It seems like forever since we have had a WWE pay-per-view and I, for one, love it.
Although the last two (Greatest Royal Rumble and Backlash) occurred nine days of each other, the break between what have seemed to be extended weekly television shows have been refreshing. My primary point is the WWE has positioned Money in the Bank as the fourth biggest show of the year, surpassing the 30-year November staple, Survivor Series.
In their most recent builds, SummerSlam and Survivor Series were given four weeks in 2017 between the previous PPV. The January Rumble was given six weeks and WrestleMania was given five. There will be a six-week gap between Backlash (May 6) and MITB (June 17). Obviously some of that has to do with the elimination of the brand exclusive Pay Per View events.
I am not a fan of the gimmick PPV’s, but this one works. Hell in a Cell should be the culmination of a feud and not a match where two guys, who are currently feuding, are thrown in the cell just because October (or in 2018’s case September) rolls around on the calendar. That match should be used sparingly, perhaps once every two or three years. MITB is different – it creates a Rumble-like feel. You know whoever climbs the ladder and grabs the briefcase will be in line for a push to at least the top of the mid-card, if not higher.
Survivor Series has not really been about the team format since 1991. They throw in a 5-on-5 elimination match year to year, but those matches haven’t elevated a talent in a major way in over a decade. It also doesn’t bother me that Brock Lesnar isn’t defending the Universal Title on this card. It doesn’t take Lesnar to make a show a Top 4 show of the year. You have the male and female ladder matches, Ronda Rousey’s first single match and a title match at that.
Although the AJ Styles/Shinsuke Nakamura feud has not had a blow-away PPV match, it will have the top billing for this show and will most likely close the show. Asuka has her rematch for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal and Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn aren’t exactly two matches that exude “intrigue,” but most early Rumbles had a lackluster under-card as well.
The WWE produced 16 main roster PPV’s in 2016 and 2017. They will reduce that number to 13 at the end of 2018 and 2019 will most likely fall to 12. Less is more when each show will at least be four hours and we have five hours of live television each week.
Can Money in the Bank be SummerSlam’s Rumble? I am not exactly going that far, but you can plant the seeds of new feuds in the ladder matches that lead to programs for Summer Slam in August. The MITB show has had its moments.
The 2011 John Cena/CM Punk title match in Chicago was a classic based on the fan reaction alone. We got Cena vs Kevin Owens in 2015 in a champion vs. champion match fresh off of Owens’ main roster call-up. In 2016, we got Cena vs. A.J. Styles in the beginning of their feud and a double title change involving all three members of the Shield.
The build for the ninth installment of this event hasn’t been mind-blowing, but it isn’t how you start, but how you finish and I hope they can finish the first PPV of the summer strong.
Chad Dixon (@Dixon23rtr)