It’s time for one of the most chaotic and unpredictable times of the WWE schedule, Money in the Bank. Two chaotic ladder matches amongst a mostly stacked card provided a mostly entertaining night of wresting entertainment. Hopefully it was a night of feud endings so that the superstars can move onto some fresh starts. So let’s get to breaking it down.
Not Quite A Cass-ic, But Good Enough
Big Cass is in a bit of an unfortunate place at the moment. Apparently in some bother backstage and stuck being a big guy with a big guy gimmick. It’s hard not to be slightly sympathetic to his cause. Luckily for him his second round with Daniel Bryan was a very fun match. He put on a much better offensive against Bryan than their first match. He was more vicious, more methodical and overall just more enjoyable to watch. He gave Bryan a fight and put on a much longer match this time. He still tapped to Bryan but this time it was an injured leg to a Heel Hook, a much more credible ending. It wasn’t perfect but it was one of the best showings Cass has had a solo performer. If he keeps up this scale of progression then he may still have a bright future in the WWE.
It’s Finally Over
This is on the good side purely because it means we have hopefully seen the end of the Lashley/Zayn feud. The match was nothing particularly special. It was a quick seven minute beatdown on Zayn. Bobby benefited from being a totally dominant performer. He out-powered Zayn at every turn and hit multiple stalled suplexes and two Dominators. It was a quick match to end a feud no one has liked at all. Both men deserve a pay rise and a decent set of matches for completing this feud.
Walking Over Elias
Elias put on the match of his career at MITB. He teased Chicago with a speech but rejected singing for them. He then put on a clinic against Rollins. He was targeting the Kayfabe neck injury he had given Rollins. Elias was like a shark smelling blood, he was relentless at all times. He would hit brutal strikes and targeted attacks to keep the pressure on Rollins. At one point, he even resorted to throwing Rollins around the outside, slamming him into every object possible. Although he didn’t win, Seth put him over in the best way possible, by cheating to win. Rollins got the pin with a roll-up with a handful of tights. Elias felt like a credible threat, not to mention the match itself was an excellent spectacle of both men’s abilities.
Women Kill It Again
The women’s MITB match could have stolen the show. Eight of the most talented women on the rosters ripped each other apart over the course of the match. Ember Moon got to show off her moveset, Lana and Naomi proved their worth to the more popular women’s wrestler and it ended with the most opportunistic heel winning the match. The women weren’t shy about involving the ladders either. There were plenty of brutal ladder spots, with flying cross bodies against ladders, an X factor on a ladder and spears and powerbombs against ladders. There were also great story moments as Becky and Charlotte faced off atop a ladder, Becky and Sasha re-tread old ground and Alexa Bliss stole the victory after throwing Becky off the ladder. Another wonderful showing by the women’s division and not a single sign of Ellsworth anywhere to ruin it. (Or so we thought)
A Surprise Return for Carmella
Speak of the devil and it appears he will return. Asuka and Carmella had a much better match than expected. Carmella is an excellent heel but her in-ring abilities aren’t exactly the best. Her match against Charlotte at Backlash certainly won’t win any awards. Her match with Asuka was actually a lot of fun. Asuka completely overpowered Carmella at plenty of points during the match and Carmella would usually get the advantage by playing it smart. She went from over-confident trash talk to trying to run away. The really interesting point came after a few minutes where Asuka was on top and a mysterious figure in Asuka’s gear gets on the ring apron. Both women sell confusion and Asuka is transfixed by the stranger. Eventually he removes his mask to reveal its James Ellsworth. He has returned to help Carmella retain. He even knowingly winks at the camera as it focuses on his face. Asuka eats a superkick and Carmella and Ellsworth leave celebrating. If you read the dirt-sheets then you may have known Ellsworth was set to appear but even so, it’s hard not to crack a smile at Carmella’s pet returning to WWE television.
Finally a Dream Match
AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura finally had a dream match. Their last man standing match was insane. It was a battle of attrition is every sense. Both men worked each other over until either man could really stand. The match would go from the ring, to the crowd, to the outside and back again. Nowhere was safe from these two. There were announcer table bumps, tables, chairs and low blows. Both men got their moments to shine and Nakamura truly felt like the vicious striker he is made out to be. He had fun goading AJ into spot after spot and move after move. Both men would one up each other in their quest for the ten count. One of the most painful spots was seeing Nakamura leaning against the announcer table and doing his signature “come on” taunt and AJ just kicked him, with force, in the balls. It was a blatant and vicious strike. The eventual end saw Nakamura fail to get up after being hit by a Phenomenal Forearm through an announcer table. It felt like the final chapter in this feud and Styles has won. It’ll be interesting to see who challenges him next and who Nakamura’s next victim will be. If not, I look forward to seeing what these two do next.
Rousey Strikes Again
Ronda Rousey seems like a natural in the ring. Any fears of her performance in this match were dispelled the second she got hit. Her selling was exceptional. She was practically mauled for most of this match. She was beaten up, thrown around and hit with a plethora of moves that require a lot of selling. At one point she even stumbled out of the ring to sell the force of a powerbomb. There were some bumps she took that would be terrifying for some wrestlers. It’s really interesting to see how Rousey is progressing in WWE. Both of her PPV matches have been very well executed and really showcase her as someone to watch on the roster.
Ronda did not win however. Mere seconds away from locking in the armbar to win the belt, the camera pans back to reveal Alexa Bliss standing behind her. She quickly strikes Ronda in the back with the briefcase to get Jax disqualified. The match is thrown out and Bliss just works over both Nia and Ronda with multiple shots from the case. She then throws Ronda away and gets her title match set up. She hits Jax with a DDT and the Twisted Bliss to win her brief match and become the RAW women’s champion again. The commentators also revealed this is her fifth reign as champion. This was an excellent booking decision and sets up some very interesting scenarios going forward.
Monster in the Bank
Before we go further with this point, I’d just like to say, I love Kevin Owens. He is a comedic and strategic genius. Earlier in the PPV, he tried to bribe the New Day with pancakes to help him take down Braun Strowman. Although he failed to sweet talk them, he still saw his plan come to fruition as most of the MITB competitors did team up to bury Braun in ladders. There were other spots too where they would team up to take him out of the equation including a failed attempt where Owens attempted to leap off an incredibly tall ladder onto Braun. This failed because Braun got up, scaled the ladder and threw Kevin Owens off the ladder through some tables. This took KO out of the match. Rest in Peace Kevin Owens, you tried to unite the rosters for a common goal.
Back to the action that happened. Much like the women’s match earlier in the night, no one held back. There were plenty of brutal spots. Rusev even got to lock in a triple Accolade. Miz tried to outwit everyone and had the best facial expression of the match when Braun ran THROUGH a ladder. Everyone got a time to shine and everyone took advantage of that time. The eventual winner was Braun who basically destroyed anyone not already out and climbed up the ladder to grab the briefcase. Braun certainly looks like WWE’s new top guy with this win and it’ll be fun to watch him challenge Brock again. It’s about time he got those hands.
Tag Team Absence
There was a clear lack of tag team wrestling on the main show. There were no Deleters of Worlds and the Smackdown titles were defended on the pre-show. This just shows WWE’s complete lack of interest in tag team wrestling at the current time. There may have been a legitimate reason for the Matt and Bray not being on the show but there was no real excuse for not putting the Bludgeon Brothers vs The Good Brothers on the main card. The match was certainly short enough. It is quite saddening to see a whole division ignored in favour of pushing awful feuds no one wants to see. Hopefully that changes in the near future or this could really start to hurt the tag division on the whole.
Roman Bores the Audience
Roman vs Jinder was the dullest match on the show. It was exactly what everyone was expecting; a dull, lifeless match that the audience could not give a toss about. The most entertaining part of the match was listening to all the different chants the audience could come up with. It did tickle me to hear Jinder get a bigger pop than Roman Reigns. The only positives of this match were provided by Sunil Singh who was providing interference whilst pretending to be in a wheelchair. The match was just set up so Roman had something to do at MITB. This wasn’t even a quality RAW match, yet alone a MITB worthy match. Roman could do better than this, the same with Jinder. No one was particularly interested in this match, especially the audience.
Take this bad with a pinch of salt. This MITB felt a bit too safe when it came to their choices for briefcase holders. Alexa Bliss is a dependable heel who could easily be believed to cash in on the night and Braun is the most over guy in the company. It feels like WWE may have chosen safe choices over the potential of starting new stories. It was certainly a shock to see Alexa win as a lot of people had Natalya act to win to cash in on Ronda. This clearly was not the plan for WWE. The other popular fan theory was the Miz winning the men’s case. Again it seems WWE would rather play it safe for now. It is just worth pondering some of the missed potential from the results of MITB BUT I have no issue with the winners of the matches. I can see the logic in the decisions and cannot be happier at seeing Braun with the MITB briefcase.
Kofi Kingston was not my expected New Day member. My money was set on Big E as he is the muscle of the New Day and probably the most likely to win out of the trio. The team revealed during their entrance that it would be Kofi representing them. This led to a lot of fun spots but I can’t shake the question of why? It could certainly have been more beneficial to either Xavier of Big E to take part as neither has been in as many as Kofi. It would have certainly been fun to see Xavier mix it up with Braun, Joe and get into it with the Miz. This isn’t a negative as I love Kofi; I would just like to know why he was picked.
MITB was certainly a strong night for WWE. The blue brand suffered the sting of defeat but certainly delivered with two strong title matches. There were two brilliant ladder matches and very little to make the PPV feel like Backlash all over again. Even at its lowest points it was at least partially entertaining. RAW will be interesting to follow as we see the fallout from Alexa and Braun’s victories. Overall it’s be another fun weekend for wrestling. In fact no it’s been a fun month for wrestling.
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