9 Best Title Reigns That Followed a Money in the Bank Cash-In

A few weeks ago, I discussed the worst of what the Money in the Bank briefcase had to offer us, today we do the opposite.

The Money in the Bank briefcase is often seen in WWE as something that could potentially make someone’s career, giving them their long-awaited big break. As we discussed last time, that isn’t always the case, but these people are the ones who succeeded to at least some small degree. These are the people who ultimately benefited from having used the briefcase to their advantage, rather than becoming little more than a footnote with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it title reign.

9 – CM Punk – 2009
(World Heavyweight Championship)

Cashed In At: Extreme Rules 2009
Won Title From: Jeff Hardy
Days As Champion: 42
Lost Title At: Night of Champions 2009
Lost Title To: Jeff Hardy
World Titles Since: 4

After the indisputable failure that was his first world title reign, WWE gave themselves a do-over a year later when Punk won the briefcase for the second time. This reign went better in just about every conceivable way.

Punk started out strong, coming out victorious in a triple threat match on Raw a week later, retaining the title over both former champions, Edge & Jeff Hardy. His next title defence was at The Bash against Jeff Hardy, and that one didn’t go as well. Although Punk did retain, it was via disqualification when he attacked the referee. As is always the case when these things happen in WWE, a rematch was booked for the next Pay-Per-View, where Hardy would regain the championship from Punk in a really good match.

By this point in the list, you may have noticed a pretty consistent pattern with the bottom-half entries, which is that the new champion only gets a month or two with the title before dropping it back to the exact same person they’d won the title from in the first place. This is because WWE often likes to use the Money in the Bank cash-in as nothing but an extra hurdle for a babyface to overcome once they finally think they’re in the clear. Or even worse, sometimes it will simply be used as something for the current champion to do for the next few months while they wait for the next major Pay-Per-View to roll around.

That said, this title reign did actually have a pretty big upside for Punk. For one thing, he would quickly win the championship back from Hardy, but more importantly, he struck upon his “straight-edge saviour” persona. This was a persona that allowed Punk to showcase his incredible promo ability on a week to week basis and can be widely credited for a lot of the great success he’d see later on in his career.

As much as the statistics aren’t anything overly impressive in this instance, looking towards the long-game is where this title reign really earns some positive points.

8 – Dean Ambrose – 2016
(WWE Championship)

Cashed In At: Money in the Bank 2016
Won Title From: Seth Rollins
Days As Champion: 84
Lost Title At: Backlash 2016
Lost Title To: AJ Styles
World Titles Since: 0

The case for Ambrose’s spot on this list is actually the exact opposite to what I discussed in the previous entry. As it’s what happened during the title reign itself that elevated this entry’s position.

Winning the briefcase at Money in the Bank 2016, Ambrose would cash-in that very same night on long-term rival Seth Rollins after he had just won the championship from Roman Reigns. This created the wonderfully poetic moment of all three former members of The Shield holding the WWE Championship on the same night. Immediately following Ambrose’s title win, the focus on WWE shifted towards the newly established brand split. Ambrose’s first title defence took place a week before the draft, and it ended in a draw when both men’s shoulders were down for a three count, the rematch took place the next week and, after being drafted to Smackdown, Ambrose put Rollins way with a clean victory.

A few weeks later at Battleground, Ambrose once again defended his title in the fabled “Shield Triple Threat” match as all three former members of The Shield faced off for the first and only time ever. It was a great match (even if it didn’t quite live up to some people’s expectations) and Ambrose came away with the win, taking the championship over onto the newly established Smackdown roster.

His first feud on the blue brand was against Dolph Ziggler in a forgotten feud for a forgotten Summerslam. Ambrose came away with a clean victory, but the match wasn’t good, and the memory of it quickly faded. Backlash was up next for the champion and this time it would be AJ Styles stepping up to the plate after having just gotten a clean victory over John Cena to end their feud. Against all odds, AJ Styles, a man who had only joined WWE earlier that year and was known across the wrestling world as “Mr TNA” would succeed in claiming the WWE Championship for his own after kicking Ambrose square in the balls.

Ambrose spent the rest of 2016 chasing after Styles to get the title back, but was unsuccessful and eventually found himself winning the Intercontinental Championship to close out the year instead. While on-paper, Ambrose was treated relatively well as champion, on a week to week basis he was treated more as a comedy character than anything else. WWE had always leaned a bit too hard to the “unhinged” aspects of Ambrose’s character and not in a good way. As it stands, he still rises up to the top half of this list purely by virtue of being treated like a credible wrestler who can win matches. However, he would never see world title success again in his WWE career, eventually leaving for the greener pastures of AEW, where he currently reigns as a much more successful world champion.

7 – Edge – 2007
(World Heavyweight Championship)

Cashed In At: Smackdown 11th May 2007
Won Title From: The Undertaker
Days As Champion: 70
Vacated title At: Smackdown 17th July 2007
World Titles Since: 8

Much like CM Punk, it turned out that the second time around was the winning one.

Once again staying true to his “ultimate opportunist” moniker, Edge cashed-in his briefcase on The Undertaker after he had just won a Steel Cage match with Batista and was attacked by Mark Henry, winning the title with ease. Edge would immediately enter a feud with Batista that would last for several months; however, Edge would come out victorious at every turn. The methods of which included a roll-up at Judgement Day; just beating Batista to the ground in a Steel Cage match at One Night Stand and finally, getting Batista counted out at Night of Champions.

Next up for Edge was Kane, who was announced as the number 1 contender and had a match scheduled for The Great American Bash. Sadly, that match would never take place as Edge legitimately tore his left pectoral muscle on an episode of Smackdown and was forced to take several months off to have surgery.

Although he had to relinquish the title after only a short time with the title, the reign held a series of victories for Edge that consistently made him look like a guy deserving of being on top as a heel and it left a lasting impression on his career after that. By the end of 2007, Edge would be back in the ring and would claim the World Heavyweight Championship once again, which led him to him getting a main-event match against The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 24.

As much as the title reign itself could be argued to be a bit naff, it can’t be denied that Edge was always in a main-event position for the remainder of his career following it. While this cash-in and title run was just one factor in a laundry list of reasons as to why Edge was put into that “top guy” position, I think it’s clear that this was a landmark turning point for the future legend.

6 – Carmella – 2017
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)

Cashed In At: Smackdown 10th April 2018
Won Title From: Charlotte Flair
Days As Champion: 131
Lost Title At: Summerslam 2018
Lost Title To: Charlotte Flair
World Titles Since: 0

When Carmella won the first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, everyone was a little bit confused. Carmella was a decent wrestler at the time, but she didn’t feel like someone who would hang with the top of the women’s division. However, that is what Money in the Bank is supposed to be about: elevating someone who hasn’t had their chance in the main event yet. So we waited…and waited…and waited. It took almost a full year, but Carmella did eventually cash-in her briefcase on Charlotte Flair, just after she had been attacked by The IIconics.

The reign itself is a bit of a hard one to judge. This is because, while the match quality was often lacking, it wasn’t always Carmella’s fault. A lot of the things fans had a problem with, such as James Ellsworth constantly interfering, is down to the booking. Booking that, it must be said, did a pretty decent job of getting heat onto Carmella. It wasn’t all good heel heat, of course, there was an amount of “go away” heat in there as well but, I think a lot of the character work she did during this time was excellent and let her show her skills more than she’d been able to up until then (including her run in NXT).

Looking to the nuts and bolts of it, Carmella got herself a relatively clean win over former champions Charlotte Flair at Backlash, winning via a roll-up. She then entered a feud with Asuka that was…terrible. As I said, Carmella’s character work was enjoyable, however, the matches were awful and were a clear statement following Asuka’s Wrestlemania 34 loss that she wasn’t someone the company had any interest in investing in. This feud went on for several months.

Once it was over, we were on the road to Summerslam, and Becky Lynch had been gaining a ridiculous amount of popularity over the past 6 months. A title match was set for Summerslam between the two; however, Charlotte Flair would eventually muscle her way in and make it a triple threat. During this match, Charlotte would take advantage of Lynch and pin her to win the title, meaning Carmella didn’t get pinned but lost the title anyway. This is what would eventually spark Becky Lynch to become the single hottest property in the entire industry for the next year or so, but that, unfortunately, meant that there was never any room for Carmella to reclaim her spot.

Instead, Carmella entered the mixed-match challenge and partnered with R-Truth to eventually win the tournament. Unfortunately, this saw no title success for her, as she spent the next year or so being Truth’s back up as he ran around the country, playing out whacky antics with the 24/7 Championship. In recent months, Carmella has been teased to challenge for the Smackdown Women’s Championship once or twice but is yet to actually get her shot.

While it clearly hasn’t done many favours for Carmella in the long-run, the title reign itself saw her being treated as a credible heel, who wasn’t afraid to resort to underhanded tactics. While it might not have felt like all that great of a reign at the time, looking back with the power of hindsight, I think it was a rather entertaining role for Carmella to fill. I just hope she has a chance to fill it again sometime soon.

5 – The Miz – 2010
(WWE Championship)

Cashed In At: Raw 22nd November 2010
Won Title From: Randy Orton
Days As Champion: 160
Lost Title At: Extreme Rules 2011
Lost Title To: John Cena
World Titles Since: 0

While today, The Miz is a widely respected member of the WWE roster, that wasn’t exactly the case when he won the WWE Championship at the tail end of 2010. The look of utter fury on that little girl’s face was a surprisingly accurate analogy for the wrestling fanbase’s reaction to the title change at the time. However, sitting here almost a decade later with all the power of hindsight in the world, I think it was ok.

Just one week after winning the title, The Miz was forced to defend the belt in a TLC match against Jerry Lawler of all people. He won, which was good, but he very nearly didn’t. Jerry Lawler was genuinely just an arm’s reach away from becoming WWE Champion until Michael Cole interfered in the match and prevented Lawler from winning. Not the best of looks for the new champion.

As it so happened, immediately following this was the TLC Pay-Per-View in which Randy Orton got his rematch for the title in a Tables Match. While he was on the back-foot for the majority of the match, the finish got to make him look like a cunning and intelligent heel. While the referee was knocked down, he took a broken table (initially broken when Alex Riley was sent through it) and placed Orton on top of it to convince the referee he had put him through the table. This was brilliant as it was frustrating for the audience in just the right way and didn’t quite feel like WWE just throwing away yet another Pay-Per-View match…but that isn’t actually where things ended. Instead, WWE decided to make The Miz seem like the world’s biggest moron when the referee discovered Miz’s deception after he watched the replay that played on the arena’s ‘tron.

These kinds of flukey retentions were the running theme throughout Miz’s championship reign, as almost every win came thanks to some form of interference. He beat Orton again at the Royal Rumble…after CM Punk interfered and he battled Jerry Lawler for a second time at the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View. It looked like he had lost again, only for the decision to be reversed after it was revealed Miz got his foot on the rope during the pinfall.

His greatest humiliation was yet to come, however, as his Wrestlemania main event against none other than John Cena was on the horizon. The match itself was fine, but no-one actually remembers the bulk of the match. Instead, what we all remember was the absolute clusterfuck of a finish. Initially, the match – which, let me remind you, was the main event of Wrestlemania – ended in a draw when Cena clotheslined Miz over the barrier and neither man could make it back to the ring before the 10-count (this move legitimately gave The Miz a concussion as well). It wasn’t over though. The Rock, who was hosting the show, came out and demanded that the match be restarted, so it was. Unfortunately, Miz’s aforementioned concussion meant that very little of substance was possible. However, it was all undermined anyway, when The Rock came down to the ring, hit the Rock Bottom on John Cena and gave Miz the pin to retain the title.

After becoming the least important person in his Wrestlemania main-event victory, the writing was on the wall for Miz’s reign, and sure enough, just one month later, John Cena would take the title from The Miz clean as a whistle.

Despite not looking like all that dominant of a champion, there are plenty of things that rule in The Miz’s favour. For one thing, the pure number of days he held the title is more than most on this list, and he did get actual wins over his opponent; even if they were thanks to outside interference.

The most significant point in his favour, though is what has happened to him since. Although he’s never won another world title, he has taken the wealth of knowledge and experience he’s gained over the years to become a legitimate star in WWE and beyond. He’s seen reasonable success on the silver screen with several high-profile film roles, became one of the best talkers in the company today and is arguably the single most consistent and reliable wrestler WWE currently has under their belt.

4 – Daniel Bryan – 2011
(World Heavyweight Championship)

Cashed In At: TLC 2011
Won Title From: Big Show
Days As Champion: 105
Lost Title At: Wrestlemania 28
Lost Title To: Sheamus
World Titles Since: 4

In 2011, Daniel Bryan was far from what we would know him as just two years later, but that doesn’t mean he was any less amazing of a performer. He had captured the hearts of the audience right out of the gate, appearing in NXT and sticking it to his “mentor” The Miz. This popularity continued well into 2011, and he was rewarded with Smackdown’s Money in the Bank briefcase. Bryan had promised his friend and then World Heavyweight Champion Big Show that he wouldn’t sneakily cash-in on him while he was vulnerable, but if you need me to tell you what happened next, you must be new to wrestling.

Sure as the sun rising each day, Daniel Bryan took advantage of a weakened Big Show following a successful title defence with Mark Henry and became the World Heavyweight Champion, cue a massive celebration from both the fans and Bryan himself, who milked the moment for everything it was worth. Although Big Show attempted to remain true to their friendship, Bryan’s arrogance got the better of him, and he quickly found himself facing challengers on all sides; all of whom were significantly larger than him.

This is where the critical difference between Bryan’s and Miz’s reigns come in. Many of Bryan’s title retentions indeed came through interference or other forms of misdeeds, but in these cases, the story was written in the right way so that these non-finishes were compelling, rather than cheap. Situations arose where Bryan would spot the perfect way out and do everything in his power to make it happen. For example, during his first title defence against Big Show, Bryan did everything he could to provoke Mark Henry into attacking him, thus retaining the title via disqualification.

Bryan developed this aura around his character of being the weaseliest little weasel you could possibly imagine. He looked beatable all the time but still managed to come away looking relatively favourable after he finds yet another ingenious way to worm his way out of losing the belt. I daresay that with most other wrestlers this wouldn’t have worked (in fact, I can point to numerous examples over history of exactly that). Still, there was just something about Bryan’s portrayal of his characters that meant everything just…worked. Even losing the title in 18 seconds at Wrestlemania 28, while absolutely infuriating, somehow made perfect sense for his character. Oh, plus he also got a title defence in the Elimination Chamber where he actually came out of it looking pretty strong and competent as a champion; novel concept, I know.

Daniel Bryan’s career following this reign speaks for itself. While 2012 was pretty rocky for him, 2013 was where he became an undeniable megastar in WWE. He became the single most popular wrestler on the planet. SO popular that WWE was forced to have him win the world title in the main event of Wrestlemania 30 to ensure that the entire building wouldn’t boo the show into oblivion (a lesson they unlearned a couple of years later, but hey-ho).

I’ve praised Daniel Bryan almost too much on this blog in the past. However, it’s title reigns like this one that prove that he is one of the most versatile wrestlers on the planet and can slip seamlessly into almost any role he needs to fulfil, while still being able to whip great matches out of the bag whenever he wants.

3 – Kane – 2010
(World Heavyweight Championship)

Cashed In At: Money in the Bank 2010
Won Title From: Rey Mysterio
Days As Champion: 154
Lost Title At: TLC 2010
Lost Title To: Edge
World Titles Since: 0

Despite most people coming to love the big red machine in the years following his 1997 debut, Kane actually saw very little success in regards to world titles during this period. Despite being involved continuously in high-profile feuds throughout his entire career in the late 90s and early 00s, Kane’s world championship achievements amount to little more than 24 hours at WWF Champion in the summer of 1998. It seemed the further his career progressed, the less likely it was that he’d ever have the world title run that many fans believed he deserved.

Then came Money in the Bank 2010. There was already a lot of intrigue surrounding Kane going into this match. It was revealed that he had found his kayfabe brother, The Undertaker, in a “vegetative state” just a month earlier (in reality, Undertaker had to take a few months off to deal with an injury). Kane was on the hunt for whoever was responsible. Luckily for him though, he had the spare time on a Sunday to take a break from this hunt and win a briefcase. It seemed like there could be some interesting things on the horizon for Kane. It all came to a head sooner than anyone expected. Less than an hour after he had won the briefcase, Kane appeared following Mysterio’s successful title defence over Jack Swagger and dispatched of him in short order to become champion.

Kane’s run went surprisingly well pretty much the entire run. Things kicked off with Kane retaining cleanly over Rey Mysterio at Summerslam until, surprise! Turns out it was actually Kane that attacked The Undertaker and now he’s seeking revenge. This took the form of a No Holds Barred match at Night of Champions, which to everyone’s surprise, Kane won clean as a whistle, reversing a Tombstone Piledriver from The Undertaker into one of his own and getting the pin.

After wallowing in self-pity for a little bit, The Undertaker decided it was time to return to 1997, as he brought back Paul Bearer to assist him in conquering his brother. The match came at Hell in a Cell, and Paul Bearer decided it really was 1997, as he turned on The Undertaker to hand the win to Kane. This lead to the natural climax of their feud, a Buried Alive match at Bragging Rights where, to everyone’s surprise, Kane retained once again over his brother. Although it is worth mentioning that this win was a less impressive look for Kane, as it only happened thanks to The Nexus attacking The Undertaker at the climax of the match.

After all that was over, the time came for Kane’s title reign to draw to a close in a pretty weird feud with Edge. In a twist not many expected, Kane turned face after Edge kidnapped Paul Bearer and taunted Kane about it every single week. Edge would then win the title from Kane in a TLC match at TLC, and that would be it.

On its own, you could argue that this title reign may be worthy of the top spot on this list, but the problems for Kane come with what happened after he lost the title. Looking back now, this title reign really was the ‘last hurrah’ for Kane as a singles competitor. He lost a rematch to Edge in January and spent Wrestlemania 28 squashing in The Corre in under two minutes in a match that not one person in the area cared about. Including the wrestlers.

Kane then regained his mask in yet another storyline no-one had much interest in, and he just floundered around the lower midcard until teaming up with Daniel Bryan. Even though their pairing was compelling and led them to them winning the tag titles, it wasn’t much more than a midcard novelty in the long-run. Then Kane joined in with The Authority and slowly faded into obscurity from there.

Last hurrah or not, Kane’s run with the World Heavyweight Championship was still a great one that saw him take on the role of a dominant and robust heel, putting away high calibre opponents month in and month out.

2 – Bayley – 2019
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)

Cashed In At: Money in the Bank 2019
Won Title From: Charlotte Flair
Days As Champion: 140
Lost Title At: Hell in a Cell 2019
Lost Title To: Charlotte Flair
World Titles Since: 1

Another same-night cash-in here and one of the most recent on this list, 2019 is when Bayley really grasped her full potential on the main roster, and she has Money in the Bank to thank for that.

Winning it in rather frantic fashion, following Charlotte reclaiming the Smackdown Women’s Championship from Becky Lynch, Bayley immediately got to work doing what she does best with the title, which is wrestling and winning. Bayley’s first test with the title was Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross, where she would face the pair of them in a handicap match at Stomping Grounds (where we kick ass and take names, didn’t you know?) and put on a solid – if not as good as expected – match against Ember Moon at Summerslam.

Then, following these strong wins, Bayley teamed up with a freshly returned Sasha Banks to turn heel and attack both Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair every week. Suddenly, the somewhat stagnant Bayley face character had new life breathed into it as Bayley went all-in on the persona. She tore down everything she used to represent and built up a brand new character that has been so much more entertaining than anything she’s done since her days in NXT.

Here’s where things may get a bit controversial because following this heel turn. Bayley lost the title back to Charlotte Flair. Which seems like it should land her down in the lower half of this list, losing her title suddenly and unexpectedly to the same person she won it from, BUT, I’d argue the circumstances with Bayley are different because of what happened following this reign.

For one thing, Bayley would get the title back just 8 nights later, which is always lovely and since then, she’s been on an absolute tear. Her heel persona has only grown in both scope and complexity, with the reignition of her legendary feud with Sasha Banks seemingly just around the corner. She’s had solid wins against the likes of Charlotte, Naomi & Lacey Evans and I think her title reign still has a long way to go

Of course, this begs the question, why didn’t I give Randy Orton the same credit given that he did something very similar? To which the answer is that I think the circumstances are quite different. Orton was already set-in-stone when it came to his WWE career, the extra months he had after winning the title back did little to bolster his career or revolutionise his character. Now, look back to Bayley and you realise just how much the Money in the Bank cash-in has done for her. I still liked Bayley’s face character, but it was undeniably stale, and audiences had totally tired of it. What she’s done since turning heel has totally turned that around, I’m incredibly interested in what she’s doing on a week-to-week basis because of what this title reign did for her. So that’s why I’m letting that bolster Bayely’s position here and not Orton’s in the previous list.

1 – Seth Rollins – 2014
(WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

Cashed In At: Wrestlemania 31
Won Title From: Brock Lesnar
Days As Champion: 220
Vacated Title On: 4th November 2015
World Titles Since: 3

When The Shield broke up in May of 2014, everyone knew that within a year, at least one of these guys would be a world champion. Ambrose could talk with the best of them, Roman had everything WWE wanted from a ‘face of the company’, and Rollins had all the natural in-ring talent in the world. Being the man who betrayed his brothers, Seth Rollins was the focal point of WWE TV in a big way throughout most of the year following the break-up of The Shield. Being groomed by The Authority as ‘The Future of WWE’, that nickname was cemented when Rollins retrieved the Money in the Bank briefcase a month later.

As Wrestlemania 31 rolled around and Roman Reigns looked to be closing in on his first world championship, it seemed pretty clear that Rollins would cash-in sometime in the spring after WWE have tested the waters with Roman as champion. Then, it happened. The single greatest Money in the Bank cash-in to ever take place (and my personal favourite moment in WWE history) took place as Rollins interrupted the main event of Wrestlemania, cashed-in his briefcase and ran away with the title.

What we saw over the remainder of 2015 was the making of a career-long top star in WWE. The booking of Rollins could be a little lacking at times, but for the majority of his title run, I believe WWE struck a stable balance of Rollins getting solid wins over credible stars, while still feeling like a beatable champion that would only ever just squeak away with his title in tow.

Things started out with The Authority in-fighting, and at Extreme Rules, Rollins retained over Randy Orton when Kane got in the ring and attacked just about everybody in sight; distracting Orton long enough for Rollins to hit an RKO and escape the cage to retain. Moving into Payback, we saw more of what we were hoping to see with The Shield members as singles competitors, where Rollins defended his title in a Fatal 4 Way against Orton, Reigns and Ambrose. Once again, Rollins retained thanks to well-timed interferences by other members of The Authority and pinned Orton once more.

Next up with Elimination Chamber and Rollins’ re-ignited feud with Dean Ambrose, which is where Rollins was made to look a bit weaker than I would’ve liked. In the absolute height of Dusty finishes, Ambrose actually pinned Rollins, and it seemed like he had won the WWE Championship. However, earlier in the match Rollins had pulled the referee in the way of an Elbow Drop from Ambrose, causing them to collide, so the decision was reversed, so Rollins actually won by disqualification, thus retaining the title. Then, during their ladder-based rematch at Money in the Bank, Rollins retained the title by accident as he and Ambrose both unhooked the title at the same time only for them both to fall to the ground and Ambrose to lose his grip on it, making Seth the winner.

Battleground was next, which brought with it Rollins’ lowest moment as champion when the previously suspended Brock Lesnar was reinstated and got his rematch for Rollins’ title. Rollins spent 90% of the match being tossed around like a piece of meat by Lesnar, and he didn’t even get to finish the match as things ended when The Undertaker appeared to attack Lesnar, making Rollins vanish in the process.

Luckily for Rollins, he would go from his lowest low to his highest high over the late summer when he entered a feud with John Cena. For a start, nearly every match the pair had was a great one, the first of which took place at Summerslam where Cena would put his United States Championship on the line against Rollins’ title. Although the fact that former host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart, cost Cena the title isn’t the greatest of looks for Rollins, he came away from it as a double champion, and it did wonders for his heelish swagger.

Rollins would then have to defend both his titles on the same night at Night of Champions. He lost his US title back to John Cena before defeating Sting in a match that will forever be marred by Sting’s genuinely terrifying injury. However, a clean win is a clean win. Rollins’ last title defence came at Hell in a Cell, where former Authority member Kane (now in demon form) challenged Rollins for the title. The match was boring, but Rollins did at least win the match clean as a whistle.

Rollins was then set to defend the title against Roman Reigns at Survivor Series where, if the dirt sheets are to be believed, Rollins was going to lose the championship. Unfortunately, we never got to find out as at the start of November where at a house show in Dublin, Ireland, Rollins landed awkwardly off of a Sunset Flip and his leg basically imploded, tearing his MCL, ACL and Meniscus. Rollins would be forced to vacate the title and wouldn’t be back on WWE TV until May 2016.

On its own, this title reign was a genuinely great one, but when you consider the ridiculous levels of success Rollins has had since then, there’s no way this could be anything other than the number 1 entry. When Rollins returned to TV, he immediately beat Roman Reigns to regain the WWE Championship (even if it was just for a few minutes thanks to Ambrose’s cash-in, which we talked about earlier). He won his feud with Triple H at Wrestlemania 33, floundered for a bit throughout 2017, but came back strong in 2018, spending the majority of the year having fantastic matches at every Pay-Per-View, defending his Intercontinental Championship.

This culminated in 2019, where Rollins became world champion once again, beating Brock Lesnar to become Universal Champion, not once, but twice before losing it to The Fiend. Rollins has since become a heel again and has taken his character in a new direction that is just as good as, if not better than, his original heel run.

One thing that is for sure though is that Rollins will be a main eventer in WWE for the rest of his career, and he had Money in the Bank to thank for that.

And there you have it! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this post. Please, let me know what you thought of these title reigns, either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Finally, make sure you come back here this time on Wednesday, for the next part in my 100 Favourite Games series!

WWE Fastlane 2019: Every Match Ranked

I don’t really know what to make of Fastlane.

There was a lot of good wrestling throughout the night, and even a lot of good story beats too, but it had a really big flaw. That flaw is this: With the exception of Becky vs Charlotte, you could’ve taken this entire show, put it at any point on the year, and it would’ve had the same overall impact. Almost every match on the show was fun, but none of it matters in the long run, which is a pretty bad thing for the last PPV before Wrestlemania.

10 – The Bar def. Kofi Kingston
(2 on 1 Handicap Match)

This is was a hard one to place for me, because the match was total crap, but the story surrounding it was extremely interesting.

WWE have done a really good job here on capitalizing on Kofi’s new-found momentum. Giving everyone that false hope of putting him in the WWE title match only for a bait and switch (even if it did seem rather obvious) was a good beat to hit, and gives him the motivation and fire Kofi needs to burst out and properly start to fight back.

As for the match itself, it’s pretty nothing. As expected The Bar just dumped on Kofi for way too long, to the point where it just felt like they were filling time. It also didn’t make sense that The New Day waited as long as they did to come out, even if they did get jumped on the way.

Ultimately though, the match itself isn’t important, because it created all of the motivations necessary for the story to move forward in the next month.

9 – Asuka(c) def. Mandy Rose
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)

Pretty much the epitome of a nothing match.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with this match, it wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but there was also nothing special about it. Mandy and Asuka fought for a good 10 minutes, then some small shenanigans happened so Mandy lost. Perfectly fine, but I can’t say anyone will remember it in a couple of weeks time.

The shenanigans with Sonya were kind of weird, but not enough to get any kind of real hatred out of me for it. It happened, it probably won’t go anywhere in the long run, and that’ll be that.

I really don’t know where the Smackdown Women’s title scene is going for Wrestlemania, but it needs to be more important than this.

8 – The New Day def. Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev

Well, this was fun.

This is a step up from the Asuka vs Mandy match because this also held no consequence, and it didn’t really have anything notable about it, but the pace on this match was much quicker and it generally became much more fun to watch.

I generally think that Tag team matches on the pre-show are usually the best because there are plenty of easy and fun things you can do in a tag team match that provides pretty much exactly what a pre-show match needs to do, I’d like to see them more often, instead of the Cruiserweight Championships.

I did also set the seeds for later on in the night with the Kofi stuff, so that helps it out too.

7 – Sasha Banks & Bayley(c) def. Nia Jax & Tamina
(Women’s Tag Team Championships)

Tag team matches everywhere, all of them fun.

This match was pretty much exactly what everyone expected it to be, and it was quite good for it, however, it’s one of the many cases on this show where what happened after the match ended up being more important than what happened during it.

There was a lot of stuff to like about this match, with Bayley and Sasha being able to find that perfect balance between being small underdogs, but still competent champions who can easily hang with the likes of Nia & Tamina. With the finish being a little bit flukey, but also shows off the intelligence of the champions.

I’ll admit I’m a little confused by what the post-match beatdown on Beth Pheonix and Natalya means, perhaps a triple threat at Mania? Will Beth become a full-time wrestler again? It’s hard to tell right now, but the Women’s Tag title scene is looking very healthy going into Wrestlemania.

6 – Becky Lynch def. Charlotte Flair (Via DQ)
(If Becky wins, she’s in at Wrestlemania)

Told you so.

I find it really weird that this match is as low as it is because I really enjoyed it. Lynch & Charlotte could have a good match blindfolded at this point, so that was never in question, but it seemed that extra little bit of fire was in both women’s performance on Sunday.

This entire story has had a whole lot of ups and downs since the Royal Rumble, so this needed to be a pretty big point to keep things on track before April 7th. Personally, I think it achieved that, with a match that was really fun to watch, and a story beat that took away from the match a little bit, but added to the overall story.

Ronda causing Becky to win was a pretty obvious ploy, but it was obvious for the right reasons, so it’s fine. All of the character motivations make sense and it gives Charlotte the fire she needs to actually hate Rousey, since that has entirely been clear thus far, so smiles all round.

5 – The Usos(c) def. Shane Mcmahon & The Miz
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)

*Shocked Pikachu Face*

Once again, the post-match outshone the match, although not quite as heavily here, mostly thanks to the fact that the match was great.

The Usos are arguably the best tag team on the main roster right now and Shane & Miz have become a surprisingly entertaining team to watch. Being in Cleveland meant the crowd were extremely into this one and that energy fed back into the match fantastically.

As with most tag team matches, once we got past the opening exchanges and stuff got chaotic is when things really got fun, with people flying all about the place and some crazy spots. My favourite of these spots had to be when Shane and one of the Usos decided they were going to leap at each other, before colliding in mid-air, the coordination to not only make that spot look good but to make it safe made it all the more impressive.

Ultimately though, The Miz would fail a dive and that would cost Miz & Shane the match, before the inevitable happened and Shane battered The Miz from pillar to post, in some punches that look uncharacteristically brutal. While this is going to lead to a hopefully pretty good Wrestlemania match, I’m more interested to see what kind of a heel Shane will be, obviously he’ll use his Mcmahonisms to book Miz into unfair matches, but I do wonder what angle he’ll take in his promos.

Either way, this was definitely the right step.

4 – The Revival(c) def. Aleister Black & Ricochet, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable
(Raw Tag Team Championships)

That photo right there is cool as fuck.

When you look at the show as a whole, there’s a lot of this style of wrestling throughout the whole thing and honestly, I thought I would’ve got tired of it, but these guys are able to differentiate themselves from each other enough to make every match feel different enough that I still enjoy it.

Not that this match had to try very hard to differentiate itself from the rest, with Ricochet, Aleister Black and Chad Gable you were bound to create a situation where the action never stopped for a moment. Black and Gable, in particular, had limited interaction but the two of them seemed to have incredible chemistry between the two of them in that time.

There were some incredible spots in the meantime, specifically Ricochet launching himself over the post onto everyone, as Gable tags himself in as he flies past is one of the most low-key impressive spots I think I’ve ever seen. The Revival winning feels like it was the right choice, but with the post-match beatdown it really seems like WWE really don’t want The Revival to actually be champions, and instead, just don’t want them to go to AEW. I don’t have a problem with Black & Ricochet standing tall, I feel like The Revival really should be allowed to look like they’re good at more than just hitting a Shatter Machine out of nowhere.

3 – Samoa Joe(c) def. Andrade, R-Truth, Rey Mysterio
(United States Championship)

Well, this was a nice surprise.

I complained in my predictions about the US title being left off of the show yet again, and Andrade & Rey being pushed to the pre-show, well it seems my wishes came true. Granted it was pretty much only because they realised the show would be running short, but it’s still the US title getting a match on the main show, and a rather good one at that.

Samoa Joe and Rey Mysterio were the absolute MVPs of this match, with Joe destroying everyone in the early stages with one hell of a suicide dive onto everyone and then dismantling all of his opponents one by one. Once Joe was dispatched of however, Rey Mysterio got to work and reminded everyone that in 30 years of wrestling, he hasn’t aged a day, with plenty of moves to please the eye.

Honestly, I wasn’t really expecting Joe to retain here with how much the US title has been thrown around in the past few months, but perhaps this great match is the first step in getting the title back on track.

2 – The Shield def. Baron Corbin, Drew Mcintyre & Bobby Lashley

You can make all the hot-takes you like, I still love The Shield.

People seem to be of two minds of this match since it was all just The Shield’s greatest hits, some people think this was a great thing, and other people think it was pointless. While I understand the point of view of the people who say it’s pointless, I can’t help but love it.

Yes, it has pretty much no impact on any major storylines heading into Wrestlemania, and yes it didn’t do Lashley or Drew any favours to rolled over so heavily, but this match was just so much fun that I really don’t care. With Roman Reigns’ just coming back from his leukaemia, and Ambrose potentially being gone for good in April, there’s just no point in complaining about this one, I just wanted to sit back and enjoy the ride.

As for the specifics of the match, if you’ve seen Shield vs Wyatts and Shield vs Evolution, then you’ve seen everything that happens in this match, but like I said, it’s been such a long time since The Shield have had a big match like this and nothing will stop me from enjoying it.

1 – Daniel Bryan(c) def. Kevin Owens, Mustafa Ali
(WWE Championship)

Ok hands up, who saw this one coming? If you put your hand up you’re a liar.

When the bait and switch with Kofi happened I didn’t think the WWE title match would actually still be a triple threat, but I guess it makes sense since Ali was unable to get his opportunity in the Elimination Chamber last month. Ali certainly made the most of this opportunity too, we’ve always known that guy can do amazing things, but holy crap he damn near destroyed himself for our entertainment last night.

With one of the best sells for an Apron Powerbomb I’ve seen in a long time, being kicked in the face from the top rope and flying all the way to the barricade, and a goddamned Moonsault into a Knee Plus to end the match, Ali deserves all of the gold, all of the time.

The crowd were a bit fixed on Kofi not being in the match, and while there were “We want Kofi” chants the whole time, Ali certainly shut a lot of them up as the match progressed. I still can’t really tell if they’re actually going to go with Kofi at Wrestlemania, but if they’re not, I’d be very happy with Mustafa Ali instead.

So that’s it! Thank you very much for reading my review of Fastlane 2019, let me know what you thought of the show either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo, and make sure you stick around this month for all the juicy content going into Wrestlemania season!

WWE Fastlane 2019 Analysis & Predictions

Alright, let’s get this out of the way I guess.

I said last time that I don’t really think there should be any Pay-Per-Views between the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania, but I understand that WWE need to make its money and please its shareholders and Elimination Chamber does have a unique appeal to it so I can live with it. Fastlane however, is very different.

When there were still split PPVs I could understand why there’d be two (one for each brand), but now all the PPVs are interbrand, why have two of them? None of the stories have progressed very much at all to warrant another big match, so we instead have a bunch of throwaway and makeshift feuds that everyone knows the result of. Even worse, something like this can often worsen the lengthy feuds that are either just getting started, or right in the middle, since you now have to force some big “moment” at the PPV, even when the story so far might not need it.

I can complain until the cows come home, but it’s not going to change the fact that Fastlane is happening this Sunday, and there’s a whole bunch of matches that need predicting, so let’s get to it.

Rey Mysterio vs Andrade
(Kickoff Show)

When will they stop putting these cruiserweights on the pre-show? (I know Andrade’s 209lbs, but I thought it was funny).

On the ever-increasing list of things that baffle me with regards to this PPV, we have arguably the hottest feud from this year so far, being pushed to the pre-show. Not only that, but you could’ve put the US title on either of them two weeks in a row, but instead you decide to go with Samoa Joe, which is fine, except Samoa Joe isn’t even on the damn show at all.

I get that you’ve got to have a pre-show match, but this is a fairly empty PPV so far, and these two could put on a match of the year if you let them go instead of artificially putting shackles on them by only giving them about 10 minutes when no-one’s watching. It’s like they’re not even trying to make new stars.

They’ve buried this enough as it is, so not having Andrade win here would be such a huge mistake, and potentially destroy one of your existing potential stars at a key point of the year.

The Shield vs Baron Corbin, Drew Mcintyre & Bobby Lashley

So we’re not even going to wait and build up to this one, are we?

I’m of two minds when it comes to The Shield reuniting this soon after Roman’s return. On the one hand, it seems like it could’ve been built to a lot more, with the eventual reunion being a huge moment at Wrestlemania when Seth defeats Brock. However, we’ve been through this whole “will they, won’t they” thing three times now, and since we know it’s always going to end up with The Shield reuniting, why make us sit through it again?

It does make me wonder though, if they’ve thrown them together again this fast, could they also be breaking them up just as quickly? It doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to say that Dean once again turns on The Shield here in order to have Roman vs Dean at Wrestlemania, as it was quite weird that Roman didn’t really seem to care about Dean taking the piss of his leukaemia.

While it’s possible we get a turn here, I’m going to go with The Shield since it just seems like a fairly safe bet to say that the top heels of Raw are being thrown to the hounds for a quick win to make The Shield look good.

Asuka(c) vs Mandy Rose
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)

So, now Asuka has left the shadow of the Becky/Charlotte storyline, you’ve got a big chance for Asuka to break out on her own and show her stuff going into Wrestlemania. Smackdown is filled with a whole bunch of great female athletes so you can pick from almost any of them. We’ve got Naomi, Sonya Deville, The IIconics, hell if you want a throwaway feud, Zelina Vaga would be a great opponent for Asuka. So with all the choice in the world WWE picks…Mandy Rose.

Now, I have nothing specifically against Mandy Rose. She’s yet to put on a performance that truly wowed me, but she’s certainly not a bad wrestler by any stretch of the imagination. She just really doesn’t feel like she’s the right fit for the spot, she’s had an on and off story with Naomi for a couple months where I guess she won? It was pretty vague, but she doesn’t really feel like she’s been built up at all, I get that she used cheap tactics to get the opportunity, but I feel like you could’ve spread this out a little longer and perhaps involved Sonya Deville on at least some level.

Ultimately, it all goes back to having two PPVs at this time of year so close together, there’s no time for anything to build because just 2 weeks ago Mandy was busy for the build to the Chamber match.

There are a whole host of shenanigans that could take place here, with Lacey Evans, Sonya Deville and Naomi all having some reason to get involved, but whatever happens, I’m confident that Asuka will walk away with the title.

Sasha Banks & Bayley(c) vs Nia Jax & Tamina
(Women’s Tag Team Championships)

Maybe, they should have stuck with the “Roadblock” name instead, because that’s what this match feels like.

The announcement that these Women’s Tag Team titles will be defended on all three of Raw, Smackdown and NXT is absolutely wonderful news. Many are currently claiming that the NXT women’s division is quite shallow, with Baszler, Sane and Sharai are the only top-level talents, but this is the way to showcase how great the rest of the division is, by having them go head to head with Banks & Bayley and put on an amazing match with them.

However, for us to get to that land of wonder, we have a rather large roadblock in the form of Nia Jax & Tamina. They shouldn’t win the titles here, and almost everything points to the fact that they won’t, especially with a probable face off against Trish & Lita is on the horizon for Wrestlemania, but this is WWE so they might.

Either way, this match should be ok. Nia and Tamina really are among my least favourite wrestlers right now, but Bayley and Sasha are great at bringing the best out of their opponents, especially bigger opponents like these. As for a pick, I’m going with what needs to happen and say Sasha Banks & Bayley are going to retain here.

The Usos(c) vs Shane Mcmahon & The Miz
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)

Remember when Shane Mcmahon first came back in 2016 and we were all really excited? Those were fun times, now I really just want him to go away for a while.

So far with this story, WWE have so far gone with the exact opposite of what I’ve predicted, but as I always say: If I keep bashing my head against this wall, it will eventually break, so let’s go again.

When this whole thing first started, I didn’t want Shane & Miz to win the titles, and then once they won them, I didn’t want them to lose the titles. So I don’t think I’m going to surprise anyone when I flip-flop once again and say now Shane & Miz have lost the titles, I really don’t think they should win them back.

When they won the titles, I thought we were going to get a long storyline where The Miz would use Shane to get to the WWE title at some point this year before inevitably dumping him when he outlived his usefulness, but now they’ve dropped the titles, it’s become obvious they’re going for the short term story, most likely ending at Wrestlemania.

I’m not really sure what The Usos are going to do come Wrestlemania, but I do know that they’re going to have the Smackdown Tag Team Championships around their waists.

The Revival(c) vs Aleister Black & Ricochet vs Bobby Roode & Chad Gable
(Raw Tag Team Championships)

So this is how Vince intends to “make new stars” is it?

So, Black & Ricochet have been going back forth between Raw and Smackdown for a couple of weeks beating The Revival and The Bar repeatedly, until suddenly Roode & Gable show up and put a spanner in things for some reason and now we have this match.

The thing is, Black & Ricochet have stood tall week in and week out since they showed up on the main roster, including last Monday, so wrestling logic dictates they have absolutely no chance of winning. This is the problem with bringing these four guys up at this time of year, they’re only going to get damaged by doing nothing of note (because let’s be real, the Raw Tag Team Titles are nothing of note) and then Vince has the gall to come out and wonder why he doesn’t have any superstars on his roster.

While it’s possible Ricochet & Black could pick up the win here, I don’t really think I want them to0 since the Raw Tag Titles seem like things that could hold them down instead of launching them to stardom, so I’m picking The Revival to retain.

Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair
(If Becky wins, she’s in at Wrestlemania)

Oh yeah, Charlotte’s involved in all of this.

I know the build to this match has been mostly brilliant so far, but I do find it quite weird how Charlotte’s been a bit of a non-factor since she was thrust into the match, mostly has a punching bag for Becky Lynch, but still.

This match is one of those ones that has an obvious result, – Becky Lynch is going to win – but it’s obvious because it’s what needs to happen. I know there’s pretty much no doubt in anyone’s minds that the triple threat is happening at Mania, but this is WWE, so I refuse to trust them. I think the best way to avoid this being such an obvious win, is to have Ronda get involved. Except have Ronda make Becky win.

Not accidentally, but on purpose screw over Charlotte so Becky gets her way in at Mania. The whole point of the story the past few weeks is that Ronda has been wanting to fight Becky at Wrestlemania, and Ronda is very much the type of character to fight ALL OF THEM to quote Asuka. Having Ronda cause Charlotte to lose here gets Becky in without compromising Charlotte’s integrity for the main event of Wrestlemania since she didn’t lose clean. There’s no downside to it.

Daniel Bryan(c) vs Kevin Owens
(WWE Championship)

So the build for this match has been pretty interesting, as it’s taken the opposite progression to almost everything else on the card.

With all the other feuds on this card, I started off pretty interested, but the build (or lack thereof) has made me not care about them at all, but with this match, I initially thought it was weird and didn’t make sense, but after this week’s Smackdown I’m pretty into it.

For one thing, Bryan vs Owens should be a brilliant match provided it isn’t hampered by WWE branded bullshit, but also I think they’ve done a pretty good job of building it given the limited time they’ve had. It was pretty weird that they inserted Owens into the match essentially by copying the women’s storyline over on Raw, but the promos that have been cut since then have been pretty fun to watch.

Owens feels like he’s got this renewed sense of vigour behind him, and while I doubt this face turn will last long, for this feud at least, it’s working. I’m not looking forward to this PPV as a whole much, but I chose to hold out hope that this match will have some good stuff behind it.

As for a winner, it’s slightly harder to pick than I thought, because of Kofi Kingston. While it wouldn’t be out of character for WWE to completely forget this Kofi story and hope everyone forgets about it, that doesn’t feel like what’s going to happen here. I’m not sure if he’ll get directly involved, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this segment ended with Kofi being involved in some way. For that to happen though, Daniel Bryan idealistically has to retain, so that’s what I’m going with here.

And those are my predictions for Fastlane 2019! Let me know what your thoughts are, either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. As always watch this space over the next week as my review of the show will be coming up early next week!