5/10 WWE MONEY IN THE BANK KICK OFF SHOW: Jeff Hardy vs. Cesaro, Panel Discussions on MITB with JBL, Renee, Booker, Rosenberg, Stanford

By Mike Meyers, PWTorch contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE MONEY IN THE BANK KICKOFF REPORT
MAY 10, 2020
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY MIKE F. MEYERS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Kickoff Panel: Scott Stanford, Peter Rosenberg, Booker T, Renee Young, John “Bradshaw” Layfield

Scott and Peter were together behind a posh podium in a posh studio. Booker, Renee, and JBL were hosting remotely from their homes.

After Scott and Peter did a full-card rundown, they threw to a Strowman vs. Wyatt video package. After the video, Peter said this was the first time he was worried about Strowman’s intellectual well being against Wyatt’s mind games. Peter wasn’t sure if Strowman’s size and strength were enough to overcome Wyatt. Peter picked Wyatt to win; Scott picked Strowman.

The panel threw to Alyse Ashton, who was standing in the marble-lined lobby of WWE headquarters. She indicated that the risk would, in fact, be worth the reward. A top-ten MITB moments video package was shown – a package that would be divided up through the rest of the Kickoff programme.

The remote panel appeared briefly, where JBL brandished a samurai sword he bought in Japan in the early 1990’s. He said he brought it out to illustrate how much he believed Asuka would win the women’s MITB match.

Kayla interviewed Big E and Kofi backstage. She said the odds were not in their favor to retain the tag championships. New Day agreed that Forgotten Sons were formidable, but they do not run from a challenge. Kayla bobbed along with Big E and Kofi when they culminated with their “New Day rocks” chant. On the panel, Peter picked New Day to win. Scott picked Miz & Morrison. Scott added, “Hey hey, ho ho.”

A Tamina video package was shown. Tamina explained that she has been percieved as mean over the years, but she is merely misunderstood. Her pleasant talking-head footage was juxtaposed with clips of her demolishing opponents in the ring.

Announce Team: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

(1) JEFF HARDY vs. CESARO

Hardy entered, wearing a classic mesh shirt, baggy black pants, and green facepaint with whited-out eyelids. Cesaro entered with Zayn and Nakamura nowhere in sight.

The wrestlers tied up in the middle, but Cesaro quickly leveled Hardy with a shoulder block and a quick pin attempt. Cesaro applied a side headlock. Hardy reversed the hold but Cesaro fired him off against the ropes. This time Hardy knocked down Cesaro with a shoulder block, then again with a hip toss. Hardy hit an atomic drop and snap mared Cesaro to the mat.

Hardy rolled out to ringside and leaped at Cesaro off the steps, but Cesaro caught him in midair and dumped Hardy over the ringside barricade. Hardy made it back into the ring at the ref’s 9-count, only to be met with multiple boots from Cesaro. Cesaro landed an elbow drop to Hardy’s back, springing from the middle rope. Cesaro applied another chinlock and tried to wipe the paint from Hardy’s face.

Hardy fought out and hit Cesaro with a running forearm in the corner. He drop kicked Cesaro off the ring apron, then rolled outside. Cesaro reversed a Hardy whip-attempt, slamming Hardy ribs-first into the apron. He rolled Hardy into the ring and hit a leg drop, again springing from the middle rope. Cesaro covered for two.

Cesaro hit a series of uppercuts to Hardy, dropping Hardy to the canvas. Cesaro applied an abdominal stretch. During the hold, Cesaro unzipped Hardy’s shirt and clubbed his exposed chest. Hardy escaped the hold by hip tossing Cesaro, but an angry Cesaro sprinted at the seated Hardy and leveled him with a forearm strike. Cesaro stayed on Hardy, raining down multiple violent blows.

Cesaro hit a vertical suplex and covered Hardy for two, then applied another hard chinlock. Cesaro shouted some untillegible taunts. Hardy got to his feet and elbowed his way free, then hit a jawbreaker, stunning Cesaro against the ropes. Cesaro briefly removed his mouth guard to inspect his front teeth.

Hardy began a flurry of offense, and covered Cesaro for two after a basement drop kick. Hardy tried the Twist of Fate but Cesaro shoved him off and into the corner. Hardy knocked Cesaro away from him, then hit the Whisper in the Wind and covered for a two-count. Cesaro hit more uppercuts, but Hardy moved Cesaro into a backslide, but Cesaro broke free. Hardy hit the Twist of Fate, and Cesaro kicked out of another cover.

Hardy scooped Cesaro and halfheartedly powerslammed him in the middle of the ring. Hardy clumbed to the top rope but Cesaro ran in and landed a gut wrench suplex from the corner. Cesaro covered for a two-count. Cesaro set up for the Neutralyzer but Hardy escaped with a back body drop. Cesaro landed on his feet, however, and turned Hardy inside out with a clothesline and covered for yet another two.

On the floor, Hardy fired Cesaro knee-first into the ring steps, then leveled Cesaro with a flying clothesline off the barricade. He rolled Cesaro into the ring and landed the Swanton Bomb – finally good for the three-count.

WINNER: Jeff Hardy by pinfall.

(Meyers’s Analysis: Hardy had to win here, what with his first match back after a mutli-week video series touting his past and return. Can’t ask for a much better opponent to put him over – Cesaro is so strong and versatile. Decent match with good action, and even the alleged rest holds were done with ferocity and meaning. Cesaro was appropriately depicted as the more powerful wrestler, but Hardy overcame with high-flying flash.)

Back on the panel, Scott said that “timing is everything,” and Styles’s final entrance in the gauntlet match is what got him into the men’s MITB match. Peter reduced Styles’s seemingly fatal loss to Undertaker at Wrestlemania to “AJ having a chip on his shoulder.”

Back in WWE HQ, Alyse said the Superstars have a 10-story climb to the top of the building, and that the fight may even take the competitors into Mr. McMahon’s office. “With each floor, danger increases.” JBL wondered if the building’s keycard security measures would be deactivated to allow full access.

The panel wrapped up by discussing McIntyre vs. Rollins. Scott claimed that McIntyre has the upper hand of “momentum.” Peter indicated that no one loves Rollins more than Rollins, but that McIntyre “needs” the win more. Finally, Peter picked Jax to win the women’s MITB match; Scott picked Evans. For the men’s MITB, Peter picked Black; Scott picked Styles.

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