Right now, the title chase for the WWE Championship is the most interesting it has been in a long time. If WWE wants to keep the excitement rolling through the rest of the year, it needs to have Daniel Bryan capture his first-ever WWE title, only to lose it seconds later to Randy Orton in a cash-in of Orton’s Money in the Bank briefcase.
Doing that guarantees that the battle for WWE’s top prize is the story to watch for the rest of 2013 and maybe even beyond.
That doesn't mean that a cash-in against John Cena wouldn't be exciting for the WWE Universe, but it would be exciting against Bryan for far different reasons.
Bryan is the hottest star in WWE right now, so awarding him the victory in the match makes the cash-in that much bigger. It also fulfills Orton’s prophecy last month that the long-awaited heel turn would be huge when it happens.
Cena’s support-to-opposition ratio among the WWE Universe is about 50-50, so a cash-in on him does not generate the amount of heat for Orton that a Bryan cash-in would.
A cash-in on Bryan extends the American Dragon’s storyline that he is suffering from an inferiority complex because of his size and his alleged weak link perception. It also fuels the struggle for WWE control among the McMahon family, with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon appearing to line up behind Bryan, and Vince McMahon appearing to plot to keep Bryan away from the top of the WWE mountain.
Briefcase cash-ins over recent years have been fairly lackluster. Last year was the worst, especially for the red briefcase.
In 2012, Cena announced to the world that he would cash in the red briefcase against then-champ CM Punk on Raw’s 1,000th episode. He failed when The Big Show intervened in the match.
The year before that, when Alberto Del Rio held the red briefcase, he successfully cashed it in against Punk at SummerSlam. But he only held the title for a month before losing it back to Cena.
This time around, the storyline practically dictates a quick cash-in for Orton. That keeps both Bryan and Cena in the hunt for the title since both would claim they are owed rematches. The WWE title match at September’s Night of Champions PPV now becomes a Triple Threat contest—champion Orton vs. Bryan vs. Cena. Future PPVs for 2013 will feature a combination of these men for the title. I expect Bryan to be around the title at least through Survivor Series, when the McMahon family power struggle story finally hits its climax.
But it all has to start at SummerSlam. And it will.
Once the match is over, we will hear Orton’s music hit. He comes down the ramp without the briefcase, looking as if he is coming to either congratulate the winner or stare him down. Moments later, he hits the champion with the RKO and prepares to leave, only to turn around, reach under the ring, pull out the red briefcase and cash it in.
One more RKO, and the WWE title picture for the rest of 2013 comes into sharp focus.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963