One of the best parts about the WWE Money in the Bank contract is the element of surprise it adds to the superstar that holds it.
Unfortunately this year, while the winner of the match came as somewhat of a surprise, the cash-in itself lacked that same shock value, and ultimately ruined Brock Lesnar’s cash-in at WWE Extreme Rules.
In 2015, we saw arguably the greatest Money in the Bank cash-in of all time when Seth Rollins stole the WWE Title in the main event of WrestleMania 31. It made the main event even more memorable than anticipated as a result of the WWE pulling off something they have never done before.
The shock value that Money in the Bank has provided over the past decade has made it a moment that fans anticipate every year because they don’t know when or where it will happen.
This year, WWE pulled off the ultimate shock during the actual match. rather than the cash-in itself. by inserting Brock Lesnar as the mystery eighth competitor in the match. Much to the dismay of the WWE universe, Lesnar won the match with ease after pushing Ali off the top of the ladder to win the briefcase for the first time in his career.
Unlike most people, I was intrigued by Lesnar winning the match because I thought that WWE could use Lesnar’s limited schedule to their advantage, as it would leave fans to speculative as to when the cash-in would actually occur.
However, rather than having a cash-in as shocking as the match victory, Paul Heyman began teasing Lesnar’s cash-in the weeks following Money in the Bank. For consecutive weeks, we were told that Brock Lesnar would cash in on Raw, which never happened.
We even saw an attempted cash-in at Super Showdown that Seth Rollins was able to escape after Lesnar got distracted by Paul Heyman slipping on his way into the ring. All of this lowered the hype around Lesnar as the Money in the Bank holder, and reduced the amount of interest fans had in him.
Finally, at Extreme Rules, following weeks of teasing, we got to see Brock Lesnar cash-in and win the Universal Title for a record third time. In an incredibly anti-climatic fashion, Lesnar came out to the ring following the main event and pinned Rollins after hitting two German suplexes and an F5 for the victory.
Having Lesnar cash-in at Extreme Rules on Seth Rollins after weeks of telling fans this would happen only further devalued the anticipation of the cash-in, a moment that is typically one of the high points annually in WWE.
Telling the whole world that the cash-in would occur ruined any shock or surprises that are normally associated with Money in the Bank victors.
The incredibly negative reaction on social media after Lesnar’s victory at Extreme Rules clearly demonstrates how WWE dropped the ball on Brock Lesnar as Mr. Money in the Bank. I would have loved to see Lesnar cash-in on Kofi Kingston instead of Rollins as that would have added a shock value aspect to something we all knew was coming.
I feel like WWE rushed Brock Lesnar’s cash-in and could have done better by not having him mentioned on TV for a while, so that his eventual return would be a surprise. We’ve seen great Money in the Bank moments in the past on big stages including Survivor Series, the RAW after Wrestlemania, and Summerslam.
Delaying the cash-in until Summerslam this year would have made it a bigger moment and would have received a better reaction. The rowdy Toronto crowd would definitely give Lesnar a much bigger and more positive reaction than he got at Extreme Rules which would make the moment feel as special as it usually does.
WWE could have even waited until October, and pulled off a surprise cash-in on SmackDown when it debuts on FOX as well. Having a household name like Lesnar win the title on their debut episode would be a great way to draw new viewers into the product and make the moment feel more important.
Unfortunately, WWE gave us no shocks or surprises and maintained status quo with Lesnar, and ultimately ruined his reign as Mr. Money in the Bank by having him cash-in at Extreme Rules.