If you call something ‘the greatest ever’ before it has even happened, then you’ve pretty much shot yourself in the foot. WWE’s brag that this would be the greatest Money In The Bank would be the greatest PPV of its name seemed an absurd brag, considering half the matches were Raw level matches. As it happened, even a few of the big bouts failed to live up to greatness…
The New Day (c) vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. The Vaudevillains (Fatal 4-Way Match for the Tag Team Championship)
This was the first disappointment of the night. I thought it was a great choice for the opening bout. We were guaranteed quick-paced action. However, with a few highlights aside, the match failed to live up to expectations. Big E need to eliminate his apron spear before he breaks his neck. The Vaudevillains were duller than ever here. Anderson and Gallows looked green (especially the terrible ending, where Gallows stood there like a lemon watching his teammate get hoisted up for The New Day’s finish. Big Cass was obviously late getting into the ring, but surely Gallows could have done something else?). The botched three count that never was for Amore ruined the bout. From then on it descended into a scrappy botchfest.
VERDICT: 5/10. It started off well enough, but deteriorated into a mess. This match had so much potential! What happened to it?
WINNERS: The New Day
Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin
This match was the beginning of a stretch of three matches that nobody was invested in. I thought Corbin won their feud-ending match at Extreme Rules? And why should we care about a match that had been consigned to the pre-show for three consecutive PPVs? Ziggler carried Corbin all the way. Corbin still looks like he hasn’t got a clue what he’s doing. The story was a well-told one, the shorter, faster guy against the huge, strong guy, and from that point of view it wasn’t bad. It just dragged on and on and delivered little we haven’t seen from the two before. Hopefully, Corbin’s victory signals the end of this dull feud.
VERDICT: 5/10. They told a decent story in the ring, but it never seemed to end. Plus, Ziggler’s constant loud calling of spots is distracting!
WINNER: Baron Corbin
Charlotte and Dana Brooke vs Natalya and Becky Lynch
Worst match of the night? I reckon so. This was yet another Raw-level match that somehow snuck onto MITB, and included yet another feud that has been going on since the dawn of time. Charlotte and Natalya exhausted their feud weeks ago. Adding Dana Brooke and Becky Lynch to proceedings did nothing to elevate it. This match was sluggish, full of botches towards the end, and featured Dana Brooke. She’s the death of women’s wrestling. Apart from Natalya’s heel turn on Lynch after the bout, there was nothing to see here.
VERDICT: 3/10. Nothing of value in this match, apart from a few laughable botches.
WINNER: Charlotte and Dana Brooke
Apollo Crews vs Sheamus
This was the third match in a row that the crowd (and myself) could not have cared less about. Crews and Sheamus put a lot of effort into the bout, but all I’ll remember is Crews beautiful moonsault off the apron onto a prone Sheamus and Sheamus’s White Noise from the second rope. The roll-up finish tells me that this feud isn’t finished…which is unfortunate. Another Raw-level match…
WINNER: Apollo Crews
VERDICT: 5/10. Completely average, except for two moves….
John Cena vs AJ Styles
Call this disappointment of the night number two. Yes, it was good, but nowhere near the great match that we all expected. Cena looked lost out there at times. Has he come back too soon once again? Styles carried the majority of the bout and looked the more impressive wrestler. Due to bulging expectations, they wrestled for longer than necessary as well, meaning the end seemed stretched out. The crowd heat made the match seemed better than it was in reality (and following the three borefests increased the crowd volume as well…maybe that’s why the card was booked that way? To increase the crowd volume for Styles vs Cena?). They did nothing wrong, but nothing particularly stood out. Cena visibly struggled to keep up with Styles, and I’m not talking about the story of the match. Cena could have taken a few more months off, and this dream match could have happened at Summerslam, where it should have happened. Also, the ending sapped any meaning out of the match and demeaned Styles’ victory over Cena. Of course, it means a rematch and a Cena victory next time…
WINNER: AJ Styles
VERDICT: 7/10. A good match, but not the epic that I was expecting. Cena has come back too early, and it showed in his lackadaisical effort in the match. Styles was the star of the match.
Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn vs Chris Jericho vs Cesaro vs Dean Ambrose vs Alberto Del Rio (Money in the Bank Ladder Match)
Match of the night? Quite possibly! It followed the typical MITB layout (every man has his moment doing his trademark move/finisher on every one else, at least three of the six competitors will lie outside until they are need for the next spot, etc), but the talent involved took the template to another level. Cesaro’s never-ending uppercut sprawl was brilliant. Everyone took hard slams onto the ladders. There was a sense of unpredictability that wasn’t found anywhere else on the card. There was never a dull moment, and everyone got their time to shine in stunning sequences. Del Rio’s arm bar on the ladder, Cesaro’s Big Swinging Jericho into a ladder, Owens’ Frog Splash onto Ambrose on a ladder…I could go on. Unfortunately, the end looked like a constructor’s set, with ladder being precisely placed for some sort of big move. That big move never transpired. However, it still easily climbed over anything else on the card!
WINNER: Dean Ambrose
VERDICT: 8/10. Match of the night, but a few niggles stopped it from being a match of the year contender.
Rusev (c) vs Titus O’Neill (United States Championship Match)
This was sandwiched between the MITB match and the main event. Yes, we needs a breather before the main event, but this was an oxygen supply that never seemed to run out. Rusev should have squashed Titus easily. However, they slowly fought for what seemed like a lifetime. At times, it seemed like a match ripped right out of the 1970s. There’s not much more to say about it than that is was missable.
VERDICT: 3/10. A worthless match!
Roman Reigns (c) vs Seth Rollins (WWE Championship Match)
A solid main event that proved Rollins hadn’t come back too soon. Apart from a few wobbles at the beginning of the match (and when he set up his turnbuckle powerbomb), Rollins looked fantastic. He flew about the ring like he always does. Rollins and Reigns are the perfect foils for each other: it’s the old big man vs little man story (that we saw in Corbin vs Ziggler), but done right. It was another strong outing for Reigns as well. Come on, he’s not as bad as the crowd would let us believe! In fact, for first half of the bout, Reigns seemed to play the cocky heel, toying with Rollins and shouting abuse at him. This felt like the big match that Styles vs Cena should have been. Reigns and Rollins has been a year and a half in the making, and the match lived up to its expectations. Rollins didn’t miss a beat, and neither did Reigns. Plus, Rollins countering the Spear into a Pedigree was awesome!
And obviously the Reigns’ experiment is over…why else would he lose clean to a wrestler who has only just returned from an injury?
VERDICT: 8/10. This match was on the same level of quality as the MITB match. The latter featured more memorable spots, but this felt like the deeply personal fight that it should have been.
Post-Match: Dean Ambrose entered the ring and cashed in his MITB case! And won the WWE Championship! What a moment. It’s a fantasy booking scenario that has been delivered to us! Essentially, we got two happy endings in one night (Reigns losing the title, Ambrose cashing in the MITB case!).
OVERALL VERDICT: 6/10. Obviously this wasn’t the greatest MITB PPV in history. Half of the card consisted of Raw level matches. The opeing Fatal 4-Way Tag match and Cena vs Styles were letdowns (the latter the greater letdown). Only the titular match and the main event delivered pure quality. Plus, Ambrose cashing in his MITB case on his most hated adversary was something very special!
Leave your thoughts/comments below!
I haven’t watched this yet though I haven’t been keen on WWE this year. Ambrose cashing in the MITB case, well that does seem exciting. I would have loved to watch that. Great review. Feels like I watched it 🙂
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Thank you! Yeah, I’d say pre-Mania WWE was treading water, but now they seem to be making an effort to entertain!