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WWE MONEY IN THE BANK KICKOFF SHOW REPORT
JULY 18, 2021
REPORT BY MIKE F. MEYERS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Kickoff Panel: Jerry Lawler, Booker T, Kayla Braxton, John “Bradshaw” Layfield, Peter Rosenberg, Sonya Deville
Deville joined the panel to discuss the women’s MITB match. Deville pointed out how every woman’s cash-in had been successful, and that winning the MITB match propels women into stardom. Deville recounted how she got involved in a prior MITB match to try to help Mandy Rose. She said that she put Liv Morgan to the test this year, and that’s why she put her in the match.
The panel cut to Liv who was backstage. She said she was “already in tears” listening to the panel, and that this was the biggest night of her career. When asked if she was too sure of winning, she said she was “ready and willing to risk it all.” Kayla said “We are all rooting for you,” exposing the lack of objectivity on the panel.
The panel pivoted to Charlotte vs. Ripley. Deville said that Ripley is a good person, and it’s important to consider the character of competitors. She suggested that Ripley would reach a breaking point and cease to play by the rules. Countering this, JBL said that Ripley won’t be able to “out-Flair a Flair.” Lawler said that Ripley is the champion but is also a work in progress.
The panel reviewed the Raw men’s tag team match, Viking Raiders vs. Styles and Omos. Peter couldn’t think of a solution to deal with someone the size of Omos. Lawler suggested calling the Men in Black, because “Omos is an alien.” JBL pointed out that the match was pitting “two individual superstars against a great tag team,” which was giving a lot of credit to Omos.
Regarding Kingston vs. Lashley, Peter suggested that Kingston’s strategy should be “Run.” JBL said that Lashley has “awakened,” and that it’s a scary thing. Booker agreed, and said that there’s a time to party but Lashley is now more focused. The panel unanimously picked Lashley to win.
Kayla threw to a video package from Smackdown, the first episode with live fans in over a year. The panel reveled in the return of a live audience. Miz and Morrison approached the panel to a loud crowd ovation. Peter asked Miz what advice he’d give Morrison tonight. He said Morrison didn’t need advice, but that the MITB match is a career-changer. Miz and Morrison repeatedly spoke / yelled at the same time. Morrison said he was “thirsty for that case!”
Announce Team: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
(1) THE USOS (Jimmy & Jey) vs. THE MYSTERIOS (Rey & Dominik) – Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match
The Mysterios entrance began with a prolonged timpani drumroll and a video showing the Mysterios, in suits, walking into some sort of inter-dimensional portal. We transitioned back to the arena where they made an otherwise normal-looking entrance (in ring attire, not suits).
Jimmy started off against Dominik. Dominik hit a drop kick, then a bounding springboard arm drag. He hit a standard arm drag, then applied an arm bar. Rey tagged in and the Mysterios took Jimmy down with a double hip toss, then Dominik tossed Rey onto Jimmy for a two-count cover. Jimmy carried Rey into his corner and tagged in Jey. Rey ran the ropes and drop kicked Jey, then Jey threw Rey out to the floor under the bottom rope.
Jey rolled Rey into the ring and tagged Jimmy back in who hit a diving head butt to Rey before covering for two. Jey cheap shotted Rey from the floor while Jimmy distracted the ref. Rey managed to tag Dominik who hit a springboard clothesline to Jimmy, then covered for two. Dominik took Jimmy down with a backbreaker, then launched into a springboard moonsault off the middle rope. Dominik ducked a clothesline, drop kicked Jey off the apron, then kicked Jimmy in the face, causing him to fall to the floor as well. Dominik climbed to the top rope and jumped at the Usos on the floor, but they combined forces to catch Dominik in mid-air, then flung him against the ringside barrier.
Jey sprinted at Dominik in the corner and blasted him in the face with his hip. The ref had to back Jey out of the corner after a series of blows. He scoop slammed Rey and scowled at the crowd. Jimmy tagged in and they double teamed Dominik’s groin with a wishbone maneuver. Jimmy applied a chin lock. Jimmy positioned Dominik atop the top turnbuckle, but Dominik flung Jimmy’s legs over the top rope, causing Jimmy to topple to the floor. Dominik writhed on the mat while Jimmy slowly climbed back into the ring.
Both teams made tags and Jey landed a couple shots but Rey came back with a hurricanrana. Rey landed a forearm from the apron, then hit a top-rope senton to Jey’s chest before covering for two. The two actually grappled for a few seconds before Rey rolled up Jey, but Jimmy had made a blind tag and kicked Rey in the face. Jimmy hit a pop-up Samoan drop and covered, but Rey kicked out at two.
The Usos prepared to double team Rey, but Dominik yanked Jimmy out of the ring. Rey set Jey up for the 619, but Jimmy jumped into harm’s way to absorb Rey’s blast. This allowed Jey to survive and hit a big splash from the top rope – he covered Rey for a believable near fall. This sequence led to a “This is awesome!” crowd chant. The Usos had to knock Dominik off the apron, allowing Jimmy to roll up Rey in the ring while Jey illegally used his feet on Jimmy’s back to keep Rey down for the three-count.
WINNER: The Usos by pinfall in 11:25.
(Meyers’s Analysis: High quality tag match with plenty of pizzazz. The biggest highlights were the Usos catching a diving Dominik and swinging him into the wall, and Jimmy’s perfectly-timed sacrifice during the 619 to allow Jey to continue. The latter fits in perfectly with the “family first” assertions of the Reigns group. Dominik was biting off approximately 20% more than he can chew with his flashy rope maneuvers, but still looked pretty good. Of course, the most fascinating aspect of this outcome will be how Roman Reigns will react to the Usos bringing more gold to the table – and whether they can hold onto the titles after an inevitable rematch with the Mysterios.)
The Kickoff concluded with an Edge / Reigns video package. JBL compared the match to Flair vs. Steamboat and Michaels vs. Undertaker.