WWE seemed to meet fans halfway Saturday night at the 2022 edition of the Money in the Bank.
Liv Morgan winning the women's Money in the Bank briefcase and immediately cashing it in against Ronda Rousey to win the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship on the same night was a huge win for fans.
Theory being a late entrant to the men's match and winning that briefcase to close the show was more controversial.
If WWE was actually trying to meet fans halfway, it was a resounding success that could end up better than even the most pessimistic fans might expect.
Morgan has been a fan favorite for a long time, but she never was given the proper due in a division headlined by the likes of Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, never mind after the return of Rousey. When WWE decided to go with younger talents as headliners in the past, that spotlight went to a name like Bianca Belair.
So telling hardcore or casual fans before Saturday's show that Morgan would not only win, but successfully cash in on Rousey of all people, would have had those fans laughing at the absurdity of it all.
But WWE did it, with Morgan besting names like Lynch and Alexa Bliss in the ladder match, then getting the best of Rousey before a fun post-match interaction.
Much of how this gets viewed over the long run will hinge on how WWE treats Morgan from here.
If she looks strong and gets to headline, it's fantastic. If say, Flair returns in a week or two and beats her...not so much. Either way, it was nice to see WWE go the "two birds, one stone" route by crowning a Superstar like Morgan and removing the specter of the briefcase from weekly programming.
Then there's Theory, whose journey so far and the very nature of how it all went down that causes some possible problems.
Theory lost by submission in his U.S. title match earlier Saturday to Bobby Lashley. But right before the main event started, an authority figure adding him to that match telegraphed the ending, making it clear he was going to win.
And it's not that Theory doesn't necessarily deserve it.
One can only jab WWE for going with a 24-year-old Superstar who could be the next top guy so much. But it was palpable how much his win sucked the air out of the arena and it came at the expense of somebody like Riddle, Drew McIntyre and—most notable of all—Seth Rollins, given his connections to Roman Reigns.
The immediate problems stuck out too. Theory's not believable as a threat to Reigns. The current top dog's whole "unified" run aimed at a Rock matchup at a future Mania makes it near-impossible to see Theory doing anything but taking a loss there.
But what's interesting about Theory in a silver-lining sense is his heel persona is the perfect type of guy for the briefcase. He can flirt around the idea of cashing-in in an entertaining way that builds his character. And there have been subtle hints of a future feud with John Cena—so maybe we get his cocky heel character putting the actual briefcase on the line, letting Cena steal it.
That's just one example of how WWE could ignore the dud of momentum with this result and forge ahead with something special. It might sting a little more to know this spot might have gone to Cody Rhodes had he not suffered an injury that will sideline him for a long time. But either way, the result is WWE strapping a rocket to a budding young star and there's a chance at something truly great.
And let's be honest—if Theory wasn't being pushed as Vince McMahon's chosen one and perhaps a little faster than probably need be, the entire backdrop of this event would be WWE going all-in on two fast-rising stars who can headline the company for a long, long time. The company desperately needs to do it now before it's too late.
So while there's a little give and take going on here, it's certainly not all bad. WWE seems to know it's got some serious problems in the main-event scenes because of circumstances like the Sasha Banks situation and the Rhodes injury. The two briefcase winners might not exactly be who fans would have picked, but after clamoring for WWE to go with younger stars to turn into headliners for a long time, fans aren't exactly in a spot to say "no, not that person" when the decision-makers do just that.
For now, emerging as winners from Saturday night after a superb card are the fans, Morgan not just a briefcase winner but a champion, and an effective 24-year-old heel with immense upside about to get a shot at winning everyone over despite a lukewarm initial reaction.
Not bad, as WWE used the event's briefcases as it always should—to generate interest and build for the future.