For Wrestling's Uninitiated: 5 Things You Need to Know about Tonight's 'Money in the Bank' PPV

For Wrestling's Uninitiated: 5 Things You Need to Know about Tonight's 'Money in the Bank' PPV

The Money in the Bank pay-per-view pre-show kicks off at 7:30 p.m. inside the Wells Fargo Center with the full show getting underway at 8 p.m. Tonight's show will be Philadelphia's first WWE PPV since 2009 and comes just days after reports that Lincoln Financial Field could be a candidate for an upcoming WrestleMania.

If you're already a fan of pro graps, enjoy the change-of-pace content below, and if you're not, here's five basic things to know about tonight's card...

1. Mark Henry is the Daniel Day-Lewis of professional wrestling
If you have a milkshake, and Mark Henry has a straw, and his straw reaches across the room, he drinks your milkshake. He drinks it up.

Wrestling fans from the Attitude Era (late 90s) may remember Mark Henry as "Sexual Chocolate," a plus-400-pound former Olympic weightlifter who was having sex with a woman in her late 70s, which then led to that same woman birthing a hand.

But fast forward more than a decade and the World's Strongest Man is now also the baddest man on the planet. Entrances are key in professional wrestling, and Henry's is a metaphorical blocking of the sun and literal blocking of the camera, featuring the song "Somebody's Gonna Get It" by Three 6 Mafia. Lyrics:

Somebody gonna get they ass kicked.
Somebody gonna get their wig split.
Somebody gonna get they ass kicked.
Somebody gonna get their wig split.
Beat 'em up, beat 'em up, break his neck, break his neck.
Beat 'em up, beat 'em up, break his neck, break his neck.
Beat 'em up, beat 'em up, break his neck, break his neck.
Beat 'em up, beat 'em up, break his neck, break his neck.

This is all a prelude to Henry inducting opponents into his "Hall of Pain," which usually consists of him delivering the World's Strongest Slam and consequently shouting "THAT'S WHAT I DO."

I channeled There Will Be Blood above  because in order to goad Cena into accepting his challenge for the WWE Championship, Henry held a fake retirement ceremony complete with him crying in a salmon-colored jacket. That ceremony was quickly broken up when he picked up Cena -- mid-hug -- and slammed him to the mat. It's the best acting performance in professional wrestling I've ever seen and it's better than most of what you'll see from people who are traditionally considered "actors."

But if we're picking a film, Henry's match with Cena is almost beat for beat the plot of Rocky III. Cena's the protected champion who's lost his hunger after being the company's golden boy for the last decade, and Henry is the closest living thing to Clubber Lang. The only thing we're missing here is Cena training on a beach in California with Kofi Kingston, who just keeps screaming, "WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?!" (Of note, Kingston apparently lived on the same floor as Enrico in college.)

If you're not rooting for Mark Henry this Sunday, you're doing it wrong.

2. 15-foot ladders make everything better
From Wikipedia: "In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin or maguffin) is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation as to why it is considered so important. The specific nature of a MacGuffin is typically unimportant to the overall plot. The most common type of MacGuffin is an object, place or person. However, a MacGuffin can sometimes take a more abstract form, such as money, victory, glory, survival, power, love, or even something that is entirely unexplained, as long as it strongly motivates key characters within the structure of the plot."

Think of the briefcase from Pulp Fiction. Now take that briefcase, suspend it 15-feet above the ring, and have guys try to scale a ladder to grab it. Welcome to Money in the Bank.

The winner of the Money in the Bank ladder match earns a contract to face the WWE or World Heavyweight Champion at any time during the following calendar year, depending on which match he's entered in. Most guys cash it in when the champ is beat up and defenseless, and winning Money the Bank is nearly always a guarantee that you will win the title. There are two of these on the card this year. If you've never seen one, anywhere from six to 10 guys bash each other with ladders for 20 minutes before somebody finally climbs one and ends it.

This one isn't a Money in the Bank match, but it was one of the most famous ladder matches of all-time:

I remain amazed they haven't partnered with Werner to produce "the official ladder of World Wrestling Entertainment."

3. Faaaaaaaaan-daaaaaaaaan-gooooooo
Fandango is involved in one of the two ladder matches, his for the World Heavyweight Title opportunity. He is a character who ballroom dances his way to the ring and dramatically says his own name in the third person. I should need to write nothing else to get you on board with this.


4. Rob Van Dam is back and in Philadelphia
After a six-year hiatus from WWE, which he spent mostly in TNA Wrestling, Rob Van Dam makes his return Sunday night at Money in the Bank.

Van Dam has a long and noteworthy history in Philadelphia as one of the biggest in names in the former ECW, which called this building in South Philly its home.

At 42 years old, Van Dam isn't quite what he was during ECW's heyday. In fact, he's spent much of the last decade recycling the same rolls and monkey flips that feel far more impossible now because he's just generally slower in the ring. Suspension of disbelief is an odd thing in wrestling and Van Dam tests it even for diehards.

That said, even those who don't "get" wrestling will find it hard not to be entertained by his match with Jerry Lynn from Living Dangerously in 1999:

Living Dangerously 1999 - RVD vs Jerry Lynn by Kapitas

Working in his favor, he'll be in the ring with five other guys and probably as many ladders, meaning he'll likely do something like this ... and this.

5. You might run into Charlie Manuel
Assuming you can afford the good seats.

*

Here's your full card for tonight's Money in the Bank pay-per-view:

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WWE Championship
John Cena (c) vs. Mark Henry

World Heavyweight Championship
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler

WWE Championship Contract Money In The Bank Ladder Match
CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus vs. Christian vs. Randy Orton vs. Kane vs. Rob Van Dam

World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Fandango vs. Antonio Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger vs. Damien Sandow vs. Wade Barrett vs. Cody Rhodes

Chris Jericho vs. Ryback

WWE Intercontinental Championship
Curtis Axel (c) vs. The Miz

WWE Divas Championship
AJ Lee (c) vs. Kaitlyn

Kickoff Match
WWE Tag Team Championships
The Shield (c) vs. The Usos

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And just because:

Best of NBA: Wall, Wizards top Knicks for 4th straight win

Best of NBA: Wall, Wizards top Knicks for 4th straight win

NEW YORK -- John Wall had 29 points and 13 assists, scoring Washington's final four points in the last 32 seconds as the surging Wizards beat the New York Knicks 113-110 on Thursday night.

Otto Porter Jr. made six 3-pointers for the second straight night and added 23 points, but the Wizards needed big plays from Wall down the stretch to win their fourth in a row.

He made two free throws to put Washington back on top after New York had rallied to take a 110-109 lead, then rebounded Carmelo Anthony's miss and left all the Knicks in his dust as he raced down the floor for a dunk with 13.7 seconds to play.

Anthony finished with 34 points but Wall stole the ball from Brandon Jennings to prevent the Knicks from attempting a 3-pointer that could have tied it (see full recap).

Leonard scores 34 to lead Spurs over Nuggets
SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points, rookie Dejounte Murray added a season-high 24 and the San Antonio Spurs overcame a pregame injury to Pau Gasol in beating the Denver Nuggets 118-104 on Thursday night.

Denver's three-game winning streak was snapped despite a career-high 35 points from Nikola Jokic.

Leonard had his fifth straight 30-point performance, right after learning he will start for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game for the second consecutive season.

The Spurs were unexpectedly without Gasol, Tony Parker and then coach Gregg Popovich. Gasol and Parker were both late scratches due to injury, and Popovich was ejected for the first time this season.

Gasol broke the ring finger on his left (non-shooting) hand by jamming it against Kyle Anderson's shoulder during pregame warmups while attempting a running hook. The 16-year veteran center immediately clutched his hand and left the court.

X-rays revealed the break, and the Spurs said there is no timeline for Gasol's return.

Irving, James lead Cavs over Suns
CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving scored 26 points, All-Star teammate LeBron James had 21 points and 15 assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers looked more like themselves at home in a 118-103 win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.

The Cavs were back in Quicken Loans Arena following a six-game road trip (their longest of the season) that concluded with an embarrassing 35-point loss at Golden State. But on their home floor, they had better offensive balance and ball movement while improving to 30-11 -- the same record Cleveland had at the halfway point of its 2016 NBA championship season.

Channing Frye scored 18, Iman Shumpert 17 and James Jones 14 while filling in for star forward Kevin Love, still bothered by back spasms.

Tyson Chandler had 22 points and 16 rebounds, but the Suns lost for the fourth time in five games (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Surging Capitals rock Blues in St. Louis

Best of NHL: Surging Capitals rock Blues in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- Andre Burakovsky, T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov each had a goal and an assist to lead the Washington Capitals to a 7-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Jay beagle, Brett Connolly, Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams also scored, and Alex Ovechkin and Daniel Winnik each had two assists to help Washington earn at least a point in its 12th straight game (10-0-2) for an NHL-best 66 points.

Braden Holtby bounced back from his roughest outing of the season with 22 saves. Holtby was pulled after giving up a season-high five goals on 26 shots in an 8-7 overtime loss at Pittsburgh on Monday. He improved to 22-8-4 and 5-0 lifetime against St. Louis (see full recap).

Grabner scores 2 goals, Rangers top Leafs
TORONTO -- Michael Grabner scored two goals against his former team, helping the New York Rangers snap a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Pavel Buchnevich, Brady Skjei and J.T. Miller added goals for New York, and Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves following a series of rough outings.

Tyler Bozak and Zach Hyman scored for Toronto, which had a three-game winning streak stopped. The Maple Leafs had earned 21 of a possible 26 points in their previous 13 games (10-2-1). Frederik Andersen gave up four goals on 40 shots (see full recap).

Tavares leads Islanders to shutout of Stars
NEW YORK -- Getting a new coach this week didn't change things much for the Islanders -- and oddly enough, that's a good thing for New York.

John Tavares narrowly missed out on his second hat trick in a week, Thomas Greiss got his second straight shutout and the Islanders beat the Dallas Stars 3-0 on Thursday night in their first game since firing longtime coach Jack Capuano.

New York canned Capuano in the middle of his seventh season Tuesday, replacing him on an interim basis with Doug Weight (see full recap).

Niederreiter, Wild dodge letdown, edge Coyotes
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Nino Niederreiter had two power-play goals and an assist, including the go-ahead score for the Minnesota Wild with 7:06 remaining in a 4-3 victory over Arizona on Thursday night after the Coyotes came back from a two-goal deficit.

With Shane Doan in the penalty box for hooking, Niederreiter knocked in a nifty redirect of Mikael Granlund's slap shot for the winner. Devan Dubnyk stopped 20 shots for the Wild, who are 18-2-2 in their last 22 games.

Louis Domingue made 21 saves for the Coyotes, who lost their fourth in a row and fell to 2-12-1 in their last 15 games starting with a 4-1 loss to Minnesota in Arizona on Dec. 17 (see full recap).