SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONEY IN THE BANK
JULY 2, 2022
LAS VEGAS, NEV.
STREAM ON PEACOCK & PPV
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
-A video package aired previewing the show.
(1) ASUKA vs. BECKY LYNCH vs. ALEXA BLISS vs. SHOTZI vs. LACEY EVANS vs. LIV MORGAN vs. RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ – Women’s Money in the Bank
Asuka and Becky went at it early. A minute Rodrigues began bashing various opponents charging at her with the ladder. She pressed a ladder above her head and slammed it. A few minutes later, Becky leaped off the top rope onto a stack of women on a ladder leaning in the corner. (Inexplicably, Smith characterized that as “a veteran move” by Becky. Huh?) Bliss cleared the ring and began climbing a ladder. Raquel pulled her off the ladder. Bliss fought free and flung Raquel into the ladder in the corner.
When Lacey got an advantage for the first time, she strolled casually up the ladder, which Graves pointed out was a mistake. She was pulled down. Shotzi and Lacey then battled at the top of the ladder. Shotzi was the first woman in the match to touch the ladder. Lacey knocked her down and grabbed the case. Raquel interrupted the unlatching. Morgan climbed the ladder. Morgan sunset flipped Lacey off the ladder and powerbombed her to the mat. That looked dangerous and and high-impact.
Shotzi lifted Morgan off a ladder onto her shoulders. Shotzi seemed to lose her balance and fall backwards and sideways, sending Morgan onto the ladder as it tipped over. It looked awkward. A “Shotzi!” chant briefly broke out. Shotzi set up the ladder and climbed it. Becky met her mid-rung and knocked her down. Becky adjusted the ladder, which wasn’t quite under the ladder. It was bent and rocking unsteadily. Shotzi yanked her down by her legs. Shotzi went for a top rope senton, but Becky moved. Asuka went for a quick climb, but Raquel yanked her down. Asuka yanked Raquel off the ladder. Raquel threw Asuka out of the ring. Asuka yanked her to ringside.
Raquel yanked the lid off the announce desk and then bridged a ladder across the ring apron and the announce desk. Raquel smashed Asuka’s face on the announce desk, then lifted her for a suplex. Asuka broke free and kicked Raquel. Racquel caught her leg. Asuka broke free and leaped into an armbar on Raquel. Raquel powered out. Becky intervened. She saw Asuka lying on the bridged ladder and then looked over at a ladder set up at ringside. Fans popped and chanted “Becky!” She leaped off the ladder and sat down on Asuka’s ribcase. She dropped to the floor and sold a rib injury. It seemed like Becky might have overshot an intended senton. A “This is awesome!” chant rang out.
Back in the ring a few minute later, Becky tipped over two ladders that had women fighting on them. She then quickly climbed another, but Morgan intervened. Becky knocked the Morgan ladder over, but Morgan rebounded with her foot, knocked down Becky, and then pulled the ladder off the hook to win. Becky threw a fit at ringside as Morgan seemed genuinely moved by the moment as she celebrated.
WINNER: Liv Morgan in 17:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I absolutely didn’t expect her to win. I didn’t think there was a perfect obvious scenario in terms of who should win, so it was anyone’s game in that sense, but Morgan was at the bottom of my list in terms of where she’s been in the booking scheme and already coming up short in title matches, plus being a babyface who didn’t seem to have a momentum. But surprises can be good, especially if it’s part of a good storyline yet to play out. This certainly will factor into Becky going forward. The match itself was all-action, not always smooth, but dramatic.)
-A commercial for Summerslam aired. [c]
(2) THEORY vs. BOBBY LASHLEY – U.S. Title match
A loud “Bobby!” chant rang out at the start. Lashley overpowered Theory easily on a collar and elbow. Theory bailed out to ringside and smashed his forearms on the barricade. When Theory charged at Lashley, Lashley lifted and slammed him hard. Lashley went for a spear, but Theory saw him coming and rolled to the ring apron. Lashley grabbed him and knocked him hard off the apron to the floor. Lashley lifted Theory onto his shoulders and was going to ram Theory into the ringpost, but Theory blocked it and then kneed him in the head and rammed him into the ringpost. He followed with a nice running elbow to the chest before returning to the ring to gloat.
They battled back and forth at ringside. Theory leaped off the ring apron. Lashley went to catch him, but Theory flew over his head. Lashley recovered and then rammed Theory into the ringpost as he tried to do earlier. Back in the ring, Theory dropped to the mat and curled up into a fetal position. Lashley stopped. Graves praised the strategy. He said Lashley pausing was a sign of his maternal instinct. Lashley mounted Theory in the corner for punches, but Theory slipped free and then knocked Lashley hard to the mat with a running forearm. He scored a one count.
They battled back and forth. Theory leaped onto the top rope and then landed a superkick that showed a little light, but sent Lashley to the mat. Graves called it a glancing blow. Theory scored a two count, then flexed his bicep and grounded Lashley with a chinlock. Lashley powered Theory up a minute later and went for a Hurt Lock, but Theory broke free. Lashley overhead tossed Theory and then crashed into him in the corner twice. He then went for a suplex, but Theory slipped free and rolled to the ring apron. Theory snapped Lashley’s neck over the top rope. When he charged at Lashley, Lashley pressed him into the air and turned it into a powerslam for a near fall. The announcers sold Lashley’s sequence there in a big way.
Theory took over and scored a near fall after a dropkick. Theory lifted Lashley for his finisher, but Lashley powered out and rolled up Theory for a near fall. Theory raked Lashley’s eyes and then speared him. He set up his finisher again, but Lashley slipped free and applied a Hurt Lock for the tapout win. Lashley was bleeding from his mouth as he celebrated his win.
WINNER: Lashley in 11:00 to capture the U.S. Title. (***)
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. Both wrestlers played their roles really well. Theory is on a course to being a top tier player for WWE. Lashley’s clean win secures his top tier main event stature.)
-Sarah Schreiber interviewed Morgan backstage in the ring set. She was still selling her emotional reaction. Morgan said he contract gives her a chance to cash in anytime over the next year. She said she doesn’t want to mess it up because she’s never wanted anything more than to be a champion. She wants to celebrate for now, though. [c]
-They went to the announcers who recapped the outcomes of the first two matches.
(3) BIANCA BELAIR vs. CARMELLA – Raw Title match
Carmella got control early. Belair made a comeback, but Carmella slapped her and went for a head scissors. Belair gave Carmella two backbreakers instead. (I learned Smith thinks “undoubtedly” end in “-bly.”) Belair went for a moonsault, but Carmella moved. Belair charged at Carmella at ringside and knocked her down.
A few minutes later, Belair marched in place mid-suplex and then dropped Carmella to the mat. She mounted Carmella in the corner and then flipped to the mat and punched her. Carmella took a nice bump. “She’s not even on my dental insurance yet!” Graves exclaimed. Carmella surprised Belair with a small package for a two count. She followed up with a superkick for a two count. Belair fired back with a punch and a quick K.O.D. for the win.
WINNER: Belair in 6:00 to retain the Raw Title. (*3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: That was quick, but good while it lasted. I like the strong win being booked for Belair, especially against an opponent who was filling in for an injured Rhea Ripley and wasn’t built up much before this match. It keeps Belair strong as a lead babyface champion.)
-Carmella attacked Belair during her post-match celebration. Smith called it disgusting. Graves said it’s called making a point so everybody is still talking about her. Saxton said it was Carmella way of coping with just not being at Belair’s level on this night. Carmella walked to ringside and yelled back at Belair and called the cheapest and tackiest and laziest and then blew her a kiss.
(Keller’s Analysis: The post-match attack felt unnecessary. It was probably to set up a TV rematch that Belair will also win, but it took away from Belair just achieving a statement win.)
-A commercial hyped upcoming live event dates through November with 41 new events on sale on July 15.
-A Summerslam commercial aired.
-They went to the announcers who threw to Logan Paul’s announcement that he’s signed a contract with WWE. Graves said it’s made headlines everywhere. Then a clip aired of Logan signing his WWE contract. He said he didn’t sign it to team up with The Miz, but rather he signed it so he can beat The Miz’s ass at Summerslam.
-Smith said Miz will respond to Logan on Raw on Monday.
-They cut to a clip from earlier in the day with Bliss walking into her locker room. She saw Lilly had bought a bunch of a new clothes and asked how she bought it all. She then saw the “WWE Visa Card” and said that’s obviously how she paid for it. Fans audibly groaned at this being a commercial. Bliss opened a small box that had tiny roller skates in it. She said she appreciated it, but next time buy them in her size. Scattered groans and boos from fans.
(4) THE USOS vs. THE STREET PROFITS (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) – WWE Undisputed Tag Team title match
The Usos made their ring entrance first and did some mic work with their catch phrases. Cole again brought rumors that the Profits haven’t been getting along, so they’re definitely planting seeds for that to culminate in something. Dawkins and Ford took turns controlling the offense early. The Usos came back with a double slam of Dawkins. Jimmy gloated a bit, then knocked Dawkins to the floor and dove through the ropes at him.
Dawkins eventually leaped and hot-tagged Ford just as Jimmy also hot-tagged in Jey. Ford leaped off the top rope, but Jey caught him mid-air with a sidekick for a two count. The Usos stayed in control against Ford. Jimmy knocked Ford out of mid-air on a springboard a few minutes later Ford came back with a suplex on the ring apron. Ford leaped and hot-tagged Dawkins, then landed a running flip dive on the Usos at ringside. Back in the ring, Dawkins continues to rally against Jimmy. He landed a corkscrew neckbreaker for a near fall. The Profits landed a double-team move on Jimmy for a dramatic believable near fall. Cole said Ford looked frustrated.
Jimmy ducked an enzuigiri, then tagged in Jey. Ford landed a top rope blockbuster on Jey off of Dawkins’ shoulders for a believable, dramatic near fall. They set up another top rope tandem move on Jey, but Jimmy intervened. They hit a quick stereo superkick on Ford for a dramatic near fall. Fans popped for the kickout. Cole predicted “an hour Broadway here in Vegas.”
Ford head scissors Jimmy to the floor and then backdropped Jey to the floor. He then landed a running flip dive over the corner ringpost onto both Usos. He showed fire afterward and then threw Jey back into the ring. He tagged in Dawkins, who sidewalk slammed Jey. Ford landed a top rope frog splash. Jimmy broke up the cover. Cole said he declared last night this match would steal the show.
As Jimmy and Dawkins fought at ringside, Jey lifted Ford. Ford slipped out and went into a strange sequence with Jey. Jimmy and Jey double-teamed Ford with a leaping cutter for the win. Cole raved about the match. McAfee said that was one of the better matches he’s had the privilege to call. Graves said it was what the kids called a “banger.”
WINNER: The Usos in 23:00 to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles. (****)
-After the Usos had made their way to the stage, Dawkins noted that he saw Ford’s shoulder was raised on the third count. They replayed the angle that showed Ford’s right should was raised off the mat as Jey wrapped him up on the cover. Both Ford and Dawkins pointed at their shoulders to indicate it was a blown call by the ref.
(Keller’s Analysis: This took a long while to get really rolling past the Usos methodically dominating Dawkins for a while and then Ford for a while, but once it did, it was really good. They had the crowd popping for the big spots and near falls. This did feel like WWE deliberately achieving an elevation of the importance of the tag titles plus an elevation of the Profits, in particular Ford, whom they noted has “put on 20 pounds of muscle.”) [c]
(5) RONDA ROUSEY vs. NATALYA – Smackdown Title match
Natalya came out first. During ring entrances, McAfee said there was a sign for Natalya in the crowd, but he thinks it’s the only one. Cole said Natalya said she never charged Rousey to train her, but she’ll pay her dues tonight. Natlaya slapped Rousey and called her a “stupid bitch.” McAfee said they’ve said terrible things about each other on the Internet and in real life. He said they’re two alphas.
Natalya dominated for several minutes. Rousey hip tossed Natalya, but Natalya rolled over and controlled Rousey’s arm. Rousey countered into an abdominal stretch. Natalya countered that. Rousey countered into a cross armbreaker attempt. Natalya broke free and hit a running clothesline. Rousey countered a discus clothesline and judo threw her. Rousey followed with a knee strike in the corner and a chin to the throat. She lifted Natalya onto her shoulders and set up Piper’s Pit, but Natalya broke free and rolled up Rousey. Rousey rolled out of it, but then Natalya went for a cross armbreaker. Rousey held her wrist with her other hand a broke free to counter it. Rousey then applied a Sharpshooter. Natalya crawled over to the bottom rope to force a break.
Natalya propelled Rousey out of the ring to counter Rousey’s next move. Cole said Rousey landed awkwardly on her knee. Natalya went after her with a sharpshooter on the ring apron. Rousey tried to drop down, but Natalya held on. Rousey countered by twisting Natalya and knocking the back of her head into the ringpost. Natalya crumpled to the floor. The ref reached the count of eight before Natalya rolled back into the ring.
Rousey went for a cross armbreaker, but Natalya slipped out and went for a sharpshooter. Rousey slipped free and went right into an anklelock. Natalya crawled toward the bottom rope, but Rousey held on. Rousey rolled out of it and leveraged Rousey’s shoulders down. Rousey then applied an armbar while Natalya was standing. She wrapped her legs around her neck also. Natalya tapped out.
WINNER: Rousey to retain the Smackdown Title. (**1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: Rousey’s matches are still different from most because of her actual background and the desire to have work her work in a way that stays true to that. These two trained together and put a nice match together that incorporated the personal heat generated on TV and on social media. The crowd didn’t react a ton most of the way, but that’s a mix of Rousey’s style, Natalya not being an established main event act, and the lack of highspots that typically spark pops. Still, a solid match.)
-Liv Morgan ran out and cashed in the briefcase.
(6) RONDA ROUSEY vs. LIV MORGAN – Smackdown Title match
Liv excitedly charged at Rousey as soon as the bell rang. Rousey blocked her and applied an anklelock. Cole said she might have been overzealous. Liv kicked Rousey’s bad knee and rolled her up for the three count. Rousey stood and offered the belt to Morgan. She hugged her and congratulated her before leaving. As Morgan celebrated, a “You deserve it!” chant rang out.
WINNER: Morgan in 1:00 to win the Smackdown Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s hard to feel too proud of Morgan winning against someone who just had a grueling match and an injured knee, but within WWE, she’s earned that advantage by winning a grueling MITB match. Rousey accepted that loss a lot better than she did her UFC losses. Is this a way to get Rousey off the road for a while? Having Rousey lose via the MITB cash-in “protects” Rousey in the sense that she didn’t lose her title in a regular match.)
-A commercial aired for NXT’s “Great American Bash” special.
-A video package aired on Drew McIntyre.
-Cole hyped Summerslam’s Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar main event. A video package aired on that match.
(7) DREW MCINTYRE vs. SETH ROLLINS vs. MADCAP MOSS vs. SHEAMUS vs. OMOS (w/MVP) vs. SAMI ZAYN vs. RIDDLE vs. THEORY – Men’s Money in the Bank match
After each wrestler got a ring entrance, Adam Pearce walked out and said it’s been a great night so far, so how about making it better by adding to it. He said, “I will see your seven competitors and raise you one more!” He announced Theory had been added. “You’ve got to be kidding me?” said Cole. The wrestlers in the ring acted stunned and disturbed, pacing around and looking at each other. McAfee said there always seems to be a power behind theory who wants to see him succeed.
Omos knocked everyone around early. McIntyre landed a Claymore, though, to knock Omos to the floor. McIntyre set up the first mid-ring ladder and climbed. Sheamus yanked him down and threw him to ringside. Sheamus climbed, but Drew yanked him off. They shoved each other and punched each other. Theory, meanwhile, snuck up the ladder. Cole called him “sneaky.” Sheamus and Drew noticed and yanked him down and worked together in chopping him down. Theory fell to the floor. Sheamus and Drew then went back to hitting each other.
Seth returned to the ring and hit Drew and Sheamus with a ladder. Cole called Seth “wily.” Seth threw the ladder at Drew and Sheamus on the floor. Riddle re-entered the ring and battled Seth. Seth set up a Pedigree on a ladder, but Riddle backdropped out of it. Riddle then landed a running Bro-ton. Sami returned to the ring and set up a ladder and climbed it quickly. Moss yanked him down. Sami used a drop toe hold to send Moss into a ladder. Cole said Sami would really be in the good graces of The Bloodline if he won the briefcase. McAfee said that’s because Sami would sit on the contract. Cole said he’d sit on it for a full year, assuming Reigns could get past Brock at Summerslam.
As Moss kicked away at Sami, Cole called him a rising star. Moss threw Sami into a ladder leading in the corner of the ring. Moss set up a ladder mid-ring and began to climb it. Riddle climbed the other side. Omos returned to the ring and yanked Moss and then Riddle down. Theory dove off the top rope at Omos, but Omos caught him and chokeslammed him. Theory rolled to the floor. Omos yelled and then set up the ladder. Cole said he’d just waltz up the ladder and grab the contract. Moss tried to tip the ladder over. He struggled. Drew joined in and it worked. They clotheslined Omos over the top rope. He landed on his feet. Sheamus and Riddle attacked Omos at ringside with ladders. Omos finally went down. They began throwing ladders on top of him.
Everyone except Omos then entered the ring and climbed two ladders mid-ring. They met at the top. Theory knocked everyone down. Moss yanked him down and gave him a fallaway slam into the corner. McAfee said everyone would be sick to their stomach if Theory won. Moss climbed the ladder, but noticed Sami on the top rope. He knocked him down and then rammed him with the ladder. Sami leaped over Moss and quickly scurried up the ladder. Moss powerbombed him off the ladder onto a ladder bridged across the bottom rope in the corner. Yikes. Referees checked on Sami immediately.
Drew and Moss battled on the top of the ladder next. Drew knocked Moss down with a headbutt. Drew nearly unfastened it, but Sheamus intervened. He gave Drew a White Noise. Riddle ran in and attacked Sheamus. Cole called Riddle “the sentimental favorite.” Sheamus gave Riddle an Irish Curse backbreaker next. Riddle came back with an RKO on Sheamus. Drew went after Riddle, but Riddle countered with a kneelift. Riddle fended off Moss, too, and then did a kip up. He gave Seth a snap powerslam, Orton-style. He climbed a ladder, but it was nowhere near the briefcase. Instead, he leaped off of it with a Floating Bro onto a crowd underneath him that he trusted were there waiting. Fans chanted “Holy shit!” McAfee said the crowd was describing it better than they could.
Omos re-entered the ring, “making his way out of the rubble,” as Cole characterized it. He tossed wrestlers out of the ring and then looked up at the briefcase. Riddle leaped on his back. Cole said you have to admire the fight in Riddle. He applied a sleeper, but Omos flipped Riddle off of him. Theory climbed the ladder, trying to go unnoticed. Omos noticed and gave him a throat slam. Riddle recovered and put him in an armbar while hanging from the top rope. Moss dumped them both to the floor as if it were a battle royal. Seth gave Omos a running stomp on the ring apron. With Seth’s encouragement, everyone else lifted Omos and pressed him in the air and then tossed him on the announce desk. “Holy shit!” chanted the crowd. McAfee said, “What they’re saying! We’ll be watching that for years.”
The wrestlers who just worked together returned to fighting each other. Sami set up a ladder, meanwhile, and climbed it. Drew yanked him down and threw him into the ladder, knocking it over. Sheamus threw a ladder at Drew, knocking him down. Drew came back seconds later with a Future Shock DDT. Drew put Sheamus under the ladder and climbed it. Butch ran out and leaped onto Drew’s back. Drew stepped down from the ladder under Butch’s weight. Sheamus gave Drew a knee to the jaw, breaking up the sleeper by Butch, but also knocking Drew down. Sheamus put the ladder’s bottom rung over Drew’s throat and climbed it. Cole said there was no one to stop Sheamus. Sheamus grabbed onto the case, but Drew pressed the ladder and knocked Sheamus off balance. Sheajus dropped to the mat. Drew gave Butch a Claymore, then kipped up. He played to the crowd, then set up the ladder again.
Drew climbed the ladder. Cole said it’ll be his night, but then Sheamus intervened. They climbed the ladder and battled. Sami knocked it over. Drew and Sheamus crashed onto a ladder in the corner. Sami climbed a ladder. Cole called him a stooge. Sami was about to unhook it, but Moss knocked him down. Seth then tipped the ladder. Moss bumped awkwardly onto the ropes. Seth gave Moss a Stomp. Moss rolled to the floor. Seth set up the ladder a little off-center and climbed it. Riddle knocked him down with a taller ladder, then set it up and climbed it. Seth and Riddle battled on separate ladders. Seth knocked Riddle down. Seth reached for the briefcase, but Riddle met him at the top again. Riddle gave Seth an RKO off the top of the ladder. “Are you kidding me!” exclaimed Cole. McAfee asked how you survive that. Cole said, “I don’t think you do.”
Riddle climbed the ladder again. Theory returned to the ring and climbed the same ladder. Cole said Theory was gifted the opportunity, “we assume by Mr. McMahon tonight.” Theory knocked Riddle down and then grabbed onto the briefcase and unhooked it.
WINNER: Theory in 25:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Okay, so the match was really well-executed, well laid out, and dramatic. The finish, though, makes fans feel like suckers for investing a ton of analysis and speculation into who would win among those who qualified. The arbitrariness of Theory being added and then winning feels like a murder mystery that ends with someone who wasn’t a suspect or really involved in the story throughout the book suddenly showing up at the end as the murderer. It feels cheap.)