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:

Even with Jordan Matthews' return, Paul Turner still in Eagles' plans

Even with Jordan Matthews' return, Paul Turner still in Eagles' plans

There were just two things on Paul Turner’s mind as he sprinted across the field early during the third quarter on Sunday, anticipating his first career NFL catch. 

Turner relayed them on Wednesday: 

1. “Make sure you get in [Carson Wentz’s] vision.” 

2. “You better catch this ball.” 

He did both. 

Turner, the 23-year-old undrafted receiver from Louisiana Tech, who has become a fan favorite since his stellar training camp and preseason, caught his first NFL pass during Sunday’s loss to the Bengals and it went for a big gain of 41 yards. 

On his first catch, the Eagles used the play-action to tilt the defense and Wentz threw a dart into a small window to hit Turner on an over route. Then, the rookie turned upfield with a ton of space in front of him. 

By the end of the afternoon, he caught six balls for 80 yards. It was the best receiving day for an Eagles rookie since Jordan Matthews in 2014 and was a better day than last year’s first-round pick, Nelson Agholor, has ever had. 

“It's always good to catch a few balls,” said Turner, who has been on the 53-man roster and active for just the past two games. “It gets your motor going and gets your confidence going. It just gets you more into the game and gets you excited. I think it does a lot for a person's confidence.”

Turner played 41 snaps against the Bengals in large part because Matthews was out with an ankle injury. Matthews predominantly plays in the slot, which is where head coach Doug Pederson and his coaching staff like Turner. 

“Honestly, that wasn't really my mindset going into the game,” Turner said when asked if he knew how much opportunity he’d have with Matthews out. “My mindset was to go in there and if my number was called, just go out there and make a play. Even if my number was called, just take care of my assignment and take care of the little details and I knew everything else would just take care of itself. I knew that if I got the ball, I'd be excited. But even if I didn't, just to go out there and just block, and give up myself for my teammates. That was my goal coming into the game and just try to stay focused on that.” 

It appears as though Turner has done enough to warrant keeping his playing time. As Matthews returned to practice on Wednesday — as a limited participant — Pederson said there will still be opportunities for Turner. 

“There are, there are,” Pederson said. “And these are things we talked about the last couple of days as a staff — getting Paul in there, even with Jordan coming back. I think it can be a benefit to the offense to have both of those guys ready to go.”

The Eagles still haven’t had more than four receivers active for any game this season. During the last two weeks when Turner has played, either Agholor or Matthews were out. 

“It means a lot that the coaching staff has confidence in me,” Turner said. “My biggest thing is just to come in here and just work each and every day in practice and just prepare in practice so I'm prepared when I go out there in the game.” 

MLB Notes: Aroldis Chapman rejoins Yankees on 5-year, $86 million deal

MLB Notes: Aroldis Chapman rejoins Yankees on 5-year, $86 million deal

OXON HILL, Md. -- Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen -- a very rich spot, too.

The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night with the highest-priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.

Once it's done, the 28-year-old lefty whose fastballs routinely top 100 mph would shatter the previous richest contract for a reliever -- that was the $62 million, four-year deal Mark Melancon signed with San Francisco just a couple days ago during the winter meetings.

Chapman was acquired by New York from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason, then missed the first 29 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension from Major League Baseball. The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July and helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over.

Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 ERA in a combined 59 games for the Yankees and Cubs. He struggled some in the postseason as the Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.

With the Yankees this season, Chapman teamed with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. Miller was later traded to Cleveland, but Betances is still with New York.

Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team was interested in both Chapman and fellow free agent closer Kenley Jansen. The Yankees had already made one deal at these meetings, signing slugger Matt Holliday, before paying a lot more to bring Chapman back to the Bronx.

Fox Sports first reported the agreement.

Rangers: Gomez reaches deal to stay with team
OXON HILL, Md. -- Carlos Gomez is staying with the Texas Rangers.

The outfielder agreed to an $11.5 million, one-year contract, a deal subject to a successful physical.

"Many of the objectives of the Rangers for Carlos go beyond one year," his agent, Scott Boras, said Wednesday. "Certainly Carlos really enjoyed the team and the environment and feels he's got a great chance to win. So I think both parties' objectives were met by that deal."

Gomez, who turned 31 last weekend, figures to play center as general manager Jon Daniels structured an outfield that includes Shin-Soo Choo in right and Nomar Mazara in left. Ian Desmond left Wednesday for a $70 million, five-year deal with Colorado.

Gomez batted just .210 with five homers in 85 games this year for Houston and was released by the Astros in August. He signed with Texas and hit .284 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in 33 games. An All-Star in 2013 and '14 with Milwaukee, Gomez has a .257 average and 116 home runs in 10 big league seasons.

"J.D. was very clear from the onset about them wanting Carlos back, and we've had communication since the season's end to pursue that," Boras said. "So it was something in our minds and in their minds. It was just a constant dialogue."

AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.

Red Sox: Sale not worried about being ace
BOSTON -- New Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale says he isn't worried that he might not be the ace of the pitching staff after being traded from the White Sox to Boston.

The 27-year-old lefty told reporters on Wednesday, "We play for a trophy, not a tag."

Sale was traded to the Red Sox on Tuesday at the baseball winter meetings. He was the top starting pitcher on the market, and the Red Sox gave up touted prospect Yoan Moncada as part of a package to land him.

Sale has been an All-Star for five straight seasons and finished in the top six of the Cy Young Award voting each time. He joins a staff that already includes 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and '12 winner David Price (see full story).