring an incredibly athletic array of maneuvers to a stipulation that requires just that. To win the bout, a competitor will have to display athleticism, agility and endurance, and Ziggler is capable of all three. He’s also hungry, very hungry — his recent challenges for Sheamus’ title have come up just short of championship gold, and there’s no question The Showoff wants to reverse that course.

Reminiscent of a young Shawn Michaels — the man who made the Ladder Match what it is today — Dolph Ziggler should be right at home in a ladder-filled warzone.

Intercontinental Champion Christian

Christian & Santino Marella team-up against the duo of Cody Rhodes & David Otunga in a World Heavyweight Title Contract Money in the Bank Qualifying Tag Team Match.

Intercontinental Champion Christian knows Money in the Bank Ladder Matches better than any other Superstar currently competing. As half of the legendary tag team Edge & Christian, he was part of countless other dangerous contests, including a myriad of Ladder Matches and even the first Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match.

Knowledge, experience and heart have always been Christian’s calling cards, and he’s going to need them July 15 if he wants to win a guaranteed opportunity at the World Heavyweight Championship. He’s already on the figurative Mt. Rushmore of Ladder Matches for what he’s done, but he’s going to have to do it again, against a dangerous set of foes.

The re-inspired, recharged veteran has the most experience – and battle scars – of all the entrants. As a former two-time World Heavyweight Champion, in addition to a Grand Slam and Triple Crown Champion, he also has the most accolades and titles. But, as Christian recently stated, he’s not close to finished.

He wants to follow in the footsteps of his best friend, Edge, and end his career not only with the heartfelt support of the WWE Universe, but also with more World Titles and with a revered spot in the WWE Hall of Fame. Christian hopes to take the next step toward those lofty goals in the World Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match.  Are his World Title days behind him? Or will Captain Charisma again rise to the challenge and ascend the ladder one … more … time?

 

Who do you think is the favorite in the World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match? Let WWE.com know on our official  Facebook and  Twitter accounts and tune in to the  Money in the Bank pay-per-view on Sunday, July 15!

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