By Jason Powell
WWE Money in the Bank Hits
Dean Ambrose wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: As if the surprise of Seth Rollins pinning Roman Reigns in the main event wasn’t enough, WWE closed the show on a high note by having Ambrose cash in his MITB contract successfully. A number of readers have speculated that the win will somehow be overturned on Raw tonight. My guess is that it stands, but if they do hand the title back to Reigns then it would have to be a heel turn scenario in that one of the McMahon family members is protecting him. Either way, this was a really hot way to end the show, and I like that the win breathed new life into Ambrose and shook up WWE in a major and unexpected way.
Seth Rollins pins Roman Reigns: A very good main event. The live crowd was a little slow to get into the action and it was understandable since it was Roman dominating Rollins early. There was nothing heelish about Seth in the match, and it was Reigns who came across like the heel more often than not. Does this mean Vince McMahon has finally called an audible with Reigns? If so, where does that leave Rollins? We got a very good match, two shocking title changes, and were left with some big questions heading into tonight’s Raw.
Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn in a MITB ladder match: A strong MITB match with some good drama. My only real criticism was that they took quite a bit of time to get the shot of all six men battling on top of multiple ladders and I’m not sure the image was really worth it. That said, all six men were given moments to shine. I picked Ambrose to win going in, yet it was nice that it didn’t feel like it was a foregone conclusion that he would win the match. A case could be made for most of the guys in the match winning the contract. Therefore, it led to some good dramatic moments when the various wrestlers made plays for the briefcase. And bonus points to the crew for not having those awkward moments where the wrestlers have to make ridiculously slow climbs up the ladder or fiddle with the briefcase because someone was slow to prevent them from winning.
John Cena vs. AJ Styles: I enjoyed everything other than the finish of this match (more on that below). The crowd was split nicely and provided a big match atmosphere. Cena and Styles delivered a performance that lived up to the match hype with some very believable near falls down the stretch. I am not a fan of the broadcast team’s work, but I like the basic story they told that Cena just couldn’t get on a roll against Styles. I was hoping that they were on their way to telling the story that Styles was just too strong for Cena in Cena’s return match, but it wasn’t meant to be. The finish disappointed me, but the overall match is a great big Hit.
New Day vs. Big Cass and Enzo Amore vs. The Vaudevillains vs. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows: A solid four-way tag team train wreck opener. There were some rough spots, but the match succeeded in getting the live crowd worked up. I found it interesting that WWE used the same match order formula that TNA used the previous week for Slammiversary in that they opened with a spot fest, and saved their three big matches for late in the show with a buffer before the main event.
Apollo Crews vs. Sheamus: A minor Hit for a match I enjoyed more than the other undercard matches. The matchup felt fresh and the finish was done in a way that guarantees there is more to come from these two. However, I have no idea why Crews ran away like a cruiserweight who just scored an upset win over a giant.
WWE Money in the Bank Misses
AJ Styles vs. John Cena finish: Fans can be so hypocritical. They only care about the 30-day title defense rule when they dislike a champion, and apparently most don’t mind when a company doesn’t make good on a promised stipulation as long as their guy wins the match. Imagine the outrage there would have been if Randy Orton had signed a contract that would have banned The Authority from ringside during a title match against Daniel Bryan, yet the match actually ended with The Authority interfering after the referee was bumped. Angry blogs would have been written, there would have been WWE Network cancellation hashtags, and all sorts of angry keyboard insanity. However, the vast majority of fans don’t seem to mind that WWE outright told us that Anderson and Luke Gallows would not be able to interfere because of the contract that Styles signed, yet they ended up doing just that after the ref bump. Yes, heels cheat, but babyface authority figures also do the right thing. So where was Shane McMahon? I didn’t need a clean finish, I just needed a finish that didn’t contradict what was advertised.
WWE MITB runs long: A minor miss in that I really didn’t mind it last night, yet I hope this doesn’t become the norm. As good as MITB was, it would have been an even better show had the originally advertised Kickoff Show matches simply stayed there. The show could have been booked within the three-hour window rather than running long. I realize that some fans can’t get enough and will be happy about getting more wrestling than they expected, but WWE is definitely risking overkill once Smackdown moves to Tuesday nights and they will be asking fans to invest three nights in a row during pay-per-view weeks. On the flip side, I do like that the show occassionally runs long, as it makes it feel less predictable that the main event must end by a specific time.
Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler: I felt bad for these guys in that I’m sure they are well aware of the fact that their feud has overstayed its welcome. And if they didn’t realize it, the live crowd made that abundantly clear with the “boring” chants. They delivered a solid match. This one is on creative for keeping this feud going longer than anyone wanted it to.
Charlotte and Dana Brooke vs. Becky Lynch and Natalya: The best thing about the match was Natalya’s surprising attack on Lynch. I’m not sure whether it really stuck with anyone given everything that followed, but they can easily reset the stage tonight on Raw. I like the turn because it appears we finally have a women’s program that doesn’t involve the women’s championship. The match itself just lacked significance on paper even though the post-match attack was a Hit in my book.
Rusev vs. Titus O’Neil: The buffer match between the main event and the hot Cena vs. Styles match. It was nice to see Rusev go over clean even with the real version of the Accolade, but there was just nothing about the match that stuck with me or left me wanting to see more.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Will Pruett on the Roman Reigns whodunnit angle, WWE heading into SummerSlam, AEW's October 2 premiere on TNT, the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament through Day 11, and more (77:45)...