By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Money in the Bank Hits
Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins for the Undisputed WWE Tag Titles: The highlight of the night. The first half of the match was fairly flat with the Usos isolating Dawkins only to have Ford take a hot tag and then be isolated by the Usos for several more minutes. The second half of the match was excellent with top notch action and some terrific near falls. The finish was really well executed in that it looked like a clean win for the Usos, so it was a legitimate surprise when Ford protested and the footage showed that his shoulder was clearly off the mat. It creates the need for a welcomed rematch and hopefully these teams will be given a chance to steal the SummerSlam card.
Liv Morgan cashes in her Money in the Bank contract on Ronda Rousey: Morgan’s backstage promo following he MITB win was perfect in that she believably dismissed the idea of cashing in on this show by saying she simply wanted to celebrate her win. I bought it and was truly surprised when she cashed in. Rousey saying “shit” in response to Morgan’s music hitting was perfect. I loved the tease that Rousey was going to make quick work of Morgan with the ankle lock only to have Morgan kick Rousey’s bad knee and then pin her. The post match scene with Rousey presenting the title to Morgan was an interesting move that seems to set up a babyface vs. babyface rematch at SummerSlam. That said, I’m more than ready for Rousey to turn. She’s a natural heel and the crowd interest in her babyface run has clearly faded. More on Rousey later.
Theory vs. Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus vs. Omos vs. Sami Zayn vs. Riddle vs. Madcap Moss in the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match: An enjoyable ladder match. It featured the best use of Omos to date. His ring work is still rough to say the last, but the match was laid out in a way that made him look like a monster, and the big spot where everyone teamed up to put him through the broadcast table was great. The addition of Theory to the match and having him win was not well received by the crowd. Yes, he’s a heel, but I got the feeling that many of the booing fans were rejecting this more than simply booing the heel. I am all for WWE creating new stars, and the company has clearly been pushing Theory aggressively. I just hope that they can turn him into a credible heel because the type of goofball pest heel character he is playing will have a short shelf life in the main event picture if history is any indication. On a side note, this seemed like Cody Rhodes’ match to win prior to his injury. I wonder if Theory winning was done in some part to set up more Mr. McMahon television appearances.
Theory vs. Bobby Lashley for the U.S. Title: A solid match that resulted in Lashley taking the title. I really like the way the company has created strong secondary champions in Lashley and Gunther in recent weeks. Those titles need to feel important, especially now that Undisputed WWE Universal Championship Roman Reigns is working less often these days. It will be interesting to see who Lashley’s first program as champion will be with, as it would be counterproductive to feed Theory to him again now that Theory is holding the MITB contract.
Bianca Belair vs. Carmella for the Raw Women’s Title: A soft Hit. This felt like a television match more than a pay-per-view match, but that’s to be expected given that Carmella was a fairly late replacement for Rhea Ripley. With that in mind, the match was what it needed to be with Belair going over strong. The post match attack by Carmella left me assuming that they will run this back on Raw, and there’s no reason to expect a different result.
WWE Money in the Bank Misses
Ronda Rousey vs. Natalya for the Smackdown Women’s Title: A decent match that played to a disinterested crowd. Rousey’s babyface popularity is waning, and Natalya wasn’t rebuilt enough to feel like a credible threat to the championship. It didn’t do them any favors that they had to follow the hot tag title match, but I really don’t think the crowd would have reacted any differently had this match been placed somewhere else on the card. As much as WWE presents Rousey as a star and bills her as the Baddest Woman on the Planet, her matches are just standard pro wrestling matches. She does an admirable job in the ring for someone with limited experience, but in order for Rousey to feel special, her matches actually need to be special, not just a variation of what everyone else is doing. There should be the same sense of danger during Rousey matches that exist with Brock Lesnar matches. Viewers should feel like Rousey can put an opponent away at any point with her submission or striking skills, not just once she gets around to performing her finishing sequence just like everybody else.
Liv Morgan vs. Lacey Evans vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Asuka vs. Shotzi vs. Becky Lynch in the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match: A sloppy match with a crowd pleasing finish. Shotzi had a rough outing, which is surprising considering that she usually shines in big stunt matches. The fans totally rejected Evans as a babyface character. Rodriguez didn’t stand out the way she typically does. The overall match was decent, yet it lacked suspense when it came to convincing near briefcase grab moments. In fact, the highlight was the finish along with Becky Lynch’s post match meltdown. On a side note, if WWE is going to feature talent in awful credit card ads, they should at least be smart enough to mute the live crowd.