Money In The Bank 2018: Review

HALLE-FUCKING-LUJAH, A WWE PPV THAT WAS ACTUALLY GOOD. WHAT AN AMAZING CONCEPT…..

Yes to the joy of all us poor souls who watched the event live, Money In The Bank 2018 was one of the best wwe shows of 2018, although I don’t think that’s saying too much but nonetheless as this stage, and given the more recent main roster shows we should be more than grateful for the fun, and generally good show we were treated to. SOOOOOOOOOO lets get into it…

KICK OFF SHOW: Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan) beat Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson to retain the Smackdown Tag Team championship.

Crowd were on fire from the get go of this show, and even for the kick off show match for the crowd to be this hot this early was a good sign for what was to come. Gallows and Anderson were on top early, Harper sold his knee, Harper and Rowan got back into it, they focused on Karl Anderson, Anderson responded with a great looking Spinebuster to Harper before making the hot tag to Gallows, Gallows and Anderson set up for a Magic Killer before Rowan put a stop to it, and then the Bludgeon Brothers hit an assisted Powerbomb to Gallows to retain. Yeah this was a pre-show match so it was never going to be a classic, but for what it was it was perfectly fine.

***

Daniel Bryan beat Big Cass

This was the best match I’ve seen Big Cass have for a LONG time, maybe ever. Daniel Bryan worked SO FUCKING HARD to try and get this guy over, and to a certain extent he did. I adore Daniel Bryan as anyone who has ever watched pro wrestling even a little bit should do, but the fact he is trying to go out of his way to drag this big lump to a good match just says so much about him as a world class performer. Bryan came out first to a HUGE ovation of YES chants from the crowd, Cass alternatively got a lot of boos which I guess as a heel is a good thing… Bryan tried to get the Heel hook locked in early on and quickly targetted Cass’ hamstrings with multiple kicks, Cass would send Bryan into the barricade and continued to get the heat for a little time, Bryan hit a drop toe hold that led to a yes lock, Cass crawled his way to the ropes to break the hold, Bryan flew on Cass on the outside which looked awesome, Cass got more heat, Bryan got loads of Yes kicks in, they had a back and forth which was sort of good, and then Bryan hit the big Running Knee, Heel Hook, Cass taps. A fine fine show opener featuring one of the most over wrestlers in WWE for some time working his ass off to get his substandard opponent over, and the result was a ok to good match. Now let Bryan move on and leave Cass behind so we never see this match again. Please.

***3/4

There was a real fun backstage segment with Kevin Owens and the New Day in which Owens would continue on with his theme of recent weeks in trying to get people to side with him to try and take out Braun Strowman. New Day declined saying they were not cheaters, Owens pissed them off by stating his distain for PANCAKES and that there cereal sucked too. New Day were all upset. I’ve not done this justice with my notes but for what this was, a simple backstage segment that was really funny. These segments are so often nothing and are just there, this was pretty funny.

Bobby Lashley beat Sami Zayn

Urghhhhh. The Low point of the show for me. Sami played the chicken shit heel and stayed away from Lashley as much as he could to start off with (Sami was really overr with the Chicago crowd), Sami got some offence in but essentially as expected Lashley obliterated Zayn. 3 Delayed Vertical Suplexes from Lashley gave him a win in just over 6 minutes.

**

They then showed Nia backstage ahead of her match later, as they did with her challenger Ronda Rousey, whom had her ‘friend’ Natalya beside her.

Elias was then in the ring, and as always got a big pop. He cut a promo on Rollins, did all his usual stuff, but stopped short of playing a song, saying Chicago didn’t deserve it. This was funny as per.

Seth Rollins beat Elias to retain the Intercontinental Championship

This match was simply Rollins at his high level, and Elias raising his a tad, and the end result was a good match. They went back and forth for most of the match, Rollins went for a big frog splash but Elias got his knees up and uses the tights to get a 2 count. Elias then unusually made his way to the top rope, Rollins hobbled his way to the corner (still selling an earlier attack on his knee), both went on the top rope until Elias pushed him down, but Seth quickly made his way back up and hit a Superplex into a Falcon Arrow, this only got a 2 count, Elias rolled out of the ring to escape a Stomp by Seth, Seth went for a suicide dive but Elias caught him and launched him into different parts of the barricade many times, Elias then went to the top rope back in the ring and hit a big elbow drop but only got a 2 count, Elias beat on Seth cutting a frustrated figure, eventually… Elias went for the Drift Away but Rollins countered into a roll up, Elias countered that into a roll up and then Seth countered that roll up nearfall with a roll up of his own, but interestingly held the tights of Elias to get the win. An interesting finish that surely sets up a rematch (fine) and why the face Rollins used the classic heel move on the bad guy remains to be seen. But it was a good match that helped both on their pass. Elias surely will be a babyface long term and is a fantastic character, and Rollins continues to have good matches with anyone.

****

Alexa Bliss beat Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Lana, Naomi, Ember Moon, Natalya & Sasha Banks to win the Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match

I am so incredibly happy to be able to say this was a good, good match. The women involved all had the weekend off the live circuit in order to go to Orlando to practice and choreograph this match, and it showed. Nobody looked out of place, everyone did their spots and looked good to fine. Everyone was over on their entrances, and there were soooooooooooooooooo many spots in this I couldn’t list them all. But this was a fun match that flowed really well, so I’ll just list some of my more favourite spots; Lana hitting a really good X factor on Ember onto a ladder, a really cool exchange between Naomi and Ember Moon which everyone coming out wished we get this again on the future, Charlotte powerbombing Ember onto a ladder in the corner, just about everyone climbing the ladder and getting pulled down by another participant, Lana hitting a Matchka kick on Alexa Bliss followed by the Accolade, Charlotte hitting the spear on Ember jumping through a ladder in the process, a cool moment where old rivals Sasha and Charlotte had a staredown, and then Natalya climbing up looking for the briefcase and getting booed in the process, Ember kicking her down, Charlotte then spearing Moon to a ladder, Charlotte spears Becky, Becky comesback with the Bexploder, she climbs the ladder, until she’s eventually caught up and knocked down by the women who would retrieve the briefcase, Alexa Bliss. This match was great. Well done to all involved.

****1/2

We had a backstage segment with Raw GM Kurt Angle and Smackdown GM Paige, they chatted about nothing with real substance, Corbin came in and warned Kurt about how Stephanie McMahon would be upset with Kurt if a Raw superstar didn’t win the men’s ladder match later, Paige mugged him off reminding him of his failed cash in last year… meh…

Roman Reigns beat Jinder Mahal

Sunil Singh did his intro for Mahal in a wheelchair and was all beat up after Reigns attack last week on Raw, he also would take a Spear from Roman during the match after miraculously recovering and attacking Roman. This match was ok at best but the main story here was this crowd. From what seemed like it began from the very first second of this match this crowd SHAT all over this one, to a scale not even the main event of Wrestlemania this year was as bad as. They chanted all sorts of random things and showed a complete lack of interest in this one. Ther last 5 minutes or so of this one were actually not too bad, Roman won obviously. The crowd during this: chants of CM Punk, Boring, NXT, This is awful, Johnny Wrestling, ole ole (Sami Zayn chant), Asshole, Delete, lets go beachball following multiple beachballs in the crowd, you suck, there was a Mexican Wave, Rusev Day, Velveteen, Y2J, TNA, We want Ambrose, end this match, this match sucks. Not cool Chicago, understandable sure, but not cool.

* = (due to the crowd, would be a zero but for Sunil Singh and the final 5 minutes making a half star each)

Carmella beat Asuka to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship

The thing with this match was Carmella was on top for most and Asuka did a lot of selling, something which in my opinion she shouldn’t be doing too much of. Asuka as always though when on offence looked awesome, one particularly noteworthy sequence was when Asuka flew through the ropes but was caught by a Carmella kick, and then Carmella went and hit a TOPE of her own! Can’t recall Carmella ever before doing that so that was cool to see, she then got multiple nearfalls on Asuka, screaming furiously after each failed pin attempt, and shortly after Asuka hit the champion with a kick as she looked to claim the title… and then we had THE talking point… a figure dressed in Asuka’s entrance gear and mask approached the ring and stood on the apron, to which Asuka was almost frozen out of fear and confusion, after the distraction Carmella rolled Asuka up but only got a nearfall, and was eventually put down by another Asuka kick. And then as Asuka looked in her fearsome awe at the mystery figure, the person took off the mask… and it was JAMES ELLSWORTH!!! Asuka turned around, Carmella gave her the kick and pinned her. Carmella retains, beats Asuka, Ellsworth is back… yeah… that happened. I knew this was coming tbh as it was widely tipped online in the week, but nonetheless the crowd loved it and it was nice to see him back in WWE I guess and it’ll be fun to see where it goes, but Asuka… deary me… what now then???

**3/4

AJ Styles beat Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the WWE Championship in a Last Man Standing Match

This was great. It was pretty even throughout, and many close calls as both men came close to not answering the 10 count on many occasions. Again another match where A LOT went on so I’ll give you my key moments; Shinsuke went for a big Low Blow once again but AJ moved out the way, and Nakamura’s facial reaction after was a sight to behold as he looked as if somebody had just ran over a pet of his, it was a beautiful piece of brilliance that heel Nakamura has shown in recent weeks. Nakamura would later clear all 3 announce tables, and then run over them and launch a monstrous Kinshasa to Aj who was laying prone at the far end of the set of announce tables, to which Styles only came to his feet at 9, Nakamura then went to grab a table and placed Styles on top of it, he then dropped AJ not on to the middle of the table as is traditional but onto the side of the table which I can’t imagine was pleasant for Styles, but I’m sure being thrown shortly after threw the same table that by then had been set against the corner of the ring by Nakamura was too good either. Styles got to his feet at 9 to which Shinsuke produced another hilarious facial reaction. Nakamura then would expose the steel turnbuckle in the corner, only for he himself to suffer from it as a knee strike meant for Styles would collide with the steel, AJ kicked the injured knee and applied to Calf Crusher submission causing Nakamura to tap but obviously in this match didn’t see the end and the end didn’t come either as Nakamura got up at the count of 7. AJ targeted the knee again with chair shots, as Nakamura begged for mercy until he finally hit his patterned low blow. AJ got up at 9, he hit a Kinshasa and AJ got up at 9, whilst on the announce table AJ pushed Nakamura into the steel steps followed by a Phenomenal Forearm and then a Styles Clash to the outside floor/steel steps. To which Nakamura got up at approximately the count of 9.9 (it was incredibly well judged), and then the finish was absolutely wonderfully done. Nakamura after just making the count did his “COME ONNNNNNN” taunt, to which AJ responded with a fucking brutal low blow punt which I was in pain watching to I can’t imagine how Shinsuke felt taking it! And with Nakmura sprawled out over the announce table AJ got into the ring, stood on the inside of the apron and leapt over the perform a PHENOMENAL Phenomenal Forearm to Nakamura on the outside that sent him through the announce table. And we finally had a finish to an AJ V Nakamura match as AJ got the win with Nakamura unable to answer the 10 count. Styles retains in a great match, what now for both remains to be seen, but I kind of hope this is it for their feud. Finally we got the AJ V Nakamura great WWE match we all wanted. So lets leave this one on a positive.

****3/4

Nia Jax defending the Raw Women’s Championship against Ronda Rousey ended in a DQ when Alexa Bliss interfered. Alexa Bliss then cashes in her Money In The Bank contract on Nia Jax successfully to win the Raw Women’s Championship.

Nia used her power at the start to lift Ronda into the corner and take charge early on, but then ran attempting to charge into Rousey but Ronda moved and unleashed a series of really hard strikes to the champion, Jax cameback with a headbutt in a good nod to their promo on Raw this past week, Nia squashed Ronda in the corner, she went for a Samoan Drop, Ronda countered into an Armbar attempt but that was turned round with Jax giving a really hard slam to Rousey which sent her to the outside, Jax followed her out and slammed her into the barricade. Back in the ring this got a 2 count, as Ronda landed more hard strikes shortly after, Jax hit a gorilla slam, Ronda locked in a guillotine, Nia slammed Ronda down repeatedly, Nia locked in a bearhug and not long after hit a big Samoan Drop to which Rousey only just kicked out in time. Rousey would go on to use the ropes as leverage during a submission on Nia, before making her way to the top rope for a cross body only to then be caught and thrown by Nia. This was when Rousey went into beast mode; she hit strong punches and some great knee strikes followed by a crazy judo throw, a few nearfalls, a Rock Bottom-type move from Ronda which looked awesome, and then she went for the Armbar, Nia though was able to keep her hands grasped so the move wasn’t in fully, but one by one her fingers lost grip. And then just as it seemed as if the full Armbar was not far away… ALEXA BLISS came in the ring and hit Rousey across the back with her recently acquired MITB briefcase for the DQ. She then hit Nia with the case, then Rousey again and again… teased a cash in… then hit Ronda with the case again for good measure. Before we go on I must say that Ronda vs Nia was way better than I feared it may be, and Ronda Rousey is the best. Then… indeed ALEXA BLISS CASHED IN! DDT to Nia, slammed her injured arm to the floor, to the top rope, Twisted Bliss, 123, ALEXA BLISS IS THE NEW RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPION!!!! FUCKING EXCELLENT STUFF!

****

Braun Strowman beat Kevin Owens, Finn Balor, Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe, The Miz, Rusev and Kofi Kingston to win the Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match

Aiden English came out sporting a Chicago themed jacket (he’s a Chicago guy) and did a funny rap to introduce Rusev, Kofi was revealed as The New Day member in the match as they entered (not much was made about this as to why, I thought whatever they’d do having built up the mystery about who it was would be something more than a standard reveal but oh well). The story of this match was it was for large parts a 7 vs 1 handicap match against Braun; everyone else from the opening bell beat on Strowman, including one point where they buried him at the top of the rampway under a pile of ladders. There were a lot of really good and well done ladder spots by the others whilst Braun was out, but this was really the Strowman show. and the pop for his return told you as much as he took everyone out after coming up from underneath the ladders he had been under. One of the highlights of the match came when Owens was on a giant ladder at the top of the rampway (think near the side where the announcers sit on Raw), with Braun being held on a table below the idea was that Owens would frog splash off the giant ladder onto Strowman below, but Braun got up and climbed up after Owens who was pleading for mercy to no avail. Strowman flung Owens off this Ladder that was higher than any ladder I have seen before in WWE and KO went crashing down below. Another crazy spot (again Braun was the guy here) was when Braun physically ran through a ladder snapping it in half and suffering no damage, this guy is the greatest!!! This terrified The Miz who quickly tried to retrieve the briefcase but could not as Braun went after him. Rusev later had Roode, Kingston and The Miz in a triple Accolade submission which as a visual was something else! Later we had Finn atop a ladder on the outside of the ring, and he flew off hitting a Coupe de Grace to Roode who was laying inside the ring, that looked awesome too. And then finally we had Finn climbing the ladder on one side, Braun chasing after on the other, Kofi come flying in and hanging on Strowman’s back until he was flung to the floor and followed by Balor, and BRAUN STROWMAN SNATCHED THE BRIEFCASE TO WIN A GREAT MATCH! I was soooooooooo happy, Braun is and should be THE guy and this case is his key to the kingdom. Brock Lesnar (or likely Roman Reigns lbh), you are fucked.

****1/2

Overall MITB 2018 was the WWE PPV of the year so far, not saying much that but still… more of the same please WWE. And don’t even think about not making Braun champion after his cash in! Other notes from the show: Nakamura is now 0-6 in WWE title matches (ffs), Ronda Rousey is really good at pro wrestling, and Jonathan Coachman is the worst WWE commentator of all time (I aint even wasting my time writing his crimes during this show, he’s just the fucking worst put it that way). Anyway this was a good good show. Well done WWE.

Josh.

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