By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Prowrestling.net Live returns today at 3CT/4ET. Will Pruett and I will be taking your calls coming out of WWE Money in the Bank and looking ahead to AEW Double Or Nothing live at PWAudio.net. Plus, we’ll answer Dot Net Member Assassin V’s Game of Thrones questions of the week (a staple of the Q&A audio show) at the very end of the show after we give a spoiler warning.
WWE Money in the Bank Hits
Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Universal Championship: The best match of the night and one that lived up to high expectations. I’m genuinely curious to see where they go from here with Styles now that he lost clean. Are they working toward a heel turn? That seems to be the easiest way to keep this feud going while also giving Styles a fresh coat of paint. Whether they go right back to this or save it for somewhere down the road, I can’t imagine we’ve seen the last of Rollins vs. Styles.
Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE Championship: A well worked match. I’m not sure why this match went on after the WWE Universal Championship match. Perhaps the idea was that putting this match on first would make the WWE Championship feel inferior to the Universal Championship? Even if that was the plan, they didn’t manage to avoid that problem because the Rollins vs. Styles match outshined Kingston vs. Owens. Kingston needs face WWE’s top names. He comes off like a nice, feel good champion, but there would be great drama if he faced Roman Reigns or Brock Lesnar, and he would be truly made if the company booked him to defeat either man in clean fashion.
Naomi vs. Natalya vs. Nikki Cross vs. Dana Brooke vs. Ember Moon vs. Mandy Rose vs. Bayley vs. Carmella in the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match: An entertaining match with a satisfying finish that saw Bayley pick up the most meaningful main roster win of her career only to trump it later in the show. It’s still infuriating that Vince McMahon squandered the great Bayley character when she was called up from NXT, but hopefully her MITB and title win will give her a fresh start.
Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans for the Raw Women’s Championship: A solid outing from Evans in the biggest match of her young career. Lynch going over clean was questionable in the moment, but Evans got her heat back later for interfering in the second match and playing a part in Lynch losing the Smackdown Women’s Championship. It will be interesting to see how much Evans plays up the referee being out of position when she had the pin just before Lynch countered into the Disarmer.
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship and Bayley cashing in successfully: I wasn’t a big fan of Lynch rolling up Flair right after taking the Woman’s Right from Lacey Evans. Ultimately, though, this can be sold as Evans costing Lynch the title. Flair winning the championship again felt almost as repetitive as Brock Lesnar returning to the world title picture, but they quickly made things right by giving Bayley a crowd pleasing win. It was interesting to hear Charly Caruso and Bayley both mention Sasha Banks. Here’s hoping this means we’re about to see Banks return as a heel threat to Bayley’s championship.
Tony Nese vs. Ariya Daivari for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: A well worked match and it was nice to see the cruiserweights crack the main show for a change. But history has shown that it will take a lot more than a good pay-per-view match to convince fans to watch 205 Live. Does the company have any plan to make the show feel more must see or are they just happy with the easy hour of WWE Network content?
Roman Reigns vs. Elias: Quick and painless. Reigns is the most (over-) pushed guy on the roster, and Elias loses to damn near everyone. I thought they might actually have Elias win the match on a fluke to extend the feud, but that would have just delayed the inevitable. The real money in Elias is in establishing him as an in-ring threat rather than always making him the butt of the joke. I didn’t expect that to happen in this match, but I’m also not convinced that it’s a real creative priority.
WWE Money in the Bank Misses
Brock Lesnar wins the men’s MITB ladder match: Illogical nonsense. Triple H told Braun Strowman that he wouldn’t reward him with a spot in the MITB match when he assumed that Strowman was responsible for taking out Sami Zayn. But apparently someone not only rewarded Lesnar with a spot in the match after he presumably took out Zayn, they even allowed him to enter the match at the very end. Even if there’s a good storyline explanation on Raw, Lesnar returning to the title picture so quickly is a turnoff. Lesnar teasing cash-ins should liven up his infrequent appearances, but this just isn’t enough of a new wrinkle to make him feel fresh.
Samoa Joe vs. Rey Mysterio for the U.S. Title: It comes off like Joe and Mysterio are trading quick wins even though Joe’s nose injury reportedly caused them to go to the finish earlier than planned. Joe was protected to some extent by having his shoulder up when Mysterio pinned him, but it’s become so routine to see Joe lose that it didn’t feel like a major achievement for Mysterio to beat him. For that matter, the secondary titles have been damaged by the champions losing so many non-title matches that winning the title no longer feels like a significant moment, especially for a legend like Mysterio.
The Miz vs. Shane McMahon in a cage match: More of an in the middle than a true Hit or Miss. The WrestleMania match story was Miz dominating the match and then losing on a fluke. It seemed like they wanted to double down on that approach, but they just didn’t tell the story as well the second time around.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Conrad Thompson discussing Starrcast II, Undertaker pulling out of the event, hosting AEW rallies and his friendship with Tony Khan, thoughts on how WWE podcasts could work, and more.