What happens in Vegas is broadcasted around the world on Peacock! Welcome to Money in the Bank, where the stakes are high and the joker is always wild. Sean’s filing in for Claire as only he can, while I ponder on the meaning of all this action on this first 4th of July weekend.
Let’s talk Money in the Bank!
One for the Ages
While the fireworks go off a day early, The Usos and The Street Profits set off fireworks of their own on the Las Vegas strip. As predicted by anyone with eyes, The Profits and The Usos stole the show in heist worthy of Danny Ocean’s crew. Seriously, words will not do this justice but walk with me as I try my best.
Who wants it more? That’s the question posed to The Usos and The Street Profits during their battle for the tag team supremacy. The Profits just can’t beat Jimmy and Jey as a unit. They handle them well in one-on-one situations, but those boys are a hard out as a team. Fittingly, the match came down to big team moments and one team taking taking care of the details while one didn’t.
Montez & Angelo not only hit their tandem blockbuster, but side slam into the frog splash. Both maneuvers won them gold on all three brands and the last movie almost did. But Angelo, as per usual, never covers the other side of the ring. He never makes sure the other opponent is completely out of it while Tez gets the pin. That came back to haunt the Profits of the Street, as Jimmy broke up the pin and kept the match going. The Usos had their own share of near falls and their own frustration since the Profits refused to say die. So when Jey barely survived Tez’s frog splash, the frustration from both teams boiled over like a bunny in Fatal Attraction.
Like I said, this came down to the team that wanted it more. Jimmy and Jey sent Angelo to the outside and set up Tez for the kill. After the 1D, it was academic. Right? I mean, we know how this story ends: The Usos get the W and leave another team in their wake.
Well, that’s partially what happened. Yes, Tez went down. Yes, the ref counted to three. And yes, Jimmy and Jey left the building with the tag titles. But one look at the replay showed Montez’s right shoulder off the mat. Not because of anything he did but because The Usos, in one moment, got sloppy.
Tez and Angelo complained pretty loudly and the controversial finish means this is far from over. And you know what? Do it again. Do it as many times as possible. These boys did the damn thing were a hard act to follow. WWE keeps teasing a Profits breakup and while I’m 100 percent down for a Montez solo run, they gotta play this story out to its rightful conclusion at the summer’s biggest stage.
Watch Me Be Money
LIV MORGAN IS YOUR NEW SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPION...But we’ll get to that at the end of this.
Let’s get this out of the way, since it stands for the men’s match as well: Ladder matches with this many competitors are messy. That’s not an indictment of anyone in the match either. Just the reality. With this many bodies in the ring, along with all those steel ladders, disaster is often the result. Lacey Evans, Alexa Bliss, Liv Morgan, Raquel Rodriguez, Asuka, Shotzi, and Becky Lynch laid it all on the line for a shot at the championship of their choosing. Liv and Lacey specifically took a few years off of the lives of the Cageside staff with a power bomb off the top of the ladder. Actually, it was more like Liv flipping over Raquel and Lacey, narrowly sticking the landing, then somehow slamming Lacey to the ground in a not so gingerly way. They survived, but whew. Enough of my faint heart, let’s talk about the story.
Going into this match, Becky’s redemption song was the main attraction. She started from the (relative) bottom now she’s here in Sin City. And any time someone climbed the ladder, Becky scaled the ladder rungs with a cat’s quickness. And she took advantage of every opening when it came to putting her opponents down for the theoretical count. No one caught more fire from Lynch than Asuka since these two hate each other with the passion of a thousand suns. If you’re interested in the Becky x Asuka saga, look no further than a ladder spot outside of the ring. While Raquel and Asuka battled a bit sloppily, Becky dropkicked Raquel, causing Ms.
Gonzalez Rodriguez to drop Asuka onto the ladder. Becky scaled an adjacent ladder and soared through the MGM skies with Asuka at gravity’s mercy. This looked like Becky’s night.
But as it turns out, it wasn’t. Becky cleared the field and scaled the ladder during the match’s third act. Or so she thought she cleared the field. Liv crept up from behind and, fittingly, scaled a smaller ladder. That detail, whether accidental or purposeful, is a great metaphor for their respective careers to this point. Becky Lynch is a bonafide legend. Within WWE, she has the taller ladder and faces an easier climb than most of her contemporaries. Liv tussled with Becky from her smaller ladder, knocked the Big Time off her perch, climbed the taller ladder, and took home her first Money in the Bank W.
Ladder matches like this are probably the very definition of “subjective.” If you like destruction derbies, then this is your thing. If you’re not? Then yeah, your mileage will definitely vary.
So let’s get back to the headline: Liv cashed in. After a very meh match between Nattie and Ronda Rousey for the Smackdown Women’s championship, Ronda favored her knee. Nattie took the L but she did a lot of damage to Ronda’s knee.
While Ronda celebrated, guess who’s music played? If you said “Drew McIntyre,” you’re clearly not paying attention. Ronda’s exhaustion turned to exasperation as Liv ran to the ring with briefcase in hand. The match started and for a moment, it looked like the entire stadium might revolt. Ronda, even on one knee, locked in that ankle lock and didn’t let go. At least until Liv kicked that bum knee.
That was enough that Ronda fell victim to a rollup, and now, Liv is on her way to Friday night as its women’s champ.
A very cool moment even if it came at the expense of a wounded opponent. But it certainly woke up the crowd.
Simply the B-EST
Carmella messed up. No not her choice of husband, although I’m sure several of you have jokes. Staten Island’s former princess talked a little too much trash in the third act of her match with Bianca Belair. Bianca was down but she wasn’t out. At this point in their bout, Bianca was definitely winning on points but the ending was still in question. The match started the way you assume it did.
Bianca controlled everything with her power while Mella merely survived. Mella took the driver’s seat and eventually touched the hair. Bianca responded in kind but even then, Mella rebounded.
Then she started talking all that trash, said she’s the best, provided Bianca all the time in the world to recover, and slap Carmella with a KOD.
We got some extracurriculars after the match. Carmella cut Bianca’s victory celebration very short, indicating this is far from over. It also indicates Rhea Ripley is probably out of commission longer than previously thought. Which, in scientific terms, sucks. Get well soon, Rhea!
Highlight commentary moment of the match, possibly the night, courtesy of Corey Graves: “That’s not fair. Bianca’s just too strong!”
Your Winner...and NEW...
I didn’t have a lot of expectations going into this bout between Bobby Lashley and Theory. So color me happily surprised these two put on a damn good match. Lashley controlled everything early because Theory kept playing the power game with a man who owns the power game. The best moment was this. Just watch it.
And I didn’t expect Lashley to win the championship either. In the end, he proved too strong and just too much for Theory, even when though Theory definitely put on a good show and went down with plenty of fight.
This Guy? This Match?
So everything I said about the subjectivity of these ladder matches still holds true. Keep that in mind while reading the following: The men’s Money in the Bank match was pretty damn disappointing. For starters, they added an eighth man to the proceedings, Theory, and of course there’s Omos. The big man finally got some new ring gear but his presence alone threw everything off for the match. So much so that they buried him under ladders for a good portion of the bout.
But even with him out of the picture, the match felt clunky. Riddle brought his A game, which included a Floating Bro from the top of a very tall ladder onto the rest of his opponents. I say that but Sheamus took the brunt of the move, catching Riddle’s leg in the back of his neck. Thankfully, he was okay but that was a scary moment for a guy with a history of neck injuries.
But WWE telegraphed the ending as soon as the match started. The minute Theory entered as the surprise entrant, we all knew the winner. They did their best to maintain some suspense during the end, as each contestant had their shot at claiming the briefcase. But it was Theory, who basically played possum most of the match, who crept in and stole the victory from Riddle after Randy Orton’s partner did all the hard work. If that’s not a metaphor, I don’t know what is.
Theory winning, along with the match itself, gave a mostly entertaining event a weak and anticlimactic ending. I know WWE is high on this guy but of all the options at hand, the briefcase in his hands seems like the worst available one.
As a brief aside, I asked the rest of Cageside staff what is Lilly’s purpose these days? Is she a mascot? a toy for the kiddos? Branding? You know what they say about asking stupid questions...
You can all blame me for WWE telling us Lilly uses the WWE credit card and orders Alexa skates that barely fit her hands.
I enjoyed the show overall but the last two matches, Liv’s cash in not withstanding, were dismal. That said, Money in the Bank provided some exciting moments and interesting angles with SummerSlam a mere four weeks into the future.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.