In wrestling, as in life, getting an opportunity is important, but getting that opportunity doesn’t always mean that you’ll make the most of it. In WWE, that’s been even more true this year than ever before. For the first time ever, the winners of the 2018 men’s Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank matches both failed to win a title when they were given the opportunities they earned, as Sportskeeda pointed out today.
There have been 19 men’s Money in the Bank ladder matches ever since the inaugural match in 2005 (Raw and SmackDown each had their own for a while during the first brand split). Of those 19 Money in the Bank winners, 15 went on to cash in their briefcase and successfully win the title. In the meantime, winners of the Royal Rumble have continued to earn a title match at WrestleMania, a practice that began in 1993.
Prior to Braun Strowman at this year’s Hell in a Cell, the three Superstars who failed in their cash-in matches were John Cena, Damien Sandow, and Baron Corbin. In 2012, Cena cashed in on CM Punk and lost because of interference from the Big Show. Sandow cashed in on Cena in 2013, and lost because it was 2013 and “LOL Cena Wins” was in full effect. Last year, Baron Corbin cashed in on Jinder Mahal and lost because of interference from Cena. Actually, after looking over these three events, the most surprising thing about Hell in a Cell 2018 is that it was Brock Lesnar who showed up to mess things up for Braun instead of Cena.
Here’s the thing, though: In 2012, Sheamus won the Royal Rumble and went on to win the World Heavyweight Championship from Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania. In 2013, Cena won the Royal Rumble and went on to win the WWE Championship from The Rock. And of course, in 2017, Randy Orton won the Rumble and then took that same title from Bray Wyatt (he also burned down his house). So until 2018, either the Royal Rumble winner or Mr. Money in the Bank has been successful in their earned title shot, if not both.
This year however, Royal Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura not only failed to take the WWE Championship off of AJ Styles at WrestleMania, he never got the title despite a multi-match feud with the champ. Meanwhile, Braun Strowman, the so-called Monster in the Bank, cashed in for a Hell in a Cell match for the Universal Championship that ended in a frustrating No Contest thanks to a returning Lesnar.
Perhaps it’s worth noting that there are now women’s version of both of these matches. Carmella and Alexa Bliss both successfully cashed in their Money in the Bank contracts to win the SmackDown and Raw Women’s Championships (and both in 2018, since Carmella kept hers for months and Bliss cashed in on the same night). On the other hand Asuka, winner of the first Women’s Royal Rumble match, lost her WrestleMania title shot against Charlotte Flair, which also ended her long-running winning streak.