Out of all the pay-per-views that feature on the WWE calendar, Money in the Bank is always one that I personally look forward to, with the briefcase truly being “a golden opportunity” for most who hold it. This year’s event will also see history be made for the company, as in addition to being the first brand exclusive entry, for SmackDown Live, it also features the first women’s Money in the Bank match.
WARNING! There will be spoilers beyond this point.
The kickoff show saw The Colóns (Primo and Epico) take on The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley), marking Ryder‘s first match since returning from a knee injury. Though we weren’t giving anything special, the match as a whole was still better than most pre-show bouts. It also gave us some solid storytelling early on, with Ryder showing some convincing ring rust. Despite this, the early portion of the match was firmly in The Hype Bros’ favour, with it taking an attack to the injured knee to turn the tables for The Colóns. When all was said and done, however, it was The Hyper Bros picking up the win, with Ryder pinning Primo following a Hype Ryder.
(6 / 10)
Opening proceedings on the main card, we got the first ever women’s Money in the Bank Ladder match, with Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Tamina, Carmella (w/James Ellsworth) and Natalya all fighting for a contract to compete in a SmackDown Women’s Championship match anytime, anywhere, within the next year. Despite getting off to a clunky start, feeling rather rushed at times, the match as a whole was rather impressive. Not only did we get some big spots, including a twisting dive from Charlotte to both Natalya and Tamina, but it also gave the remaining female stars time to shine, with there being a couple of moments that left us guessing. That said, the match would end in catastrophic fashion, with WWE deciding to have Ellsworth collect the briefcase and throw it down to Carmella for the win.
(5 / 10)
- This match would have got significantly higher rating if not for the terrible ending.
The first title bout of the night saw The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E)(w/Xavier Woods) challenge The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. Given the fact The New Day has felt a lot fresher since moving to SmackDown, I was quite looking forward to this bout,with it generally not disappointing. Being exciting from start to finish, we would see both teams gain the upper hand at one point or another, with some close calls throughout. It was, however, The New Day that got the momentum in the latter portion of the match, with it looking like they’d win following both a Big Ending and The Midnight Hour. This relentless offence would eventually cause The Usos to abandon the match, with The New Day winning via countout. Though this ultimately seems good from a storytelling point of view, it did feel ill placed following the outcome of the previous match.
(8 / 10)
Next up was the SmackDown Women’s title match, with Naomi putting the championship on the line against Lana, in what was the latter’s first televised singles wrestling bout. Overall this was a much better match than I was expecting, as despite showing her inexperience, Lana gave a decent performance against Naomi, with there being a couple of convincing moments where it looked as if she’d win. Despite this, it was Naomi picking up the win, making Lana submit to Feel the Glow following a distraction from Carmella, who looked to be cashing in her Money in the Bank.
(6 / 10)
To utilise time in between matches, we got a short promo on stage that saw the return of Maria Kanellis. She was joined by her husband, Mike Kanellis, marking his WWE debut.
The final title match on the card saw Randy Orton look to regain the WWE Championship, challenging Jinder Mahal (w/The Singh Brothers (Sunil and Samir)). Despite initially seeming a little too similar to the match we saw at Backlash, things would quickly turn in Mahal‘s favour, with the champion taking advantage after Orton tweaked his knee. Not only did this allow Mahal to come across stronger as champion, but it also gave us something unique in comparison to Backlash. Much like the previous matches, however, things would get a bit controversial near the end, as when it looked as if Orton was going to win following an RKO, The Singh Brothers would interfere, putting Mahal‘s foot on the rope and getting ejected. As they were leaving though, The Singhs would go for Orton‘s father, Bob Orton, with Randy punishing them for this. This ultimately would give enough distraction to allow Mahal to hit the Khallas and retain his title.
(7 / 10)
The penultimate match on the card was a somewhat impromptu bout, as Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango) took on the men that attacked Tyler Breeze last week on SmackDown Live, The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor). Though it was nice to see both teams feature on the card, it was clear that this was a bit of an afterthought, with the length and product reflecting that it was simply a filler match. This ultimately makes it hard to rate this match highly, as despite giving us a decent match given the brief time they had, it was way too forgettable. As it was, Fandango got the win, pinning Viktor with a small package.
(3 / 10)
The main event was our second Money in the Bank Ladder match, with AJ Styles, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Shinsuke Nakamura and Baron Corbin all looking to gain a contact to compete for the WWE Championship at a time of their choosing within the next year. Starting in exciting fashion, we’d see Corbin attack Nakamura before even making his own entrance, with it looking as if we’d have one less combatant in this match. What followed was your typical Money in the Bank match, with there being some big moments. These included a sunset flip powerbomb from Zayn to Corbin off a ladder, a Deep Six to Ziggler on the outside from Corbin, a Zig Zag to Corbin off a ladder from Ziggler, a half nelson suplex from Zayn to Owens on the ring apron, and a death valley driver from Styles to Owens onto a ladder. This all eventually lead to Corbin being the only man left in the ring, with Nakamura returning. Taking out everyone in his path with Kinshasas, we were left only Nakamura and Styles in the ring, with both fighting it out and eventually racing up the ladder. The Lone Wolf, Baron Corbin, would however sneak in during all this, shoving over the ladder and climbing it himself to retrieve the briefcase.
(9 / 10)
Money in the Bank was ultimately a bit of a mixed bag, as between questionable bookings, controversial finishes and a poor use of running time, it failed to become anything more than average. The main event would, however, give us something to cheer about, with there being some exciting moments within both Money in the Bank Ladder matches.