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KELLER’S WWE MONEY IN THE BANK PPV REPORT
MAY 10, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER
STAMFORD, CONN. AT WWE HEADQUARTERS
STREAMED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
Raw Match Announcers: Michael Cole & Corey Graves
Raw Match Announcers: Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe, Byron Saxton
(1) NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E) vs. LUCHA HOUSE PARTY (Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik) vs. MIZ & MORRISON vs. FORGOTTEN SONS (Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake w/Jaxson Ryker) – Fatal Four-Way Rules for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Title match
Metalik had a wild Psicosis/Juventud Guererra look going with his hair. Cole mentioned he thought Juventud joined Lucha House Party. A few minutes in, Metalik and Morrison stood on the top rope and battled, eventually leaping onto a crowd of the rest of the wrestlers at ringside in a cool spot. Ryker yanked Metalik off the top rope. Forgotten Sons took over on LHP for a while. Metalik came back with a tornado DDT, then tagged in Dorado, who rallied against newly-tagged-in Morrison. Miz interfered to break up Dorado’s cover.
Chaos broke out. Miz blind-tagged in, took control on Big E, and then Morrison tagged in and hit Starship Pain on Big E for a near fall, with other wrestlers breaking up the cover. LHP rallied against Big, with Cutler and Blake breaking up the cover. Big E backdropped Blake and Cutler over the to rope, then launched Kofi over the top rope onto Blake. Cutler threw Kofi into the ringpost. The ref kicked Ryker from ringside after he yanked on the top rope from ringside, sending Big E tumbling to the floor. Ryker threw a big fit, banging on the ring apron. Graves complained about referee overreaching. Cole agreed since it is a no-DQ match (which is a ridiculous rule for this match-format). Dorado dove onto a crowd at ringside and everyone was on their backs at ringside. Seconds later, back in the ring, Big E gave Metalik a Big Ending for the 1-2-3.
WINNERS: New Day in 12:00 to retain the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships.
(Keller’s Analysis: A lot of good athleticism start to finish. Good pace. Good clean win for New Day. I wouldn’t have been disappointed if they had told a better story about LHP finding a new level and had this be a crowning moment to christen them truly above the lower card status they’ve had. They’ve looked really good in the ring lately.)
-A commercial aired for the Undertaker special premiering on WWE Network after the PPV.
(2) R-TRUTH vs. BOBBY LASHLEY
R-Truth sang an extended version of his “What’s Up?!” entrance song. He pretended the crowd was reacting to him. MVP, his scheduled opponent, came out to his music. MVP complained that Truth was trying to teach him how to ball. As they were about to wrestle, Bobby Lashley walked out unplanned. Lashley told MVP to take the night out. MVP said, “That’s what’s up?” to Truth and left. Truth tried to leave, but Lashley stopped him. Truth asked why MVP gets the night off. He extended his arms and spun around and slapped Lashley, perhaps not on accident. Lashley went after Truth aggressively at the start. Joe said the only thing that seems to have stopped Lashley in the past is himself, but he’s on a new level lately. Truth came back with an attempted scissors kick, but Lashley avoided him and landed a spear for the win.
WINNER: Lashley in 2:00.
-They aired a message about WWE participating with other sports leagues in a COVID-19 charity.
-A pre-taped selfie promo aired with King Corbin speaking about competing in WWE Money in the Bank later. He closed by saying the risk will be worth the reward when everyone has to refer to him as King Money in the Bank. He put on his crown.
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Bayley and Sasha as they were about to enter onto the stage. Sasha rolled her eyes and Bayley tried to blow her off. Kayla said Sasha’s unsuccessful attempt to neutralize Lacey led to Tamina pinning Bayley. She asked Sasha if Bayley blamed her. Before Sasha could talk, Bayley lashed out and said she can see what she’s trying to do. She said she is the most dominant Women’s Champion and she doesn’t blame anyone. Sasha stood by and listened. Cole said it would have been nice if Bayley let Sasha talk. Unfortunately for Cole’s point, Bayley walked away and left Sasha alone with Kayla, and Sasha chose not to talk. That said, Sasha’s body language was ambiguous over whether what Bayley said was the truth.
(Keller’s Analysis: They’re definitely slowly building the idea of tension between Bayley and Sasha, with Sasha the sympathetic figure and Bayley the domineering hot-head.)
(3) BAYLEY (w/Sasha) vs. TAMINA – WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion
During formal ring introductions, Bayley and Sasha booed after Tamina was introduced. Sasha cheered when Bayley was introduced. Cole sarcastically said that was very mature of them. Bayley took control a couple mintes in and yanked Tamina’s leg around the ringpost. Bayley took control a couple minutes in, yanking Tamina’s leg around the ringpost. She methodically attacked Tamina’s leg for a while. Tamina made a comeback and splashed Bayley in the corner. She then went for a superkick, but Bayley countered into a kneebar. Tamina yelled in pain and rolled toward the bottom rope, eventually forcing a break. Bayley shifted to going after Tamina’s head. Bayley got a bottle of water from the announce desk, took a sip, then splashed the water in Tamina’s face That woke up Tamina, who grabbed Bayley but her throat and then clotheslined her at ringside. Tamina threw Bayley into the ringside barricade a ladder at ringside next. Tamina kicked Bayley off the ring apron. Bayley lay flat on her back as Cole explained that a countout wouldn’t help Tamina win the title. Tamina rallied including hitting a Samoan Drop. Sasha slid into the ring to distract Tamina. Tamina went after her. Sasha ran away but then basically waited for Tamina to catch her and grab her legs. That looked weird. Bayley then grabbed a distracted Tamina and leveraged her shoulders down for the three count.
WINNER: Bayley in 11:00 to retain the WWE Smackdown Women’s Title.
-After the match, Tamina lifted Bayley for another Samoan Drop, but Sasha clipped her legs from behind. Sasha then presented Bayley with the title belt. They celebrated together. Cole called it a “a very game effort” by Tamina. Bayley and Sasha gloated nor the announcers, although there was more social spacing then in past weeks when wrestlers did this. Graves laughed and said Cole looked so scared there.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was just fine action-wise.)
-A commercial aired for Total Bellas.
-A PSA aired with Titus O’Neal talking about helping hungry kids.
-A promo aired with Seth Rollins who talked about facing Drew for the WWE Title. He said Drew knows who he is and knows what he is capable of. He said deep down in his heart, Drew understands it is his destiny to defeat him tonight to become the WWE Champion. He said in spite of all Drew knows and understands, he’s still willing to step into the fire with him. “I admire that courage so much,” he said. He promised to do Drew the favor of his life tonight and unburden him of the pressure of being champion. “This is not his industry, not his company, not his show to lead into the future,” he said. “That duty is mine. It is my cross to bear.” He said they need him to be champion and he needs to be the Monday Night Messiah.
-They went to Graves and Cole at the announce desk. They hyped the Undertaker documentary. Graves compared it to the Michael Jordan documentary. Cole said it’s three years in the making, and “Undertaker Mark Caloway” for the first time gave WWE full access to him. Col said part one gave him goosebumps and is absolutely incredible. Then they shifted to Braun Strowman-Bray Wyatt hype.
(4) BRAUN STROWMAN vs. BRAY WYATT – WWE Universal Title match
Bray came out and smiled and told the announcers, “You guys are doing a good job – no matter what anyone else says.” He waved to the imaginary crowd in the stands and waited for Braun to walk out. Braun shoved Bray at the start and said the time for talking is over. Bray smiled and said someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. Braun knocked Bray down and roared. Bray leaned in the corner and caught his breath and acknowledged Brau is strong. Braun told him he’s not the same person he used to be. Graves said Bray seems to be deriving some sick pleasure from this. Bray surged with a rapid-fire attack on Braun, but Braun should-tackled him down. Bray wears black jeans and a red sweater that is neither flattering nor intimidating looking at all. Braun threw Bray to the floor. Braun charged, but Bray side-stepped him and threw Braun into the announce table. Cole and Graves fled the scene.
Huskus the Pig showed up at ringside and cheered on Bray. Bray threw Braun back into the ring and delivered a hard clothesline for a soft two count. Bray landed a quick senton. Braun rolled to the floor. Bray leaned upside down in the corner. Graves said he’s taking a trip somewhere else in his mind. Bray gave Strowman a tornado DDT out of the corner, then delivered Sister Abigail for a near fall. Bray set up a second Sister Abigail, but paused. Braun countered with a quick chokeslam. Both were down. Cole said there’s an internal struggle going on with Bray during the match. Braun threw Bray to the floor and tried another charge, this time connecting and checking Bray hard into the boards. Bray recovered in the ring. Braun suddenly stood up at ringside wearing the black sheep mask. Bray got emotional and cried in joy on his knees saying that Braun is back. “Do you understand what this means, brother?” he asked. “I promise you, this time, this time everything will be perfect.” Braun dropped down to hug Bray. Bray stood and extended his arms and laughed maniacally. Braun stood again, still in the black sheep mask, and they hugged. The ref wondered what was going on. The other puppets showed up at ringside and congratulated Bray for doing it. Braun, though, shoved Bray in the chest, removed the mask, and stared at Bray. Bray got worried and assessed whether Braun was really back with him. “Trust me,” he said. Braun stomped on the mask. Bray told him to listen to him. Braun, instead, gave Bray a running powerslam for the win.
WINNER: Braun in 11:00 to retain the Universal Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not an entirely unpredictable sequence there. It’s becoming more clear over time that without a crowd, the wrestlers who can work smooth and steady with flashy highspots works much better than larger lumbering wrestlers. Also, the last minute or two shoed have been paced quicker, as the milking of the moment went on a little too long and it just felt like it dragged without a crowd reacting to the cadence.)
-As Braun celebrated his win the stage, they showed a close-up of Bray looking sinister. Then some images of The Fiend showed up. That’s foreshadowing.
-The mysterious hooded hacker showed up and said he is everywhere and sees everyone. He said he hears everything and is the truth and no one is safe. They showed him from behind looking at his wall of video screens, all featuring WWE wrestlers talking on camera. “The Truth Will Be Heard!” he said.
-A commercial aired for the FS1 airing of WrestleMania 3 on Tuesday.
-A video package aired on the Drew vs. Seth match.
(5) DREW MCINTYRE vs. SETH ROLLINS – WWE Title match
Seth made his ring entrance with new entrance theme that’s a better fit for his heel character. Phillips plugged WWE Backlash on June 14. Drew then made his ring entrance, trash-talking and taunting Seth on his way to the ring with the belt wrapped round his waist. They did formal ring introductions for each wrestler. (This is another tradition to reconsider, at least with the cadence they use. It’s the most stark reminder all show of having no crowd when the ring announcer pauses after announcing their names and it’s just dead silence. Why not just more quickly introduce both without pauses?)
A couple minutes in, Drew knocked Seth to the floor. Drew leaned down and told Seth to take his time and catch his breath if he wants, because he’s enjoying every moment of this. (It’s worth noting that the camera people at ringside are not wearing masks.) A couple minutes later Seth threw Drew shoulder-first into the ringpost. He landed a slingblade back in the ring, then settled into a single leg Boston crab.
Seth flew at Drew at ringside with several flying knees. On another dive through the ropes, Drew caught him and overhead tossed him onto the announce table. Drew tossed Seth around back in the ring, then signaled for a Claymore. Seth rolled to the floor. Seth took over and landed some near falls including after a top rope frog splash. Seth retrieved a chair at ringside. The ref warned Seth that he would DQ him if he used it. Seth thought it over and threw it to the floor. Seth went for a Stomp, but Drew side-stepped him and headbutted him. When Drew climbed to the top rope, Seth knocked him off balance and went for a superplex. Drew headbutted Seth, but Seth came back with a top rope superplex anyway. Seth then landed a falcon arrow for a two count.
A couple minutes later, Drew took over again, but Seth knocked him off balance on the top rope. Drew fell backwards while his legs were on the top rope. Seth stood on Drew’s knee, but Drew sat up and back suplexed Seth hard off the top rope. Nice spot. “How in the world did Drew McIntyre pull that off?” exclaimed Phillips. Drew counted down for a Claymore Kick. Seth countered Drew’s charge with a superkick. Then Seth landed a Stomp for a near fall. Seth waited for Drew to stand, then went for another Stomp. As Seth charged, though, Drew gave him a Glasgow Kiss followed by a Claymore Kick for the 1-2-3.
WINNER: McIntyre in 20:00 to retain the WWE Title.
-After the match, Drew waited for Seth to stand and offered a handshake when Seth stood. Seth actually shook his hand. Byron said that says a lot about Drew that he would shake Seth’s hand like that. Phillips said it shows he’s a leader.
(Keller’s Analysis: A really good match. Considering the setting, they built drama and had a nice pace that filled the 20 minutes successfully. It goes without say the match would have been several levels better with a crowd reacting to everything they did.)
-Charly Caruso approached R-Truth backstage. Truth winced and said Lashley is a tough opponent. Truth said he doesn’t want to be lonely, he wants his baby back as he admired a picture of him with the 24/7 Title belt. He said he’s going to sack Tom Brady and take back his 24/7 Championship. Charly said, “Tom Brady? He means Rob Gronkowski.”
-A commercial hyped Becky Lynch on Raw tomorrow night.
-A commercial hyped the Undertaker special up next.
-Cole and Graves again plugged the special.
(6 & 7) DUAL MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCHES
They aired ring introductions at just before 9 ET, so expect this to go long unless the show ends up being much shorter than average. They alternated between men and women being introduced. The women walked out one at a time into the elevator lobby to abbreviated entrance themes. The men walked out one at a time in the corporate gym. Then men stood in a circle waiting for the bell to sound. When the bell sounded, they began to brawl. Asuka leaped off of the second floor balcony onto the crowd of women below in the lobby near the elevators. The group of women caught her. Asuka was the first to stand. She danced in an over-the-top way, then pushed the elevator door button. She got inside. They showed the view from inside the elevator as she entered and then the view from outside the elevator after she entered. The view from the outside clearly showed there was no camera visible inside, so how did they film her entering? In other words, an early indication that “realism” and a sense of this being filmed live and on the fly was not a priority. The women got up and ran for the steps to try catch up with Asuka. They played movie score style music in the background as the fight was going. Actually, it sounds more like the music they play during challenges on the CBS reality show “Survivor.”
Corbin threw a barbell into the mirror. Corbin looked worried about having seven years of bad luck as a result or just being fined by Vince McMahon. Otis put a bar with heavy weights on top of Styles who acted like he was stuck under the bar, gasping for breath, even though there was visible air space to wiggle free. Otis chased Black into the bathroom. There was a flushing noise. Brother Love stepped out of a bathroom stall and was all smiles. He told Rey, who just ran into the bathroom at that moment, “I love you.” Brother Love washed his hands. (You knew there’d be a toilet flush.) Otis, Black, and Corbin brawled into an elevator. Rey saw the elevator door close and ran for the steps. Back to the women, they waited outside the elevator door. Then they began fighting. Asuka snuck out of the elevator and ran for the steps. Black snuck away from the men fighting as Bryan tied up Corbin in some ropes in a wrestling ring display and threw a series of Yes Kicks as Otis cheered. Bryan then attacked Otis with a barrage of kicks. Bryan looked around. Clown music played. Then a “new generation” Doink the Clown popped up behind a desk chair and looked sinister. (Not that anyone thought this was live, but playing the clown circus music before Doink revealed himself from behind the chair gave away how produced in advance it all is.)
Baszler and Nia Jax faced off in a conference room. There was no play-by-play during this portion. Dana Brooke pulled down a clear plastic Money in the Bank briefcase filled with cash and acted like she won. Stephanie McMahon appeared and said that’s not the real MITB briefcase, and that she was in the MITB conference room. She asked Dana to clean up because Nia was drooling all over the place. “That’s gross,” she said. (Stephanie seemed way too self-assured that her contribution here was funny, and it wasn’t.) Carmella bashed a framed poster over Dana’s head, then moonwalked out of the room. Lacey then punched out Carmella and ran toward some stairs.
Styles turned a corner and found a poster of Rey Mysterio in the hallway. Styles said he was going to find Rey. He tried to unlock various doors, but suddenly noticed a poster of Undertaker. Styles acted spooked and froze in place for a while. Styles finally went back to looking for Rey. “Where are you?” he sang. He entered a room filled with blue fog. They showed clips of the Boneyard match, as if we were seeing flashbacks running through Styles’ head. Styles again looked spooked. He closed the door and said, “No way! No way!” Black kicked him and knocked him down next to the casket, then closed the door. Styles yelled, “No!”
The music changed to jazz club as Paul Heyman was feasting on a buffet of food. The men and women then crossed paths. They yelled at each other. Heyman began to introduce himself. Otis grabbed a sandwich and got orgasmic and yelled, “Food fight!” He threw food into Heyman’s face. Heyman’s face was covered in rice. Everyone froze, then fought. Baszler put Rey in a Kirafuda Clutch. Jax and Otis charged at each other and collided, with Rey between them. Rey went down. Bryan and Black fought out of the room as the ref threw food at each other. Jax grabbed Dana and threw her into a soda machine. Jax powerbombed Carmella through a table. Otis marched into the cafeteria. “Oh yeah!” he yelled. He began grabbed food, including admiring a pie. Former WWE General Manager John Laurinaitis rode up in an motorized scooter. Otis threw the pie in his face.
Lounge music played next in a kitchen area where a guy was mopping. Asuka yelled at him, then used the mop as a weapon against her opponents who had caught up with er. Dana ran and slipped and fell backwards and hit her head-on the floor. Baszler caught up with Asuka. Jax threw Baszler into a wall. Asuka ran away again. They’re 15 minutes in at this point.
Styles finally showed up again, apparently escaping the Undertaker theme room, and battled Bryan. They fought into Vince McMauon’s office. Vince was sitting at his desk. They both stopped fighting. Vince stood up, acted perturbed, and ordered then out. Styles and Bryan both acted intimidated and paused fighting and left. They showed Vince putting hand sanitizer on and then he turned his chair around and began writing on a yellow legal pad. Styles told Bryan he was a coward. Bryan told Styles he’s the one who said they should put the chairs back in place. They began fighting again. Corbin entered the fray and knocked them both down, then announced, “I’m going to the roof!” A drone shot showed the roof all set up with ladders surrounding a wrestling ring.
Jax and Asuka battled onto the roof and in the ring. Hard rock music played at this point. Jax climbed the ladder. Asuka yanked her down. Lacey entered next. Asuka hit Jax with the ladder. Asuka and Lacey climbed the ladder. Asuka elbowed Lacey off the ladder, and she landed on Jax. Asuka climbed the ladder. Two MITB briefcases were hanging. Corbin ran out and met her at the top. Asuka knocked Corbin down. She unlatched the briefcase to win. Suddenly Asuka’s music played. Cole chimed in and said it is a historical moment. Asuka celebrated for a minute.
WOMEN’S WINNER: Asuka in 23:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I get the expectations to have Baszler win, but given the overall tone of this match, I think it’s better to have a more comedic figure win. Asuka can have fun with the briefcase for an extended period while Baszler can earn a title rematch the old fashioned way.)
Otis was the second man out. He stood on the ladder and the bottom rung broke, just as happened on Smackdown. Corbin then attacked him in the ring. He jabbed Otis with the ladder. Otis avoided a Corbin charge in the corner, then landed his signature Caterpillar. Black entered with a spin kick to take Otis down. Rey leaped off the top rope and landed on Otis. Rey and Black set up the ladder and climbed opposite sides of the ladder. Styles showed up and tipped the ladder over. Corbin drove Black into the edge of the ring. He then tossed Black over the edge. There was a thud a second later. The camera showed there was a lower roof area where he landed. Bryan entered the ring and battled Corbin as Otis yanked on Styles’s leg to drag him off the ladder. Styles hit a slingshot forearm. They went to a wide side view of the fight at that point showing the action on the roof and cars driving on the freeway in the background. Corbin and Styles battled on the top of the ladder. They both grabbed the briefcase at the same time. Elias showed up and hit Corbin from behind with a chair. Corbin dropped down and lost his grip. As Styles was about to celebrate, he lost his grip on the briefcase. It slipped out of his hands and dropped into the arms of Otis. Otis was announced as the winner. He stood and celebrated.
MEN’S WINNER: Otis in 29:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Sam Roberts and I talked last Tuesday on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast about the viability of a fun ongoing story if Otis won the match. I could also, though, see Styles contending he had possession of the briefcase and it the rightful winner, leading to a match between them at Backlash next month for the sole possession of the briefcase. I could also see Otis going after Sami Zayn’s IC Title with a cash-in rather than going after Braun, if Braun keeps the title. There’s a lot of possibilities with (potential) comedy if Otis carries around, say, snacks in the briefcase and misplaces the contract and Tucker has to help stay focused on the task at hand. WWE has a lot of TV time to fill, and Otis is the type of character they can utilize in unconventional ways that works without a crowd cheering or booing in a traditional sense. With the tone of this match, Styles or Corbin winning would have felt like a flat and bland finish.)
-Cole said it was quite the night as he recapped the two winners. Then he plugged the Undertaker special.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The PPV clocked in at just under two-and-a-half hours! Good idea for so many reasons, but in particular because it leaves the audience with energy and time to watch part one of the heavily-hyped and high-anticipated Undertaker special.