I know, I know. This is mostly wishful thinking that ANYONE other than Brock Lesnar or Roman Reigns will be Universal Champion come August 20, but wrestling has become a bleak, dark place. A hopeless place. A place where Roman Reigns lurks behind every corner, main eventing every PPV and repeating the phrase “this is my yard!” ad nauseum. A place where Brock Lesnar is never seen, hardly mentioned, yet holds the most important position.
It’s also a place where Kevin Owens never got a rematch for his Universal Championship after losing a squash match to Goldberg at Fastlane last year.
And yet, Kevin Owens’ path to taking the title from whomever wins the main event at SummerSlam is only blocked by a roaring monster with a shiny green briefcase. The same briefcase that just may help Owens become the first man to ever hold the Universal Championship twice.
Braun Strowman is currently Mr. Money in the Bank, and stripping him of that would conjure a chorus of boos in Brooklyn while rendering those new “Monster in the Bank” t-shirts obsolete. Still, Strowman doesn’t necessarily need the briefcase to take the title from anyone, having been booked as virtually indestructible for over a year now. Cashing in on a weakened opponent may diminish the triumphant moment that Strowman’s first singles championship victory could be.
Conversely, cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase is directly in line with Kevin Owens’ opportunistic character. At the very least, there must be a reason for Owens’ intense suffering at the hands of Strowman over the last few months aside from the sheer entertainment value. Sure, it’s fun to watch a guy get chokeslammed off of a steel cage through a table, but what narrative purpose does it serve? There’s more to this story than big spots, and the emotional promo from Owens on the most recent episode of Monday Night Raw drives that point home.
Considering that Owens can take Strowman’s briefcase even if he wins by disqualification, don’t be surprised if there’s an interference from Owens’ conspicuously absent best friend, Sami Zayn. Strowman getting robbed for his briefcase in this fashion keeps his character looking strong while giving Owens a huge boost back into the main event.
As for what will happen between Lesnar and Reigns, it’s likely that Reigns will win and immediately lose his title to whomever possesses the briefcase by the end of the night. Strowman, like Reigns, is written as a babyface, and having him feud with Reigns will only turn the crowd further against the Big Dog. Meanwhile, a feud with Owens helps the WWE push their “we want you to like Roman Reigns” agenda. You do the math.
No matter who wins the match for the Universal Championship, bank on a cash-in. When it comes to the briefcase, nobody should be shocked if WWE pulls BS for KO.