During the WWE Championship TLC Match between Drew McIntyre and AJ Styles on Sunday, The Miz cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase. But he was unsuccessful, as McIntyre retained the WWE Championship. While it may have been the correct decision to have McIntyre remain the champion at this juncture, the Money in the Bank concept is in dire need of some changes.
First, it's problematic that the latest winner of the the briefcase, Otis, was destined to fail. Otis' inevitable defeat became more evident once Roman Reigns returned and became the top heel on WWE SmackDown. Still, when Miz won the briefcase, it felt like there was a chance that the briefcase could be salvaged this year.
But given the way that he has been booked as a comedy act, along with WWE’s strong booking of McIntyre, his loss was quite predictable. WWE had until the summer of 2021 to have Miz cash in. At that point, McIntyre might not be the WWE Champion.
In that case, The Miz could have realistically found a sneaky way to win the WWE Championship. Instead, WWE panicked, so 2020 marked another disappointing year for the briefcase.
Dating back to 2015, three of the past six Men’s Money in the Bank winners have gone on to lose their cash-in attempt. In 2015, Sheamus won the match and went on to successfully cash in on Reigns. The next year, Dean Ambrose won and cashed in on Seth Rollins that same night.
Since then, Baron Corbin, Braun Strowman, and Otis have all won the MITB Match. But none of them went on to win the title. In 2019, Brock Lesnar was an exception to this pattern. He successfully cashed in, but he was not scheduled to be in the match.
While winning the Money in the Bank Match shouldn’t necessarily equate to an automatic title victory in the future, the way WWE has mishandled the briefcase holders has lessened the importance of Money in the Bank. A concept that used to elevate rising stars into the main event picture is being entirely wasted.
The Women’s version has a separate issue that has also weakened the concept. In 2018, Carmella had to win the briefcase two times. In 2019, Bayley won and cashed in on the same night. Asuka's victory this year ultimately won her the RAW Women’s Championship. Looking at this history, It's safe to say there hasn’t been an actual storyline with the Women's Money in the Bank briefcase since 2018.
In both divisions, almost every briefcase holder goes on a huge losing streak right after they win it. Instead of booking the winner to look strong, WWE has them lose so they look extremely weak. So when that Money in the Bank victor becomes the champion, it’s hard for fans to take them seriously. These losing streaks destroy the briefcase holder's credibility.
There are a couple of ways that WWE can fix these issues with the Money in the Bank concept. The match could go back to its placement on WrestleMania, where it became a staple as the opening bout on the show. Or WWE could change the rules so that the winner can cash in on any world champion, regardless of their brand status.
Currently, the winner is forced to cash in on their brand's champion, so this booking direction is obvious. If WWE reverts to this rule, Money in the Bank might regain some of the credibility it has lost.
Another solution is to simply pick more appropriate winners for the Money in the Bank briefcase. While Corbin and Strowman were good choices, their cash-in attempts left a lot to be desired. Both of these Superstars have struggled to regain their footing ever since. Corbin may have won the King of the Ring tournament, but the "King" gimmick has done him more harm than good.
Likewise, while Strowman eventually went on to the WWE Universal Championship, this victory was largely a result of external circumstances. Plus, his reign was lackluster. Lesnar didn’t need to win it last year, as a Mustafa Ali victory could have been a perfect way to utilize Money in the Bank for its original purpose.
As for this year, Otis’ victory could have worked if WWE made his character more serious. In that case, he could have been viewed as an actual contender for a world title. Similarly, the decision to have Miz win the briefcase could have worked. But he was also booked as a comedy act. So in the end, he simply became more fodder for McIntyre.
As it currently stands, the Money in the Bank case has fallen far from the heights it once held. But with a few simple tweaks, the concept could again become a highlight of WWE programming.Published 22 Dec 2020, 03:39 IST