WWE can’t ever get things right, can it? The genuinely great decisions are lumped in with the headscratchers, as was the case on Saturday.
One of WWE’s biggest shows of the year took place in Las Vegas this weekend with Money in the Bank, oddly referred to as an additional fifth show among the company’s “Big Four” pay-per-views. It’s so big that WWE downsized from Allegiant Stadium to the MGM Grand Garden Arena, losing a capacity of around 50,000 seats.
Money in the Bank has become a company staple because of the highly entertaining human car wreck of multi-person ladder matches and how WWE tips its hand when it comes to what stars it plans to push. Taking the spotlight in the 2022 edition: Liv Morgan and Theory. Let’s start with the good before the bad and, frankly, evil.
Morgan has been one of the best female wrestlers in the company for years, if not the best, never to win a championship. She signed with WWE back in 2014 and earned whatever stripes necessary to prove herself inside the squared circle. Mundane storylines didn’t bring her down. The Riott Squad, whatever deal she had with Lana and a few brand switches could’ve derailed her career. And didn’t.
She won the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, guaranteeing herself a championship match at the time of her choosing over the next year. Morgan picked her spot only a few hours later, handing former champion Ronda Rousey an extremely rare loss, only the combat-sports phenom’s third in WWE. That’s how you build a champion and deliver on years of momentum.
The overwhelmingly positive reaction to her victory shows how ready WWE’s audience is for a Liv title reign. Kudos to WWE. Now compare that to Theory. The 24-year-old’s talent isn’t in question. He’s a worthy competitor, I saw him wrestle on the independent circuit at WrestleMania weekend in 2018. Dude can work. What’s uniquely special about him though? Liv has a clear-cut personality. Theory has his…selfies?
Is he more worthy of vaulting up the card than every other male Money in the Bank ladder match participant? Heck no. Theory appears to be handpicked by embattled WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon as the next top star, despite only being in the company for three years. Creatively, tell me how it makes sense to lose an undercard title and be worthy of being one win away from competing for the top belt in the company on the same night. It doesn’t. The issues with Theory go beyond the ring too.
In August 2020, a teenage girl claimed that Theory had sent her inappropriate pictures on Snapchat when she was only 13. None of the messages were made public, as the girl said Theory demanded she delete them after she received them. Nothing legal came out of it, but Theory’s main roster run was canceled and he was “demoted” to NXT after a few weeks.
He didn’t appear on WWE’s main roster again for nearly a year. Theory has never commented on those accusations against him. It’s not like WWE completely ignored the claims against him though. He was removed from TV once they surfaced. WWE can’t claim it never knew about the allegations. The company was apparently just biding its time, waiting for the outrage to settle a little. And now it’s time for Theory’s push.
Second chances are a vital part of forgiveness but WWE has gerrymandered its moral standards here. One of the most promising stars to ever work for NXT, the Velveteen Dream, had eerily similar allegations against him and was fired from the company. Even more, he has essentially been blackballed from pro wrestling. One is out of a job, one’s in line to be world champion. Make it make sense.
Pushing new talent is something WWE should always do. Your roster is large enough that two world champions should exist at once, no matter how much you love Roman Reigns. WWE’s literal part-time top guy is defending his title at SummerSlam against another part-timer, in a match we’ve seen consistently for the last several years. Just add bad ethics to bad booking. Liv’s time as SmackDown Women’s Champion should be celebrated. Theory’s eventual cash-in shouldn’t.