I’m so glad things are slowly but surely getting back to normal. People are now allowed to actually go outside and, sure, I really want things to open up to 100% capacity but all good things come to those who wait. I’m kinda tantric about that. It’s definitely much better to see a live crowd enjoying a wrestling show, especially a big one like WWE’s Money in the Bank, because I believe the audience’s reactions are a big part of what makes wrestling wrestling.
How was this year’s Money in the Bank, though? Did the live audience enhance the experience? I will say a big fat “yes” but I still will have to rate each match by my impressions. Sure, my impressions may be somewhat influenced by the cheers and boos but it’s still going to be my rating as a whole!
So let’s go dive in and see how good or how bad this year’s Money in the Bank was!
The first match was the Women’s Money in the Bank which had Alexa Bliss, Naomi, Liv Morgan, Nikki ASH, Natalya, Tamina, Zelina Vega and Asuka attempting to collect the Money in the Bank briefcase this year. I was fully expecting someone like Tamina to get it to give her one last big run for either the RAW or Smackdown Women’s Championship but I was fine with also seeing either Alexa Bliss or Asuka pulling the briefcase off the chain. Ultimately, because of the somewhat shallow caliber of the performers in the ring (no offense to them), I wasn’t expecting a whole lot and, sadly I was correct. There were a few neat spots, like Bliss hypnotizing Zelina Vega to climb down the ladder, everyone burying Alexa Bliss under a pile of ladders as they were all afraid of her powers and Naomi trying to use a ladder being fought over by Natalya and Liv Morgan. However, most of them didn’t feel like they needed a ladder for these spots.
The finish was also very anti-climatic. Basically, after everyone took out Bliss, it became an all out brawl on top of multiple ladders with everyone trying to get the briefcase. This allowed Nikki ASH to climb up in the middle of it all to calmly grab the Money in the Bank briefcase with no fuss. I do get the idea behind the finish and Nikki ASH played it smart or something like that. However, it wasn’t executed all that well and lacked any drama. The Women’s Money in the Bank was just okay because, while the wrestling was good, there weren’t any real cool spots. The lousy finish, however, brought it down a few points.
The next match had AJ Styles Omos defending their RAW Tag Team Championships against the Viking Raiders. This match felt like it was booked just so the WWE can really push Omos as the terrifying force the roster sorely needs now that Braun Strowman has been wished the best in all his future endeavors. They did do a good job as, while the Viking Raiders did some impressive double team moves and even managed to stun Omos a couple of times, this was still Omos’ show. He’s still a little rough around the edges as it looks like he doesn’t really know how to react stunned or hurt just yet and some of his offense comes off as a little clumsy. However, I do love the progress he’s made so far as he’s shaping up to be a real monster in the ring, especially when he gets to display his raw power.
The finish came when the Viking Raiders connected the Viking Experience finisher on Styles. Erik tried to prevent Omos from entering the ring to break up the pinfall but Omos shoved the Viking Raider onto Ivar to stop the count! Styles makes the tag and Erik gets kicked out of the ring by Styles but Ivar retaliates with a kick of his own. Omos strikes Ivar with a low roundhouse kick but Ivar tries to make a comeback with a running knee, stunning the big man. Ivar bounces of the ropes but Omos snatches him and slams him to the ground with a double chokeslam powerbomb. Omos makes the cover, gets the pinfall win for him and AJ Styles to retain their RAW Tag Team Championships.
This was a very good match but not much suspense. It’s too early for AJ Styles and Omos to drop the straps, especially to a team like the Viking Raiders. Still, everyone did a phenomenal job here. Hopefully, Omos improves a bit faster with his in-ring acting to make the moments when you think he’s out of it more believable.
The next match pitted Bobby Lashley defending the WWE Heavyweight Championship against Kofi Kingston. This was basically booked to give Bobby Lashley the necessary attitude change and to facilitate a possible future feud… but we’ll get to that later. Safe to say, though, I was expecting a squash match but I wasn’t expecting almost total domination from the All Mighty here! I don’t remember any particular spots here because all I remember was Lashley just destroying Kingston!
The finish had Lashley slam Kingston to the mat with the Dominator slam several times before finally locking in the Hurt Lock on an unconscious New Day member. The referee calls for the bell and The All Mighty gets to keep his WWE Heavyweight Championshiop. I actually like this match as, while it wasn’t competitive and it must suck for Kingston fans to see their favorite wrestler get manhandled to mush, this was the match it needed to be. Besides, Kofi does an incredible job of selling so it did add to the drama.
We then get to Rhea Ripley defending her RAW Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair. I may not like Rhea Ripley because her in-ring acting comes off as forced and unnatural. However, I do think she’s a good athlete and pitting her against Charlotte Flair, who has the tendency to bring out the best in her opponents, was only going to benefit the match. This was a super competitive match from the start and I loved some of the spots, like Ripley jumping over a chot block attempt by Charlotte to stomp on her prone body as well as the Natural Selection from the top rope for a 2-count. Very creative and hard hitting spots here but I do think there were a little too many near falls for my liking.
The finish came after the aforementioned Natural Selection from the top rope. The Nightmare tossed The Queen near the corner turnbuckle in order to escape a Figure Eight attempt by Charlotte. Charlotte rolled out to ringside and Ripley tried to drag her opponent in the ring but Charlotte countered by slamming Ripley’s head into the ringpost. The Queen then sandwiched Ripley’s leg in between the ring steps and the ring post and destroyed her ankle with it. One Figure Eight later by Charlotte and Ripley is forced to tap out. We have a NEW RAW Women’s Champion in Charlotte Flair!
This was an excellent match with everyone pulling out all the stops to make it as entertaining as possible. Both Charlotte and especially Rhea Ripley performed incredibly well. The only criticism I have are the numerous near falls, most especially Ripley kicking out of the Natural Selection from the top turnbuckle. That should’ve finished the match and everyone would’ve been okay with it.
The next match was for the Men’s Money in the Bank. This had Kevin Owens, Riddle, King Nakamura, Ricochet, John Morrison, Big E, Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre duking it out for the briefcase. I expected a lot because most of the competitors are willing to put their bodies on the line to give fans a memorable ladder match, filled to the brim with stunts and painful looking spots. Even with that, I wasn’t prepared to how insane things got! I loved how they had this mini storyline with Seth Rollins teaming up with John Morrison which ran much longer than expected. Ricochet and Riddle did a lot of flying around both in and out of the ring. Of course, that spot where Rollins powerbombed Owens into a ladder was expected but still awesome.
The finish came after that hellacious powerbomb, which left Rollins all alone in the ring. He started climbing one of the ladders but was stopped by Big E. Big E then scooped up Rollins while on the ladder and sent both of them crashing into the mat with a Big Ending! Big E then popped up to climb the ladder himself and get the Money in the Bank briefcase! Big E is now your Money in the Bank contract holder!
This was a super entertaining match. There wasn’t a slow moment from bell to bell. I do like how they took out Drew McIntyre by having Jinder Mahal and his goons literally drag him out to the back. All the spots were incredible and giving Big E the Money in the Bank briefcase is really smart as it sure to connect with Bobby Lashley since the All Mighty did take out Big E’s New Day buddies. That should be an interesting feud as the two of them are powerhouses. I sure hope they do make Big E cash in the contract as success. The man deserves it.
We finally get to the final match of the night which had Roman Reigns defending the biggest prize in Smackdown, the WWE Universal Championship against Edge. This should be good as we didn’t get the 1-on-1 match at Wrestlemania and it’s now very clear who’s the face and the heel this time around. This was definitely a hoot and a half with a lot of buildup from the start until the chaotic end. Tons of cool spots like Edge smacking Reigns’ head on the top of the ringpost and The Rated R Superstar spearing the Head of the Table through not one, but two guardrails!
The finish of the match came shortly after Edge got knocked into the referee by a Reigns Superman Punch. Reigns hinted at using a broken metal chair leg to use on Edge but Edge reversed it and locked in a crossface using the steel chair leg a face brace on Reigns. The Usos tried to interfere but were blocked by the Mysterios who ran them off. However, Seth Rollins slithered into the ring and broke up the hold by kicking Edge in the back of the head. Reigns went for a spear but ran into a spear from Edge instead! However, there was no referee and, when the new official arrived, Reigns recovered enough to kick out. The Rater R Superstar set up for another spear but Rollins returned and distracted Edge, allowing Reigns to spear his opponent and get the 3-count. Reigns is still the king of Smackdown as he retained his WWE Universal Championship.
However, things weren’t over just yet! Rollins started beating down on Edge. Rollins then faced down with Reigns, hinting at a possible new SHIELD reunion but Edge took Rollins to the outside where they brawled all the way to the back. It wasn’t over still as, of all people, John Cena came out to one of the largest pop I’ve ever seen in a long time! Money in the Bank
This was, without a doubt, the match of the night. Both Reigns and Edge put on a clinic on how to build drama throughout a match. The added chaos just added the right amount of spice to kick things up a notch. I do have issues with Seth Rollins interfering but I’m betting it’s for a future storyline purpose so I’m okay with it. Having John Cena come in at the last few minutes of the pay-per-view was a fantastic way to officially announce he’s back.
Overall, I loved this year’s Money in the Bank. Even without the live crowd, I think this was one of the better shows they’ve put together. The only weak link was the Women’s Money in the Bank but the rest of the matches as well as John Cena’s surprise return more than made up for it.
Have you seen this year’s Money in the Bank? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!