VENUE: Scottrade Center (Scott Rade?)
CITY: St. Louis, MO
Money In The Bank is my favorite gimmick pro wrestling event.
Multiple opponents trying to wear each other out for the opportunity to climb a ladder. Hanging above that ladder is luggage. The winner is the person that yanks the luggage off a string.
Said winner gets an extra piece of luggage to cart around from city to city for the next year. Inside that luggage is paperwork. On that paperwork is a guarantee that said winner can fight the champion, whomever it may be, on the spot with no promotion or advertising leading up to the bout.
It’s a promoter’s nightmare. And a weasel’s dream!
1) Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match: Charlotte Flair vs. Tamina vs. Becky Lynch vs. Carmella vs. Natalya
We kick off Money in the Bank this year with the first ever women’s ladder match which is worth a shot at the Smackdown Women’s Championship or a shot at 79% of the Men’s Championship.
Carmella arrives with the Michael Jordan of Sports Entertainment, James Ellsworth, whose hoodie looks like it was made to fit Big Show.
Charlotte is in full peacock mode literally and dominates the field early, kicking everyone’s ass all around the ring. She is one of the best all around athletes in the WWE, at one point nailing a corkscrew plancha from the top rope onto Tamina and Nattie on the floor.
I tried this move off a diving board once and landed in the emergency room. That was a long jump.
Tamina, Becky, and Nattie all had opportunities to dominate. Becky went full HAM, smashing everyone with ladders. Tamina used her power and ladders to knock out anyone she could and Nattie used the power of wrestling and - that’s right - ladders to try to outwit her opponents.
If you’ve never seen a MITB match you probably thought ladders were helpful tools to reach things real high up and not weapons of mass chaos. Turns out they’re both!
The action between all five women escalates until Becky powerbombs Carmella in the ring and is left with her final opponent: a ladder. As she climbs her final foe, The Michael Jordan of Sports Entertainment tips the ladder, spilling Becky off. Ellsworth then, to nuclear heat from the St. Louis crowd, climbs the ladder and retrieves the women’s briefcase and literally hands it to Carmella.
The referees argue over how bad this will look to people who already think WWE is mad sexist but MJoSE grabs the mic and announces Carmella as the winner. Much like when wrestlers get to book themselves in matches if they say it on the house mic, if a wrestler announces a winner over the house mic it’s official.
It’s a hilarious ending to a wild match. Carmella is now even more entitled than she was before and the Ellsworth is maybe the biggest heel in wrestling now, taking the win away from four other women who worked their asses off. Does the Welcoming Committee break up now or does Carmella take the lead? Either way Carmella and Ellsworth need to invest in some umbrellas because it’s going to be raining “boos” everywhere they go.
2) The First Ms. Money In The Bank?
The First Ms. Money In The Bank.
3) Gold Bond presents Money In The Bank presents Gold Bond presents Shaq
We get a couple Gold Bond commercials featuring Shaq making bad puns in the only chair he fits on. Somewhere Big Show is frustratedly chokeslamming bystanders. Shaq can show up on WWE TV to promote foot powder but not to fight.
4) Russian Ties
Lana is ready to show us all why she deserves to be in the ring with the women’s champion later. Is she going to wrestle in that ball gown? Why is she always wearing that now? What is her character anymore? I love Lana but I’ve been so confused lately. This must be what it’s like to parent a teenager.
5) Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E) vs. The Usos ©
The New Day showed up on Smackdown this month and decided they wanted to be champions on the blue brand and Smackdown being the “land of getting things handed to you” Shane McMahon green lit the match. The Usos have been holding their own on the mic with their three opponents and now they get to do it in the ring.
The Usos were always great performers but these new personas have been the first time it’s felt like they are the breakout stars they are meant to be.
Kofi and Big E take the lead leaving Xavier and Francine 2 on the outside to get the crowd fired up as Jimmy and Jey took it to them. In fact the champs held their own against Kofi’s high speed offense and Big E’s power moves, including an apron splash, some dizzying flip kicks and a sick looking Midnight Hour that looked to put the titles around two of three shiny waists.
The Usos, though, take the champion’s advantage and bail on the match, making sure to take their titles with them, leaving The New Day in the ring with the W but without the Cs. The crowd was deflated but story-wise it’s another very funny troll finish.
This keeps the feud going and I’m all about that. Both teams are great on the mic and in the ring. Give us a two-out-of-three match at SummerSlam or something with big stipulations and this is guaranteed to tear the house down.
6) Still Champs?
— Becky Chicoine, while watching this match
Countout is a dumb rule. You can write that down.
7) Don’t Try This At Home
Your face will melt off. Your skin will peel away from your bones and your exposed muscles will be pulled apart by packs of wild dogs. Your private Instagram account will be exposed to your parents and your fidget spinners will never spin again. DC Entertainment will go back to making disappointing superhero films. A clown will appear beside your bed every night and silently watch you sleep, pointing at you.
All of this if you ever, EVER, try any of this shit at home.
8) Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Lana vs. Naomi ©
Lana’s first main roster match and it’s for the women’s championship. To be fair, she wasn’t handed this opportunity, she tricked Naomi into thinking this was a good idea. That’s using your Ravishing Russian Brain!
Thankfully Lana will not be wrestling in an evening gown (flashbacks and heebie jeebies to the Pat Patterson vs. Gerald Briscoe Hardcore Evening Gown Match).
Naomi uses the power of blacklights and neon to throw Lana around the ring but Lana holds her own, slowing down the tempo and using methodical power moves to wear down the champion. Lana Machka!
Lana, however, is no match for the Rear View, Naomi’s jumping butt attack. How effective would that move be in a bar fight? Imagine someone running at you full speed then jumping, turning in the air, and smashing their ass in your face. You’d probably be too stunned by what you saw to stop it from happening.
Okay I talked myself into thinking this move is great.
Naomi is about to finish off Lana but–
That’s Carmella’s music! Here comes Ms. Money In The Bank annnnnnnd–
Nah! Maybe next time.
Both competitors are frustrated by the distraction but Naomi uses the moment to put Lana in A Bad Place and Lana has no choice but to tap. Technically she also has the choice to get both her arms broken so I think she made the right call.
With Carmella holding the briefcase I can see a lot of directions for the division - Lana and Carmella can fight over the latter costing the former her championship opportunity; Lana and Naomi can rematch since the finish was screwy; Naomi and Carmella can go at it because of the finish; Carmella can troll every match Naomi has from now on just like she did tonight; Becky Lynch can murder all of them. So many ways to go!
9) Still Champ?
10) Fashion Vice
Hey, we finally get to find out which shadowy blobs trashed the Fashion Police Precinct tonight!
11) The Power of Love
A rock power ballad blasts through the arena and–
Hot shit Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis have arrived in WWE! Only he’s not Mike Bennett…
He took Maria’s last name. In a night full of troll jobs this is by far my favorite. Maria was the mouthpiece here and was in full smug power mode; Mike taking her last name just feeds that gimmick. Mike Kanellis, meanwhile, is an incredibly gifted wrestler whose time on the big stage was long overdue. Happy to see these two in the mix. JBL, however is not.
12) The logo for “Great Balls of Fire” looks like a peñis
13) WWE World Championship Match: Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal ©
Earlier this week Mahal announced that there would be a panel of pro wrestling legends hanging out ringside to watch the match. Just this match though; they couldn’t afford ringside seats for an entire show.
Greg Gange, Larry Hennig, Baron Von Raschke, Sgt. Slaughter, Bob Orton, and Ric Flair are introduced as the “St. Louis Legends” which makes them sound like a WNBA team. Pro wrestling tip #457 - if a wrestler is introduced ringside before a match he or she will almost certainly be involved in the match itself. It’s science. Wrestling science!
Mahal is out first because even as champion he gets no respect. They shorten his badass entrance which I found highly disappointing. It may be the best in the company right now; aside from Charlotte, Mahal brings the most drama to his walk to the ring.
Randy Orton, the hometown snek, enters to a massive pop from the crowd.
The story of the match is Mahal grinding down Orton with strong style moves and targeted limb work, wrenching Orton’s knee and taunting Orton’s dad.
Mahal spends a lot of the match grinding down Orton until Orton regains offense and then, uh oh, ORTON DOES A SNEK!
You know what comes next. RKO to the champion!
The Singh Brothers, however, make their presence felt when they put Mahal’s leg on the bottom rope, causing the referee to stop the count. After some hemming and hawing The Singhs are tossed from ringside but come back to talk trash to the old timers. Wrestling science!
Orton then embarks on a 20 minute side quest to destroy the pair outside the ring. If it wasn’t bolted down, Orton hit them with it. If it was bolted down, Orton put them through it. At no point did anyone call 9-1-1. That, my friends, is called hometown bias. It was like Game 4 of this year’s NBA Finals.
After snekking the Singhs to death Orton remembers he’s in a wrestling match and rolls back in the ring only eats a Khallas from the champ! Referee counts it and the Modern Day Maharaja retains.
Mahal is working an old school power style in the ring now so it made sense to see the legends ringside for that kind of pace. The company is also protecting his finisher on an RKO level; it’s now the most powerful move in the WWE Universe.
Orton doesn’t have much direction at the moment, losing in front of his friends and family. But he’s the Snek Man; he’ll always be in good standing in the eyes of the WWE faithful. Mahal is proving himself every week and the fans are finally taking notice. St. Louis gave him massive heat before the match. Mahal feeds off that energy and as long as crowds keep reacting this way I can’t see him losing the title any time soon. What was once thought to be a public relations move has become one of the most interesting pro wrestling stories of 2017.
Mahal’s biggest test will be when John Cena returns this summer. I mean, that’s gotta be where we are headed, right?
14) Still Champ?
15) Surprise Match - Breezango vs. The Ascension
The Fashion Vice segment earlier told us we would find out who trashed the Fashion Police Precinct and out come The Ascension. Uh, ok? They were already part of this story and were eliminated as suspects. But it turns out it was them. Haha…WRESTLING.
Breezango - let’s just call them the Fashion Police now - take the heels out in a short match with a rollup.
I find it very amusing that, on a show themed around climbing ladders, the team that gets put away the fastest is called The Ascension. Haha…WRESTLING.
16) Men’s Money In The Bank Match: AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin
We are at the namesake of the pay per view now - the final Money In The Bank ladder match.
The action starts early when Baron Corbin interrupts Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance and beats the ever-loving tar out of the King of Strong Style. Trainers help Nakamura to the back and the match starts without him.
Shinsuke should be glad he’s not out there early as everyone destroys each other. Corbin and Owens are brawlers who use the weapons to their advantage as Styles and Ziggler fly through the air making their offense look effortless. Sami weaves through them all, picking spots and using a combination of both styles to wear out his opponents.
Kevin Owens deserves a gold medal and a back brace for the things he goes through here. The things he goes through being ladders, over and over again. Yeesh.
Ziggler gets close to the luggage but Sami delivers a flippin’ FLIPPING POWERBOMB from the top of the ladder, which starts a chain of power moves from everyone.
Sami comes out on top and begins his ascent only to eat a Phenomenal Forearm from AJ. Styles climbs up and Ziggler does the most logical thing anyone’s ever done in a MITB match - he pulls the ladder out from under Styles! AJ, with nowhere to go but down, goes nowhere but down.
Corbin crawls in the ring to pick at their bones but waitaminute–
SHINSUKE IS BACK! He’s not gonna let things like internal bleeding or career-threatening beatings stop him from showing everyone he’s not afraid of heights!
Nakamura shows everyone his strong style as he lays waste to Corbin then lays out Ziggler, then Zayn, then Owens. The crowd goes nuts as he sets up the ladder to begin the climb, only for AJ Styles to stop him. The crowd somehow gets even louder as these two stare daggers at one another and then put the ladder aside to F I G H T and the crowd gets so loud my TV speakers explode.
Shades of New Japan Pro Wrestling as these two look like they are trying to for-real hurt each other. For the hundred thousandth time tonight the crowd chants “this is awesome.” However, they are not wrong.
Suddenly and RUDELY Corbin interrupts the flogging and takes out both men. He then climbs the ladder and we have a new Mr. Money In The Bank!
The briefcase is perfect for Corbin’s character, a lone wolf assassin who is now the most dangerous man on the roster.
17) New Mr. Money In The Bank?
New Mr. Money In The Bank.
[[still images courtesy WWE.com](http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2017)]
MITB 2017 was a darkest timeline event where WWE trolled their fanbase at almost every opportunity. Watching Twitter react to this show was almost as fun as watching the show itself. The heels mostly won the day or outwitted the faces. Aside from the finishes, which were entertaining on TV but could wear out a live crowd, the pay per view was exciting with a lot of insane bumps on ladders. I hope Kevin Owens has good insurance.
WWE is back in two weeks with one of the worst named sporting events in the history of anything. Come for Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe; stay because you can’t believe adults keeps saying “Great Balls of Fire.”