This pay-per-view is one of the reasons why I don’t like the brand split. I get why the WWE decided to do separate the rosters as it gives the Superstars time to recuperate, attend house shows and it forces fans to actually watch both RAW and Smackdown if their favorite wrestlers are in different brands. But Money in the Bank should be one of the exceptions. Since it’s a Smackdown only pay-per-view, that means that there won’t be anyone from RAW that can get the opportunity to cash in for the title. What makes it worse is that this is the first time where there will be a Women’s Money in the Bank match… and Sasha Banks and Bayley won’t be in it.
But that doesn’t mean the first even Women’s Money in the Bank match will suck, right? Right?
Match #1: Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Natalya, Tamina and Carmella (with James Ellsworth) for the Women’s Money in the Bank briefcase/contract
Well, this was disappointing.
The first ever Women’s Money in the Bank should have been a historic match. Much like the very first Women’s Hell in a Cell match with Sasha Banks and Charlotte (she wasn’t adding the Flair part yet at that time), this had the ingredients of a memorable bout. You had five established women wrestlers who were pretty game in getting beat down. They’ve worked together well in the past so this wouldn’t be any different. And it was actually great for the most part. None of the spots were truly dangerous but looked cool enough to make them seem they were. Leave it the WWE to spoil the match with a truly crappy finish!
The finish came when after the spot above. Carmella was climbing the ladder but Becky Lynch cut her off with a powerbomb. Becky took the opportunity to start climbing the ladder but James Ellworth slithered came into the ring and tipped the ladder over, sending The Irish Lass Kicker to the floor. Ellworth tried to coax Carmella to getting the Money in the Bank briefcase but his girlfriend was still incapacitated by the powerbomb. So, he decided to climb up, unhook the briefcase and give it to her. Confusion from the officials ensued as they didn’t know if this was “legal” (which is stupid as Money in the Bank matches are ladder matches and are always No Disqualification). Ellsworth then all of a sudden decided he has the power to render a decision and proclaimed Carmella as the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank winner.
I actually have no problem with Carmella being the first Women’s Money in the Bank winner. She wouldn’t have been my first choice and her skills in the ring are still iffy. But she is rather good on the mic, which does count for a lot in the world of “sports entertainment.” My problem is the way she won it. I would’ve been okay if Ellsworth helped her climb the ladder to get it. Or if Ellsworth prevented the other wrestlers from getting in the ring while Carmella climbed up. But him getting the briefcase soured the entire match because he isn’t in the match. He’s not even the right gender! So, while the match was pretty decent, the finish ruined it for me.
Rating: 4.0 of 10.0 Ellworths that are the real Woman’s Money in the Bank winners
Match #2: The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E with Xavier Woods) vs. The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
I like The New Day as much as the next guy but do they really deserve a shot at The Usos Tag Team Championship this soon? I guess the WWE figured out these two teams would make for a great match. And it did!
The action was good from the get go with some really simplistic but good in-ring storytelling. The Usos beat down on Kofi Kingston for the majority of the match. Kofi eventually made it to Big E for the hot tag and this is where things really got heated. Oh, and Kofi took some impressive moves, bumps and dives that looked like it really hurt! All of this added to the overall drama and really got exciting after Kofi tagged in Big E. There were near falls galore and even more impressive stunts by Kingston.
The finish, like the Women’s Money in the Bank match earlier, was kind of a let down but makes sense in the long run. Kofi took out both Usos with a hilarious looking stage dive from the top to the outside. The New Day then drag one of the Usos into the ring and nail the Midnight Hour finisher. But before the referee could make the three count, the other Uso dragged his brother out and went to the timekeeper’s area to take the countout loss but retain their titles because of their champion’s advantage.
The match was really fun and exciting. There was a lot of drama and some really great spots from both teams. While the finish may seem lame, I was okay with it because, if a match between The Usos and The New Day is this good, I would want to see another and The Usos worming their way out with the belts just means The New Day has a chance to challenge them again in the future and fans can have another great match like this.
Rating: 7.5 of 10.0 Kofi Kingston stage dives
Match #3: Lana vs Naomi for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
Normally, I put the good guys first and then the bad guys last when introducing the matches. However, because of the way Naomi treated and made fun of Lana, I actually think the Women’s Champion is kind of a bully and that makes her the bad guy in this case. I mean, Lana just wanted to compete in the first ever Money in the Bank match! Why did Naomi have to diss her like that?
Anyway, this was going to be Lana’s first ever singles match and I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty as she is. And the match was… it was pretty bad. Can we just say that Lana isn’t fit to be a wrestler? Oh, she did try in this match but all she really did was do a few kicks and a couple of snap suplexes. She did do that cute looking sitout spinebuster and that looked cool, I guess?
But it was really up to Naomi to carry the match. The stupid thing was Lana actually dominated the majority of the match! I know the WWE is trying to make Lana look like a legit competitor in the ring but it was plain to see that a veteran like Naomi shouldn’t have been beat up by a greenhorn like Lana and her incredibly limited wrestling repertoire and her infernal shrieking. Did I mention Lana’s infernal shrieking? I really needed to mention that.
The finish of the match also made Naomi look extra weak. As Lana was kicking the crap out of Naomi, Carmella came out and teased cashing in the MITB briefcase only to relent. This distraction allowed Naomi to recover enough so that when Lana attempted the sitout spinebuster once again, she countered the move into a weird inverted STF kind of hold for the submission victory.
This was a mess of a match as it, for one, made Naomi looked weak as she needed some kind of distraction before making the comeback. Also, making Lana dominate practically the entire match just exposes the fact her moves are still really limited. I would’ve rated this match much better if Carmella actually cashed in the MITB briefcase to make it a Triple Threat and then win the Smackdown Women’s Championship. At least that would’ve made the match interesting.
Rating: 3.5 of 10.0 of Lana’s ear-piercing screams
Interlude: The Introduction of Mike and Maria Kanellis
I normally don’t review or even mention these segments but I actually was incredibly giddy to see Maria Kanellis back in the WWE!
This was an incredibly cheesy segment but a fine way to re-introduce the WWE Universe to the goodness that is Maria Kanellis. She used to be a good girl but, when she left, her potential of being a great heel was revealed! Even the way she talks is incredibly different! But going back to this segment, I actually liked it as it was incredibly over-the-top and the superiority complex of both Mike and Maria Kanellis was just great. I do wish it was a bit longer.
Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 Power of Love songs
Match #4: Randy Orton vs Jinder Mahal (with the Singh Brothers) for the WWE Championship
Sure, this was a rematch from Backlash, AKA one of the worst WWE Championship matches ever. But at least this time, there was more passion from both competitors! And that’s made a whole lot of difference because, even though I still don’t fully comprehend the decision to make Jinder Mahal the WWE Champion, at least the match was passable. They also kind of telegraphed how this match was going to endas WWE Legends and Hall of Famers, including Cowboy Bob Orton, Randy Orton’s father sitting by ringside.
The match itself wasn’t special in any way but there was definitely more passion that these two guys first outing at Backlash. Jinder Mahal seemed to have come into his own in this match as the offense actually looked like it hurt for the most part. And Orton did his best to actually sell The Modern Day Maharaja’s attack on his leg. It was good but nothing to write home about. I guess this match looked great because, in comparison to Backlash, this looked fantastic.
As I mentioned, the finish was pretty predictable. Randy Orton nailed an RKO on Mahal and he was going to win but the Singh Brothers grabbed Mahal’s leg and draped it over the bottom rope to break the count. The referee saw this and almost called a stop to the match due to outside interference but Orton stopped him. The official then called for the Singh Brothers to be sent to the back. However, The Singh Brothers had other ideas and went after Cowboy Bob Orton because… it was Father’s Day then? Anyway, Orton stepped in and annihilated both of them. This did distract The Viper long enough for The Modern Day Maharaja to recover and connect with his Khallas slam to get the pinfall and retain his WWE Championship.
In comparison to their first bout together, the Orton vs Mahal match at Money in the Bank was alright. It wasn’t anything to rave about but I wasn’t bored out of my mind this time around. I do hope that the WWE gives Mahal a killer angle so that we can actually buy into the idea that he’s a legitimate WWE Champion. Hopefully, they end his feud with Orton and move on to a new storyline.
Rating: 6.5 of 10.0 WWE Legends around ringside that didn’t do a thing when one of their own was being assaulted
Match #5: Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze) vs The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor)
Wait, the Ascension are still in the WWE? I honestly thought they were gone!
All joking aside, this was a filler match, designed to “cool down” the live audience before the main event. It had all the notes of one as no one really cared and the stakes were incredibly low. So low in fact that no one really cared. As such, it’s kind of mean for me to rate this match because you know it was written in just to be filler.
But since it was in the MITB event, I have to. And it stunk. The action didn’t even have a Smackdown feel to it. It was so pedestrian and it was more like a match that should’ve been in a house show but, for some reason, they moved it into a pay-per-view. Thankfully, it wasn’t all that long. The Ascension just beat down on Tyler Breeze for the majority of the match until the hot tag to Fandango. The Fandango action was pretty good but, like I said, it was house show calibre.
If you watch the clip above, the match ended soon after that spinebuster of Konnor to Fandango. The Ascension tried some kind of double team move (looked like Demolition’s old finisher) but Tyler Breeze shoved Konnor off the top rope and Fandango took advantage of the confusion to roll up Viktor for the pinfall victory.
Look, I like Breezango and it must really suck for The Ascension to be where they are right now as they were white hot when they were in NXT. But if they keep on getting into matches like this, fans won’t really care for them. WWE has to give them some quality stories and support them first of all. Still, house show match.
Rating: 4.0 of 10.0 The Ascension are still a thing?
Match #6: AJ Styles vs Shinusuke Nakamura vs Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens vs Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin for the Men’s Money in the Bank briefcase/contract
If there was going to be a fantastic way to close out a Money in the Bank pay-per-view event, it would have to be a fantastic Money in the Bank ladder match. And this was definitely it. Heck, even the start was rather phenomenal with Baron Corbin trying to take out Shinusuke Nakamura earlier as the latter was doing his (awesome and super cool) entrance schtick.
While this wasn’t the craziest MITB match I’ve ever seen, there was still a lot to like despite the lack of insane spots. That’s all thanks to the competitors who kept the action tight and kept the pace moving at a rather blistering but easy-to-follow speed. There was also a lot of great storytelling, such as Shinusuke Nakamura returning near the end of the match and just annihilating everyone with his patented Kishasa knee strike and the remnants of the Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn hatred they have for each other. Of course, the highlight would have to be the face off between New Japan Pro Wrestling alums AJ Styles and Shinusuke facing off each other. They even set aside the ladder just so they can fight each other cleanly. That shot gave me goosebumps!
I guess the best thing is how each competitor managed to adapt their particular wrestling style and made it work for the chaos that is a MITB match. Everyone got their time to shine in the spotlight because of this. Everyone got to do something fantastic and everyone came off looking really strong and it made it feel like everyone would be worthy of the MITB briefcase.
The finish was, well, I wouldn’t say it was bad. Maybe it would more accurate to say it was underwhelming because of two factors: who retrieved the MITB briefcase and how he got it. AJ Syles and Shinusuke Nakamura were brawling up the ladder when, all of a sudden, Baron Corbin stormed the ring and tipped the ladder, sending the Styles and Nakamura crashing into the floor. The Lone Wolf then just nonchalantly climbed the ladder, fumbled a bit with the clip that was holding the MITB briefcase before finally pulling down the contract and becoming the 2017 Money in the Bank winner.
The match was fantastic. It had great action and the stunts were a whole lot of fun. There was a lot of excitement, especially when Nakamura returned despite the earlier beatdown by Corbin. It may seem like a letdown for someone who’s relatively green as Corbin to be the MITB briefcase carrier but it kind of makes sense as this would be a great way to promote him. Oh, and that showdown between Styles and Nakamura was spine chilling! Hope to see them actually do a program in the WWE in the future!
Rating: 8.5 of 10.0 future matches between AJ Styles and Shinusuke Nakamura
Overall rating for WWE’s 2017 Money in the Bank
This year’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view event seemed greater than the sum of its parts. Actually, come to think of it, most of the matches were decent in their own way but they just had sloppy finishes. This was especially true for the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank match. I guess it’s more of the journey than the destination. Thankfully, the show ended on a rather strong high note as the Men’s Money in the Bank match was phenomenal.
Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 good matches with nonsensical finishes
What did you think of this year’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view? Let me know in the comments section below!