WWE MITB 2023 is approximately two weeks away, and WWE has already booked the Men’s MITB Ladder Match for this “premium live event.” The WWE has six scheduled contestants for the MITB Ladder Match this year: (1) Ricochet, (2) Shinsuke Nakamura, (3) Damian Priest, (4) Butch, (5) Santos Escobar, and (6) LA Knight. This is an interesting line up, to say the least.
Four of these contestants (i.e. Ricochet, Nakamura, Butch, and Escobar) are babyface. Usually, WWE likes to balance out their faces and heels in these ladder matches. It is uncharacteristic of WWE to have these contestants already scheduled 2 weeks ahead of MITB. There has to be some last minute swerve coming where a heel replaces a babyface to maintain a 50:50 ratio.
Nonetheless, the WWE’s field of Men’s MITB Ladder Match participants are as mid as it can get. Since this event is taking place in the UK, there will be strong support for Butch. On the other hand, in terms of universal appeal and popularity, LA Knight is on the forefront of fans’ attention. However, they should not sleep on Shinsuke Nakamura.
With that being said, the following will rank everyone’s chances at winning MITB, addressing Shinsuke Nakamura as the dark horse.
WWE MITB 2023 will take place on July 1, 2023. The following will rank everyone’s chances at winning MITB, addressing Shinsuke Nakamura as the dark horse.
Ricochet had one embarrassing world title shot in his career against Brock Lesnar and is merely in this MITB Ladder match for the high spots. He has been booked as Braun Strowman’s hot tag and now as Bronson Reed’s punching bag. He will likely be screwed by Reed in the match since Reed is salty about losing to him on Raw. Unless he’s cashing on a mid card title, he is not winning.
Butch is merely in the MITB Ladder Match because he is from the UK, where MITB is located, but he is just a sidekick in the Brawling Brutes at the end of the day and has not been booked with the credibility and momentum to be a future world champion. He had proven to be a compelling NXT UK World Champion, but his main roster booking and current gimmick says otherwise.
4.) Santos Escobar
Santos Escobar is just a sidekick in LWO and has also not been booked with the credibility and momentum to be a future world champ. Like Butch, he has not even had a world title match. With the guidance of former world champion, Rey Mysterio, he can go far in this division just like Butch can with Sheamus on his side. However, unless he’s cashing on a mid card title, he is not winning.
3.) Damian Priest
Unlike Escobar and Butch, Damian Priest recently had a world title shot against Seth Rollins and it was definitely not an embarrassing match like Ricochet had with Brock Lesnar. Priest thereby has a good chance of winning MITB as a conduit to getting back in the title picture. He has been rumored to get high praise for his recent work and should be getting a push as a reward.
However, he is way too entangled in Judgment Day dissension to the point that it is highly possible he will get screwed by either Finn Balor or his protege, JD McDonagh, after their recent tensions and suspicious conversations backstage. Balor was upset that Priest did not need him in his title match with Rollins, so Balor may have ordered JD McDonagh to do the dirty work at MITB.
2.) LA Knight
Quite ironically, the most popular pick and the current betting fan favorite for this year’s MITB is actually one of those superstars who got absolutely no world title shots on the main roster and his name is LA Knight. LA Knight is the classic example of someone who is trending and getting over for his meme-like catchphrases rather than his pro wrestling skills and long term storytelling abilities. To be a world champion, a superstar needs those diversified, multifaceted attributes. Unfortunately, for LA Knight, his gimmick is one dimensional and has a short shelf life.
If the WWE and its fans truly face the facts here, LA Knight has not done one compelling story since he arrived on the main roster. His feud with Bray Wyatt was eminently boring and uneventful to the point that the fans are still waiting on the reveal of Uncle Howdy. LA Knight was not even booked well enough to have a match or segment at WrestleMania, yet WWE is pushing for him to be Mr. MITB and a future world champion of this company? They should build him up as a mid card champion before taking this massive leap within the grand scheme of hotshot booking.
It would have been nice to see him prove himself as a U.S. Champion in WWE territory before entering the main event scene. At the end of the day, of course it is beneficial to strike while the iron is hot once a superstar resonates with the crowd, and WWE can still do that for him in the mid card. However, it should not be done under the circumstances of a knee jerk main event title shot for someone who has not been built with enough momentum and credibility for such a feat. It will only lead to his downfall, and such a move can be pernicious for the future of pro wrestling.
1.) Shinsuke Nakamura
Shinsuke Nakamura is the dark horse pick this year. Nakamura is the only one in this entire field of participants who got more than one world title shot in his career. He is a former Royal Rumble Winner who has battled the likes of AJ Styles, Jinder Mahal, and even Roman Reigns in world title matches. Unfortunately, he failed to win the world title in all of those circumstances.
However, he has adequate exposure in the main event scene to be considered a top candidate who can make the MITB Briefcase prestigious and cash in successfully. Nakamura himself said that this MITB Ladder Match will be life-changing for him. He has been world champion in NJPW. He has been world champion in NXT. It’s time for him to be world champion on the main roster in WWE.
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