Hello everyone, you've landed here on Planet Kayfabe once again. Here to review WWE Money in the Bank live from Chicago's Allstate Arena. For this I'm using the simple "the good/the bad" format and as usual at the end I will sum it up with my closing thoughts and a final grade. So, lets just get into it. Was this PPV better than the shitty build that came before it for 6 weeks to been the 'Money in the Bank' name strong in fans' minds or was it shitty like Coachman's many shoehorned sports references and random hot takes in matches. Oh Coach, a lying shill like you fits in WWE just fun but you were PERFECT for ESPN.
Let's get to the bad news first.
*** THE BAD ***
WWE Tag Team Championship relegated to pre-show:
Yeah, a simple one. It's not the biggest deal. It's not like this feud has been that hot. It was just a standard match. I get it. I still don't love that the tag titles were on the pre-show. The champions retained as most predicted they would and I wouldn't be surprised if the feud continues, but it could also just as easily be forgotten about. I mean, whatever. The division is not hot right now. I wrote a whole column about it. Is this match being placed on the pre-show going to make things that much worse? No, but it is telling. This used to be where they put the 205 Live guys and now they aren't even on these PPV's so they put the tag titles there and the "B Team" vs Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt wasn't even on this show despite them becoming contenders for the title this past week.
That's another weird thing. I don't think the Raw tag title match was ever confirmed for this PPV, so why did they have a #1 contender's match before this event? It's something they could have done tonight on Raw to at least remove any confusion. I don't know. Whatever.
Shills gonna shill:
Of course the day after a vocal crowd voices their opinion at an event because HOW DARE YOU PAYING CUSTOMERS HAVE INDEPENDENT THOUGHTS THAT GO OUTSIDE OF WHAT WWE WANTS YOU TO THINK!!!! The company shills come out in full force. First I'll talk about Charles Robinson who I really have no issue with. I mean whatever, he's been with the company for a long time and WCW before that. Like most who sustain jobs in WWE that long who have no problem letting go of anyone who gets out of line despite how long they've been employed they will be brainwashed to a degree. Enter this tweet:
For as great a town that Chicago is for wrestling (one of the best ever), it is really disappointing that they can be so disrespectful when guys like @JinderMahal and @WWERomanReigns are busting there butts and giving us a great match.
I saw a lot of great matches this week in and outside of WWE which includes the great NXT Takeover Chicago show on Saturday. This was not "a great match". It was one of those 15 minute matches that felt like a half hour between two guys who don't mesh well. One a below average worker the other carry-able when paired with an elite worker. It was also a match between two guys the paying customers didn't care for, so the boos came. The consumers have sent their message every time The Big Dog is trotted out there. It's their right to do that. Define what "working hard" is. Should the fans just cheer everyone because guys are out there taking bumps? No, f*** that. They don't care for Roman or Jinder and the promotion put this match out here and this is what they got. If Roman is in the main event at SummerSlam vs Brock Lesnar its going to be the same exact thing just like here and just like at Wrestlemania. You may not like it WWE, but the people have spoken. I know when you get a billion or so dollars from FOX next year its not going to matter what we say but regardless the fans will make their opinions known. Its just being in a financially secure monopoly, you as a company are in a position where you can be complacent and not listen to what your customers have to say. Also... I wonder if this tweet would even exist if say the fans buried a crusierweight match or if the fans rejected a preceived "indy darling"? I doubt it.
Now Johnathan Shillman who I don't like at all spewing his usual shill bullshit
Literally no one in the actual business talks to the observer. They hate me because I have always called them out on their lack of being accurate on ANYTHING. Itís no sweat they have to write something https://t.co/oJE5vViPe4
It's cute that a guy who worked for ESPN wants to talk about anyone's inaccurate reporting. No, no one hates you because you don't give them the scoops. No one gives a f*** about the scoop. It's the shitty job on commentary you do every week that we have to listen to. You're clearly out of touch with the current talent. Still learning names and often get guys confused with someone else. Your shoehorned sports references are terrible and even Michael Cole is always right there to call you out on your shitty analogies. During Ronda Rousey vs Nia Jax, Ronda was in a bear hug, this is usually a good time for commentary to put over the dire situation that the babyface is in to prep the home audience for a comeback. What does Coachman say? SHE'S RESTING! What?! Ronda is in a Bear Hug and Coachman says that she is RESTING like... she's saving her energy for a comeback or some shit. I don't know but Cole and Graves were right there to pile on Coach's bullshit and call him out so good on them for that.
When Coach first came in a lot of people were like "well, it can't be worse than Booker" well... guess what. He is. He's worse than Booker because at least Booker T is funny, entertaining and naturally likable. Coach has the most punch-able face of anyone doing commentary in WWE and not a show goes by where he's not saying some ridiculous nonsense while his babysitters Cole and Graves have to constantly mop up his messes. I'll even take Otunga over Coach. Otunga isn't great but at least he's not offensive... or how about this idea. No 3rd man at the announce table because 3 man teams suck!
Asuka kept strong in a loss but still selling too much and isn't portayed as nearly as special she was on NXT:
The finish of this match is what I would have done to keep Asuka from taking a clean loss. James Ellsworth came out to help his old lady Carmella and distract Asuka who took a kick to the head and pinned. However as usual I don't like how Asuka has been booked at times since coming up to the main roster. All the selling she did for Carmella who has no business hanging longer than 5 minutes with someone like Asuka reminded me of when Asuka was called up and had to sell 90% of the match for Emma. You may like Emma as a worker, but on TV she was portrayed as a lower level joke. The fans just want to see Asuka's great offense and kill opponents. Not watch her sell for 10 minutes. Carmella was a joke character on TV for the year that she held the women's Money in the Bank contract that she needed Ellsworth to grab for her in the first place and now we are supposed to take her seriously after a fluke title win. Its just weird. Again, I'm not saying Asuka should have ended Carmella's run this soon and won clean. I'm saying this match should have been booked with Asuka dominating the match. Making it clear that she's the superior wrestler -- because she is... and then have Ellsworth come out to make the save for his squeaky chick. I know I've said it a lot but I can't help it. I hate how Asuka has just been treated as just another wrestler on the roster after she was built up as something special from NXT. That's modern WWE for you. No one can be special. No one can stand out. Everyone has to be the same homogenized character in WWE. It's one of the things I hate the most about this era in WWE. Everyone has to just be an interchangeable cog in the machine when they don't have to be. WWE just wants them to be because, again, virtual monopoly with no financial incentive to listen to the fans or even the wrestlers with VERY few exceptions they can just focus on getting the brand over. Asuka's better than this shit and everyone knows it. Again, if you're a main roster apologist and you want to be like "SEE THIS INDY NXT SHIT DOESN'T WORK ON THE BIG SHOW!" you're wrong. It does work. Its just WWE who at times is out of touch and doesn't care to give talent individual attention and just book them in a one-size-fits-all manner like this and this is what you get. No one is special.
Now the good news.
*** THE GOOD!!! ***
The Women's Money in the Bank match redeems itself:
Much better than last years, the women's MITB was a very good match that the crowd was really into. It wasn't perfect. It did at times come off as very choreographed but, whatever. You got to do what you got to do in situations like these. There were also a lot of spots where you could tell one person was late and they were just waiting for the other dominoes to fall. This was especially obvious during the finish of the match where Becky Lynch was on top of the ladder with the briefcase in her hand, with the clasp f***ing opened and she looks down for Alexa Bliss because she's late so after starring at the case for an hour, Alexa get Becky out of it's hypnotic spell and grabs the contract for herself coming out as the winner. Other than that finish and a few delayed spots and a handful of Sasha Banks bumps than made me jump, it was very good. If I was doing star ratings for this column, I'd probably go with 3.
AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura have their best match... in WWE:
In my opinion this was the match of the night and the best match of this Styles/Nakamura program. The match went a half hour and at first I thought it was taking a while to really heat up, but if I had known going into this match that they'd be getting 30 minutes, then I would have understood. Once things picked up it got very physical and the crowd, as was the case the whole show, was really into it. I'm glad they were able to redeem themselves. This feud has not been great, but (assuming this is the end) at least it ended on a high note and fans will probably remember it better in hindsight because of it. Nakamura's turn helped this feud, especially after their Wrestlemania match didn't live up to the "dream match" it was hyped up to be. As of this writing AJ Styles has been champion for 222 days. He's very popular and capable of pulling a great match out of anyone. Would anyone complain if he holds this title all the way until next Wrestlemania? I doubt the people who are sick of Brock would complain too much, but take that situation away I don't think it would be that bad of an idea. Of course in a dream scenario I'm thinking maybe AJ holds this title all the way to Wrestlemania where he faces Daniel Bryan in a singles match where Bryan's return to the ring culminates in another WWE title win at the biggest show of the year. I'm not going to get ahead of myself but, its just a free idea Vince if you're reading this. You don't have to give me credit. You take it and run with it. I can live happily just knowing it happened.
Braun Strowman wins the men's Money in the Bank:
Some may say that Braun "doesn't need the win" and you're more right than wrong, but I'm fine with this. Considering the guy won the biggest Royal Rumble ever and set a new record for eliminations you'd think he'd get something more than just a pointless trophy and a stupid green belt, but nope. He still had to earn his spot in this match and Roman Reigns will continue to get world title shots for no reason while bitching about how the man is holding him down and wonder why fans boo him.
This match was, like the women's, was also very good. With all the rumors about Roman and Brock main eventing SummerSlam, I guess we have our savior. Braun for the past year has been kept strong, but he's still been more over than the level WWE has pushed him at, so that's why I'm fine with the win. Braun deserves more than to just be WWE's relief pitcher if Roman goes down with an injury or if anything ever came of those steroid allegations. It's weird. You have this big guy that was never an indy darling that all the fans love and WWE hasn't really pulled the trigger on him, but in winning MITB I think it's a bygone conclusion that Braun will be holding the Universal Championship. Yes, guys have lost before, but I don't think they'd be that crazy to do that to Strowman... right?
Ronda Rousey is a natural in pro-wrestling:
Everything CM Punk is in UFC, Ronda Rousey is the opposite in WWE. She moves, sells, bumps and strikes like an old pro. Yeah there was that one spot where she kinda fell out of the ring but whatever. For her first singles match on PPV against someone who is not that good of a worker and has little mobility she did a great job. It's almost scary how fast she has caught on. The only thing she needs serious work on is her promos. Part of that is WWE needs to stop feeding her shit lines and expect her to whip it up into Steve Austin level gold. Another part is its just not natural to her... yet. We've seen wrestlers who were not great promos become very good. Daniel Bryan is a good example of this.
To sum up the 2018 Money in the Bank event, I'd give it about a B-. There was a lot of good action but also some not so good action and unlike NXT TakeOver, there wasn't really a "match of the year" candidate here.
Seth Rollins and Elias had a good match. The announcers put over Rollins grabbing the tights which usually they only point that out when a heel does it. It's weird to me because they've been heavily pushing Rollins as a fighting champion and they made it clear that he grabbed the tights. Grabbing the tights is usually seen as a heel tactic even though it is 100% legal and really no more advantageous than hooking the leg. A real cheap heel tactic would be if one of the guys used the ropes as leverage in a pin, but whatever. They kept Elias somewhat credible because no one can just win a match that they should win and are expected to win in WWE.
Bryan is one of the best wrestlers ever but Cass is just dead weight. It went over 15 minutes and the crowd loved Bryan and he made Cass tap for the 2nd time. It was the right finish. Cass has been nothing without Enzo. The company saw Cass as the guy with more star potential because he's much taller than Enzo, but it was Enzo's great promos that got them over as a team and sold all that merch. Without him, Big Cass is just like Test only without the physique. I don't know where Cass goes from here, but I'm glad Bryan didn't have to waste a loss on putting this guy over who is clearly not ready to be working with guys at Bryan's level of skill over stardom.
Bobby Lashley vs Sami Zayn was kept short as it should have been. This is probably been the worst WWE feud of the year so far and the match was kept short. Hopefully they just move on. WWE was smart to keep this short. I wish they were that smart when it came to Roman vs Jinder.
Alexa Bliss cashing in on Nia was pretty much what I predicted would happen and what I would have done if I were booking. It keeps Ronda away from the title a little longer and it was a good out as a finish for this match. Nia wasn't a great champion and isn't that over as a character. You may not think Alexa is a great worker but she is a very good promo and a good character and better off with the title, so I was fine with this.
There's all my thoughts on the 2018 Money in the Bank event. If you joined me in live tweeting the show, thank you. I always enjoy interacting, so follow me on Twitter @PlanetKayfabe and also leave a comment below with your thoughts on this show.
Thanks for reading, everyone. For NoDQ, this is Planet Kayfabe, I'm K.C. I'll see you here next time. Enjoy Raw.