“Kings are like stars. They rise and set, they have the worship of the world, but no repose.” -Percy Bysshe Shelley
The return of live crowds to the pro-wrestling industry is for the lack of a better word, intoxicating. The excitement that many had to suppress for over a full year due to the unfortunate circumstances of our current timeline resonates in every packed arena, and echoes with every major moment. You can see it all across the industry from every promotion…The bond between fan and performer has transcended for generations, and only continues to grow stronger now that they are together again.
Big E’s Money In The Bank win wasn’t just a moment…it was the wounds sustained on the difficult journey up the mountain, and the adrenaline filled rush of finally making it to the top. It was the stark reminder that you can achieve everything and anything you want in this world, and you don’t have to change a damn thing about yourself to do it. And the crowd’s reaction? A staggering pop that could have matched the 12th man at Lumen Field, a testament to how amicable E has become to the WWE Universe.
So where does this story go now? History has shown that the MITB briefcase, when planned correctly, could be a crowning moment for the next potential breakout star, elevating them to a level higher than the current ranking they stand at. “The Heist of the Century” didn’t just win Seth Rollins a world title, it cemented him as an A+ player. The smartest cash-ins have occurred when the champion is at a disadvantage, either beaten down or vulnerable enough that a surprise “Big Ending” could usher in a New Day.
But in my mind Big E is no ordinary MITB briefcase holder, and should have no ordinary cash-in.
Roman Reigns is the guy. The final boss that has finally captured the aura that turns an already exceptional performer into a master storyteller. Since his return at SummerSlam no one in WWE (NXT included) has been more “can’t miss” than Reigns, with his current Universal title run being one of the very best in all of wrestling of the last five years. It is reminiscent of Okada’s legendary reign in NJPW, or Vader’s main event dominance in the early WCW days. While Bobby Lashley is also doing tremendous justice to the WWE championship, there is no bigger target than the Tribal Chief, and no opponent more worthy than Big E to dethrone him.
So how does he do it? Again history has shown us that a cash-in, whether successful or not, could come at any moment, on any week of television or at the conclusion of any match. But what truly makes a moment? What action could portray the true spirit of a babyface hero? What is the best way to see the unbeatable heel get his comeuppance that has so long eluded him?
Big E should cash-in his MITB contract ahead of time, and set up a match with Reigns at a future marquee pay per view event.
Many may consider this to be a catastrophe of an idea. Why put yourself on level playing ground when the briefcase already provides a much easier path to carry gold and attain glory? It is a solid retort to my theory, but one that I am willing to argue against. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen it time and time and time again and while a MITB cash-in moment can live forever (looking at you Dolph Ziggler) the chance to to create more than a moment is at WWE’s fingertips. Big E isn’t just sneaking in to steal the torch from Reigns, he’s willing to prove that he should have been carrying it all along.
There’s so much opportunity for a bigger story to be told here as well. Reigns has created a very multi-dimensional character, one who is as manipulative and cunning as he is strong and merciless. Perhaps his intellect and viciousness coaxes Big E into cashing-in at a future date. Perhaps he hurts those closest to him, using the knowledge the Usos (who know the New Day VERY well) have to cross a line that he’s already proven he’s willing to cross. It offers E the opportunity to travel the road less traveled, to begin his monomyth towards superstardom. With the industry currently going through a small growth period, and a guarantee of hungry hot crowds who have been ANXIOUS to scream, why not push all your chips on a man who can be bigger than the sport?
Let E beat Reigns, fair and square, in the center of the ring after setting up a match from an early cash-in. Let him go toe-to-toe, bell-to-bell, beat-for-beat, and let him do it the way it was always meant to be done. The war is never over. The show always goes on, but after an insane stretch of the briefcase meaning nothing, why not now make it mean everything? Why not show us a star who didn’t take the easy way out, and instead stood against a king with all of his kingdom up for the taking?
RVD did it in 2006…15 years ago…and it hasn’t been done since. The atmosphere on that night still vibrates on every rewatch, the anticipation boiling to nuclear levels of intensity capped off by the ECW legend doing what he always knew he could do…be the best. Now it’s Big E’s turn to make that very same statement.
It’s a New Day…yes it is.