The episode of Raw following Extreme Rules 2016 was memorable for a number of reasons; the main event of the next Pay-Per-View was announced, Enzo Amore made his return and Raw itself celebrated 1,200 episodes and even received a special cake from The New Day.
However, there was one aspect of the show that, despite being largely overlooked, is actually hugely significant.
A host of stars including Cesaro, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens all qualified for the Money In The Bank ladder match at the upcoming Money In The Bank event.
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In a series of qualifying matches, Superstars earned their right to enter the match for the coveted briefcase and, whilst it may seem something small, qualifying matches for the ladder match is a step in the right direction for WWE.
For the past few years, Superstars have been thrown into the Money In The Bank ladder match with very little explanation or reason and this has been damaging to WWE’s image.
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Despite having pre-determined outcomes, WWE still needs to appear legitimate or run the risk of viewers being disillusioned and, eventually, disinterested.
Since Money In The Bank is such an incredible prize in WWE lore, with all bar one of its winners being former world champions, it makes perfect sense for superstars to work towards competing for it.
Having qualifying matches also adds an extra element to any potential storylines heading into the Money In The Bank Pay-Per-View.
Having a qualifying match allows for almost-contingency feuds to begin for those competitors who do not win the briefcase; the wrestler who was beaten in the qualifiers has a reason to hate the man who beat him, which would nicely set up a feud for the next Pay-Per-View.
Also, it adds an element of suspense to the match; this week’s Raw saw Kevin Owens take on AJ Styles in a qualifying match, two men who were both worthy of entering the bout, but, thanks to the qualifying matches, there was a real reason to watch their match on Raw as fans were genuinely unsure as to who would be in the ladder match in Las Vegas.
The biggest positive to come from the qualifying matches though has to be the increase in prestige it gives to the briefcase - something that WWE should take into consideration regarding other aspects.
Whilst number one contender matches for individual titles happen fairly often in WWE, events like the Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber matches and big multi-man matches (such as the ladder match at this year’s WrestleMania) often have their participants thrown together with no discernible rhyme or reason.
This is not what the fans, who invest their imagination and suspend their disbelief when watching the show, want to see.
Hopefully, the treatment of the Money in The Bank match can be re-applied to other, marquee matches in WWE’s future.
With The New Era has to come change and, fingers crossed, this change can be regarding the way in which important events in WWE are portrayed and the ways in which their prestige can be increased in their build up.