It must be that time of year again because I get to talk about WWE doing something stupid that misses the point of everything they were trying to do. Believe it or not, it’s Money In The Bank season again and despite the show being held just over a week ago, one of the briefcases is already gone. Also believe it or not, WWE didn’t do things in a logical way, but this time they are hammering things into the ground so much that it is somehow becoming even worse.
As you will know if you have watched any WWE programming since Money In The Bank, Liv Morgan won the women’s Money In The Bank ladder match, cashed in on an injured Ronda Rousey a few hours later, and is now the SmackDown Women’s Champion. WWE has somehow turned this into a moment on the level of Shawn Michaels’ Boyhood Dream and at this point, I can’t even say I’m surprised.
Following the win, and even immediately following it, WWE treated Morgan’s win into something for the ages and hasn’t really stopped since then. Between putting up a completely realistic video of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee losing their minds over the win to a highlight video on both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown, WWE wants you to know that this is HUGE and Morgan should be praised. As usual in WWE, that might make sense on paper, but it isn’t the most realistic idea.
As you might have guessed, this is feeling an awful lot like Nikki Ash’s Raw Women’s Title win last year, also due to a successful Money In The Bank cash in. Ash won the ladder match and then the briefcase (again within about 24 hours), meaning she got a heck of a reaction for the surprise, only to find out that not much had changed, which shouldn’t have been a surprise.
Despite winning the title, Ash was still the same person she had been for months, albeit now with something to further the still dumb “ALMOST A SUPERHERO” deal. Ash held the title for a little over a month, including some wins on live events, before dropping it to, say it with me, Charlotte, who was just desperate for her eleventy billionth title reign. With the loss behind her, Ash continued to be the same goofy loser, but now she was a former Raw Women’s Champion.
So yeah, after the whole ordeal of winning the briefcase and then losing the title back to Charlotte a little over a month later, Ash was the same person she was before, with one new line on her resume. That might sound good, but it continued to show the same problem with Money In The Bank: winning the title via a cash-in doesn’t mean much of anything, with neither the fans nor WWE acting like it meant anything.
Now we flash back to modern times, and WWE has learned its lesson. WWE is making it clear that this title win is the big change for Morgan and she is suddenly a star. She is such a star that she was in a match with Natalya and Carmella on Monday Night Raw and then got to stand in the ring for a bit before Rousey and Natalya had a Money In The Bank rematch on SmackDown. That’s totally better than Asuka and Becky Lynch getting to main event Monday Night Raw in a no holds barred match of course, because Morgan’s win was special.
While things are already a bit better this year because Morgan is a better and more popular, as well as slightly more serious, star than Ash, the problem at the core remains the same: Money In The Bank comes off as a cheat code that let Morgan jump to the front of the line. Not only did she decide when the title match took place, but she did it by cashing in on an injured champion and spent more than half of the (27 second) match in Rousey’s ankle lock before getting a rollup for the title.
For comparison’s sake, let’s look at Daniel Bry…..actually let’s go outside the box a bit and try going back to the Golden Era. Back in 1987, the Hart Foundation won the Tag Team Titles from the British Bulldogs in a fairly famous match. The reign is one of the most well remembered in WWE history, as the Harts were an all time team and a great mixture of power and technical ability. They lost the titles later in the year to Strike Force and eventually turned face over the course of the next year. The team would be great, but they couldn’t get the titles back.
Why was that the case you ask? Well aside from the completely ridiculous depth of tag teams in the company at the time, there was also the Jimmy Hart factor. Jimmy had managed Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart for a good while, but now that the team had turned to the side of good, he was long gone. Unfortunately so was the team’s success, as they spent the better part of three years trying to get the titles back.
That all leads us to Summerslam 1990 and the Harts’ final showdown with Demolition in a 2/3 falls match. After some cheating from the third member of Demolition and a save from the Legion of Doom, the Harts FINALLY won the titles again, as Bret pinned Smash off of a rollup. The roof came off of the Philadelphia Spectrum in a great moment because the people CARED. These fans had wanted to see the Harts overcome the odds to get the titles back and the match (which was great on its own) worked as a result.
That’s where the Money In The Bank stuff misses. What has Morgan done to make you believe that she belongs on this level? While Morgan is a hard worker who has come miles and miles in WWE, she hasn’t had some big singles win that makes her a star. Winning a big multi-person ladder match doesn’t make her feel like she had some big win, as that isn’t how the match is presented. WWE runs Money In The Bank under the premise that it is a huge free for all where anyone could win. All that does for me is sound like all of the skill is gone and replaced with luck.
So to summarize: a wrestler who has never won anything in the way of a major singles match won a ladder match based on being in the right place at the right time so she could attack an injured champion and win a title that was treated as the ultimate prize for her career. That is walking one fine tightrope and WWE is right there to act like it is the biggest thing that anyone has ever done in the history of women’s wrestling.
Morgan has been treated as a big deal, but it feels like a house with no foundation. Going back to Ash, look what happened when she lost the title: dropped back down to the nothing wrestler she was before and not a big deal because she hadn’t moved up to the new level but was instead just visiting. There was no reason to believe that Ash (or Morgan) had moved up to the next level and the fans (or WWE) didn’t treat her as such. Why is that not going to happen this time?
My issues with Money In The Bank have been fairly well documented over the years and this is the biggest reason of them all. This system doesn’t really elevate anyone, but rather sends them up on a trampoline so they can look into a window on the next level. Odds are Morgan is going to come crashing back down, leaving has as Almost A Star.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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