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WWE Money in the Bank 2020: Predicting When Otis Will Cash In World Title Shot

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2020

Credit: WWE.com

Not even 24 hours after Sunday's pay-per-view, one of the Money in the Bank briefcases was already out of the picture.

Becky Lynch announced Monday she's pregnant, which saw her surrender the Raw Women's Championship. She also revealed the women's Money in the Bank ladder match was for more than just a title shot:

Asuka is now the Raw women's champion, which leaves Otis as the lone MITB briefcase holder.

The Heavy Machinery man is one of the most popular members of the SmackDown roster, but the idea he would claim a victory in Sunday's main event still felt somewhat absurd heading into Money in the Bank.

A little over a month ago, Otis was beating Dolph Ziggler at WrestleMania 36—a good moment but far from the biggest development on the show. Now he's going to be positioned for a world championship opportunity?

That makes it difficult to forecast what kind of timetable WWE is using for his inevitable cash-in.

Otis debuted on NXT television in October 2016, when he and Tucker Knight lost to Austin Aries and Roderick Strong in the first round of the Dusty Rhodes Classic. By May 2017, Triple H was speaking of him as a star in the making.

"I'm telling you, he's just got personality," The Game said, according to ESPN.com's Andrew Feldman. "He's a huge stud. Looks like an old-school strong man. He's already having matches. He's already got a huge personality. I don't know he's been with us a year."

Triple H clearly saw something in Otis right out of the gate.

And through his ongoing dynamic with Mandy Rose, he has organically built a groundswell of momentum, something that isn't easy to accomplish.

Because of that, WWE might want to strike while the iron is hot and position Otis as a world champion at or before SummerSlam.

Rushing him to the top of the card before he's ready could be counterproductive, though.

Roman Reigns is a prime example of how the WWE Universe can turn on a fan favorite who they view as being thrust upon them. That has largely been the entire story of Baron Corbin's main roster run as well, though that might be part of the design.

To some extent, WWE made this mistake with Ryback as well. He basically went from destroying jobbers every week directly to getting a WWE Championship match against CM Punk at Hell in a Cell 2012. The creative team skipped the steps required to making the fans view him as a credible threat.

That's why—despite his obvious popularity now—a slow burn with Otis is the best route, and it's a strategy that has proved successful before.

Ziggler climbed the ladder to capture the Money in the Bank briefcase in July 2012. His cash-in didn't happen until the night after WrestleMania 29 in April 2013, but that extended gap did little to dampen the moment.

One thing is clear: Otis absolutely has to be victorious in order to not become a punchline.

Damien Sandow never recovered from when he beat down John Cena for what felt like an eternity yet somehow failed to actually defeat him in 2013. Likewise, Corbin has continued to tread water after he couldn't take the WWE Championship from Jinder Mahal in 2017.

Assuming Triple H's assessment of Otis aligns with where Vince McMahon envisions the 28-year-old going, waiting until the fall or even early 2021 makes sense.

Giving him the Universal Championship around Survivor Series would allow WWE to have some time to see how he fits in the role before WrestleMania 37 season gets underway.

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