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Well, we’re back! The fans’ return on the Smackdown prior to Money in the Bank was a very special moment indeed. From the arena shaking pop for Edge to the return of Finn Balor to the titanic stage set-up, it felt like some much needed normality, as WWE heads out of the divisive but admirable pandemic era and back on the road. And in Money in the Bank, WWE had all the potential to absolutely floor it, with a card jam-packed with potential and a night hopefully with some surprises in store.
So, as we are on the highway to Summerslam, here is what the last stop PPV had in store for us!
1. WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships
Jimmy and Jey Uso vs. Dominik and Rey Mysterio (c) (Kick-Off Show)
This match had the potential to be a great main card opener but it did add star power to the kick-off show, so I am not complaining at its placement, and it was as good an energetic bout as you might expect from these guys. Dominik snd Rey Mysterio even got a nifty little entrance beforehand, not sure why, but I feel good for Dominik finally getting to perform in front of live crowds, and as a champion no less. The match was one that built up quite well, with some near falls making me question the outcome but in the end my initial gut feeling was right, as The Usos got the dirty assisted pin win, to claim their seventh WWE Tag Titles. Now The Bloodline has all the gold…for now.
The show opened with a video package that highlighted the important history of Money in the Bank and the promising looking card for tonight’s event.
2. Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki A.S.H vs. Naomi vs. Tamina vs. Asuke vs. Liv Morgan vs. Natalya vs. Zelia Vega
In my last review, I spoke at great length about how Alexa Bliss’ dark character was rather directionless and while there are still imperfections, I applaud WWE for finding some direction in recent weeks (toning some aspects down, giving her her own entrance (and a rather great one), and finding an actual focal point to the gimmick) so credit where it’s due. Now, onto the match, and despite the fact the internet has torn this a new one, and yes there were some unfortunate botches, I enjoyed it personally. Liv Morgan (my choice for the win) got some fabulous moments, as did the ever athletic Naomi, and Bliss made her presence felt as the monster of the group, even hypnotising (the returning) Zelina Vega at one point. It was not always neat but it was a fun start to the show and I was thrilled to see Nikki A.S.H (AKA, Almost a Super Hero) get the surprise win. She deserved this long overdue win, and while some are baffled by this superhero character, I don’t mind it, it’s fun, and fair play to Nikki for getting her character idea greenlit for TV, and not only that but also getting a push off the back of it.
3. WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match
The Viking Raiders vs. Omos and AJ Styles (c)
I was quite excited about this one and early on that excitement was rewarded. This was a terrific back and forth tag team match, that just got better and better as it went on. AJ Styles was the glue to match, showing just how phenomenal he is with any and all dance partners, while the three giants around him all were equally on tip top form. The moves were athletic, the pace was constant and, even in a losing effort, The Viking Raiders looked absolutely brilliant, as Raw Champs Omos and AJ continue to roll.
4. WWE Championship Match
Kofi Kingston vs. Bobby Lashley (c) w/MVP
Anyone hoping for KofiMania II may have had a bad night here. Now, this is a bit of a strange match to review, because on the one hand, there could have been a highly competitive bout here and a great Championship match, but on the other hand this one-sided annihilation of Kofi Kingston by an unstoppable and recharged Bobby Lashley did precisely what it needed to do. This was not a flop in the way Brock Lesnar’s matches with Ricochet (Super ShowDown 2020) or Kofi (Smackdown 2019) were but it was a Lesnar-style beatdown that did its job of getting the champ over as unbeatable. An utterly unmemorable match in the long run sure, but wise enough considering who’s next for Bobby.
5. WWE RAW Women’s Championship Match
Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley (c)
And let the anger begin, as Charlotte Flair wins her 13th women’s championship. It was bound to be controversial but has served a purpose (if you watched Raw the night after) and you cannot argue that the match was the closest these two have gotten to the excellence of their first match at WrestleMania 36. The chemistry was just here and this was an excellent wrestling match, with both women working on each other and weakening each other down before Charlotte was able to cinch in the Figure Eight Leglock on the weakened limbs of Rhea Ripley for the title-snatching victory. Fans were clearly chanting “We want Becky” at points, and surely the time for The Man to come around is drawing near.
Backstage, Riddle and Rick Boogs & King Nakamura were all doing their own version of Randy Orton‘s “I Hear Voices” theme and entrance taunts, while Kevin Owens looked on in shock. Comedic brilliance! Boogs and Nakamura’s combined entrance (and commentator Pat McAfee’s reaction to it) are my favourite part of Smackdown at the moment!
6. Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
John Morrison vs. Ricochet vs. Big E vs. Seth Rollins vs. Riddle vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kevin Owens vs. King Nakamura
Hold on! Nakamura in a match and McAfee isn’t on commentary to relish it? What treachery is this WWE! Seriously though, it’s debatable whether this was match of the night (there is a strong case for it) but it was most certainly the Money in the Bank Ladder match of the night! Wow. What a superbly put together match, with some excellent spots and everyone involved was conceivably a deserving and convincing winner, which added to the unpredictability. Ricochet put in an outstanding performance with some high risk antics but honestly everyone here from John Morrison to Kevin Owens was great. I especially thought Riddle may get the win here but after an almost victorious Drew McIntyre was taken out by Jinder Mahal and Shanky and Veer’s interference, the match kept powering forward with more bone rattling ladder spots and more changes in momentum. But in the end it was the powerhouse of positivity that is Big E, who was destined for the victory, hitting the Big Ending on Seth Rollins off the ladder to secure his golden ticket (well, briefcase) to much deserved title glory to come. It was such a great moment seeing him win and the opportunities going forward are plentiful.
Post-match Rollins was enraged backstage before running into Edge and sharing an awkward confrontation.
7. WWE Universal Championship Match
Roman Reigns (c) w/Paul Heyman vs. Edge
I hold my hands up. Way back in February this year, I was hoping at WrestleMania 37 it would be a triple threat instead of one on one, because that would be a better match and better booked. I was wrong in every single way. Where that triple threat match was badly booked and rendered much of WM season pointless, this one on one encounter between Universal Champion Roman Reigns and obsessive challenger Edge was booked to perfection on every level. For over 30 minutes these two put on a hell of a main event, with a classic championship showdown feel, with an early feeling out process, before Reigns began domination. Edge would then work his way back into the match and was within a hair of having Reigns beat. A number of times. He even had a back-up plan for the interfering Usos, as Rey and Dominik fended them off before they could play a factor. But then!! Seth Rollins came out and super kicked Edge. But Roman could not even capitalise on that, as he was floored with a spear by Edge and nearly lost again, but further distraction by Rollins finally allowed Roman the advantage and the win by way of a spear of his own.
Post-match Rollins and Reigns exchanged words before Edge got a second wind and took Seth down and beat him all the way to the back, setting up their long awaited feud perfectly. Meanwhile a triumphant Tribal Chief stood in the ring, picked up the microphone and said everyone needed to “Acknowledge” him, well it wouldn’t take long for someone to do so, as the crowd would erupt when John Cena’s music hit! And out came The Suicide Squad star to the delight of the capacity crowd! He would enter the ring and do the “You Can’t See Me” gesture to Roman’s face as the show went off air with your undoubtable main event to SummerSlam set up right here.
Overall, Money in the Bank was an excellent show. A couple of bouts were not as top level as others but overall the night did not have a really bad match that destroyed the momentum and with Edge/Seth Rollins, and Roman/John Cena already laid out for SummerSlam after tonight, this PPV was the shot of energy needed to get the biggest party of the Summer finally underway. Add to this the Goldberg vs. Lashley showdown teased the next night on Raw with the wrestling legend’s return, Nikki’s shock cash-in over Charlotte, McIntyre/Mahal’s rivalry (in what I hope will result in a punjabi prison match) and rumoured returns for The Fiend and Becky Lynch, and this year’s SummerSlam is looking stacked! And I can’t wait. Money in the Bank was a very tasty starter, now WWE can deliver a mouth watering main course!