Money in the Bank is one of the most important and exciting events of the year, but in 2022, the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship and Roman Reigns have rendered the men’s contract effectively pointless.
The event is coming up on July 2 and what do we know about it so far? Drew McIntyre and Sheamus will be in the first qualifying match tonight on SmackDown. That’s it. Even the women’s ladder match has nothing going for it yet, but at least we know there will be two champions to potentially cash in on when someone grabs that briefcase. The men’s doesn’t have that privilege. Hell, it doesn’t even have ONE person to cash in on at the moment.
WWE seems keen to learn the wrong lessons from its mistakes, all across the board. The McMahon Family came out on Raw in December 2018 (you read that right) to apologize for how bad the product was, only to not change anything for the better. No more general managers, but we have Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville. Gone are the automatic rematches. Instead, we have someone just win an obvious No. 1 Contender’s Match to have the rematch anyway.
After all the issues with putting one of the titles on Brock Lesnar and having him barely wrestle, we’re now at a crossroads where Roman Reigns has both the titles and hasn’t defended either of them a single time on television or pay-per-view—only the house shows, which fundamentally haven’t mattered in 20+ years. Reigns has only wrestled one match since Mania, which was the needless six-man tag at WrestleMania Backlash.
He was off Hell in a Cell. It seems despite having Riddle outright challenge him, he’ll probably be out for Money in the Bank, too. WWE only seems to care to have him around in time for the stadium shows (SummerSlam, Clash at the Castle and Crown Jewel), so in the meantime, let’s have Drew McIntyre say he wants a title opportunity in September and just act like that makes any sense.
Here’s one of the big flaws about Money in the Bank this year with Reigns. If McIntyre beats Sheamus—which we can assume he will—what happens if The Scottish Warrior wins the briefcase? He already said he wants to challenge for the title at Clash at the Castle, not now. How ridiculous would it be for him to say he won the briefcase, has the contract, and has signed away his title opportunity for September? In the meantime, he’ll just sit by patiently and busy himself with something else? What??
If he doesn’t immediately say “I want my match right this moment”, his character is a complete idiot. You shouldn’t want to wait several months to be champion. And if he does try to cash in, only to fail, and then wait several more months to get a rematch, doesn’t he look like a total fool in that scenario, too? He’ll have squandered a gimme AND waited just to lose again.
So what if someone else wins, then, to avoid that issue? Okay. Who? It can’t be Cody Rhodes. If it’s Bobby Lashley, Riddle, or anyone else, they’re stuck in another bad spot. Reigns is absolutely not going to lose that title prior to WrestleMania. Whoever tries to cash in will fail and look stupid. Even if WWE books something where The Usos interfere, cause a disqualification, and that person (let’s just say Riddle) gets a rightful rematch, fair and square, at the next event, guess what? They lose there, too, and fans go “Wow. Money in the Bank sure was a waste.”
If no babyface can cash in without being a loser, or wait forever to cash in without looking like a moron, how do you do Money in the Bank and not ruin either a Superstar, the contract, or both?
There are only two ways I can imagine could circumvent that issue.
One is to have a heel win it and be too chicken shit to cash in. Sami Zayn would be perfect for it, as he can continue to suck up to The Bloodline, who can string him along like a puppet and pretend like he’s part of the crew and wouldn’t dare cash in. That would be a fun storyline to track, and it would make sense for him to keep the briefcase well into WrestleMania season. Or, he can try to cash in, fail, and we’ll just laugh at his misfortune.
The second option is to change the rules. Instead of being able to cash for a world title shot (ie, the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championship), make it so you can cash in for ANY championship. Expand it so technically, the winner can challenge for the Intercontinental, United States or Tag Team Championship. Hell, even the NXT Championship or 24/7 Championship. Any title, any time, anywhere.
That way, someone can beat Theory, for example. Assuming Gunther beats Ricochet, he can drop the Intercontinental Championship with a cash-in and won’t look weak. Or, someone can find a partner and dethrone The Usos.
It isn’t ideal, but I just can’t see any other way to avoid ruining Money in the Bank this year, or making the Superstar who wins it look like a jackass.
If you don’t believe me, come back in a few months when hindsight rears its ugly head.