I kind of miss the days when the Money in the Bank match was held during Wrestlemania as it made the Grandest Stage of It All just a little more special. The WWE spun off the concept and developed it into its own pay-per-view event, which is good since we now get two Money in the Bank matches since they involved the female Superstars. Why am I saying this? Well, that’s because they just held the Money in the Bank pay-per-view show and, if they do keep up the quality of this year’s show, I don’t think I’ll be all that disappointed that it’s not part of Wrestlemania anymore.
We’ve got a lot to talk about so let’s get to talking about all the matches! This time around I’ll be giving my predictions for the match at the start before I give my thoughts on what actually happened, okay?
Match #1: Daniel Bryan vs Big Cass
Wait, they have another match against each other in a pay-per-view? Well, since Bryan already won their first go-around, I guess I’ll be putting my money on Big Cass. Besides, if he doesn’t win, it’ll make him look like a chump.
This match was very much like their match at Backlash. Big Cass bullied the much smaller Daniel Bryan with his power early on. This honestly was probably the more boring part of the match for two reason. The first reason is that Big Cass doesn’t really seem to know how to draw major heat from the crowd. He did try by doing things like mock the “Yes” chant with his arms but, most of the time, he looks awkward in doing so. The second reason is the predictability factor swoops in. You know that Bryan is going to mount a huge comeback. That’s just the way the world of professional wrestling goes. And, of course, the former Smackdown commissioner eventually did by targeting Big Cass’ legs.
The finish occurred after Daniel Bryan kicked out of a pinning attempt right after Big Cass nailed him with a big boot. Cass hoisted Bryan up for a torture rack and then attempted to slam his opponent. Bryan managed to land on his feet and connects with a running knee strike. Bryan then locked in the Heel Hook, forcing Big Cass to tap out. Daniel Bryan now has two pay-per-view victories over Big Cass, making him look like a chump.
This was an okay match but it does show that Big Cass isn’t quite ready for the big time just yet. He still needs to learn how to be a bad guy that gets a decent reaction from the crowd. I guess matching him with Daniel Bryan, one of the most popular and most technical wrestlers made this match much better than it should have been. Overall, however, it was just good and nothing great.
Rating: 6.0 of 10.0 chumps who can’t win
Match #2: Bobby Lashley vs Sami Zayn
I do think Sami Zayn has come into his own as a heel wrestler. That doesn’t mean I enjoy his current feud with Bobby Lashley. Since Lashley is “new” in the WWE, I believe he’ll get his revenge on Zayn from all the jokes he’s been pulling on Lashley.
The match was started out with Sami Zayn stalling for time. Eventually, he got a cheap shot in and tried to dominate Lashley early by tossing him into the ring posts repeatedly. This was pretty much the only offense Zayn got in. Lashley eventually recovered after that and, after snatching Zayn in the air from a cross body block attempt, it was all Lashley.
The finish saw Bobby Lashley scooping Sami Zayn up into a delayed vertical suplex. The crowd, after being virtually silent throughout the match, started a “one more time” chant. Lashley apparently didn’t hear them as he put Zayn in a backbreaker submission before finally complying with the crowd’s wishes and delivered another delayed vertical suplex. Lashley, for some strange reason goes for another backbreaker into delayed vertical suplex before going for the one-handed pin for the victory.
This was a terrible match. The feud was very lukewarm and, for a squash match, it sure took a long time for Lashley to beat Zayn. If the idea was to show how intense Lashley is in the ring, well, it didn’t work.
Rating: 3.0 of 10.0 delayed vertical suplexes
Match #3: Seth Rollins vs Elias for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
I know Elias has been drawing some great heat with his arrogant musician gimmick but I just don’t think it’s enough to carry him to the Intercontinental Championship just yet. Seth Rollins will win it but not after a slobberknocker of a match.
The match had all the earmarks of a classic. Both wrestlers really worked hard to deliver a lot of drama and ratchet up the tension on who was going to win. While the match flowed really well, I feel there was a major inconsistency with the “injured part” Elias was targeting. Early in the match, Elias focused on Rollin’s neck but, after the Kingslayer tweaked his knee from jumping from the top turnbuckle, the arrogant musician then focused on that part and both of them seemed to totally forget about the “injured” neck. Still, Elias and Rollins pulled off some great back-and-forth sequences and it was hard to tell who was going to eventually come out on top.
The finish came after Rollins slipped out of a superplex attempt. The Kingslayer attempted his patented ‘buckle bomb but his injured knee gave way. Elias attempted his Drift Away neckbreaker but Rollins rolled him up for a two count. Elias then tried to roll Rollins up with a handful of tights but Rollins managed to reverse the move and, with a handful of tights himself, managed to get the pinfall victory over Elias. Seth Rollins retains his Intercontinental Championship.
This was an excellent match. I know Rollins can pull off a quality match but this was Elias first really good match, probably his best one to date. The switching of Rollins’ injury was still rather confusing. They could’ve focused on it early on instead of switching from neck to knee but it did make sense in the context of the story they were telling. Good match and something worth watching again.
Rating: 7.5 of 10.0 switching injuries
Match #4: Women’s Money in the Bank Match with Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Naomi, Lana from Smackdown and Sasha Banks, Ember Moon, Natalya and Alexa Bliss from RAW
I have two horses in this race. My brain picks Natalya since they’ve been strongly hinting at a future feud with her “best friend” Ronda Rousey and having Nat win will just add fuel to the fire. However, my heart wants Alexa Bliss to win. She may not need a Money in the Bank contract to be in the title hunt but, man, think of the promos she can do because she has it!
There was a lot to love about this year’s Women’s Money in the Bank match. Not only did it have some of the best female wrestlers in it, they also got to show their stuff as well without going overboard. I know we are in the era where “women can do anything a man can do” but I didn’t expect some of the hard hitting moments that happened like Sasha Banks and Ember Moon landing spine first into a ladder. Even Lana got slammed into a ladder! Combined with some legitimately good wrestling and some teasing regarding who was going to get the briefcase sprinkled throughout, this was a fantastic show.
The finish came when Becky Lynch, a crowd favorite took out Charlotte with an X-ploder suplex, clearing the ring. She managed to get the Money in the Bank unclipped but Alexa Bliss managed to climb into the ring (after a rather long delay, mind you) and toppled the ladder. This had Lynch smashing her face into another ladder, giving The Goddess enough time to ascend the ladder to claim the briefcase!
This was a great match. The women Superstars put on a fun and exciting show. There were some amazing spots but none of them looked too dangerous or something that could cause major injury. The finish could’ve done with a little bit of better timing as it did look like Alexa Bliss took too long to get into the ring as Becky Lynch could have gotten it but she had to wait for The Goddess to break it up. Besides this minor hiccup, this year’s Women’s Money in the Bank match was a must watch.
Rating: 8.5 of 10.0 delayed Alexa Bliss’ run ins
Match #5: Roman Reigns vs Jinder Mahal (with Sunil Singh)
Do I really have to watch this? Fine. I guess Roman Reigns will win because… who cares.
I know Roman Reigns can actually pull off a good match but he needs to be paired with a wrestler who can direct him well. Jinder Mahal isn’t that guy. Reigns got the early upper hand but, thanks to interference from an “injured” Sunil Singh, Mahal soon took advantage. And when I say “took advantage,” I mean just do a series of headlocks the majority of the match. Honestly, this is the main reason why I don’t like Jinder Mahal. It’s not that he’s an underserving midcarder that managed to weasel his way into the WWE Heavyweight Championship, tainting the significance of the title. It’s because he’s a boring wrestler, plain and simple. Yawn.
The finish came after Reigns hit Mahal with a Drive By. Singh tried to knock Reigns into the post again but The Big Dog blocked it and nailed him with a superman punch. Reigns then connects a superman punch to Mahal from outside the ring and then spears Singh. Mahal tries to steal a win with a small package but Reigns kicks out. Reigns goes for a spear and gets the pinfall victory. Once again, yawn.
The wrestling was boring and the “surprise” of Sunil Singh’s interference wasn’t surprising in the least. This match did nothing for anyone involved. Mahal was already in poor standing with the fans and this didn’t make him endearing with anyone. Roman Reigns looked weak as he was just weared down by Mahal’s offense… which primarily consists of headlocks. For the third time, yawn.
Rating: 3.0 of 10.0 yawns
Match #6: Asuka vs Carmella for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
As much as I would want to see Asuka get a title run while in the main roster, I don’t see it happening here. I predict Asuka will win via DQ or something wherein Carmella will cheat her way to retain.
Asuka dominated for the majority of the match. Carmella did get some offense in but The Empress of Tomorrow simple managed to outwrestle the Staten Island Princess. Still, I will say that Carmella actually looked good. She even did a suicide dive against Asuka! Her role wasn’t to be a dominant champion but rather to be the champion who manages to win by taking the right opportunities at the right time. So having Carmella sprinkle in some offense but never really dominate was the right call here.
The finish was just weird. Asuka managed to nail a variation of a shining wizard when someone dressed in Asuka’s entrance garb climbed up the ringstep. Asuka then stared at her doppelganger and the doppelganger stared back… for a good minute or so. Carmella then tried to roll up Asuka but Asuka countered. They then went back to staring at each other before the doppelganger ripped off the mask to reveal it was James Ellsworth!
Carmella then kicked Asuka from behind to get the pinfall victory. Carmella retains her Smackdown Women’s Championship and runs up the ramp and celebrates with Ellworth. Weird.
This was an adequate match but the finish just awful. I’m not sure if Asuka missed her cue to attack Ellsworth and rip off the mask or if Ellsworth should’ve removed the mask sooner. Either way the finish was just awkward and terrible. Still, it’s kind of nice to see James Ellworth back.
Rating: 5.0 of 10.0 James Ellsworth returns
Match #7: AJ Styles vs Shinusuke Nakamura for the Smackdown WWE Heavyweight Championship in a Last Man Standing match
If this wasn’t a Last Man Standing match, I would have said Shinusuke Nakamura would win. But as it is a Last Man Standing match, AJ Styles will. Why do I think this way? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s just a gut feeling.
I remember being so disappointed with AJ Styles vs Shinusuke Nakamura at Wrestlemania as it was slow and the action was lackluster. But Nakamura has done a phenomenal job at being the thorn in Styles’ side and I was actually more excited for this because of how the feud has escalated. As expected with any Last Man Standing match, there were a lot of close calls but the pacing and the escalation of the action was almost perfect here. The slow ramp up of the brutality was excellent and both Styles and Nakamura sold how hurt they were really well.
The finish was also excellent. The Artist tried a fireman’s carry slam from the announcer’s table but his knee gave out, allowing Syles to toss Nakamura into the steel steps. The Phenomenal One connected with a Styles Clash from the middle ring steps to the floor. Nakamura still managed to answer the 10 count and screamed for more. Styles then kicks Nakamura with a low blow and then goes for a Phenomenal Forearm from inside the ring to the announcer’s table. Nakamura can’t beat the count and Styles retains his Smackdown WWE Heavyweight Championship belt.
A part of me really wishes this was the match they delivered during Wrestlemania but I don’t think it would have the same impact as Nakamura was still a good guy at that time. This was a really great match with a lot of drama and the action kept on getting better as it went on. Great stuff.
Rating: 8.0 of 10.0 low blows
Match #8: Ronda Rousey vs Nia Jax for the RAW Women’s Championship
It would kill all sorts of momentum to have Ronda Rousey lose but it would also kill her momentum if she loses. So, I predict a screwjob where Jax gets frustrated and intentionally DQs herself to retain.
This is Ronda Rousey first official outing as a singles wrestler so you can call this the litmus test to see if she’s cut out to be a WWE Superstar. Thankfully, she did an admirable job for the most part. But, being as objective as I can be, there were a few moments where she did look a little clumsy as Rousey slipped after delivering some of the strikes. I still have to say that judo throw on Nia Jax looked awesome.
I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on Nia Jax’s performance as well. She still looked dominant when she needed to be but I do think it’s a disservice to her that Rousey was given mythical strength that she could break through Nia’s defenses. It didn’t make her look weak but it did make her look less like an “irresistible force” but rather “the force that you can break through if you’re really, really strong like Ronda Rousey.”
The finish, though, was brilliant. It looked like Rousey was about to lock in the armbar to get Jax to submit but Alexa Bliss runs in and takes out both Rousey and Jax with the briefcase! The match is over with Rousey winning by disqualification but Little Miss Bliss then wallops Rousey a little more to take her out of the equation and strikes Jax with the briefcase a little more before cashing in the Money in the Bank contract! The Goddess nails a DDT on Nia Jax and then climbs the top rope, connect with Twisted Bliss for the pinfall victory! Alexa Bliss is your NEW RAW Women’s Champion!
Honestly, I couldn’t be happier to see Alexa Bliss as RAW Women’s Champion again! The match with Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax was good and Rousey did surprise me with how good she looked but the story here is that The Goddess is back on top of the RAW Women’s roster as she should be.
Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 Money in the Bank cash ins
Match #9: Men’s Money in the Bank match with Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens and “Glorious” Bobby Roode from RAW and The Miz, Rusev, Samoa Joe and a New Day member for Smackdown
I’m really hoping that Kevin Owens can steal the Money in the Bank briefcase somehow but conventional wisdom says Braun Strowman will take home the briefcase.
The New Day sends in Kofi Kingston as their representative for the Money in the Bank match. It may seem to make more sense to send in a big guy like Big E but, with so many big guys in the match already, the much more smaller but athletic Kingston would make it more exciting, which it generally was. There were, of course some interesting spots, mostly involving Braun Strowman. I did like the rest of the competitors tried to take him out early by burying him under a pile of ladders so that they could actually do stuff. There was even the obligatory huge spot, this time involving Kevin Owens as he got tossed by Braun Strowman from the top of the ladder to a table (and some boxes I think).
The finish came after Balor cleared the ring and connected with Coup de Grace on Roode from the top of a ladder. Balor then climbed another ladder but is blocked by Braun Strowman. Strowman starts cleaning house and then tried to get the briefcase but Finn outraces him… because Strowman has Kofi on his back! The Monster among Men manages to use his power to shake off both Balor and Kofi and then claims the Money in the Bank briefcase to win the match!
The match was good and the storytelling was excellent for the most part. However, I do feel that some participants, namely Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode were underutilized as they didn’t do much. I also wanted a little more drama than what we got. Still, it was a good Money in the Bank match and the flaws were really minor.
Rating: 7.5 of 10.0 falling Kevin Owens
Overall rating for Money in the Bank 2018:
This was a really good pay-per-view. Mixing up the Money in the Bank participants between the RAW and Smackdown roster was a great idea as it led to some interesting pairings and excellent matches. Ronda Rousey impressed me in the ring but I do hope she works on tempering her zeal as I think this is the reason why she slips around a lot while wrestling. There were a couple of terrible matches, namely the Roman Reigns vs Jinder Mahal one and the Bobby Lashley vs Sami Zayn one. However, they were quickly forgotten as the quality of most of the matches on the card were great.
Oh, and Alexa Bliss cashing in Money in the Bank to regain the RAW Women’s Championship is just icing on the cake.
Rating: 7.5 of 10.0 Alexa Blisses cashing in Money in the Bank
What did you think of this year’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view? Let me know in the comments below!