WWE Blows It with Otis, Nails It with Asuka and More Money in the Bank Hot TakesMay 11, 2020
WWE Blows It with Otis, Nails It with Asuka and More Money in the Bank Hot Takes
The 2020 Money in the Bank pay-per-view promised the unprecedented, and Sunday night on WWE Network, fans watched men and women simultaneously fight their way through corporate headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, encountering several high jinks and unforeseen circumstances en route to Otis and Asuka winning their respective genders' briefcases.
In Asuka, the company rewarded the best empty-arena performer it has had since the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation. In Otis, it has opted to take a risk that may backfire spectacularly and cost the promotion a sure-thing Superstar.
Relive two outcomes, what they mean for the company and the performers themselves and other significant takeaways from Sunday's pay-per-view extravaganza with these hot takes.
WWE Blows It with Otis...
In 2000, Rikishi was a red-hot big man who had forged a connection with the audience in a way no one expected. Then the company got it in its head that it would push him into the main event scene way before he was ready, and the result was the ill-fated "Stone Cold: Steve Austin vehicular homicide attempt reveal.
Rikishi was ruined and never regained the momentum he had prior to the heel turn that changed the course of his career.
A decade later, WWE took the hottest heel it had on its show and pushed him to the moon. He won Money in the Bank, and in November 2010, he cashed in to become the WWE champion. He was The Miz, and history tells us how wildly unprepared he was for that responsibility regardless of the momentum and fan following he had built for himself.
Otis winning Money in the Bank at this year's event may have been a welcome change, a fresh face elevated in a match synonymous with doing just that. Unfortunately, he is not at all ready for such a push.
Has he exceeded expectations and become enormously popular, thanks in large part to the ongoing romantic storyline with Mandy Rose? Yes, but a comedy midcarder with an underdeveloped character and a penchant for being goofy does not a main eventer make. WWE needs a midcard of talented and popular Superstars, and at this point in his career, that is where Otis is best suited.
Pushing him too quickly will only expose what he does not know, what he is not ready for and, as we saw with The Miz and Rikishi, it could doom him for many years.
That he still has plenty to accomplish with Tucker, who is essentially screwed by this booking decision, only leaves one scratching their head more in the wake of the event. Aleister Black, King Corbin and even AJ Styles were better options to win the briefcase in that every one of them is more prepared for the opportunity that such a win presents than Otis, who stands to suffer a greater setback if his proposed push suffers even the slightest roadblock.
Given the recent inconsistencies with booking, particularly on SmackDown, that is a greater likelihood than it should be.
...but Nails It with Asuka
Whereas Otis' victory is suspect, at best, Asuka's win in Money in the Bank was long overdue.
For the first time since she lost to Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 34, it feels as though The Empress of Tomorrow is in line for something resembling a significant push.
The best performer of this empty-arena stretch thanks to the raw energy she brings to her performances, Asuka has earned this opportunity. Beyond that, she has taken every bit of terrible booking thrown at her, made the most of it and now finds herself one win away from capturing the Raw Women's Championship that has eluded her since her call-up from NXT.
Whether she opts to challenge familiar foe Becky Lynch, SmackDown's Bayley or even Flair, who ended her 914-day undefeated streak at The Show of Shows remains to be seen, but Asuka is as hot a performer as there is.
The question is whether WWE will go through with the push and put her over one of those aforementioned women, all of whom it has repeatedly proved to find more valuable than The Empress. If Asuka were to cash in and lose, she would find herself on the wrong side of history once again, the first woman to win the briefcase and fail to capture the championship she challenged for.
That would be a damn shame for a performer who has repeatedly stayed relevant despite creative's best attempts to devalue her.
An undeniable connection with the audience and established stardom has her far better prepared for whatever WWE throws at her than her male counterpart. Hopefully that nets her some championship gold.
WWE Must Pull the Trigger on Bayley vs. Sasha Banks Sooner Rather Than Later
The Bayley-Sasha Banks feud isgoing to net some awesome matches for the blue brand's women's title. If Sunday's match between Bayley and Tamina were any indication, though, everything the SmackDown women's champion does feels inconsequential until WWE officials finally pull the trigger on the turn that necessitates it.
We know that is where this story is heading. The tension has been there for months. While WWE is likely holding off that development for closer to August's SummerSlam pay-per-view, the problem is that is still three months away, and that brand's division has never felt colder.
It desperately needs a spark that only Banks vs. Bayley will give it. The longer it takes to get to that point, the more lackluster and disappointing the division will be.
On Sunday night, Tamina was a fine challenger but her complete lack of character development and fans' expectation of what is to come devalued her as a challenger. No one bought into her as a legitimate threat to dethrone Bayley, and their 10-minute match suffered as a result.
Bayley and Banks are too good to be a part of such mediocrity. Their story needs to jump into hyperspeed because WWE Creative is going through the motions in anticipation of that program, and it is doing no one any favors.
Drew McIntyre's Success as Babyface Proves WWE Wasted Him for 2 Years
Drew McIntyre is such a great babyface that it makes you wonder why WWE insisted on pushing him as a heel for two years upon his return to the main roster.
Sunday's WWE Championship defense against Seth Rollins was but another reminder of how fantastic McIntyre is in this role. An explosive performer whose work looks believable, whose intensity is spot on and whose selling was the greatest asset of the match, McIntyre continued to thrive as he sought to silence The Monday Night Messiah and retain his title.
He did and now looks poised to roll into the summer as the undisputed face of Monday nights.
The only negative? The lack of crowd to feed off of because it is very apparent The Scottish Psychopath thrives on that. There was a spot in the match in which he kipped up and looked to the crowd for support, but there was no one there. Once he gets in front of an audience that can play along to the Claymore Countdown and fire up for his comebacks, McIntyre is going to be an enormous star and one of the best babyfaces in recent memory.
As long as the fans don't turn on him for beating people and being an awesome champion, as they have with others numerous times before.