By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Dot Net reader Mat LaVore attended the WWE Money in the Bank event in Chicago, Illinois on Sunday and sent the following report.
Bludgeon Brothers vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles: The crowd was really solidly behind Gallows and Anderson on the kickoff show. Gallows and Anderson seemed really inspired and the crowd was with them.
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass: Bryan was by far the most over with the Chicago crowd. With every kick, punch, and move the crowd would cheer him. It was amazing to be in an audience all doing the “Yes” chant in unison and putting out that much energy for someone. You could feel it. Bryan is still the something special he always was.
Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn: The crowd gave a 50/50 babyface reaction to Lashley. Sami got about a 70/30 babyface reaction.
Seth Rollins vs. Elias for the Intercontinental Title: Huge reaction for Elias for his opening segment. The crowd enthusiastically chanted “We are scumbags!” when Elias called us such. Rollins was over big.
Ember Moon vs. Charlotte vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Naomi vs. Lana vs. Sasha Banks in a Money in the Bank ladder match: Becky Lynch was the crowd favorite to win the Women’s MITB match. Sasha strangely enough was getting booed. The crowd was happy to see Bliss win.
Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal: As soon as the video package for the match started, a ton of people got up at once and started walking out. Probably about 10% of the audience walked out before the match started. I’ve been to a lot of WWE shows and I’ve never seen a bigger bathroom break match in my life.
There were two beachballs during the Reigns vs. Mahal match. Neither one of them lasted too long as they both pretty quickly got knocked down into a production area.
The chants that really got going during the Reigns-Mahal match were: “Let’s go Cena, Cena sucks,” “CM Punk,” “Asshole,” “You both suck,” “Johnny Wrestling,” “Let’s go beachball,” “End this match,” “Too sweet,” “Boring,” “Y2J,” “EC3,” Velveteen,” and “We want Ambrose.”
Doing the wave was a blast. It must have gone around the area twelve times or so. It was one if the biggest parts of the match even though WWE seemed to effectively censor most of it.
Jinder seemed to be unable to not watch some of the chaos and antics going on in the crowd. One section of the crowd killed the wave and got a big “You suck” chant, which Jinder played to as if it was directed as heat for heel work. It wasn’t.
I read a lot of people in the wrestling business labeling reactions like Reigns and Mahal got as “smarks being jerks” or something similar. But honestly, having been at NXT the night before where everyone was hungry and busting ass, it was so apparent Reigns and Mahal were two guys just going through the motions and putting in minimal effort. Had they gone in there and gave spirited performances, I have no doubt they would have won the crowd over. Their wrestling was just lazy and uninspired. Perhaps they were defeated before they even came to the ring; I don’t know. But they certainly didn’t do anything at all to win the crowd over.
Carmella vs. Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: The crowd was really into Asuka. Carmella unfortunately is awful. She wrestles scared to get hit. The boos that came two or three times during the match from Asuka kicking Carmella in the face didn’t come from the crowd being against Asuka. They came from Carmella scared to take the kick and back-bumping too early, showing way too much light. After the second or third one it seemed Asuka stopped giving Carmella a choice in the matter. Carmella was terrible. Really terrible. Big pop for Ellsworth when he revealed himself as the fake Asuka.
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a Last Man Standing match for the WWE Championship: The crowd was split about 50/50 for Styles and Nakamura. When AJ was getting ready to do the Phenomenal Forearm off the top rope the ref ran behind the tables and cleared everything off. It was weird to see because he started frantically clearing the tables before AJ was even starting to set the move up. AJ was over big.
Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women’s Championship: The crowd gave about a 85/15 reaction to Rousey, which was more than I anticipated with the Chicago crowd. Lots of phones went up to take pictures and videos when she came out. The crowd was into her fighting to win and beat Jax. As the loud “Earn your paycheck!” scream behind me suggested, Rousey’s still winning people over. She seems to be doing it though. She was over. Not the big superstar reaction I would have guessed, but a good reaction.
Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship: Lots of boos when Alexa first interfered. But once the crowd caught on that she might cash in it got a big reaction. Big pop from everyone for Alexa winning.
Braun Strowman vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Rusev vs. Bobby Roode vs. Kevin Owens vs. Samoa Joe vs. Kofi Kingston in a Money in the Bank ladder match: The match started off with a loud Kofi chant. Braun was over big with Bálor a close second. Everyone seemed to be getting cheered at different point in the match. Everyone screamed in horror when Kevin Owens took his fall from the ladder.
Final Thoughts: The merch across the crowd was too close to call for anyone wrestler standing out. I gave it quite a bit of consideration, but it was pretty evenly spread out for everyone.
The arena was absurdly hot. Everyone was fanning themselves and complaining about how ridiculously warm it was. I saw some of the the announcer and production people fanning themselves as well.
I noticed Michael Cole, while he was announcing, would sometimes hold his hands up out in front of him, in front of Graves and Coach. Even if Graves and Coach were looking down they’d be able to see his hands. One time he kind of flashed his fingers. He would do this as he continued to talk. A hand gesture to signal to them he was saying something specific maybe? Not sure, but it was interesting to see the communication.
There were not a lot of signs in the audience at all, way less than I’ve ever seen. The sign of the night though was: MAKE HIM LOOK STRONG, JINDER!
1. Daniel Bryan
2. AJ Styles
3. Seth Rollins
1. Roman Reigns
2. Big Cass
Seeing WWE in Chicago is always a great time, and this was no different. A passionate and fun audience as always. If you’ve never seen WWE in Chicago you’re missing out.
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