Oli Davis rounds up the biggest professional wrestling news in his daily WrestleTalk column…
Hype Bros beat The Colons
Zack Ryder got the winning pin for his in-ring return after seven months out with injury, tagging with Mojo Rawley to beat The Colons on the preshow. A lot of people reckon a heel turn is in their future. I personally don’t see it, mainly because the last six months of Rawley’s character development appears now not to have happened.
Women’s Money in the Bank Match
The pay-per-view’s main card, however, was opened by the first women’s Money in the Bank match in history – a landmark achievement in the ongoing ‘Women’s Revolution’, the latest accolade to put female wrestling on par with how the men’s division is treated and…it was won by a man.
Charlotte, Tamina, Becky Lynch, Carmella and Natalya worked very hard up until the finish, pulling off a number of impressive spots, while keeping the action very well paced. In comparison to Bayley and Alexa Bliss’ kendo stick shenanigans a fortnight prior, this was practically WWE’s first female death match.
But 15 minutes in, with all five women down, James Ellsworth climbed the ladder, dropping the briefcase to his unrequited love Carmella.
The referees argued at ringside over whether or not this was legal, perfectly setting the stage for Shane McMahon to skip down to the ring in his cleanest white sneakers to say variations of ‘not on my watch’, ‘women’s revolution’, and ‘restart the match’. But that never happened.
This was a horrid and ill-advised finish, deflating the crowd – a match built up as ‘history-making’ ended in not just a crappy angle devaluing the workrate that had preceded it, but also a way that cheapens women’s wrestling in WWE as a whole.
New Day beat The Usos
Not content with just one very enjoyable match being rubbished by a cheap finish, Smackdown decided to have the next fight go the same way. After a great match, The Usos took the countout loss – retaining their titles in defeat.
Naomi beat Lana
Me: Hey, WWE – I bet you can’t make it three rubbish finishes for three!
WWE: Hold my beer, pal!
Carmella teased cashing in her freshly won Money in the Bank briefcase, distracting Lana enough to where she lost the match. Lana’s first singles match on the main roster was slightly better than expected, a few dancer-like offensive kicks tying in nicely to her character, but this was yet another match that did nothing for anyone.
Breezeango’s Miami Vice-themed Fashion Files skit, complete with pastel blazers and large cell phone – with a brilliant ‘property of Paul E. Dangerously’ reference, was at least slightly more entertaining. But the big reveal of who their tormentors have been – which has been built up in over a month of storytelling – was revealed to be The Ascension, who Breezeango quickly beat in a short match.
I’m hoping this is a rouse, and American Alpha are really behind the attacks. Because if it isn’t, what a waste of Smackdown’s main highlight.
Mike & Maria Kanellis Debut
Former Ring of Honor and TNA real life husband and wife team ‘The Miracle’ Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis debuted next, with a super-loved up ‘we’re in a relationship’ gimmick.
Mike Kanellis taking his wife’s last name was a good gag, and they played their roles very well, but this gimmick screams mid-card – and both have main event potential. The real winners, though, are WWE’s in-house music team – with yet another fantastic entrance theme.
“Here’s to the greatest love I’ve ever known. I’m burning up in your love…”
Jinder Mahal beat Randy Orton
It’s rather strange seeing Randy Orton play up his wrestling lineage, interacting with various legends sat at ringside, when the first half of his career was built around brutally beating people like that up. This was a solidly worked match, with yet another lame-duck finish – Randy going crazy on the Singh Brothers after they manhandled his dad to then walk straight into Jinder’s Cobra Clutch Slam for the loss, exactly like the end to their Backlash match a month prior.
Men’s Money in the Bank Match
The main event was by far the best match of the night, similar to how the Fatal 5-Way saved Raw’s Extreme Rules show from two weeks ago.
Baron Corbin attacked Shinsuke Nakamura during his entrance, taking him out for the next 22 minutes. With just five men, ladder match veterans Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens took the biggest spots – namely an incredible sunset flip powerbomb off the top of the ladder from Zayn to Ziggler.
The match’s best sequence, however, was Nakamura’s return, clearing house as the crowd continued to sing his music, and then having a staredown with his storied New Japan rival AJ. This and their ensuing brawl was the most alive Nakamura has looked on the main roster so far. But, as this show had a theme to stick to, the match ended rather damply, as Baron Corbin took out both men and grabbed the briefcase for himself.
So that was Money in the Bank in about 4 minutes, here’s the usual ratings recap from top to bottom: SmackDamn, Smacktastic, Smack Bang In The Middle, Ellsworthy and Raw.
This was another heel heavy show after Raw’s Extreme Rules, with both Money in the Bank briefcases getting won by the bad guys, The Usos’ countout loss and Jinder retaining.
While the main event was superb, and the workrate across the card was very good, the booking ranged from depressing with all the heel victories to downright idiotic with the Ellsworth ‘win’.
This year’s Money in the Bank, quite fittingly, is Ellsworthy.
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