Money in the Bank was presented by WWE last night, with the PPV continuing the trend of empty-arena shows, as all the matches took place from the Performance Center. The traditional Money in the Bank ladder for both men and women was aired from the WWE Headquarters in Stamford, as all twelve participants tussled at the same time to win the prized briefcase.
The show overall had several great moments, and almost every match hit the mark. With merely eight matches, the show finished quicker than an episode of RAW, which made it a satisfying experience.
We look at how the show went down, with our analysis for each of the encounters.
1. Pre Show: Jeff Hardy vs Cesaro
Competing in his first PPV since his return from injury, Jeff Hardy looked as good as ever in this bout against the Swiss Superman. Cesaro had a fair advantage over the Charismatic Enigma and had an upper hand for a majority of the matchup, keeping Hardy at bay with his slow heelish maneuvers.
After a brilliant final sequence, the former WWE Champion finally hit the Swanton Bomb to post a pinfall victory.
Result: Jeff Hardy def. Cesaro
Analysis: For a pre-show encounter, this match was much better than expected. Hardy and Cesaro are two of the finest wrestlers on the blue brand and managed to make a match with no stakes attached in front of absolutely no-one, worthwhile.
Hardy is reportedly in for a push in the coming months, and a feud with Sheamus looks to be the start of his turn into the main-event scene.
2. SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The New Day(c) vs Lucha House Party vs The Forgotten Sons vs The Miz and John Morrison
All the four teams came into this match with some momentum on their side and had a fun matchup that saw even the newcomers Forgotten Sons and the low-carders Lucha House Party get some action.
The stipulation of having two teams in the ring at the same time doesn’t work for long as the match eventually divulges into a fun mess, with everyone looking for opportunities to hit someone. Morrison hit a Spanish Fly on Gran Metalik onto a group of superstars outside, which was fantastic. Big E eventually hit Big Ending on Metallik for the win.
Result: The New Day retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championships
Analysis: Multi-Men matches are an easy way of getting a fun encounter, and this was the very definition of it. All the four teams looked good in this match, which is quite important, as Usos and Heavy Machinery not being in the division for some time will need a combination of these four teams for a feud in the coming months.
3. Bobby Lashley vs R-Truth
Originally scheduled to be MVP vs R-Truth, Bobby Lashley eventually replaced MVP, as there was quite a party of Ruthless Aggression Era stars in the ring. MVP and Truth had a fun exchange before Lashley swapped in and destroyed Truth in quick fashion.
Lashley tore down Truth with the Spear to continue his fantastic run in recent times.
Result: Bobby Lashley def. R-Truth
Analysis: This was a proper definition of a filler match, which could have worked on RAW as well. However, Lashley’s dominance is being portrayed quite well, as his monstrous persona is finally getting considerable screen time. He had a great performance in the Gauntlet Match last week as well and could lead to a probable push into the main event.
4. SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bayley(c) vs Tamina
Bayley started off the match by talking trash to the second generation superstar. This didn’t go down well with Tamina who hit Bayley with a big clothesline. Bayley then started to work on Tamina’s left leg and even threw water on her face.
Tamina made a comeback and was on the verge of a win before Bayley received some help from Sasha Banks who distracted the Samoan, leading to a rollup win for the Role Model of the Women’s Division.
Result: Bayley retains SmackDown Women’s Title
Analysis: This was arguably a much better match than anyone could have envisioned, largely due to Bayley and Banks’ fine heelwork, putting over Tamina as a credible challenger. Tamina is no Ric Flair in the ring but had her moments, and at some point looked set for a win.
Bayley has now officially run through every possible superstar on the roster, and it remains to be seen if WWE finally breaks up the duo on this week’s SmackDown.
5. WWE Universal Championship(c): Braun Strowman(c) vs Bray Wyatt
Braun Strowman immediately started manhandling his former mentor, who came out in his red sweater instead of his Fiend persona. Strowman managed to kick out of Sister Abigail which shocked Wyatt.
Strowman finally put on his Black Sheep mask, seemingly accepting Wyatt as his leader once again, before throwing it away and pinning Wyatt with a power slam.
Result: Braun Strowman retains WWE Universal Title
Analysis: It was an excellent finish, as it showed that the master of mind games Bray Wyatt can also be tricked into believing the false things. WWE using Wyatt’s non-demonic persona for this match was a good choice, as it allows Fiend to be protected while continuing this storyline for a few more weeks.
The next phase of this feud should be interesting, as Wyatt will most likely summon the Fiend, and how this story proceeds after Strowman’s complete rejection of Wyatt will be an intriguing watch.
6. WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre(c) vs Seth Rollins
Arguably the best storyline WWE has written in quite some time, Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins finally stepped inside the squared circle to settle their business. McIntyre used the size advantage to overpower Rollins initially, but the Messiah recovered and began to work on the champ’s knee to neutralize the Claymore.
McIntyre survived a Curb Stomp, and eventually hit the Claymore for the pinfall victory. Post-match, Rollins reluctantly accepted a handshake from the Scottish star.
Result: Drew McIntyre retains WWE Title
Analysis: This match was fantastic and completely delivered on all the hype surrounding it. Rollins is probably the best overall performer in the company, and McIntyre is currently receiving the treatment even Roman Reigns never did. A kickout at first count is Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Fiend level of superhuman booking, which is a perfect way to showcase Drew.
The handshake at the end signifies that this feud has come to an end, and fits both their characters quite well. They have mutual respect for each other, and the only thing that matters is the belt.
7. Men’s and Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
The unique Corporate Ladder match from the WWE Headquarters was a major train-wreck and in the best possible way. All the twelve superstars assembled in the lobby and began their ascent to the roof, as Asuka took out everyone in the lobby itself.
The superstars ran into several backstage personnel including Stephanie McMahon, Vince McMahon, etc. and had a major food-fight during the match.
Asuka pushed Corbin off the ladder to win the Women’s briefcase, while a tussle between AJ Styles and King Corbin eventually led to the briefcase falling into Otis’ hands.
Result: Asuka and Otis win Money In The Bank contracts
Analysis: The cinematic matches are a fantastic way to engage the fans during this empty arena situations, and WWE should continue this formula even after the fans come around. All the superstars had some great moments throughout the match, especially AJ Styles, who battled PTSD after his loss against the Undertaker.
Asuka is the proper choice for the Women’s case, but Otis is a totally left-field pick in the Men’s Division. It is unlikely to see Otis as a champion, but his run with the case should be entertaining nonetheless.