Brock Lesnar's Failed Cash-In Tease Sets Up Biggest WWE Storyline of the SummerJune 8, 2019
There was about zero chance WWE was going to let Brock Lesnar cash-in his Money in the Bank contract during Friday's Super Showdown event in Saudi Arabia and steal the universal title from Seth Rollins—but at least the promotion made it interesting.
Lesnar showed up as advertised in Jeddah, seizing upon a moment after Rollins' match with Baron Corbin as a cash-in spot. But it went awry in predictable, if not in silly fashion, as Paul Heyman tripped on the ropes to create a distraction that allowed a hurt Rollins hit Lesnar with a low blow and then beat the tar out of him with a chair.
It was as silly as it sounds:
But kudos go to WWE for at least making the past week interesting. Lesnar brutalized Rollins with a chair on the go-home edition of Raw, sending him out on a stretcher but refusing to cash-in the briefcase. Rollins got his revenge in the tease, and away the storyline goes.
There are layers to why Lesnar was never walking out of Saudi Arabia as champion.
For one, WWE doesn't really do title changes at these events overseas. Kofi Kingston won. Finn Balor retained. These are borderline non-canon events with silly happenings like Shane McMahon taking center stage.
Two, the specter of Lesnar hanging over both shows and ready to strike at any moment is a draw. WWE has had a brutal time with ratings lately, which is bad considering the rise of AEW and SmackDown's impending move to Fox.
But over the past few weeks? Ratings have turned back up out of pathetic territory while Lesnar threatens. The problem facing WWE is fan engagement in this angle could taper off rather quickly as goodwill goes away. At the start of June, Heyman proclaimed Lesnar was going to cash-in no matter what on Monday's Raw before having Rollins easily pinnable and refusing to do so.
The goodwill will run out on this, though Lesnar's moment and which Superstar he picks remain a draw for the time being.
And don't even think about Lesnar failing his cash-in attempt once the bell confirming a cash-in is happening occurs. The briefcase already feels like a prop given its treatment lately, so they aren't going to let a name as prestigious as Lesnar mess up with it.
But it's about the journey, right? With Lesnar still clutching the briefcase—a point commentary beat fans over the head with much like Rollins did the steel chair on Lesnar's skull—the storyline opportunities abound for these summer months. And if WWE plays it smart, it doesn't have to only involve Rollins.
After all, this tension was epalpable later the same night. Lesnar had limped off hurt earlier, but while Kofi Kingston was celebrating his victory over Dolph Ziggler with Xavier Woods, it was hard not to think Lesnar could come back out and strike.
Granted, somewhere in the back of fans' minds, the fact that Lesnar just learned he has a full year to cash-in and SmackDown's move to Fox make it seem pretty obvious Roman Reigns could end up with Kingston's title and their program headlines the new show.
But even if that retread does end up happening, that doesn't mean these summer months can't be entertaining. There does seem to be an feeling that Lesnar is enjoying himself more than usual with the beatbox gimmick and all, and he has been around more in the wake of his latest retirement from MMA.
This whole situation could help some character work get back on track too. Rollins is white-hot still, but there isn't much going on from a character perspective. He's clamoring for Lesnar to give him a fair fight on a cash-in despite the fact that he won the title on a low blow at WrestleMania in the first place, so some tightening up here could work.
Typically speaking, WWE doesn't pull the trigger on things when it should. Lesnar held the title too long last time. Super ShowDown's botchy main event was a match that should have happened a decade ago. But the patience shown Friday in not spoiling the cash-in makes sense because the programs need the Lesnar-briefcase factor at least through SummerSlam, especially if he's going to keep showing up more often.
Granted, if fans had heard Lesnar would be central to another key storyline for the full length of the summer despite dropping the title, it might have produced some groans. But this is at least a fun wrinkle to keep things fresh, provided it evolves as the summer progresses.