WWE has been thrown a curveball for its live events this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. WrestleMania took place this year without an audience, for the first time ever. Many people believed that WrestleMania would be the last big show put on until crowds could come back, but to everyone’s surprise Money in the Bank was announced during that broadcast.
This year, the Money in the Bank match is going to be a little different from its usual format. It was announced that the superstars will “climb the corporate ladder” by brawling throughout corporate headquarters to the roof, where the briefcase will be hanging. WWE then added a second new stipulation: both men’s and women’s matches will take place at the same time. Will this kind of match actually work, or is WWE simply overbooking the match in the hopes that something memorable comes out of it?
While fans know what to expect from a typical ladder match, a match in which superstars race through a building trying to reach the roof has never been done before. It sounds like like that could result in another brawl style match, and those has been plentiful as of late, with Randy Orton’s match against Edge and Johnny Gargano’s match against Tommaso Ciampa both underwhelming by running too long. It is extremely risky to change the formula of the Money in the Bank ladder match so drastically, as WWE is taking one of its biggest matches of the year and potentially turning it into a giant mess.
It can also be challenging to have two matches of the same type on the same card. Whether it’s Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber, or Money in the Bank, having to put on two matches with the same stipulation on the same card always risks taking some of the excitement out of one or both matches. This year, WWE has decided to address that problem by having both the men’s and women’s Money in the Bank matches take place at the same time. The big question is, is that change going to be for better or worse?
Now, instead of six participants, WWE is going to be bouncing around between twelve, all in a confined space. How is that going to work? On top of the challenge of simply keeping the audience understanding what is going on at any given moment, is that the most sensitive booking decision to make in the current climate of social distancing?
Given the new stipulations, the best chance for this match to work well would be to make it another entry in the growing library of WWE’s cinema-style matches. This will provide the opportunity to edit together a coherent story, given the inherent challenge in watching twelve people simultaneously running around a building without it coming off like a mess. A cinema-style match that follows the superstars around the building, assuring that the big spots are shown and the viewer always knows where to look, sounds much more entertaining.
Not everyone has enjoyed the cinematic matches that became the talk of WrestleMania 36, but it is the only way this kind of Money in the Bank match can work. While the cinema style does take away the live sports-type presentation that appeals to many wrestling purists, another ladder match in an empty arena is not what the Money in the Bank match deserves.
The overbooking of a Money in the Bank match is nothing new. Last year’s match had Brock Lesner enter the match literally last minute and win the briefcase. Granted, that entire swerve was worth it just to get the Brock Party memes that followed Lesnar’s subsequent appearances on Raw, but it does seem as if overbooking this particular event is beginning to become a trend.
This year, the Money in the Bank match has been overbooked to a point that’s never seen before. By continuously adding stipulations to this match, no one has an idea of what the final product will look like, so it’s possible that this version of the match works perfectly, and it’s just as possible it ends up being a disaster. Is WWE going to get another Boneyard Match that fans cannot stop talking about, or is it going to end up with a match so bad, it’ll have to have a “do-over” on Raw the next night like Carmella’s twin Money in the Bank wins in 2017?
While it's good that WWE is looking to freshen up the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, it appears that this year it is simply trying to do too much.