Money in the Bank is this Sunday and has essentially become the fifth pay-per-view in a new “Big 5” for the WWE, which also includes the traditional four of Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series. The Money in the Bank matches themselves will have a large impact on storylines moving forward and the perceived intended futures of the winners, but perhaps the most intriguing match when it comes to the question of “where are they going with this” is the RAW Women’s Championship match between Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey.
The storyline that brought us to Jax vs Rousey has been disjointed at best, and many critics pose the usual questions of “Does Ronda deserve the title this soon,” “Should she be in a title match for her first singles match,” “Will she be the female Brock Lesnar,” etc. However, the fact is that we are here, the match is happening, and despite the lackluster build up, it certainly has piqued interest and conversation, which is what WWE wanted.
The bigger questions surrounding this match, if we assume that Rousey does indeed win the title, are ones such as “Where does Nia go from here?” “Who does Rousey feud with?” “Will she be a full-time participant from this point forward?” “Will she be given true angles and storylines, or be given the Brock Lesnar push and run through all comers?” These are the true, wrestling-based questions that will need to be answered moving forward. So in that vein, here is how I would book Ronda Rousey at Money in the Bank.
In her match with Nia, I would tell the story of Ronda constantly trying to apply the armbar, but Nia’s size and power thwart her each time. I think Ronda needs to take a few bumps to keep Nia over as a legit threat, and possibly even cover Rousey for her first two count, until ultimately Rousey finds a way to lock in the armbar and Nia taps out. Ronda Rousey is the new RAW Women’s Champion!
Ronda is celebrating her win in the ring with the fans, taking in the moment, until BAM! She is nailed from behind by the Women’s Money in the Bank winner with the briefcase. Ms. MITB lays her out with a few more shots from the briefcase and is then calling for a referee to cash in her title shot. We then see Stephanie McMahon coming down the aisle with an official, hustling him to the ring to start the match. Stephanie orders the timekeeper to ring the bell, Ms. MITB covers Rousey, and we get a 1..2..3! We now have a NEW RAW Women’s Champion and it’s Ms. Money in the Bank- Sasha Banks.
“The Boss Laides” stand tall over Rousey with the Women’s Title held high to close the segment.
This scenario does a couple of positive things. First of all, it allows for the inevitbale to happen, which is Rousey getting the title. Yes, this match has been rushed, and it has stopped Nia Jax in her tracks, but at this point, I don’t think there is any way they can keep the title on her and continue this fued. It has no heat, the storyline has been confusing, and it might be best to simply get the title onto Rousey and start fresh, again, with Nia. Seems unfair to Nia, but I think this while sitution has really screwed with her character development and short circuited her run as champion before it really had a chance to begin, which is unfortunate, but it is what it is.
Secondly, it then immediately takes the title off of Rousey and puts her in a logical feud and storyline for the title with her as the chasing babyface. It continues to play on the WWE vs UFC plot point that they have been emphasizing (there are no surprise Money in the Bank cash-ins in the UFC, which can help explain her loss and make it believable) and continues her storyline issues with Stephanie McMahon. WWE booked themselves into a corner here where they almost have to put the title on Rousey, but by then having her screwed out of the champiomnship the same night, it adds heat to a logical storyline that will put the fans in a position to want to see Rousey rip someone’s arm off and reclaim the title and claim revenge, instead of feeling like she was thrown into a rushed match before it made sense to do so.
Third, and perhaps most importantly in my opinion, it turns Sasha Banks heel. Banks’ “Boss” persona is a natural heel, and she pulled it off so well in NXT and early in her main roster run. There have been hints dropping for several months now that Sasha was due for a turn anyway, and giving her the briefcase, then the title, and aligning her with Stephanie McMahon would cement her as the top female feel on RAW and could allow her to take the “Boss” character to a new level. I would really play up the relationship with Stephanie and her new position as the chosen champion. Show her on RAW arriving in limos, getting her own personal dressing room, not having to listen to Kurt Angle, having the odds constantly stacked in her favor, etc. Play up the angle that Stephanie has gotten into her head with promises of truly being treated like “The Boss” that she is, and that the promise of even bigger fortune and fame convinced Sasah to aling with the enemy.
Now you have a ready-made storyline going into SummerSlam for Banks vs Rousey. Or even better yet, put some obstacles in Rousey’s way by virtue of Stephanie’s influence that she has to overcome first and stretch the inevitable Banks/Rousey match until Survivor Series. In the meantime, you could have Banks vs Bayley at SummerSlam for the title and wrap up that long simmering angle (and give Banks a legit win as champion) until Rousey finally earns her shot. If done right and given time, it could possibly even harken back to the Steve Austin vs The Rock feud in 1999, with Rousey playing the no nonsense face constantly fighting from underneath and overcoming the odds stacked against her by the Authority until she finally gets her shot at the cocky champion and takes the title.
I know the WWE is a business, but the business is stll wrestling, and in wrestling stories matter. Stories that make sense matter even more. The interest and more impprtanlty the emotion they can illicit is what hooks the fans and causes them to invest in what’s being presented to them. Obviously, it has been proven that today the WWE doesnt necessarily NEED great creative to make crazy money, but as a wrestling fan, it definitely enhances my enjoyment of the product. No matter what they do with Rousey in the coming months, I hope the WWE can throw us fans a bone and at least try to write something compelling for her, and the product as a whole, this summer.
Cheap Plug- If you’d like to know how I would book the rest of the Money in the Bank card, check out this week’s episode of my podcast, Kentucky Wrestle Report, on Audioboom.