WWE’s “Money in the Bank” premium live event is known and loved for its exciting multi-opponent ladder match, where competitors strive to retrieve a briefcase suspended above the ring. Inside that briefcase is a one-of-a-kind contract that guarantees a championship match opportunity anytime, anywhere, within one year of winning the case. It stands to reason then, that the men and women involved in this brawl for it all will stop at nothing, to climb the ladder and take ownership of the iconic briefcase. And, with the 14th “MITB”-themed event set to take place this Saturday in London, M&F caught up with two of the challengers to find out how they intend to outlast all rivals and become the owner of that fateful briefcase. It could turn out to be an epic night for the “Latino World Order” stable, if Santos Escobar and Zelina Vega win their respective WWE Money in the Bank matches.
Santos Escobar drops his WWE opponents thanks to dropsets
“I’m no stranger to ladder matches,” says Escobar, who is a second-generation grappler from Mexico City, Mexico, and is the son of the legendary lucha libre star; El Fantasma. As relates to his training, Escobar needs to make smart use of his time. “I try to do as much as possible, with as little time as you get,” he says, taking into account the crazy touring schedule of a WWE Superstar. “I always try to work my body so that the strength is there, and the mobility is there.” When it comes to hitting the gym, the LWO member is a big proponent of warming up, especially since he’s dealing with the wear and tear that comes with being in the ring. As for planning his sets, the exciting wrestler likes to perform drop sets in the order of 15, 12, 10, and 8 reps. Dropsets are a great way to promote muscle hypertrophy, leading to gains in muscle size and endurance. It’s no wonder he’s dropping his opponents as well.
For arm and back training, Escobar performs dumbbell curls, barbell drag curls, dumbbell preacher curls, dumbbell rows, and the T-bar row all using the same drop set pattern. Working hard away from the ring is something that Escobar takes very seriously, but it’s tough to plan the perfect workout for dealing with the steel ladder that will be in play on Saturday. “I was asked a lot, what is the biggest threat in a Money in the Bank ladder match,” says Escobar. “And I said, the biggest threat is the ladders! Why? Because you can use them to retrieve the briefcase and you can use them to punish your opponents. It’s crazy and yet at the same time, I’m looking forward to it.”
For many pro wrestling fans, the “Money in the Bank” event is the most exciting night on the WWE calendar where history is made, because it delivers the potential for their favorite grappler to earn a title shot once, they cash in their contract. Who can forget Seth Rollins dethroning Brock Lesnar during his impromptu title shot at WrestleMania 31 (2015), or Carmella’s surprise cash-in against Charlotte Flair, which took place on the episode of SmackDown that followed WrestleMania 34 (2018). But, while strong arms are necessary for snatching the case from high up in the rafters, just as important is the requirement for well-trained legs.
Zelina Vega develops explosive leg power with plyometric training for WWE Money in the Bank
An integral part of Vega’s strategy for MITB has been to develop her explosive leg power through plyometric training. Plyos involves exercises that both contract and stretch the muscles such as running, squats, hops, and box jumps. As you practice the movements, your muscles will adapt and performance will improve. Plyos are a great way to prepare the body for intense sports and by developing your stabilizing muscle’s you will also ward of many potential injuries. For Vega, plyo training helps her prepare for a ladder match. “There’s just not so many ladders that I can climb at home,” jokes Zelina Vega. She is fully aware that with bodies flying everywhere and the mad scramble that’s bound to ensue for the ladder, the cosplay aficionado must be well conditioned to outlast her foes.
“I actually (now) do a lot more high-intensity cardio, a lot more HIIT cardio, because I feel like in moments like that, you have to make sure that you can dig into your power bank and pull it out of you, when you need to,” she says. In fact, Vega tells M&F that she now has a wrestling ring as part of her home gym setup, so that she can clock up as many hours training in the squared circle as possible. But what about the ladder itself: is it heavy? “It’s really heavy,” says Vega. “A lot of people don’t understand, I’m a lot smaller, so it’s such a big clunky thing that I have to make sure I can work my way around it. It’s definitely something that’s not fun to carry!”
This year, the stakes seem higher than ever in London for the victor, with stacked men’s and women’s matches to look forward to. “I’m so excited to be here,” says Vega as bell time nears. “The fans are so passionate here.” On the men’s side the participants looking to make bank will be Santos Escobar, Ricochet, Shinsuke Nakamura, LA Knight, Butch, Damian Priest and Logan Paul. For the women’s briefcase, the challengers will comprise of Zelina Vega, Becky Lynch, Zoey Stark, Bayley, Iyo Sky, and Trish Stratus.
To find out if the LWO’s hard training will pay off, don’t miss any of the action from WWE Money in the Bank, streaming live from the famed o2 arena in London on Saturday, July 1 via Peacock in the United States, and WWE Network everywhere else.