By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Money in the Bank Hits
Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa vs. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso: An awesome main event. Everything that has happened in the epic Bloodline saga led to the moment of Jey being the first person to pin Reigns since 2019. Reigns and Paul Heyman are so good at telling stories with their facial expressions and body language throughout the course of matches. I’d pay a little extra if Peacock offered a Heyman Cam option that would focus on him in a small side screen throughout the PLE matches he’s involved in. Jimmy and Jey are no slouches in this department either. I loved the way that Jey showed a sense of disbelief over pinning Reigns before going into full on celebration mode. And what a godsend Sikoa has been. I don’t think he gets nearly enough credit for going straight from NXT to being thrust into the biggest pro wrestling storyline and never looking out of place. He’s fit in so seamlessly that I think it’s easy to take for granted just how special he has been. While I’m sure the other players are coaching him up and even carry him at times, the fact that he’s stepped in and enhanced this epic saga at this early stage of his career is remarkable.
Damian Priest vs. Logan Paul vs. Ricochet vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. LA Knight vs. Santos Escobar vs. Butch in a Money in the Bank ladder match: A wild match that played to a Knight crazy crowd. You know Knight is over when the London fans cheered him over UK native Butch. The Ricochet and Paul spot was reckless and unnecessary, and fortunately nobody appeared to be injured. I really thought the plan was for Paul to win the match and to even cash in successfully on Rollins later in the night to set up their WrestleMania rematch for SummerSlam. Priest winning felt a little flat given how much the crowd loved Knight and despised Paul. I get the formula of having a person lose matches before they make up for it with a big moment like Priest had by winning MITB, but I’m just not a fan of it in most cases. Sure, it made the outcome a little more surprising, but now we have an MITB contract holder who just lost to Cody Rhodes in the Raw main event and lost a World Heavyweight Championship match to Seth Rollins on Raw less than a month ago. It’s one thing to take that approach with a pest heel, but it just doesn’t work for me with a guy like Priest. That said, I am curious to see how this affects the dynamic in Judgment Day.
Iyo Sky vs. Zelina Vega vs. Becky Lynch vs. Zoey Stark vs. Bayley vs. Trish Stratus in a Money in the Bank ladder match: I felt pretty numb regarding this match going into the show, but the wrestlers came through with a really impressive MITB match. The early minutes of the match suffered from having to follow the surprise John Cena appearance and due to lack of a clearcut fan favorite, but the action picked up and they got the fans to invest in the outcome. The handcuffs finish was outstanding. I never thought I would type those words, but it was really clever to Stratus and Stark introduce the handcuffs when they did and then have Sky use them to cuff Lynch and Bayley together through a ladder to prevent them from winning. The right person went over as far as I’m concerned and I look forward to seeing Sky in a babyface role.
John Cena and Grayson Waller: On a show filled with surprises, this one topped them all. The live crowd popped huge for Cena and it was fun to hear him recall how tough the UK fans have been on him throughout his career. I sincerely hope that Cena teasing the idea of WrestleMania London comes to fruition soon. The UK fans always create a great atmosphere and they deserve to have the biggest annual pro wrestling event in their home market. As great as Cena was at firing up the crowd, the 2024 Money in the Bank winner Grayson Waller was truly impressive as his foil. Okay, so I have no idea whether Waller will even be in the match, but I’d love to see it. Anyway, Waller showed no signs of being intimidated by sharing the ring with WWE royalty. In fact, he looked right at home while heeling on Cena and the London fans.
Gunther vs. Matt Riddle for the Intercontinental Championship: The idea of Imperium injuring Riddle’s ankle leading into the match made the underdog feel like he had no chance to actually win. I assume the idea was to protect Riddle, but there’s no shame in any character losing clean to Gunther. The post match angle with the surprise return of Drew McIntyre was great and I’m already looking forward to the Gunther vs. McIntyre war that will presumably take place at SummerSlam.
Cody Rhodes vs. Dominik Mysterio: As much as I was hoping that Brock Lesnar would show up and indirectly help Mysterio steal a win, you had to know that Cody was going to win clean if Lesnar wasn’t there. The build with Dom sneaking in cheap shots while Cody couldn’t get his hands on him set the table for fans being anxious to see Dom get his comeuppance. Cody went over clean and decisively, but the match was really straight forward and it felt like they could have gotten more out of Cody finally getting his hands on Dom. That said, the match was enjoyable and I’m hoping they run it back on Raw and it leads to Dom getting his win back with Lesnar interference.
WWE Money in the Bank Misses
Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor for the World Heavyweight Championship: The Miss is the result of this match falling below my admittedly high expectations. The creative forces did a really good job of putting consistent heat on Balor by having him attack Rollins repeatedly. This created the perception that Rollins was vulnerable to losing his championship, not necessarily to Balor but rather to the MITB winner. The match ultimately felt like a Raw main event rather than a hot PLE title match. They never sold me on the idea of Balor winning, nor did MITB winner Priest showing up at ringside amount to much much of anything. Oddly enough, Rollins nursing a storyline rib injury boosted interest in the match and yet his selling of the injury during the match also seemed to prevent them from having a stronger outing.
Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler vs. Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles: I’m all for Baszler and Rousey splitting up and was genuinely surprised when it happened. Of course, that’s because they offered zero hint that this was coming. The key to this angle is in the follow-up and how Baszler rationalizes giving up the titles and turning on her best friend out of nowhere. Either way, Baszler choosing to walk out on Rousey sent the wrong message about the tag team titles and also deprived the new champions of having a meaningful title win.