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:


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


And just because:

Eagles-Vikings Week 7: What they're saying

Eagles-Vikings Week 7: What they're saying

Riding a two-game losing streak, the Eagles (3-2) return home Sunday for the first time in nearly a month and welcome a familiar face to the confines of Lincoln Financial Field. 

Sam Bradford and the Vikings (5-0) will come to Philadelphia fresh off a Week 6 bye and, most notably, as the league's lone unbeaten team. Minnesota boasts one of the league's top defenses, ranking first in points allowed (12.6 per game) and second in yards allowed (287.6 per game), and is looking to improve to 6-0 for the first time since 2009.

The last time these two franchises met was back in December 2013, when Matt Cassell and the Vikings put up 48 points in a win over Chip Kelly's Eagles.

To get a better handle on this year's Vikings, here's what they're saying about the Eagles' Week 7 opponent.

Brian Robison poses yet another challenge for Big V
Making his NFL debut in a start against the Redskins last week, Halapoulivaati Vaitai struggled mightily. Ryan Kerrigan beat Vaitai and got to Carson Wentz for 2½ sacks, all of which came in the first half.

It won't get any easier for the rookie right tackle this week either, as he'll likely be lined up against Brian Robison for most of the afternoon. Robison has four sacks and two forced fumbles on the season and, according to Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune, the versatile 10-year defensive end could be difference maker on the defensive side of the ball Sunday.

"Whether his hand is in the turf at left end or he’s standing over a guard or center as the defensive tackle, Robison could be dropping back to cover a tight end or running back," Krammer wrote. "At the line, he’s given responsibilities to call stunts or twists depending on their own play call. Sometimes he’s setting the pick to free another teammate. ... And on Sunday against the Eagles and their rookie right tackle, keep an eye on Robison when he lines up at his traditional spot of left end. All four of his sacks this season, including two strip-sacks, have come from there."

Makeshift offensive line remains a question mark
The Vikings may be undefeated, but by no means are they made up of perfect parts. As the midway point of the NFL season approaches, Minnesota's injury-battered offensive line is still a work in progress. 

Starting tackles Matt Kalil and Andre Smith are both sidelined with season-ending injuries. Starting guard Brandon Fusco suffered a concussion Week 5 against the Texans, but is expected to return against the Eagles. Center is the only position on the line the Vikings haven't had to replace because of an injury at some point this season.

But despite the constant changes up front, Minnesota has been stout overall in protecting the quarterback, allowing eight sacks and 27 quarterback hits across five games. According to Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press, the performance of that makeshift offensive line is going to be key in the Vikings' potential success down the road. 

"What’s best for Bradford and the Vikings’ standing as the NFC’s top dog is better pass protection," Murphy wrote. "He was sacked twice when Houston defenders turnstiled Clemmings and hit hard in the pocket other times. ... Offensive line intrigue never is a sexy storyline, but how well the Vikings manage the unit week to week figures to be an underlying factor to their continued success."

Strong away from home
The Vikings are a just a few years removed from going winless on the road, finishing 0-7-1 away from home in the 2013 season. Minnesota secured wins in only two of its first 10 away games under the tutelage of Mike Zimmer, but have since gone on a tear.

Minnesota has won seven of its last eight road games dating back to last season and, in their most recent game away from U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings took down the Panthers, 22-10, in Week 3. A testament of a true contender is having the ability to win consistently on the road, which holds true with the Vikings.

According to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, the Vikings' vast improvement over the past two-plus seasons has contributed to them becoming a stronger team away from home.

"Facing a tough opposing crowd once was a tall order for the Vikings, but it’s much less of one now. After being one of the worse road teams in the NFL earlier this decade, they’re now one of the best," Tomasson wrote. "Overall, the Vikings have improved, having gone from 7-9 in 2014 to 11-5 last season to 5-0 this year. That’s the main reason the road record has gotten so much better. Still, players say the continuity the team has had has especially helped when entering rugged road environments."

While Vegas has the Vikings as light favorites on the road, national experts have them heavily favored straight up to hand the Eagles their third straight loss.

ESPN: All nine experts picked the Vikings

CBS Sports: Seven of eight experts picked the Vikings

FOX Sports: Three of five experts picked the Vikings 

Flyers Skate Update: Ivan Provorov has a new partner

Flyers Skate Update: Ivan Provorov has a new partner

Ivan Provorov has a new partner.

Provorov will be paired with Brandon Manning on Saturday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, a changeup from the first four games of the season. Mark Streit drops to the third pair with Nick Schultz, a tandem that worked together most of last season.

"We're going to change them up," Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said after the team's morning skate. "We're going to look at a couple of different things. Some of the combinations are some familiar ones, such as Streiter-Schultz. They played a lot of minutes together last year. It's a move that we want to take a look at."

The Provorov-Manning pair is an interesting one. It should allow the 19-year-old to activate more in the offensive zone with Manning playing positionally sound. Manning has played with an extra edge thus far, showcasing a far more aggressive brand of hockey than he's shown previously with the orange and black.

With Streit, an offensive-minded blueliner, Provorov had to cover for his partner. Provorov also ran into some tough luck situations, too. Now with Manning, Provorov has the handcuffs off a little bit. Manning plays well positionally and while he has been more aggressive, he knows when to stay back, which will help Provorov.

It's another adjustment for the rookie. Through four games, he said, there haven't been any surprises in terms of his expectations for how the NHL game plays.

"I think what I expected is what I got," Provorov said. "It's the best league in the world, you expect all four lines to be great, you expect fast pace, physical game and that's what I got. I'm still learning, but I'm trying to do better as the games go on."

Provorov has one assist this season and enters Saturday as a minus-5, largely because of the Chicago game Tuesday. Hakstol praised Provorov's maturity level and ability to self-evaluate. What he hasn't done with Provorov is talk about numbers.

"There are some meaning in stats and we take the meaningful areas and apply those," Hakstol said. "But I haven't talked to any of the young guys about their statistics. We're four games in. I don't make too much of statistics right now. We're evaluating day-to-day play and looking at areas that we can use as strengths and areas individually we can improve."

Starting slow
If there has been one common theme through the first four games, it's the Flyers' poor starts. In first periods this season, they've been outscored, 6-1 (see game notes).

On Thursday night, the Flyers again came out of the gates slow. It was their first game back after a season-opening road trip out West, which Jakub Voracek said was a factor.

Voracek, who has four assists, said the burden falls on the individual player to focus on the small details and avoid committing mistakes.

"As a player, if you don't have that extra step, you just have to keep it simple," he said. "It's going to come around. The first 10 minutes, you have to make sure you don't make mistakes and I think that we were trying to do too much if we weren't feeling right. It showed last game against Anaheim. We were a half-a-step slower."

Four games isn't a large enough sample size for Hakstol to make a definite statement on the Flyers' first-period woes. The second-year coach said he'll have a better understanding where his team is at after the Carolina game.

"I think we'll answer that question after the start tonight," Hakstol said. "I think we'll get a fair evaluation of our starts after our start tonight, and if we have a problem, we'll know it after tonight. If we don't, we'll know that as well.

"Pretty clear, crystal clear, black and white in my mind. Tonight should tell else what type of team we are at the start of the hockey game."

Projected Flyers Lineup
F: Brayden Schenn-Claude Giroux-Wayne Simmonds

Travis Konecny-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek

Nick Cousins-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Matt Read

Chris VandeVelde-Boyd Gordon-Roman Lyubimov

D: Andrew MacDonald-Shayne Gostisbehere

Ivan Provorov-Brandon Manning

Nick Schultz-Mark Streit

G: Steve Mason