Should I be a dumb fan and just go “WAHHOOOO! Daniel Bryan won! Finally!” Or should I use common sense, hang my head and realize that Daniel Bryan, at best, won’t be a real main eventer for at least 2 more years to come? It’s an interesting thought though. Look at what the Money In The Bank briefcase does for a man’s career, it stalls it, hard.
The Rated R MITB: Edge. Edge was a upper mid card heel, feuding with Shawn Michaels and looking good in 2005. Wouldn’t of been to far fetched to see him as world champion before far to long right? He wins the Money In The Bank and pretty much goes catatonic for the rest of 2005, feuding with Matt Hardy, who had really done nothing for his singles career to that point and really, taking Edge down a peg or two. With losses to the soon to be jobbed out Matt Hardy and Kane (who lacked any relevant status in 2005 as a singles star) Edge was really hindered. Then he gets injured, misses Taboo Tuesday and Survivor Series. His first pay per view back is at New Years Revolution against Ric Flair for the Intercontinental title. He loses the match by DQ and later pins Cena for the WWE championship. His first reign? 3 weeks, one successful title defense against Ric Flair, that he couldn’t even win clean. He’d lose the belt to John Cena at the Royal Rumble. It’s hard to guess when Edge was due to win the belt back actually because just five months later Rob Van Dam wins the WWE title from Cena (more on him later) but was eventually suspended not one month later. Edge would regain the belt but ultimately drop it back to Cena just 76 days later. In what would be Edge’s biggest match to date, he was booked to again cheat, to retain his belt. Edge would eventually recover and have a few really good, possibly even great reigns as a world champion, but in 2006, the WWE misused Edge and it hurt. Edge is with out a doubt a hall of famer but he was never truly a big ratings or buyrate guy, despite the fact that heading into WrestleMania 21 he was considered to be the biggest ‘future’ world champion the company has had in years. MITB did not help Edge’s career, Rob Van Dam did.
Lets look at WrestleMania’s 22 MITB winner: Rob Van Dam. RVD was the most popular and most over guy to never win a world title in WWE’s history (arguable). He won the belt and for the first time and to date, only time, cashed it in for a legitimate match. RVD would win, thanks to ironically enough, Edge, and would go on to what many thought would be a long reign. RVD however, through no fault of the WWE, would end up having a reign of barely a month. He’d lose the WWE title to Edge in a triple threat in July and the ECW title to Big Show the next night. The MITB curse/misuse strikes again. RVD would never rebound, ultimately leaving the company in 2007.
WrestleMania Twenty Three…..Twenty Three: Mr. Anderson. Anderson didn’t even cash in. He got hurt mere weeks after winning it. He’d eventually lose a match to Edge for the briefcase. Edge would then use it to again cash in, this time against Taker who was hurt. Edge however would get hurt again in July (marking this the first time the Briefcase curse cost two men time) and would vacate the belt. Khali would win the belt in a battle royal. Again, thanks.
WrestleMania Twenty Four Is Straight Edge: C.M. Punk. People keep saying that this was going to be Jeff Hardy’s MITB win. Allegedly as things always change. Hardy however was removed from the match and Punk won. He would cash in on, ironically enough, Edge who got beat down by Batista minutes earlier. Punk would fight Batista to a double DQ at The Great American Bash, beat JBL at SummerSlam (who was a weak choice) and would get knocked out of his scramble match at Unforgiven by Randy Orton. Punk would then get dropped to mid card status for the next year. If it wasn’t for the feud he had with Jeff Hardy, he might not have been able to get to where he is now.
WreslteMania Twenty Five repeats: Punk. Punk did it again. He would wait until a pay per view this time, beating Jeff Hardy for the title after Hardy beat Edge for it. Punk would then feud with Hardy until SummerSlam where he got his biggest win at this point. Punk would later be jobbed out to Undertaker in two embarrassing pay per view matches. Punk would then go on a 18 month+ long drought. Ending ironically enough at Money In The Bank where he’d finally get the big win over John Cena. The match that made Punk a main event draw and top face, wasn’t the MITB win, it was the clean win over Cena three years later.
WrestleMania Twenty Six: Swagger – Swagger cashed in days after winning it at WrestleMania, then would drop it three months later and one forgettable reign later to Rey Mysterio. Swagger has yet to bounce back to even a decent mid card champion.
Money In The Bank 2010: Kane – This might be the lone time the MITB was used right. Kane, a former world champion and well established name, cashed in on Rey Mysterio to win the World Championship. Kane would then go on a long, respectable reign defeating names like Undertaker, Rey, Edge and others throughout his run. He’d lose to Edge at TLC after holding the belt for over 5 months.
Money In The Bank 2010: Miz – He pinned Orton 24 hours after Orton defeated Wade Barrett at Survivor Series. Miz would then have to scrape together weak wins over Jerry Lawler, Randy Orton and John Cena (thanks to The Rock) during his five month reign. It was considered a fast failure due to Miz being overshadowed at WrestleMania by Rock/Cena. Miz would then end up losing to Cena in a 2 on 1 match, losing to former lackey Alex Riley, losing a MITB match in July….well frankly he hasn’t won on ppv since April. Miz ate the loss to Rock at Survivor Series and has been the biggest disappointment so far.
Money In The Bank 2011: Alberto Del Rio – ADR, the very boring Mexican star himself cashed in after Punk and Cena had an epic encounter for the right to be the real WWE Champion. Del Rio, who wasn’t as over as Cena or as interesting as Punk was considered a let down and ultimately flamed out as WWE champion despite winning the belt twice so far in his career.
Money In The Bank 2011: Daniel Bryan. Back to the point, sorry it took so long. He pinned Big Show, who just won the belt back himself, in a typical MITB cash in. Enjoy it while you can. If the past is any consolation to how things are going to go for first time Champions, Daniel Bryans reign will be over soon and ugly. Make it to WrestleMania? How about makes it to the Royal Rumble. Hell, how about makes it to 2012. Daniel Bryan is a fan favorite, kinda. He has a strong and loyal fan following, though it’s not big. Not big enough to make him a World Champion so soon.
Look at the “brand new” champions since Edge won in 2006 and tell me how many of them really panned out.
(2006) – Edge, RVD, Mysterio : All first reigns considered disappointments
(2007) – Khali : I mean really?
(2008) – Punk, Jeff Hardy: Hardy having a clean win over Edge/Triple H cemented himself as a big draw, Punk though disappointed.
(2009) – Sheamus: Flopped massively as a heel despite two reigns, two years later is finally considered ready.
(2010)- Miz and Swagger: The two worst booked champs in easily a decade.
(2011) – Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry – Del Rio was never a true main event wrestler and Henry has been the best booked champion in some time.
A lot of first time flops. Why is the WWE flopping so hard? The last legit guys to come in, win the belt clean and make an impact was Batista and Cena. Every other first time champion has faltered, or didn’t last to long (Hardy would be gone a year later). Edge didn’t become a true main eventer until 2008 really thanks to Undertaker. How can you not main event, or have a feature match at WrestleMania and be considered a big name? Sure he did his thing with Foley at Mania 22, but that wasn’t anything more then Piper vs. Goldust on steroids. A true main eventer has a marque match at WrestleMania. And a true world champion is a main eventer.
That’s why this Daniel Bryan cash in is so aggravating. He had the chance to do something no MITB winner has done before: win clean in an actual match. RVD, the only guy to date to have challenged someone to an actual match but still couldn’t win without Edge. Daniel Bryan was on the verge of true break out stardom when he took Mark Henry to the limit on Smackdown a few weeks back. He was showing he could hang with the big boys and was frankly making a strong case for a marque slot at Mania. Yet, he cashes it in on Big Show. The allure of Daniel Bryan’s “Quest” is gone. He’s not going to have that kind of growing support that he was gaining. Like Sheamus, his win was to quick and with to little build. Like every other MITB winner, it was done in way that discredited his ability to do it with out taking advantage of a downed opponent. Mark Henry and Jeff Hardy were the two people the WWE has used right when it comes to booking guys right. Henry and Hardy toiled for years before they first won the title. They had their missteps and failures. Imagine if Jeff Hardy had won the belt two years after really being used regularly? That’d be 2001, a mid card tag team, and a small fandom. Hardy was probably expected to win the belt in 2004 or 2005 but he left and went to TNA. TNA didn’t push the belt on Hardy for various reasons, the most readily being he wasn’t mentally ready for it. He came back to the WWE, cleaned up his act here and there and eventually won it two and a half years later. That’s how long Sheamus has been on the WWE roster. Jeff had been on the WWE roster for four years full time, not to mention three years off and on as a jobber/part time, wrestler before he left the company. Hardy then spent about 2 years in TNA. The math should read something like this = Hardy had a combined 12 years between WWE/TNA to cement his name. Mark Henry? Fifteen. The WWE is trying to create brand new stars in a fifth of the time it took to get these guys to get over.
Happy Daniel Bryan won tonight? Don’t be. C.M. Punk suffered, Edge suffered, RVD suffered, Mr Anderson suffered before winning a championship, Swagger suffered, Del Rio/Miz are suffering and only Kane has made the briefcase worth winning really. It’s just a fact, the WWE is using the briefcase to do the job writers or upper-management don’t want to do; push new stars. They use it and go “see, so and so wasn’t ready, oh well!”
The briefcase is a failed and old tradition to generate a pop. Edge was probably the only guy ready to win a world title before cashing in, yet mismanagement and poor post title booking made him look weak. Punk’s moment was exciting, yet failed to evaluate him. In fact, he’d go down to mid card status just as fast as he won the Title. The WWE is ruining what winning the world title should mean for your career. All of you IWC fan dweeps freaking out cus Punk and Bryan are both World Champs are blind to this fact. What’s a better story? Daniel Bryan snaking the World Title from Show? Or Daniel Bryan claiming his spot at Mania and winning the World Title clean over a guy like Henry or Show (or both)? Nope, instead we have a watered down moment that we have seen 9 times in 5 years. Instead of getting Daniel Bryans unique moment, a moment that he can say he earned by himself and being in a company all by himself, he instead takes the way out that so many have tried before and failed before have.
Now some of you will say “it’s just about how he’s booked!”. Um…truthfully, I don’t think even you readers agree with that. Daniel Bryan and all the other MITB guys failed ultimately because the fans lost interest. You can create a cheap pop with the MITB briefcase but you can’t create a career moment with it. The fans see a Punk beating Edge thanks to Batista and go nuts. But we all know though he couldn’t do it clean. That hurts his standing in the fans eyes and ultimately his failure as a champion. It’s almost fitting that C.M. Punk won the WWE title for the first time this year, because it’s been like his first true reign as a main eventer. Remember the prolonged excitement heading into the match? His return? The way the fans pop for him? People almost forget that it was his fourth world title win of his career.
The MITB briefcase does have a place I think in the WWE, for veterans. And only one. This one per brand crap needs to end. How sad is it that there is no real heel of relevance on Raw besides the recently returned Kane. Mark Henry is the flag barer for heels on Smackdown. Cody Rhodes, assuming he can avoid the MITB snake bite, could easily join him in time.
The fans have demanded new blood and the WWE knowing they don’t have “time” to placate the fans, have just started trying to create moments for fans, instead of making the fans be patient for the moments to occur in time. That might be the biggest mistake in the WWE.
Try and remember some of the all time big title wins.
Undertaker over Hulk Hogan.
Bret Hart over Ric Flair
Michaels over Hart
Stone Cold over Michaels
Triple H over Mankind
Chris Benoit over Triple/HBK
Angle over The Rock
Eddie over Brock
All of which were done with out the use of a “anytime” title shot. Sometimes you need to make the fans suffer. Did you know it took Shawn Michaels four years after his first WWE title shot to win it? You can try and change a lot of what works in wrestling all you want but one formula stands true, you just can’t create a main eventer. It takes time, it takes luck, it takes a strong fan base but most importantly it’s about it all working together. You can push somebody to the moon but if the fans don’t react to him, it doesn’t matter how many big wins he has. You can even put the belt on somebody the fans love, despite his lack of time on the roster, yet if he doesn’t have a resume backing him, he will in fact fail.
The WWE, with all their active competitors (according to the WWE.com roster page) has 18 men who have been world champion at one point. 33% of their male roster are former World Champions.
It’s safe to say that the MITB briefcase has made that number as high as it is. Now tell me, if the World Title should be for main eventers, do you believe that 33% of the roster are main eventers?
I didn’t think so.
Stop the MITB madness, stop ruining careers with early title wins. Stop forgetting how to book future champions.
But most of all, to you fans, stop supporting this garbage of an idea.