Will Otis Succeed or Fail as WWE's Mr. Money in the Bank 2020?

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2020

Credit: WWE.com

Otis and Asuka climbed the corporate ladder Sunday to win their respective men's and women's 2020 WWE Money in the Bank matches for the right to claim a title shot at any time of their choosing over the next year.

Less than 24 hours later, however, The Empress of Tomorrow already had the Raw Women's Championship around her waist after Becky Lynch announced her pregnancy and vacated the title.

Otis, on the other hand, won't be gifted any championship. In fact, his time as Mr. Money in the Bank may turn out to be a complete dud.

While the briefcase-holder is often assured they will become a champion, it's not an absolute guarantee.

Out of the 23 past winners, 19 cashed in to win a title. The four who failed were John Cena in 2012, Damien Sandow in 2013, Baron Corbin in 2017 and Braun Strowman in 2018.

Those failures prove that even if you're the biggest name in the company (Cena) or the largest Superstar on the roster (Strowman), you may still come up short.

Of course, Otis is far from the biggest and best on the roster. In fact, he was arguably the least likely to win Sunday's ladder match before it began.

That already puts him at a disadvantage, as it's harder to go from a midcard act who was in a fledgling tag team a few months back to world champion, rather than someone who is on the precipice of the main event scene and only needed a nudge.

Some may argue The Miz made the giant leap from midcarder to world champion, but he had more going for him than Otis does. The A-Lister had already held the tag titles and United States Championship prior to winning the briefcase in 2010.

Those belts gave him a foothold to prove he was ready for the responsibility of being champion, but Otis has yet to win a single title, even in NXT. All he's done is beat Dolph Ziggler at WrestleMania 36 and win Mandy Rose's heart.

Not everyone follows the same path to success, though, and both Kane and Sheamus won the world title before anything else.

Otis is one of the most entertaining characters in WWE today. It's not as though he's working with nothing. He has a lot of charisma and a genuine likeability that few possess.

But despite all that, he's not The Rock. The company isn't booking him like a future world champion who just happens to have an electrifying personality.

Otis isn't even in Mick Foley territory as a dangerous competitor in the ring and a viable threat to top talent such as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Undertaker.

The Heavy Machinery man, instead, is a comedic character more along the lines of a modern-day "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan—a lovable, barrel-chested goof who everyone roots for but isn't taken too seriously.

Duggan never claimed a title in WWE and only won the Royal Rumble before it really mattered. Otis' career peak is his Money in the Bank win, and it's easy to see a future in which WWE thinks that's good enough.

This is the same company that regularly has the Money in the Bank winner go on a losing streak, with the philosophy that holding the briefcase will protect them from looking too bad, especially once they cash in.

Just ask Sandow how well that worked out for him, as he went down that losing streak road, failed with his cash-in and was never able to bounce back. Even Corbin took a long time to heal from the damage done to his credibility with that booking strategy.

Otis is a perpetual punchline. How could anyone think WWE will avoid turning his cash-in into a joke, too?

Even in Sunday's match—which had a food fight, a pie-in-the-face gag and Doink the Clown—Otis didn't properly win. He happened to catch the briefcase when AJ Styles fumbled it.

Credit: WWE.com

That shows WWE views Otis as a gag and not someone who could feasibly beat Strowman, The Fiend, Roman Reigns or anyone else in the upper echelon on SmackDown to become its top champion.

He'd more likely win a title by tripping and falling onto his opponent than scoping out the perfect time to strike and beat a marquee name.

At best, Otis will carry the briefcase around and get a lot of laughs out of what he does with it, only to lose his cash-in in a ridiculous manner.

At worst, WWE is going to run his shtick to the point when no one finds the joke funny anymore and he gets cast aside.

Otis seems like a wonderful person and is one of the most fun characters to watch, so here's hoping this all goes well for him. However, it wouldn't be wise to get your hopes up for Mr. Money in the Bank to be anything but a setup for a punchline WWE may not even land.

             

Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.

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