This is the best way I could describe Sunday night's WWE "Special Event" on the WWE Network...Money in the Bank 2017. The show emanating from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO featured 6 matches (7 if you want to include the Kickoff match but who cares about that?). 2 of those matches were the signature match type of the event, Money in the Bank. Of course, the only way to win the match is to climb a ladder and retrieve the metal briefcase hanging from the ceiling. Inside the briefcase is a contract good for a championship match anytime anyplace anywhere for the next 12 months.
Sunday's event featured a historic first-ever Women's Money in the Bank Ladder match. 5 women competed in the match for a contract for a match with the SmackDown (Live) Women's Champion. The match featured former 4-time RAW Women's Champion Charlotte Flair (daughter of WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair), former SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch, former Divas Champion Natalya (daughter of Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart), Tamina Snuka (daughter of the late great 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka), and Carmella (accompanied by her 'Manager' ((and I use that term loosely)) James Ellsworth). As far as the match went, the women worked hard and used the ladders on their opponents. There weren’t very many high spots in this match, most likely because they saved them for the main event. The thing everyone is talking about this match is the controversial ending. Becky Lynch was climbing the ladder to retrieve the briefcase and seemed to have it in her grasp. James Ellsworth entered the ring knocking Becky Lynch off the ladder. With his “boo” Carmella watching below, Ellsworth, a man, and then preceded to climb the ladder and unhook the briefcase. James Ellsworth then dropped the case down to Carmella. The referees were confused as the bell rang and Carmella’s music played. Carmella was declared the winner and the fans were outraged. Many fans took to Twitter to rage about it. It wasn’t so much that a dastardly Heel had cheated to win that upset fans it’s that a man, more or less handed a woman a victory. This was the historic first ever Women’s Money in the Bank. A match like this had never been done before. The WWE even aired a video package before the match hyping this as a big attraction and including such wrestling legends like Mae Young, Fabulous Moolah, Wendy Richter, Trish Stratus and Lita. The end to this match went totally against all of that and left a bitter taste in many a fans mouth. The WWE has been pushing the agenda of the “Women’s Revolution” in Pro Wrestling, designed to empower women. How is that helping their cause when a man basically does the work for her? Regardless Carmella was declared the winner. You have to think this will not stand and by the time I finish writing this WWE will find some way to explain it and away and either have another MITB Womens match on SmackDown Tuesday night or strip Carmella of the briefcase.
Moving on, you had the SmackDown Tag Team Champions the Usos defending against The New Day. This was a very good match until the finish. The finish came when the Usos decided to leave the ring and got their selves intentionally counted out. Titles cannot change hands on a count-out in WWE so even though New Day won, Usos kept their championships. Obviously this was done to bring about a reason for a rematch for the Tag Team Championship at the next SmackDown “Special Event”, Battleground. However, after the fans just witnessed a bad finish it wasn’t a good idea to go with another bad finish.
Speaking of bad you had SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi defending her championship in against Lana in her debut match. Yes, this was Lana’s first ever singles match in WWE and it was for a championship on a Pay-Per-View. As far as the match went, Lana looked good on offense but when it came time for her to be on the defensive you could tell she just isn’t quite ready yet. I think WWE is rushing the development of Lana as in-ring performer. I personally think Lana is better suited as a manager and not as a wrestler. During the match, Money in the Bank winner Carmella walked out to ringside teasing a cash-in. Carmella did not cash-in and Naomi locked Lana in her submission and retained her title. This match was not good, Naomi is not a bad wrestler but Lana is. When the SmackDown Women’s roster is loaded with good wrestlers, Lana being a bad wrestler really stands out.
Next was the WWE Championship match, Jinder Mahal defending the championship against former champion Randy Orton. This was a rematch of their match at Backlash, where Jinder Mahal captured the title. Randy Orton is from St. Louis so he was the hometown favorite going into this one. Orton, a third generation wrestler, had his father WWE Hall of Famer “Cowboy” Bob Orton at ringside. Several other notable Legends/HOF members were at ringside including Larry “The Ax” Hennig, Baron Van Raschke, Sgt. Slaughter and Ric Flair. Mahal spent the majority of the match working over Orton’s knee. Mahal taunted Ric Flair at ringside by slapping on his patented submission finisher The Figure 4 Leglock. The end of the match came when the Singh Brothers (who accompanied Jinder Mahal) threated Randy Orton’s father Cowboy Bob. Randy then destroyed the Singh Brothers in a scene nearly identical to the one in his match vs. Mahal at Backlash. Orton then entered the ring to receive the Khallas from Mahal. Mahal retained his championship. This match was slightly average. Nothing about Mahal overly impresses me. Also, they repeated the same exact finish from their match at Backlash to a tee almost. They got some good Heel heat I suppose on Jinder by beating Orton in his hometown and involving his father on Father’s Day. I’m ready for this feud to be over.
Breezango took on The Ascension in a nothing 3 minute match. Turns out The Ascenion were the ones that trashed the Fashion File Office. Breezango won. Yay, this was filler.
The main event was the 6-man Money in the Bank Ladder match for the WWE Champion Contract match: Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens. This was by far, the match of the night. Shinsuke Nakamura was jumped during his entrance by Baron Corbin. Nakamura then spent about 22 minutes of the 30 minute match backstage. During that time Kevin Owens and AJ Styles nearly killed themselves with some insane bumps off the ladder. Sami Zayn did a tremendous sunset flip powerbomb off the ladder as well. Baron Corbin was attempting to climb the ladder to grab the case when Nakamura music hit and he returned. Nakamura then laid out everyone including Corbin with his signature move, the Kinshasa. Eventually Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles came face-to-face. This is when the match really got good. The crowd was going nuclear. AJ and Nakamura together folded up the ladder and stood face to face in the center of the ring. They then went at. After an awesome exchange between Styles and Nakamura ended with Shinsuke with the upper-hand, Nakamura went to climb the ladder. Before Nakamura could grab the case, Baron Corbin was there to knock him off the ladder. Corbin then climbed the ladder and grabbed the case. So, Baron Corbin was heavily predicted to win this match, and he did. I have no qualms with Corbin winning. A Heel typically wins this match about 93% of the time. Everyone looked good in this match. We got a nice tease of AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura as well. This match saved the show from being a total dumpster fire.
Overall, I felt like this event was much like Extreme Rules in the fact that the main event saved the show from total mediocrity. There were a lot of bad finishes though. New Day vs. Usos was a very good match until the bad finish, the Women’s Ladder match was a good match until the bad finish, Lana vs. Naomi was just bad, Orton vs. Mahal was a repeat of Backlash, and the Money in the Bank match delivered. This was a very skippable show with maybe the exception of the main event.
- Nick Swinke