This year’s MitB pay per view was very controversial for many fans of pro wrestling. After more a week to think about and review what happened at this year’s rendition, I gotta say…I liked it.
Pre-show match: The Hype Bros v. The Colons
The pre-show match was between the Hype Bros and the Colon Brothers. I love Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley. I have since each first appeared on WWE television. I think Ryder is a very good wrestler who has been jerked around by the powers that be of the WWE, and they have seriously missed an opportunity with him. I do love though that it seems they are finally warming to him being in a championship picture again. I just hope this time, they don’t pull it out from under him again. Mojo Rawley is a very excitable wrestler, who only needs a little experience before he is heading up the championship ladder, and pairing him with an already great Ryder can do nothing but aid him towards his top star aspirations. Those two together are an infectious duo, and I can’t help but love them.
Primo and Epico are better than decent wrestlers who come from a long history of pro wrestlers. Having said that, I honestly think they need to go back to NXT in order to work on a new gimmick that they can fully push. They only need a new gimmick, and I think they have the potential to be an amazing tag team that fans can get behind. Right now, with the multiple iterations that they’ve gone through, I as a wrestling fan just don’t care about what they are trying to sell, because I don’t know what they stand for, and they have no gimmick to get behind.
Together the pre-show tag match between these two teams was ok. I just didn’t care at all about the Colons being in this match, and honestly they felt like top level tag jobbers to me, and frankly they are too good a tag team for that.
Women’s Money in the Bank Match
This was the first time, and rightly so that the women’s division had their first in what I hope will become an annual occasion of MiTB matches. The women brought it for this great match, with each of contestants getting their chance to shine. It wasn’t the match that was the problem. The problem was the ending.
Personally, during the match, I was positively intrigued by the twist at the end. It was unexpected, and as a longtime watcher of WWE wrestling, twists like this are rare. After having time to think about it away from the excitement of the night, I see why for some the ending of this match was a slap in the face, because forever more engraved in history as a whole, not just WWE history is the fact that technically James Ellsworth, and not Carmella is the first ever Ms. Money in the Bank winner, regardless of who he gave the briefcase to afterward. For many, that result was and is a slap in the face to the Women’s revolution in particular and the division as a whole. All the positivity that has come through the hard work and determination of all the great women’s wrestlers of today and Vince decides that it’s a good idea to have a dude win the first EVER Women’s MitB match? You can’t get that back. The damage is done. I just hope that they are able to salvage some type of positivity from this decision.
On the other hand, I think of Carmella. I mean I know that she is a team player, but it’s gotta be hard for her. She has come a long way to becoming a good wrestler and a great heel on the mic. She is as deserving of the win as any of the other contestants (in some cases even more so), and to have her be the focal point of such ire is sad and quite frankly misplaced. There will be some hardcore wrestling fans that are going to blame her and her alone for the finish of this match, and there will be many trollerific, vitriolic comments sent Carmella’s way, and I think those commenters are wrong to do so. The finish of this match should be placed squarely on Vince’s lap and his alone. At the end of the day, after all, he is the one who makes the final decisions within the WWE.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship: New Day v. The Usos
I love both of these tag teams, and the feud between them so far has been very action-packed, fun and enjoyable. Their PPV match was much of what I expected. I really liked the back and forth of the match. It seemed that both teams could win the match, and that’s what’s good about this match and wrestling in general. This match seemed to go right down the wire, with a twist ending of the Usos basically giving up, taking their titles and going home, cause the match basically ending in a stalemate, with both teams standing tall. Amazing match.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Naomi v. Lana
Before this match began, I had misgivings about it, because I didn’t know what type of match that I was going to get. Naomi is a very athletic, and coming on strong as a wrestler, but I didn’t know what I was going to get from Lana. Will she be a competent contender for the Women’s title, or was she going to harken back to the heydays of the Diva’s division when amazing women wrestlers were the exception and not the rule?
As the match wobbly began, I was concerned that this match may end up being the low point of the pay per view. I am glad to say that I was wrong. What started out as a shaky match, turned into a competent, albeit sloppy to times affair. I could clearly tell that Lana was trying really hard, and was doing well. I think part of the problem may have come from the fact that these two haven’t really wrestled before—at least not on live television, so getting the camera angles right may have been lacking. I think with more in ring experience and training, Lana has a chance to be a competent wrestler. She is fire on the mic as a heel, and with more in-ring experience she could become the total package.
Naomi is improving with every match and deserves to wear that championship belt with pride, and this match was a showcase for her. I don’t know how long she will have the belt, but I love that she is a fighting champion who isn’t just sitting on her laurels. *cough* Brock Lesner *cough* I love that she is willing to fight all comers, and when she does she proves every match why she is a good champion. The match ended with Naomi going over, even though both she and Lana were distracted by Carmella and James Ellsworth coming down to the ring, teasing to turn in the briefcase for an instant title match.
Intermission: The Fashion Files and The Kanellis
Ok, I want to start by saying that I love the Fashion Police. Their vignettes are hilarious, and they are great in the ring as well. I’m glad that they were a part of the PPV, but I believe that their match later in the evening was a disservice to their much deserved current push, and honestly was a wasted match. I will say though that Fashion vice was great and nicely added brevity.
On the other hand, what the hell was with the Kanellis? I get that he’s taken her name for the purposes of the WWE. I get that Maria Kanellis is announcing that she’s back in the WWE, and has brought her husband (who I’ve read is supposedly a good wrestler in his own right) with her, but the whole segment was garbage. From the beginning, their music threw me off and made me not care about them. Also, the whole sing-songy speech that she gave, and those two seemingly dripping with ooey, gooey love for each other was sickening quite frankly. Don’t get me wrong—I’m all for true love and all that comes with it, but every word that they uttered about their love felt fake, and if it’s one thing the I can stand, it’s fakeness or fakery, as I call it. In my opinion, this segment was the low point of the PPV, and honestly 1) should have been pushed back to Smackdown on Tuesday, and 2) they need a re-gimmicking quick fast and in a hurry.
WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal v. Randy Orton
Almost from the beginning, I didn’t care about this match. It’s not because Randy Orton was in his hometown, so I knew that there was little chance of him winning. It’s not because I read that Vince is trying to make forays into India, so having a champion of East Indian descent is a plus. I think the former is very stupid, and that the latter makes sense. Though I think Jinder’s push from top best super jobber to WWE champion was VERY rushed. I think Jinder is a good wrestler and has the chops to carry the title well. As a wrestling fan, I am so tired of same “US v. the World” troupes that Vince seems to have no problem pulling out when it suits him, but because of the aforementioned push into India, it helps his bottom dollar, and that’s ok, because mo’ money, mo’ wrestling, the fans win. No, there were a few issues I had with this match.
1—the Singh Brothers
I really liked the Singh Brothers when they were called the Bollywood Boys and were participating in the WWE Cruiserweight Tournament. They are amazing wrestlers who just need time to come up with a gimmick that would propel them into the Cruiserweight stratosphere. Being the toadies and lackeys of the Modern day Maharaja is not the way. Don’t get me wrong, the bump they were taking at the hands of Randy Orton are some of the best selling of moves I’ve seen in my forty plus years of watching professional wrestling. I have the utmost respect for them in the ring. I think their playing second fiddle to Jinder Mahal is a disservice to the great cruiserweight work that they could be performing, and make no mistake—the cruiserweights are some amazing wrestlers and deserve more than what they are given, but that is another discussion for another time.
2—Cowardly Heel Champions
Here lately, WWE fans have had to suffer through heel champions who have issues with winning with no outside interferences, or cleanly. As a fan, I would like just once to have a heel champion win clean, and not be subjected to cheap, cheating tactics to win. Right now, it’s as if none of the heel champions can win on their own merit. Instead of strong monsters, I as a fan am being subjected to a mealy-mouthed cheater, who talks a good game, but when it comes to putting up, he or she is very lacking in fortitude. Though I prefer this type of heel champion to one who only shows up three times a year, it still very much leaves a bad taste my mouth. Come on, Vince…give me a monster heel champ who is a fighting champion.
3—The Khallas, Jinder Mahal’s finisher
Though I think Jinder is a good and very believable wrestler, his finishing move leaves a lot left to be desired. As a wrestling fan, I just don’t believe that his move can competently knock another wrestler out for the 1, 2, 3 in any way, shape or form. I wish I did, but I just don’t. I just think he needs another finisher for his overwhelming power to be believed.
The match, on the whole, was a really good one. I was very impressed with the work of both Mahal and Orton. The story of the match (outside of the interferences) really kept me engaged throughout. I give props, especially to Orton. It seems he has been rejuvenated, after coming back from his concussion at the hands of Brock Lesnar, and is really enjoying the stories that he’s been involved in lately, and that’s great.
I do however have a problem with the ending. It was the exact same ending as the match that gave Mahal the title. The Singhs got involved in the match. It quickly became a three on one situation. Randy kicked some Singh butt, and then Mahal swoops in with the Khallas and the win. If they are going to battle again, the third match of their feud needs to have a different ending. Otherwise, it will quickly become “Been there, done that.”
Breezango v. The Ascension
Man…this match felt wasted. Don’t get me wrong, as I’ve stated, I love Breezango, and I love that they were on the PPV. My issues are with the fact that they should have wrestled another tag team, and NOT the Ascension.
A match between Breezango and American Alpha would have made more sense. Their Fashion files segment could have been about something else than who trashed their offices and beat up Tyler Breeze. That case could have continued on to Tuesday when it could have been solved. I think a match between Breezango and American Alpha could have elevated each tag team in the eyes of fans, and given American Alpha, who are an amazing tag team more time on camera in a pay per view setting because frankly, they deserve it.
Right now, the Ascension has become a jobber tag team. I don’t think they believe in their gimmick anymore, and their despondency with WWE creative shows every time they come out to wrestle—at least that’s what I see from a fan’s perspective. In the ring, they are becoming sloppier with each and every match, and the sloppiness was showcased in this match. From my perspective as a fan grant you, I feel that they are so over their gimmick, and want so desperately to come up with a new one, but are being stifled by the higher ups. I think that the Ascension are another tag team that would be better served, if they went back to NXT in order to retool their gimmick, because though they were very popular during their previous stint in NXT, Vince has ruined the gimmick that made them with the little to no push that was given them, once they moved to main.
Men’s Money in the Bank Match
This match was awesome. It had all the right highs and lows, and kept me on the edge of my seat, until the very end. I am glad that Baron Corbin won the MitB briefcase, as I felt that out of all the contestants in the match, he was the only one that really needed to win. That briefcase can now legitimately propel him to top belt status. I loved, screamed and yelled along with those in attendance when a future, potential Shinsuke/AJ Styles match was teased, as they moved the ladder to the side, and went at it. The spot when Sami Zayn power bombed Dolph Ziggler off of the top of the ladder to the mat was a true Holy Shit moment, which was only matched by the moment AJ Styles had to basically fall from the briefcase to the mat.
As amazingly awesome as this match was, there was honestly one thing that bugged me about this match throughout—Why was Kevin Owens in this match, and Tye Dillinger? Kevin Owens is WWE’s United States champion. He really didn’t need a chance at the briefcase, when he already holds one of the belts that the winner would go after. Tye Dillinger could have been in this match and could have had great moments in it. If he was in the match, he would have been the only other person in it that actually needed to win, and so would have caused tension between Corbin and him. That would have been a great story going into this match. Honestly, right now they are wasting Dillinger, who is one of the most over wrestlers in the company right now. Honestly, if they were going to bring him up to main just to let him languish on the sidelines, they should have kept him in NXT to become the NXT champion for a while.
On the whole, this pay per views had many great moments in it, and kept me entertained throughout. I wish it was an inter-faction pay per view, but that is a story for another time. What do you think? Was this year’s Money in the Bank pay per view a good one, or just more of the same drivel from the WWE? Let me know in comments.