Rejuvenated Mr. MITB Brock Lesnar Is WWE's Not-so-Secret Weapon in AEW Battle

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2019

Was Brock Lensar as Mr. Money in the Bank exactly what WWE needed as the threat of AEW looms large?
Was Brock Lensar as Mr. Money in the Bank exactly what WWE needed as the threat of AEW looms large?Credit: WWE.com

Two days removed from AEW's critically acclaimed Double or Nothing pay-per-view event, WWE responded with an abysmal episode of Raw on Monday night.

There was no sense of urgency from the talent, nothing seemed to make sense and there was far too much talking in the first hour or so of the show. In other words, it was no different than any other installment of Raw since last summer.

One bright spot from the night, however, was Brock Lesnar using his Money in the Bank briefcase as a boombox and playing mind games with universal champion Seth Rollins and WWE champion Kofi Kingston. He even went so far as to claim he had no clue that he had a year to cash in the contract, and it was easily the most personality he's shown on WWE TV in years.

WWE's decision to give Lesnar the briefcase in the first place was met with plenty of frustration from fans. There were so many other stars who could have benefited from becoming Mr. Money in the Bank, yet the company was adamant that The Beast Incarnate should emerge victorious.

The timing could not have been worse coming off Lesnar's lengthy reigns as universal champion. His gimmick as an absentee titleholder ran its course years ago, and by the end of his stint with the strap, the WWE Universe was sick of seeing him with the gold in his grasp.

Lesnar did far more to hinder Raw than help it while champ, which is why it would be a massive mistake for WWE to give him another run with the title. That doesn't mean he can't be entertaining in this role as Mr. MITB, especially if WWE is smart enough to have him hold out on cashing in the contract for many more months.

WWE announced Friday that Lesnar will be cashing in his contract on Monday's Raw against Rollins for the universal title. The Beast's advocate, Paul Heyman, apparently had no desire to deal with the backlash of Lesnar's recent actions and decided to avoid it by having Lesnar announce his cash-in ahead of time for Raw.

Then again, this could wind up being Lesnar's latest swerve designed to put more heat on him and make viewers think he's contending for the championship when he isn't. It's an obvious bait-and-switch, which will get old sooner rather than later, but it perfectly sums up what Lesnar's new character is all about.

Advertising Lesnar's first match on Raw in more than 15 years (regardless of whether it happens) is a smart way of luring fans into watching the flagship show. If WWE can continue to come up with new ways of having him avoid cashing in his contract, he will be what makes the show worth watching through the summer and beyond.

AEW boasts an incredibly star-studded roster between Kenny Omega, Cody, The Young Bucks, Chris Jericho and many others. Despite that, none of them come close to having the type of notoriety and drawing power Lesnar has.

It's no secret that Lesnar means far less now than he did when he first returned to WWE in 2012, but whenever he does appear, it's huge. The same can not be said for the rest of either company's roster, making Lesnar the not-so-secret weapon in WWE's ongoing battle with AEW and a bigger key to its success than some may realize.

Lesnar won't be a full-time competitor—nor should he be—but based off how he's been booked lately, he must be the centerpiece of Raw going forward.

Credit: WWE.com

Once Lesnar loses the MITB briefcase, he won't have much else to accomplish aside from chasing either world title on his own. We've seen that several times before, but at least this Brock Party shtick breathes new life into his stagnant character, as well as into Raw itself.

With Bayley already having cashed in her contract at May's Money in the Bank pay-per-view, WWE should keep the men's briefcase in play for as long as possible. Although the gimmick has been done to death since its inception in 2005, the unexpected twist Lesnar has put on it has made everything involving him and the title scene a ton of fun to follow.

WWE needs all the buzz it can get as AEW's TNT debut draws near. Bringing up the competition on Raw through terrible talk show segments won't help WWE's cause as much as trying new things with the most notable name it has under contract will—especially if he shows up more frequently in the future.


Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.