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:

Stanley Cup Final: Long roads culminate for both Sharks and Penguins

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Stanley Cup Final: Long roads culminate for both Sharks and Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- It wasn't supposed to take the San Jose Sharks this long to reach their first Stanley Cup Final. It wasn't supposed to take this long for Sidney Crosby to guide the Pittsburgh Penguins back to a destination many figured they'd become a fixture at after winning it all in 2009.

Not that either side is complaining.

Certainly not the Sharks, whose nearly quarter-century wait to play on the NHL's biggest stage will finally end Monday night when the puck drops for Game 1. Certainly not Crosby, who raised the Cup after beating Detroit seven years ago but has spent a significant portion of the interim dealing with concussions that threatened to derail his career and fending off criticism as the thoughtful captain of a team whose explosiveness during the regular season too often failed to translate into regular mid-June parade through the heart of the city.

Maybe the Penguins should have returned to the Cup Final before now. The fact they didn't makes the bumpy path the franchise and its superstar captain took to get here seem worth it.

"I think I appreciated it prior to going through some of those things," Crosby said. "I think now having gone through those things I definitely appreciate it more. I think I realize how tough it is to get to this point."

It's a sentiment not lost on the Sharks, who became one of the NHL's most consistent winners shortly after coming into the league in 1991. Yet spring after spring, optimism would morph into disappointment. The nadir came in 2014, when a 3-0 lead over Los Angeles in the first round somehow turned into a 4-3 loss. The collapse sent the Sharks into a spiral that took a full year to recover from, one that in some ways sowed the seeds for a breakthrough more than two decades in the making.

General manager Doug Wilson tweaked the roster around fixtures Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, who remained hopeful San Jose's window for success hadn't shut completely even as the postseason meltdowns piled up.

"I always believed that next year was going to be the year, I really did," Thornton said. "I always thought we were a couple pieces away. Even last year not making the playoffs, I honestly thought we were a couple pieces away, and here we are."

The Penguins, like the Sharks, are a study in near instant alchemy. General manager Jim Rutherford rebuilt the team on the fly after taking over in June, 2014 and with the team sleepwalking last December, fired respected-but-hardly-charismatic Mike Johnston and replaced him with the decidedly harder-edged Mike Sullivan. The results were nearly instantaneous.

Freed to play to its strengths instead of guarding against its weaknesses, Pittsburgh rocketed through the second half of the season and showed the resilience it has sometimes lacked during Crosby's tenure by rallying from a 3-2 deficit against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals, dominating Games 6 and 7 to finally earn a shot at bookending the Cup that was supposed to give birth to a dynasty but instead led to years of frustration.

True catharsis for one side is four wins away. Some things to look for over the next two weeks of what promises to be an entertaining final.

Fresh faces
When the season began, Matt Murray was in the minor leagues. Now the 22-year-old who was supposed to be Pittsburgh's goalie of the future is now very much the goalie of the present. Pressed into action when veteran Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a concussion on March 31, Murray held onto the job even after Fleury returned by playing with the steady hand of a guy in his 10th postseason, not his first. San Jose counterpart Martin Jones served as Jonathan Quick's backup when the Kings won it all in 2014 and has thrived while playing behind a defense that sometimes doesn't give him much to do. Jones has faced over 30 shots just four times during the playoffs.

"HBK" is H-O-T:
Pittsburgh's best line during the playoffs isn't the one centered by Crosby or Malkin but Nick Bonino, who has teamed with Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin to produce 17 goals and 28 assists in 18 games. Put together when Malkin missed six weeks with an elbow injury, the trio has given the Penguins the balance they desperately needed after years of being too reliant on their stars for production.

Powerful Sharks
San Jose's brilliant run to the Finals has been spearheaded by a power play that is converting on 27 percent (17 of 63) of its chances during the playoffs. The Sharks are 9-2 when they score with the man advantage and just 3-4 when it does not.

Old men and the C(up)
Both teams have relied heavily on players who began their NHL careers in another millennium. Pittsburgh center Matt Cullen, who turns 40 in November, has four goals during the playoffs. Thornton and Marleau, both 36, were taken with the top two picks in the 1997 draft that was held in Pittsburgh while 37-year-old Dainius Zubrus draws stares from younger teammates when he tells them he used to play against Hall of Famer (and current Penguins owner) Mario Lemieux.

"When I say 'Twenty years ago I was playing against Lemieux, they say 'I was 2-years-old,'" Zubrus said.

NBA Notes: Grizzlies hire Heat assistant David Fizdale as head coach

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NBA Notes: Grizzlies hire Heat assistant David Fizdale as head coach

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Grizzlies have hired David Fizdale as their new coach and will introduce him in Memphis at a news conference Tuesday.

Memphis announced the move Sunday. The hiring was first reported Thursday by The Associated Press and others. The Grizzlies did not disclose terms, but Yahoo! Sports reported Fizdale agreed to a four-year contract.

General manager Chris Wallace said in a statement that the Grizzlies are confident Fizdale is the right person to help Memphis build on its success.

Fizdale has spent the past eight years with the Miami Heat, the past two as assistant head coach to Erik Spoelstra.

The new Grizzlies coach says he feels fortunate to have worked with some of the NBA's greatest coaches and players and believes he's ready for the challenge of being a head coach (see full story).

Antetokounmpo brothers combine for 133 points in charity game vs. Porzingis
ATHENS, Greece -- NBA stars Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks battled it out in Athens in a game of streetball Sunday, watched by a crowd of 5,000.

Played in an open court in Greece's largest public high school, the "Antetokounbros Streetball Event" ended 123-123. No overtime was played.

Porzingis scored 21 points but was overshadowed by team member Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Giannis' older brother, who scored 69. The two had played for a few games together last season, when Thanasis was signed by the Knicks on a 10-day contract. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the other team with 64 points. The other players were a mixture of veteran pros and amateurs.

On Saturday, Porzingis and the Antetonkoumpo brothers were given a private tour of the Acropolis Museum (see full story).  

Watch Ben Simmons rainbow kick his way into your hearts

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Watch Ben Simmons rainbow kick his way into your hearts

Lately, you've heard and read a lot about potential No. 1 pick Ben Simmons and how he could be a Sixer soon. And you're going to hear and read a ton more about potential No. 1 pick Ben Simmons and how he could be a Sixer soon for the next three weeks and change.

But who cares about hearing and reading about him when we can actually watch him do some cool stuff instead?

Simmons posted the following video to his Twitter and Instagram accounts earlier on Sunday.

A lovely little strike on the pitch right past the keeper, something, something, Wayne Rooney, Leo Messi, Ronaldo's abs. That's the extent of my soccer knowledge. Though a guy who told me he knows some about soccer (I'll take his word for it) said that move is called a "rainbow kick." That sounds good. Let's go with that.

Simmons even tagged Messi in the Instagram vid. No response yet, though.

I like to think I know a little more about basketball than I do about soccer, so that swish after the rainbow kick was pretty nice.

I'm not sure how foot-eye coordination translates to NBA success. But seeing as how traveling doesn't really exist in the NBA anyway, maybe Simmonds can get away with it.

Oh, wait, I've got an idea: Imagine he and Jo-Jo, who likes himself some futbol, kicking it up the court then finishing it off with the rainbow-kick alley oop.

Yeah, that's the good stuff.