WWE Money in the Bank 2020: Why Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt Has Highest Stakes

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2020

Credit: WWE.com

WWE Money in the Bank is a pay-per-view that will see Superstars rewarded for their ability to "climb the corporate ladder" with guaranteed championship opportunities. On Sunday, however, the highest stakes for the immediate future of the SmackDown brand lie in the universal title match pitting champion Braun Strowman against Bray Wyatt.

Built on the rich history the characters share, the contest may not steal the show from an in-ring standpoint, but it will tell us a lot about The Monster Among Men and the mastermind behind the Firefly Fun House.


Just How Serious Is WWE About Braun Strowman as WWE Champion?

There is no denying that Strowman would not be the WWE champion had Roman Reigns not voluntarily pulled out of WrestleMania over concerns for the health and wellbeing of his family. The Monster Among Men was nowhere near the title picture. Nor would he have been in the wake of the event.

Which raises the question, just how invested in Strowman is WWE Creative?

He enters the show as one of four realistic options to be the top guy on SmackDown. He is the universal champion. And the fact that he filled in, bailing WWE out of a potentially embarrassing situation undoubtedly earned him goodwill.

But did it earn him another month as champion?

It is a good sign that Wyatt is billed as himself rather than his Fiend persona. Had it been the other way around, the prospects of Strowman retaining would be extremely low.

The story has also set itself up for a Strowman victory.

For weeks, we have listened to Wyatt talk about creating him, about making him into the man that he is. He was the Black Sheep of the Wyatt Family, and he owes his success to his former leader. Defeating his top contender and proving otherwise would solidify Strowman as his own man and provide him with his first successful title defense.

At a time when most see him as champion only because Reigns is not around, establishing him as his own star and writing a logical next chapter to one of the more compelling stories in the company makes sense.

But what would that mean for his opponent, a character who has been through his fair share of inconsistently booked hell?


The Tribulations of Bray Wyatt

To say Wyatt endured a massive setback at Super ShowDown in February, when he lost the Universal Championship to Goldberg, would be an understatement. Months of work by the performer and writing team were nearly unraveled by a colossally bad booking decision that ultimately benefited no one.

After a creative masterpiece at WrestleMania 36 in the form of the Firefly Fun House Match, it felt like Wyatt was back on track and ready to resume what he started before the Goldberg mishap.

Can he do that, though, if he loses in his first post-WrestleMania in-ring appearance?

As strange as it sounds given the doom and gloom that usually accompanies a Wyatt loss, what with his sordid history of roller-coaster booking, he can afford a loss at Money in the Bank a hell of a lot more than Strowman can.

Smiling, waving, sweater-wearing Wyatt can. It could easily serve as the push that reintroduces The Fiend.

Maybe even a more diabolical and nastier one at that.

There is plenty of reason to be concerned about the long-term wellbeing of the Wyatt character if the losses start to mount. History tells us as much. A loss on Sunday, though, could be what he needs to spark the fury of The Fiend and tell the next chapter of their story.

A Wyatt win sets things back to pre-Super ShowDown, sure, but at what cost to Strowman, one of the few legitimate main event babyfaces SmackDown has?