While it wasn’t a fight to the top of Titan Towers, this year’s Money in the Bank had a lot going for it. Even if the show was terrible, the return of actual people in the stands could elevate a D List PPV to at least a C-. And while there were certainly some bumps in the road, we ended up with a pretty fun show, and some surprising results across the board.
SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Usos def. The Mysterios (c) (Kickoff)
Rey and Dom have a wacky new entrance video that also works as a promo for their new time-travel program on your local cable network. Jimmy and Dominik started off, Mysterio landing a series of arm drags in front of live people for only the second time in his WWE career. A headbutt earned the Usos a quick pin, but Rey escaped a spinebuster to tag his son. Jimmy kicked out of a moonsault from Dominik and made the tag to Jey. Mysterio tried to take out both brothers on the outside, but was caught and chucked into the barricade. The Usos controlled Dominik, trying to crack his hips with a double team move. Jimmy and Rey both tagged in, leading to a senton and another two count on Mysterio. Rey returned the favor when he kicked out of a pop up Samoan Drop, as Dominik recouped from his earlier injuries by being tossed into the ring post. Mysterio went for the 619 on Jey, but Jimmy stepped in to take the hit. A superkick and a splash looked like it was going to seal the deal, and still Mysterio kicked out, fueled by the power of family and his #1 dad mug. The Usos wanted a double splash, but Dominik hopped up on the apron to prevent it. Jimmy sent Rey into the turnbuckle and rolled him up, with an assist from his brother in keeping Mysterio down for the count. A very sad Dominik and Rey stood dumbfounded while the Usos celebrated and Pat McAfee wished he had cousins half as cool. The Usos winning is a surprise, but it’ll be a very interesting addition to their storyline with Reigns.
Nikki A.S.H. def. Alexa Bliss, Naomi, Asuka, Zelina Vega, Liv Morgan, Natalya, and Tamina (Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match)
Everyone ran for ladders at the bell—except Alexa Bliss, who skipped around the ring to riotous applause. I’m not saying adult fans of this gimmick should be on some kind of a watch list, but I will type it in this review. Bliss tried to magic the briefcase down, but Asuka jumped her from behind with a suplex. Tamina, who fears no ghosts or haunted dolls, bounced Alexa into a ladder. Asuka dropped Tamina and pinned her with the ladder, but Tamina almost pushed the ladder off, until Morgan jumped on the side. Some chaos on the outside let Bliss re-enter things; she did her creepy crawl up the ladder towards a pinned Morgan, who was saved by Natalya. Zelina and Alexa met in the top of the ladder, where Vega fell victim to Bliss’ trance. At this point, wrestlers should be facing Bliss with blackout goggles on.
Naomi cleared house in the ring and tried to climb, but Natalya plucked her off. The BOAT climbed all the way to the top with Zelina hanging off her back, until Morgan pulled them both back to earth. Everybody brawled in the ring as Nikki came hit a crossbody from the top of a ladder—as Michael Cole reminded us a dozen times, she’s almost a superhero. Bliss kept her from climbing the ladder, hitting Sister Abigail before the tag champs sent her out of the ring and into the barricade. Everyone piled ladders onto a prone Bliss, which seemed kind of useless given the whole magical telekinetic powers thing. Liv and Asuka went back and forth for a moment before Morgan hit a flat liner and started to climb. She was quickly joined by six other women atop their own ladders, and in the ensuing yelling and slapping, Nikki just grabbed the contract. And that’s it! Nikki A.S.H was Ms. Money in the Bank, and seven women were standing around frowning deeply.
This was… Eh. It certainly wasn’t bad, but the match never felt like it hit its stride, although there were some really good moments. The finish was anti-climactic and surprising, although not necessarily in a good way. Nikki is fun to watch and she’s clearly enjoying this gimmick, but the superhero thing still feels hit or miss. It really did feel like they were ready to pull the trigger on Liv or Naomi, but maybe I should just stop getting my hopes up on that front.
Raw Tag Team Championships: AJ Styles and Omos (c) def. The Viking Raiders
Omos wrestled in his black jeans again, which is arguably the most impressive physical feat I’ve seen from him. The Raiders tried to double team the big man, but he took care of both vikings with ease. Styles came in but found himself hit with a huge knee from Erik. Omos looked vaguely worried on the apron, but Styles fought back with a drop kick. He took out Ivar and brought in Omos for an assisted dive to nail Erik. Styles got beat up a little more before Omos came in. A huge slam to Ivar and he probably could have won the thing, but glory hound Styles asked for the tag. This allowed the vikings to regain control and get a double team on Styles, who very barely kicked out at two. Erik backed Omos into the corner with forearms, and the big man was down to a knee. Ivar sent him to the outside for a dive, while AJ almost got the win with a roll up in the ring. Omos broke up a pin attempt after the Viking Experience, while the crowd asserted that this was awesome. I don’t necessarily agree, but I do think Omos deserves lots of chants, so I’ll give it to them. Another hot tag and a choke bomb from Omos finally gave the champs the three count. This was fine. It didn’t outstay its welcome, and that’s all I can ask. I hope Omos had a good night.
WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) def. Kofi Kingston
By far the best use of the crazy big tron was for Lashley’s entrance, which still slaps. MVP tried to grab Kofi at the bell, but Kingston dove over Lashley to avoid his charge. Bobby still got a leg up after a back body drop, planting Kofi in the mat like a little bug. He ran Kingston into the ring post twice, as an animated MVP bragged to the crowd. Lashley continued to punish Kofi instead of going for a cover, getting Kingston in the Hurt Lock before tossing him across the ring again. Three Dominators to Kofi and things were getting very hard to watch. Another Hurt Lock and the ref called for the bell, as Kofi crumpled on the mat.
For Lashley, this is absolutely what he needed. The suit wearing, champagne popping ladies man is done, and the All Mighty is back. For Kofi, it was a bummer to see him as fodder for a glorified squash match. We knew he wasn’t walking out with the title, but it would have been nice to have some hope, albeit briefly. After a performance like that, it is hard to imagine who will be next to challenge Lashley.
Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair def. Rhea Ripley (c)
The crowd chanted “we want Becky” at the start, so Charlotte flipped them off. The ThunderDome would never have allowed this. Ripley knocked Flair down with a dropkick, but Charlotte evaded a flip on the outside to take over. An exploder into the turnbuckle let her stomp on those chains and studs, which really seems like a dangerous thing to put all over your wrestling gear. The crowd continued to chant for Becky, because people do not understand wanting to stay home and spend time with your new child. Ripley hit a back elbow before she wiped Charlotte out with a clothesline and a headbutt. A Northern Lights suplex from Ripley got a two count, but Charlotte caught an attempted dropkick and turned it into a Boston Crab. Charlotte tried to counter the Rip Tide, leading to a vertical suplex from Ripley instead. Ripley laid in with chops, but a Big Boot from Flair sent her to the outside. A missed Natural Selection lead to a Cloverleaf on Charlotte, who escaped to reverse the Rip Tide into a DDT. Some Flair chops and at this point the crowd had forgotten about Becky altogether, which is very impressive when you consider how lackluster this feud has been. A very cool Natural Selection off the top rope earned the closest two count Charlotte had ever seen. Flair sent Ripley face first into the ring post, then crushed the knee between the steps and the post. My joints are aching at this point. Charlotte got the champ back in the ring and locked in the Figure Eight, leading to a tap out.
This was definitely one of the best Ripley matches in some time. Say what you will about Charlotte (and people certainly do) but she can go with just about anyone. The build to this might have been boring, but this match did a lot to make up for that.
Big E def. John Morrison, Ricochet, Riddle, Shinsuke Nakamura, Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins (Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match)
Everyone brawled to start, a big ol’ mess of men just swinging arms. Rollins and Morrison argued about who was more moist, before being taken down by Riddle and Ricochet. McIntyre and Big E exchanged strikes, ending with a huge spear from E through the ropes. Shinsuke, who was serving big time in white gear and boots, dropped Owens on the ladder before he got taken out by Morrison. Nakamura got a triangle on Johnny Drip Drip stop the ladder, but Rollins broke it up. Rollins and Morrison briefly teamed up to wield the ladder as the wettest men in wrestling, as the full capacity crowd realized they had the ability to chant “we want tables” for the first time in a year and a half. A springboard backflip from Owens laid out Rollins and Morrison, but the duo came back to slam him onto the edge of the ladder. Rollins turned his back on his new pal and knocked Morrison out with a ladder, only to get an RKO from Riddle.
Everybody traded big moves for a moment; a Claymore to Rollins left him alone in the ring to climb very slowly. As Drew just reached the top, Veer and Shanky ran in and pulled him off. Mahal came down with a chair to eliminate Drew’s spinal cord, and the group dragged McIntyre backstage for nefarious purposes. Ricochet nailed a jump across the ring onto the ladder, and then turned his fall into a flip when Riddle tipped him over. A knee strike from Nakamura to Rollins and the king ascended the rungs, but got a face full of drip stick at the top. Rollins powerbombed Owens through a ladder onto the outside. He moved as fast as his little messiah legs could carry him, but Big E hit him with a Big Ending off the ladder. He climbed the ladder, he grabbed the briefcase, and life was good.
This was a great match across the board; everybody got to show off and show up. Big E winning was the cherry on top, and I can’t wait to see who he chooses to cash in on. Personally, I’m hoping for E vs Goldberg.
Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) def. Edge
Like two big dogs meeting for the first time at the big dog park, they were a little reluctant to start things off here. The crowd clapped for a lot of lingering eye contact anyway. Edge brought Roman down to the mat and swatted his head just for kicks. Reigns got even with a shoulder tackle, sending Edge to regroup on the outside. Roman got him in the corner and scared off poor Charles Robinson to deliver some strikes, but Edge turned it around to target Reigns’ arm and shoulder. Reigns introduced Edge’s head to the steel steps and ragdolled him around the ring. Both guys hit big boots and laid each other out; Edge avoided a punch to hit a powerbomb and went all wild eyed. Edgecution got him a two count, but it was hanging Roman up in the Tree of Woe that gave Edge the advantage. He stomped on Reigns before getting him in the crossface, where a panicking Reigns screamed for help before grabbing the bottom rope. Edge went for a spear, but Roman caught him in the Guillotine. Reigns tried a spear of his own, but Edge barely dodged to send Roman into the barricade. He nailed a second spear into the walls to deal further damage to the Dickies Arena, and still Reigns was out before three. A Superman Punch sent Edge into the ref, taking him out for several solid minutes, given the gentle composition of wrestling refs. Roman broke another chair ringside, but Edge reversed the game and locked in the chair crossface.
As the strength of Roman’s beautiful white teeth was tested, shit started to hit the fan; the Usos came down to interfere, but the Mysterios met them before they could get to the ring. Professional Joker Seth Rollins hopped the barricade and stomped Edge’s head to break the hold, and things seemed in hand for Reigns, until Edge caught him in a spear. A new ref came out, but it was too little too late for Edge. Another distraction from Rollins let Reigns land a spear for the three count. Edge went after Rollins, chasing him into the crowd to dish out some Canadian Justice. This was excellent, if way too long. Just obscenely long.
And yet, the night still wasn’t over! As Roman reminded us all to acknowledge him, whose music should hit but the franchise himself—John Cena. Naturally, the crowd lost it at seeing the man from the Experian commercials. He ran the ropes and did his you can’t see me thing in front of a very tired looking Roman, and the show faded to black.
Your time is up, my time is now.
- Universal Champion Big E has an excellent ring to it
- Edge and Roman really did live up to the hype. They should have shaved at least 10 minutes off it, but it was still fantastic.
- Men’s ladder match was a lot of fun! And it involved a water gun, which should factor into way more matches, tbh.
- Seeing a whole arena lose their minds for John Cena is pretty fun. Seeing John Cena in WWE in 2021 is pretty damn fun.
- Charlotte and Ripley winning over the crowd was wild to watch.
- The finish of the women’s ladder match was so flat. Regardless of the winner, it was just a bizarre ending.
- Kofi going out in a squash makes me sad
- Ricochet's trunks also made me sad.