It’s Becky Lynch against the world Saturday afternoon in London. The Man will enter her fifth Money in the Bank Ladder Match and she’ll have no shortage of enemies to cut down in order to finally secure the one big victory that’s eluded her thus far in her Hall of Fame career.
It would be the perfect time to redon her Kill Bill inspired gear from Night of Champions, because the 6-time Women’s Champion might as well be walking into The House of Blue Leaves tomorrow. Only, imagine for a second, that Uma Thurman’s The Bride battled all of the Deadly Vipers in the final act of Quentin Tarantino’s classic revenge feature - not just one.
That’s the task that stands before The Man at Money in the Bank as she’ll stand across the ring from four of her biggest rivals over the last several months in Bayley, IYO SKY, Zoey Stark and WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus.
Let’s also not rule out the possibility that WWE could have one more trick up it’s creative sleeve and decide to add seventh participant at the last moment. It happened with Austin Theory last year, and it could very well happen again this year.
Charlotte would make the most sense, depending on what happens with the WWE Women’s Championship tonight on SmackDown. With Bianca Belair already having dibs on whomever walks out of the O2 Arena with the title, the Queen being given yet another opportunity to win her 15th World Championship falls right in line with the privileged booking she has received nearly her entire career.
At least by the end of the night tonight, she may have a legitimate gripe. Call it a hunch, but Belair is most likely going to play a role in Asuka hanging on to the WWE Women’s Championship — even though she’s been barred from ringside by Adam Pearce. Feel free to remember this paragraph and call me out if it doesn’t happen.
Should Asuka lose to Charlotte tonight, whether clean or by other nefarious tactics, then the Empress could slide right into the MITB match as a bonus competitor as well.
What a cruel twist of fate it would be for Becky Lynch if WWE added one of, arguably, her two greatest rivals on top of the mountain of adversity she already has ahead of her to climb.
It’s not easy being The Man, but now that Big Time Becks is in the rearview mirror, this version of Becky Lynch wouldn’t have it any other way. And while The Man has traditionally been a loner, she’s never really alone. You can expect Saturday’s jam-packed (advertised as) sold out crowd to be firmly behind her, just as they always have been.
“The audience, thank god, have been with me. They’ve been with me on this journey. I have kind of a history with the audience and Money in the Bank. They’re kind of what made me The Man. When we look back at Money in the Bank 2018 and it was the upswell from the audience, any time I would climb that ladder, and there was no way that the office could ignore it. That’s really where The Man started, was from the audience responding to me kindly at Money in the Bank, and to reward them, to finally give them their reward and say, ‘Guys, it’s all been worth it’ while I climb that ladder in the O2, in front of my countrymen, in front of the people that I maybe wrestled in front of in little halls in London 20 years ago, it will be worth it. I feel like, yeah, we need it.”
Lynch has been doing the national and international media rounds ahead of Money in the Bank. Which included a stop on the After the Bell Podcast with Corey Graves and Kevin Patrick.
The Man has crossed off nearly everything a Superstar could have on their career bucket list. Multi-time Women’s Champion, Royal Rumble Winner, Match of the Year, Superstar of the Year, and of course, the first woman to ever win the main event of WrestleMania.
When it comes to Money in the Bank however, ghosts of past failures continues to haunt Becky Lynch. It’s a victory she personally needs, and as she said, a victory that would bring the journey of The Man back full circle.
“There’s something so exciting about that briefcase, and I’ve always wanted to hold it because anything can happen. Anything can happen, and it’s that element of surprise that you always have, and that’s what we wrestle for. That’s what we do this for, to elicit a response from the audience, and there is never a better, bigger response than somebody with their briefcase hits the ring, their music hits, and the place just goes electric because anything can happen. I want that.”
While Lynch may badly want the briefcase, let’s be honest about something... she doesn’t need it. That may be a hard thing to read for some of her fans, but take comfort in the fact that it’s coming from a long time card carrying member of The Man Stan Club (not a real club as far as I know).
Lynch has reached the point in her career where her own involvement is the most important part of any storyline featuring Becky Lynch. She said it herself this past week on Raw, in so many words, she doesn’t need to be Champion anymore.
Since dropping the former Raw Women’s Championship to Bianca Belair at WrestleMania 38, there has rarely been a time where The Man (when available for work) hasn’t been featured prominently on television.
Which begs the question - does the Money in the Bank briefcase need Becky Lynch?
The answer is, undoubtedly, yes.
The popular view of the briefcase is that it should be used as an elevation tool. In the same manner as the winning the Royal Rumble or the King of the Ring tournament, back in the day. A major win that catapults a wrestler from the undercard to the main event scene.
It’s the direction that WWE decided to go in the last two years with Nikki A.S.H and Liv Morgan. Two incredible talents that more than earned their spot in the limelight. And two Superstars that creative absolutely dropped the ball with after they cashed in their briefcase to claim their first World Championships.
The first mistake that was made with both Nikki and Liv, was WWE once again choosing to bypass the Ms. Money in the Bank phase of winning the ladder match. For the fourth and fifth years in a row, the women’s winner cashed-in their contract less than 24 hours after obtaining it. The only exception being Asuka, who was awarded the title on Raw when Becky Lynch announced her pregnancy back in 2020. She was still credited with holding the briefcase for one day.
After cashing in on Charlotte Flair, Nikki A.S.H. spent the next 32 days trying to convince the audience that she deserved to be Women’s Champion. Legitimately, that was her entire story.
While not ideal, it could have paid off had she proven it in the end. She did not. Nikki lost the title at SummerSlam, right back to Charlotte in a triple threat match that also featured Rhea Ripley. Much to Nikki’s credit, it was an absolutely incredible performance on her part. One of the best matches of her career. But since then, quite unfortunately, Nikki has been utilized less and less creatively.
Liv Morgan suffered a similar fate last year, albeit accidentally. After her shock cash-in on Ronda Rousey at MITB 2022, WWE had the opportunity to really solidify Morgan as a top level babyface and credible Champion.
Instead, her first title defense at SummerSlam lasted less than five minutes. And for a vast majority of those five minutes, Morgan was absolutely destroyed by Ronda Rousey. She even tapped out at one point, but the referee did not see it, allowing Morgan to pick up a quick fluke victory.
The unintended consequence of that booking was that Liv instantly lost credibility in the eyes of a large portion of the fanbase. A win over Shayna Baszler at Clash at the Castle did very little to help and then she dropped the SmackDown Women’s Championship back to Ronda Rousey in her next televised defense.
Important to note, much like Nikki Cross the year prior, it was another great performance in a losing effort by the Champion. And this match had a much better finish than Liv’s first defense, an Extreme Rules match where she passed out as opposed to tapping out to Rousey.
Thankfully for Liv, she has not faded nearly as much as Nikki Cross. Morgan nearly went wire-to-wire in this year’s Royal Rumble match before finding herself heavily featured in the tag team division. Even winning the tag belts with Raquel Rodriguez before having to relinquish the gold due to injury.
All that to say, things are (hopefully) different now. There’s a new regime in place and should the heavily favored IYO SKY make the climb, the benefit of the doubt has to be given that history will not repeat itself. Same to be said if it’s Zelina Vega or Zoey Stark that grabs the case.
Triple H has proven he can learn from past mistakes. The booking of Ronda Rousey as one half of the Women’s Tag Team Champions has certainly improved from when The Game first took over as Chief Content Officer ahead of SummerSlam. Rousey and Shayna Baszler may be winning matches, but they have taken a ton of offense and bumped their backsides off to help put over up and coming talent like Kayden Carter, Katana Chance, Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn.
It’s hard to argue against what many believe to be the best use of the briefcase. The idea of elevating a talent should not be abandoned because of a lack of follow-through by the creative department. But when it comes to MITB this year, the main goal should be to tell the best story possible. Establish that the Women’s Money in the Bank briefcase, again the actual case itself, actually matters.
There may be no one who believes in storytelling in wrestling as much as Becky Lynch and she’s incredibly good at it. She sells a ticket to any program she’s involved with and putting the briefcase in her hands may actually be the best of both worlds.
WWE has given fans multiple teases over the last couple of months that a Becky Lynch, Rhea Ripley showdown is coming. Maybe not soon, but it’s coming.
If Lynch manages to snag the briefcase, her beef with Trish Stratus and Zoey Stark isn’t suddenly going to go away. Those are two women that will still be firmly all up in her business for the foreseeable future, especially with an expected rematch against Trish in the cards a few weeks from now in Detroit.
The briefcase though, gives Lynch free reign to pull double duty. She can finish out her program with the Hall of Famer and her new protégé in due time, while also ramping up her future program with Rhea Ripley by playing that stalker role as Ms. Money in the Bank.
This past week on Raw, Lynch told Rhea that she doesn’t need the title, but the title does need her. Respectfully, that’s not true. Rhea Ripley is an absolute star and as long as she can stay healthy, she is going to be a major player for years to come. The new Women’s World Championship was made for her shoulder.
Make no mistake about it though, the title may not need Becky Lynch, but Rhea Ripley does. WWE has done a fantastic job of keeping The Nightmare in the spotlight on Raw as the central figure of Judgment Day, but she has spent more time helping Dominik Mysterio than defending her title since winning it at WrestleMania.
No offense to either Zelina Vega or Natalya, but Ripley’s two televised defenses have come against a woman who barely won a match the two years prior and a vet who’s current storyline appears to be teasing retirement after Rhea squashed her at Night of Champions.
Ripley needs a marquee opponent. The Batman to her Joker. Becky Lynch is just The Man for that job. She is the marquee opponent on Raw. And it’s a program that could last several months, while new challenges like Raquel Rodriguez or Candice LeRae work their way up the ladder.
The first in a series of matches between The Man and The Nightmare could be that Money in the Bank cash-in.
Remember, the goal is to make the briefcase itself mean something this year and be a catalyst for a good story. That doesn’t mean the cash-in attempt has to be successful.
Imagine for a moment, after weeks or even months of stalking Ripley and playing mind games, The Man finally picks her spot... and she loses. And I don’t mean in a fluky way or via distraction like a Baron Corbin-type cash-in. Rhea Ripley just straight up overcomes the odds and beats a much fresher Becky Lynch.
I try not to do the whole fantasy booking thing, but let’s say that Rhea goes through a grueling title defense and wins. She’s down, maybe a little hurt. She’s exhausted. And then Lynch’s music hits. The Man gets that massive MITB cash-in pop that she’s always wanted to experience. The bell rings with fans expecting the typical quick finish but Rhea just refuses to go down and ultimately pulls off the massive upset after her second straight full match.
You couldn’t send a clearer message to the world that the future of Rhea Ripley running the Women’s Division has already arrived. A hobbled and tired Nightmare beating a future Hall of Famer is not something fans would expect.
We know what type of motor fuels Rhea Ripley. We saw it at the Royal Rumble when she lasted over an hour, despite injuring her knee. Not a doubt for a second that she would deliver an absolutely memorable performance that could send her career flying to an even higher stratosphere.
To recap: The title of Ms. Money in the Bank lives longer than a day. Becky Lynch gets the win and MITB experience her career has been missing. Rhea Ripley’s star burns brighter. And fans get a night and moment they’ll always remember.
What I do love most about the Money in the Bank ladder matches this year, is that WWE really has a bevy of options in front of them. I wrote about the men’s match on Monday and we ran down all the scenarios on the Bleav in Pro Wrestling Podcast this week.
IYO SKY getting the case would only further her divide with Bayley, especially if The Role Model pulls a Christian Cage and acts like the case belongs to all of Damage CTRL and not just SKY. It also would hopefully set up a future showdown with Asuka, which is a match many fans have been begging to see for quite some time.
Trish Stratus should also not be taken lightly or be ignored as a legit candidate to win. Trish looks as good as ever in the ring and she’s finally getting to experience all the big matches and moments that didn’t exist during her era. Stratus snatching the briefcase with the help of Zoey Stark is another way to further her program with Lynch and an ending I could see coming to fruition.
Of all the scenarios though, Becky Lynch as Ms. Money in the Bank is also about as bulletproof as it gets. It’s far less likely that plans will suddenly change or be expedited with The Man involved. If such attempts are made, you can take it to the bank that she’ll have no issues pushing back if she feels it’s not in the best interest of the Women’s Division. And she has the clout to at least get those backstage to listen.
No, Becky Lynch does not need the Money in the Bank briefcase. Not more than the case needs her, anyway.
Will this year, finally be The Man’s year? It’s a tough call to make, but no. Gut feeling is that IYO SKY will get her moment, which is not a bad choice at all. And there really isn’t one in this year’s field. It’ll be interesting to see what direction WWE decides to take, with both briefcases.