For several years now, Survivor Series has not really felt like a “Big Four” PPV. Instead, I’ve been saying that Money In The Bank has felt like the real successor in filling out the list that already includes Wrestlemania, Summerslam, and Royal Rumble. Last year’s MITB event featured Jeans Ambrose cashing in at the end of the night, meaning all three members of the Shield were WWE Champion in a matter of minutes.
Will this year’s event stack up? Let’s find out.
Charlotte v. Becky Lynch v. Tamina v. Carmella v. Natalya: Money In The Bank Ladder Match
An interesting choice to lead off the card, but at least it should get the energy real high from the very top.
Some good and fairly typical offense for the start of a ladder match. Tamina dominates the early action. Becky and Natalya fight over a ladder for a while. The Queen Of Harts is the first to position the ladder upright and begin the climb, which takes dreadfully long. Charlotte stops her climb, but then has to fend off Carmella. The two of them are both inches away from unhooking the briefcase until Tamina rises to knock the whole ladder over. Natalya locks Becky in the Sharpshooter, which doesn’t make too much sense, but she gets kicked in the head by Carmella. Capitalizing on the distraction, Becky throws Nattie into a ladder. The crowd is REALLY hit for Becky, which makes me happy. Charlotte returns and demolishes Carmella and Becky with a pair of big boots, but Tamina (last name redacted) evens the odds. Charlotte goes to the top turnbuckle to wipe out Natalya and Tamina near the announce desk, and the “Holy shit!” chants ensue. Meanwhile, Becky powerbombs Carmella off the ladder. As she starts to climb up, GO FIGURE JAMES ELLSWORTH TIPS THE LADDER OVER. He tries to wake up Carmella, but then begins to climb the ladder on his own instead. He retrieves the briefcase and drops it to Carmella.
The referees argue over the validity of the finish, but Ellsworth takes a mic and announces Carmella as the victor. The music plays and I guess that’s it?
Carmella is the first ever Ms. Money In The Bank.
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) (c) The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E, with Xavier Woods): Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match
Kofi and Jimmy start the match with some technical holds to wear each other down. I start to realize that writing about the Usos isn’t as easy without the face paint, but it seems Jey has his right arm wrapped. Two quick tags later and Big E splashes Jey on the apron. Another pair of quick tags, and Kofi is tricked over the top rope and looks like he falls right on his head. The heel champions keep Kingston isolated and take turns breaking him before they both suplex him into the ringpost. After taking a lot of punishment, Kofi breaks out and sets up Big E for a run of suplexes on the champs. Jimmy gets set up just on the apron and Big E spears him to the outside. Kofi tries to take advantage, but he runs into a double team and a chop block to the knee. Jey and Kofi trade submissions, the challenger lands an SOS, and a close kickout forces both men to rethink their strategy. After a secret tag to Big E, Jey goes for a splash to Kofi, but is caught by the big man. Big E almost drops him, but picks him back for his finisher, which is barely broken up before 3. After some outside dives, the challengers land the Midnight Hour tag team maneuver, but Jey is pulled out of the ring. The champs avoid the ring and shuffle off to their championships, willingly taking the countout defeat.
The New Day win by countout, leaving the Usos to retain by dirty means.
Naomi (c) Lana: Smackdown Women’s Championship Match
Yeah, I’m still nervous about Lana. I know she’s been working, but all we’ve seen of it was a few seconds in a 10-woman tag match on the WrestleMania 32 pre-show, so I’m convinced until I see her work.
Naomi immediately corners Lana, but the challenger uses the ref distraction to back her down briefly. Lana is able to tie the champ’s leg up in the rope, giving her the chance to work a limb. She suplexes Naomi into the ropes a few times, and then ties her up again. The pace is fairly slow, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s a fairly old-school styled match, which is good for someone who is relatively untested as far as the crowd is concerned. The champion gets some energy and delivers a few kicks to the face. Lana lands her new sit-out spinebuster but can’t seal the win. Carmella’s music hits but she refuses to actually cash in. Naomi turns a distraction into a submission and forces the challenger to tap out. Carmella gloats but does nothing in the end.
Naomi retains her championship.
At this point it should be noted that we’re only an hour in and there two matches left that have been announced.
Immediately, we see an episode of Fashion Vice, where Fandango and Tyler Breeze are presented with a VHS tape from their attackers, demanding a match.
Just to add on to the weirdness, Maria Kanellis and Mike (formerly Bennett) Kanellis debut with a weird “power of love” gimmick and a slow dance on the entrance ramp. Then they leave.
Shit is real weird.
Jinder Mahal (c) Randy Orton: WWE Championship Match
First, we see a front row filled with legends like Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, and even Cowboy Bob Orton. Old guys, okay, fun. Jinder enters first, which I always hate. The champion should ALWAYS be the last one out.
The last match between these two wasn’t very exciting, and this sequel doesn’t seem to be either. Some very typical offense from Orton including a failed RKO attempt, and then Jinder goes after the knee after a bad landing. After some brawling on the outside, Randy drops the champ right into the old old laps of the ringside legends, but nothing happens because of it. They get back into it, and Jinder drops the challenger’s bad knee on the announce desk before they bring it back into the ring. Jinder locks in a figure-four leglock, which is naturally followed by a cut to Ric Flair’s leathery mug. Orton is able to reverse the pressure, but the champ gets to the rope. Jinder takes Orton to the top rope and calls out the elder Orton, but is thrown down. Orton then takes Jinder up and is able to land the superplex successfully. The champ gets some momentum going, but Randy turns that into a powerslam and an elevated DDT. The challenger lands the RKO, but the Singh brothers predictably put Mahal’s foot on the rope and are ejected for it. They make a pit stop in front of the legends and a shoutfest ensues. They grab the lapels of Cowboy Bob, but Randy breaks it up and dismantles the two brothers. This time, he DOESN’T murder one of them with a careless toss, but he does RKO one of them through a table. He rolls back into the ring, right into Jinder’s finisher.
Jinder Mahal retains his WWE Championship due to Orton’s hubris.
The Fashion Police (Fandango & Tyler Breeze) v. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)
Yeah, I mean, I think we all just kinda guessed that one. I wish it would’ve been American Alpha because at least they’re interesting.
Breeze is absolutely isolated and The Ascension use the numbers to their advantage. He finally finds some breathing room and gets the hot tag to Fandango. He runs through the heels for a moment until he also falls to a distraction. Breeze comes back and allows Fandango to roll-up Viktor for the three count.
Breezango lands a victory over The Ascension.
AJ Styles v. Dolph Ziggler v. Sami Zayn v. Kevin Owens v. Baron Corbin v. Shinsuke Nakamura: Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Corbin attacks Nakamura on the entrance ramp, which is either a convenient excuse for Nakamura to not win, or a sign that he’ll overcome injury and definitely win.
The bell rings and then everyone brawls with everyone instantly. Corbin and Ziggler double team Styles with a ladder, Corbin turns on Ziggler only to receive a superkick. Zayn and Owens continue fighting on the other side. Ziggler avoids a Phenomenal Forearm by running up an angled ladder, but falls into a Deep Six by Corbin. Styles walks into a superkick from Owens back in the ring, and the United States Champion takes a ladder to Styles soon after. Owens locks the legs of a ladder in while it’s laying down, but climbs to the top to surprise the men outside the ring. Zayn throws KO off and I to the ladder, warping it significantly and causing him to get a new ladder. Before he can get it set up, Ziggler blindsides him and throws him into the ladder. Sweet Child Music is avoided and turned into a Blue Thunder Bomb, but Corbin throws Zayn into the steel head first. Styles and Corbin fight at the top of the ladder, and the former is the first man to touch the briefcase, but no one stays up there for long. Soon after, Sami performs a crazy sunset flip powerbomb to Ziggler from the very top of a ladder, effectively wiping them both out. He then lands a vicious exploder suplex to Owens, but on the apron. He gets halfway back up the ladder before AJ surprises with a Phenomenal Forearm. Corbin tries to chokeslam Styles through a horizontally propped ladder, but the ladder doesn’t give. After more in-ring brawling Styles takes Owens from the apron and tries to send him through the same ladder, but it still won’t break. Styles climbs up as Ziggler pulls the ladder away, leaving AJ hanging onto the briefcase in midair. Corbin throws Ziggler out of the ring and approaches the ladder as Nakamura’s music hits. He slowly walks to the ring, then sprints at Corbin and unleashes everything he has. His knees take out Corbin, Ziggler, and Zayn. Shinsuke takes Owens out as well while going after a ladder.
As the ladder is set up, Nakamura is face to face with AJ Styles, and every person in the crowd is on their feet. The men move the ladder to the side and get ready to fight it out. They end up trading blows at the top of the ladder, until Corbin pushes them both off. Corbin climbs back up and retrieves the briefcase
Baron Corbin is the new Mr. Money In The Bank.
The first ever women’s MITB match ends in a similar problematic fashion to the triple threat at WrestleMania 32. For the new Women’s Championship to be decided by Ric Flair now seems nowhere near as bad as James Ellsworth physically winning this ladder match.
Considering that half of the matches ended with silly and risky moves that didn’t really pay off, this was a fairly weak show for what the card presented. Something else will happen with the women and there will be a tag team rematch. I think Corbin is absolutely boring and not all that great in ring, but I knew he’d win because of how hard he’s been pushed recently. Hopefully he’ll be the kind of heel who can prosper with the briefcase, but my hopes aren’t all that high.