Raw ended Monday night with Kane squashing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank field like it was the 2001 Royal Rumble.
A smug Triple H followed up by announcing that Kane was the eighth participant in Sunday’s main event.
The look on his face was one of self-satisfaction. He was watching Kane, one of his last remaining peers from the Attitude Era who is still an active competitor, literally lay waste to WWE’s current main event scene.
Within seconds of the announcement, however, Kane was swiftly speared by promising upstart Roman Reigns. Kane’s red lighting evaporated as quickly as his pyro. Suddenly, the whole scene came off like a facade.
Triple H’s expression went from smug confidence to discomfort. Just seconds prior, he seemed so sure that the Demon Kane would present an impossible roadblock for the rest of the combatants.
Kane’s patented explosions from the four posts and subsequent lighting appeared to be the final image of Raw headed into Money in the Bank. But within an instant, WWE’s past was speared into oblivion.
After all, this isn’t 2001.
That very fact is why it’s so puzzling that WWE would allow the championship Money in the Bank match to get older.
As it stands, the average age of the eight-man main event is 35. The average competitor will stand at 6’5" and weigh 262 pounds. Still, the 47-year-old Kane will be an outlier. He stands at approximately 7 feet tall and weighs over 320 pounds.
History tells us that the high-flyer—not the monster—serves as the foundation of the Ladder match, let alone the Money in the Bank Ladder match.
Wrestling acrobats and super athletes such as Shelton Benjamin, Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy are all etched in history for flying off and through ladders.
The participants in Sunday’s briefcase match (average size: 6’3", 234 pounds) are perfectly equipped to excel in the athletic showcase for which Money in the Bank has come to be known.
Crowd-pleasers such as Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston, while not expected to win, are sure to be due for show-stealing stunts.
Meanwhile, the resident high-flyer in the championship match is, well, nobody.
This is largely unprecedented at Money in the Bank. Even in last year’s somewhat geriatric all-stars match (average age: 36 years), a battered CM Punk and Rob Van Dam in winter were able to serve as serviceable stuntmen.
This year’s championship Ladder match will likely depend on a combination of Cesaro strongman spots and some variation of Bray Wyatt crab-walking with a ladder.
Those type of highlights are better suited for Ripley’s Believe It or Not than a WWE pay-per-view.
Kane’s monstrous presence and supernatural gimmick will only add to the circus theme of WWE’s main event, which—believe it or not—carries with it very serious overtones.
The winner of the Money in the Bank match will say a lot about WWE’s future plans as they pertain to Daniel Bryan. A safe choice (i.e. a proven draw like John Cena) could be an indicator that officials are content to wait out Bryan’s healing process while using a reliable placeholder like Cena.
A first-time championship win for Wyatt, Cesaro or Reigns would likely mean WWE decided to go in a new direction.
According to recent reports (from F4WOnline via WrestlingInc), John Cena is currently in line to win. This would be symbolic in some ways.
Because, despite taking an unceremonious spear, WWE’s past can always sit up.