A “pretty good but that’s it” Money in the Bank is in the books. What have we learned?
Anything? Maybe a few things...
1. CHICAGO IS THE BEST WRESTLING CROWD IN NORTH AMERICA, HASHTAGPROOVEMEWRONG
All night long the crowd was vocal and engaged. Every entrance received a big reaction (positively or otherwise), finishes elicited the requisite boos and yays and there was no hand-sitting to be seen as far as I noticed. All that seems very bottom of the barrel but considering how many WWE crowds—even on pay-per-view (PPV)—fail to stir for much of anything, it’s nice to come to Chicago, where the fans are loud and proud. WWE is finishing up a series of SummerSlam bookings in Brooklyn; I’d love for Chicago to be the official home of Money in the Bank for the next decade or so.
2. BOTH WORLD TITLES NEED A RESET...
AJ Styles is doing ph—amazing work with the WWE title, despite feuds that have failed to light the world on fire. MITB seems like the end of his feud with Nakamura and hopefully we’ll get an idea where he’s going next on SmackDown tonight (Samoa Joe Samoe Joe SamoaJo SamoJo Smojo!), and hopefully it’ll be the feud that lets him shine the way he did in his first championship reign, because this one (and I don’t blame him for it) has been underwhelming for a variety of circumstances.
As for the Universal Title... let’s hope we’re staring at the light at the end of the tunnel, and whether that light is Braun immediately or eventually...or just anyone else really, I’ll be happy. The main-event scene on Raw has a big black hole right now in the middle of it.
3. ...BUT NOT AS MUCH AS THE TAG TITLES
I actually forgot who the Raw Tag Champs were; I had to google it and I write about this stuff for a (part-time) living. And it’s not like there was a recent title change and it just slipped my mind; Matt and Bray have been champs for two months now. Over on SmackDown it’s the Hammer Bros. holding the blue straps but their reign has been no better. WWE just can’t seem to make their tag divisions consistently relevant and every PPV that features a Tag Title match either on the pre-show or no-showing entirely is another month with a whole division being essentially ignored. Raw has enough trouble booking three hours of content each week. Why take an arrow out of your quiver?
4. RONDA ROUSEY IS OVER
Not only that but she’s really good for a novice. Considering Chicago greeted her with unanamous praise despite some clunky mic work this month and a convoluted heel turn by Nia Jax (who no one is really enamored with anyway), it’s a near-miracle their match happened without any major stumbles. On the contrary, it was—if we’re grading on a sliding curve—excellent. Ronda played her character perfectly, being the smaller rookie with a narrow but effective skill set, going up against a monster who (in kayfabe[?]) could just sit on her and render her judo and submission skills null. Rousey sold better than many vets and, most importantly, looked the part despite being in there all by herself with...how do you say “not the best worker” without being mean? Good on her.
5. ROMAN REIGNS IS NOT OVER.
Nope. Nopenopenope. I know it’s old hat but some persist in arguing it. Yes he gets “big reactions” but when that reaction is a loud “This is boring” / “They can’t wrestle” / “Vince this sucks” chant, then come on, is that the kind of reaction anyone wants? Heel or face? At one point the crowd slipped into a “Let’s go Cena / Cena sucks” chant, which I admit was hilarious but still...whatever you’re doing with Roman Reigns isn’t working.
6. THE BRIEFCASE WAS (WILL BE) WASTED THIS YEAR
Alexa has already cashed one of them in. Braun will likely cash his in before SummerSlam. I suppose the longer the event goes on, the more likely it is that there’ll be a dry spell for a year or two. The Rumble has survived stretches of irrelevance; MITB will too. Still, it feels like a waste this year, especially with Strowman, who basically had enough credibility to just grab a mic and issue a challenge anyway. Braun’s a credible Rumble winner, but MITB should be for someone looking either to step up into the main-event (the way King Of The Ring used to be) or a way for a smarmy heel to steal a title the cheap way. Braun winning just felt all wrong for it.
7. NXT IS ON ANOTHER LEVEL RIGHT NOW
Money in the Bank was a solid show with only one match being an outright stinker and everything else either being good, really good, or great. And then there’s the yellow show which has no reason to be as great as it is right now. I mean the title match featured Lars Sullivan for crying out loud. And yet a combination of excellent storytelling, great work-ethic and a crowd fully invested in both character and action, made for yet another “show for the ages.” It’s almost unfair how good it is. NXT is good enough that if I never watched Raw or SmackDown again, and if NXT was the only wrestling I ever saw...I’d be 100% content.
8. WWE SHOULD MOVE THE HALL OF FAME TO SUMMERSLAM
This one isn’t really related to MITB, but I thought of it while watching the show. WrestleMania week is already packed and with SmackDown moving to Friday nights again it would clear up the scheduling headaches that would otherwise have to be addressed. SummerSlam as the number two show is a nice place to put it, especially with it upgrading to a (baseball) stadium and getting more of the “big event” feel of WrestleMania. Seems like a win/win to me.
9. VINCE HAS MORE MONEY THAN HE WILL EVER NEED TO HAVE TO CARE ABOUT ANY OF OUR OPINIONS EVER AGAIN.
So...forget everything I just said?
10. I DON’T HAVE A TENTH POINT...I JUST COULDN’T LEAVE IT AT NINE
Comment below on your thoughts regarding Money in the Bank and the product going forward!