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LECLAIR’S WWE MONEY IN THE BANK 2022 REPORT
JULY 2, 2022
LAS VEGAS, NV AT MGM GRAND GARDEN ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON PEACOCK (U.S.), WWE NETWORK (Int.)
Announcers: Michael Cole & Pat McAfee (Smackdown), Jimmy Smith & Corey Graves & Byron Saxton (Raw)
-A Vegas themed opening video aired, narrated by “luck.” It highlighted the two Money in the Bank ladder matches, the undisputed tag team title match, and the Smackdown Women’s title match.
-Fireworks shot from all four sides of the entrance stage. A sweeping shot of the MGM Grand Garden Arena pulled back as Jimmy Smith welcomed the audience to the show. He noted that they’re sold out in Vegas in anticipation of the upcoming Money in the Bank ladder matches. He, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton talked about the statistics of past briefcase winners, including the 100% success rate on the women’s side.
-Mike Rome introduced the rules for the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match. Becky Lynch was out first. Saxton said it isn’t a big stage without Big Time Becky Lynch. The announcers discussed Lynch’s history in the match before Asuka made her entrance. The announcers tossed to a clip of Asuka winning the briefcase in 2020. Liv Morgan entered next. Graves called her the sentimental favorite. Raquel Rodriquez entered., followed by Lacey Evans. She climbed a ladder on her way to the ring. Smith said she has momentum heading into the match. Shotzi followed. Smith called her the dark horse of the match. Alexa Bliss rounded out the field, entering to a strong ovation. They showed her contract win from 2018.
(1) BECKY LYNCH vs. ASUKA vs. LIV MORGAN vs. RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ vs. LACEY EVANS vs. SHOTZI vs. ALEXA BLISS – Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder match
All seven women looked around nervously as the bell rang. Several quickly slid to the outside to retrieve ladders. Becky Lynch and Asuka were left alone in the ring. Lynch went for a quick Manhandle Slam, but Asuka blocked it. She kicked Lynch in the head. Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan entered the ring with ladders in hand. Rodriguez dropped both Lynch and Morgan and draped them over the ladders. She tried to deadlift the ladder with both women attached, but she couldn’t quite get them up.
Rodriguez brushed Morgan and Lynch off the ladder. The picked it up and drove it into Alexa Bliss’ face. Morgan and Lynch tried to work together to suplex Raquel, but Rodriguez countered and suplexed them both onto a ladder. Shotzi hit the ring and took down Alexa Bliss. Raquel came after Shotzi with a ladder. Asuka and Lacey Evans entered and joined Shotzi in driving Raquel to the corner, sandwiching her between a turnbuckle and a ladder. Lacey Evans dumped Morgan on the propped up ladder. Asuka ran in and hit a hip check on Evans. Lynch flew off the top rope with a leg drop onto all the competitors draped over the ladder. Bliss finished the sequence with a Molly-Go-Round off the top onto a waiting Lynch, Morgan, and Asuka.
Alexa Bliss was the first women to attempt a climb at the 5:00 mark. Raquel Rodriguez ripped her off the ladder, but Bliss slid down her back and hit Raquel with a number of quick knees. Bliss gave Rodriguez a hurricanrana into the corner. Asuka entered the fray and set up a ladder. She and Lacey Evans began climbing opposing ends. Becky Lynch tipped both women off. Asuka tried to kick Evans, but Lacey jumped over the leg and delivered a brutal looking elbow to the face. Evans was left alone in the ring with a ladder. She climbed it slowly, the crowd booed heavily. Shotzi pulled her down. Shotzi made a climb, but Lacey followed on the opposite side. The two battled on top of the ladder. Evans gave Shotzi a Women’s Right, sending her to the floor. Evans had the briefcase in her grasp, but Rodriguez came up from underneath her and cut her off. Raquel and Lacey battled atop the ladder. Liv Morgan climbed the opposite side. Morgan hit a sunset Powerbomb over the top of the ladder on Lacey Evans. Evans crunched awkwardly on the mat.
Rodriguez was left alone on top of the ladder. Shotzi held her leg to prevent a climb. Alexa Bliss returned. Shotzi got her into Electric Chair position, but fell backward awkwardly. Bliss fell into the ladder and took it down with her, landed hard on the corner. Bliss screamed in pain and rolled to the outside. Lynch and and Shotzi battled in the center of the ring. Lynch knocked Shotzi to the corner and repositioned the ladder to better reach the briefcase. The time it took allowed Shotzi to recover and pull Lynch to the mat. Shotzi set Becky up on a ladder. She went for a senton off the middle rope, but Lynch moved. Shotzi hit the back of her head on the ladder and grimaced.
Asuka returned, followed quickly by Raquel Rodriguez. The two spilled to the outside. Rodriguez cleared the announcers desk and propped a ladder between it and the ring. Rodriguez looked to Powerbomb Asuka through the table, but Asuka rolled through it into an Arm Bar. Rodriguez dead lifted her off the floor. Asuka rolled around her back into another hold. Lynch appeared in frame and dropkicked Raquel, sending Asuka sprawling onto the ladder. Lynch looked toward Asuka, then toward the tall ladder beside her. She climbed it and delivered a leg drop onto Asuka. Lynch overshot slightly, landing her backside across Asuka and sliding right onto her feet. She collapsed to the floor in a heap. Asuka slid off the ladder.
Rodriguez, Shotzi, Bliss, and Evans entered the ring and climbed two ladders as the match crossed 16:00. Becky Lynch climbed back in the ring and dumped Rodriguez and Evans to the floor. Becky tipped the other ladder with Shotzi and Bliss. Becky climbed the remaining ladder in the center. Liv Morgan entered and reset the ladder to the right of Becky. She climbed quickly. Lynch kicked the ladder, sending Liv tumbling toward the ropes. Liv balanced herself on the top rope and pushed the ladder back upright. She knocked Lynch off her ladder, leapt to center and climbed. Morgan unhooked and pulled down the briefcase.
WINNER: Liv Morgan in 16:38
(LeClair’s Analysis: Little bit of a surprise, there. I figured this was probably Lynch’s match to win, with Raquel Rodriguez or Lacey Evans being a dark horse. Morgan certainly has a strong following and a good underdog character. Generally, I think heels are a little more interesting carrying the briefcase, but I think they could tell an compelling story with Liv if they don’t rush into it.They’ll need to a get a bit more serious with presenting her as a legitimate threat, though. They’ve flirted with putting her in a prominent position before, but quickly backed off. The crowd seemed to be into the win, too. The match fine, though too many spots fell apart. Rodriguez was meant to come off like the big powerhouse, but she failed to lift the ladder early in the match and the crowd got on her case a bit for it. She mostly redeemed herself later with the spots with Asuka on the outside. Lynch was the star of the match, getting the big ladder spot on the outside and being the focal point of the finish, despite Morgan’s win. Decent opener, but ultimately, not very memorable.)
-The announcers threw to a video package hyping the United States Championship match.
Theory entered first. Graves said he’s brash and audacious, but he’s been able to back it up. The entrance lights went black and Bobby Lashley’s signature entrance began. Lashley received a strong reaction. Graves said he looked focused staring a hole through Theory. Theory got right in Lashley’s face. “That speaks volumes,” Corey remarked.
(2) THEORY (c) vs. BOBBY LASHLEY – WWE United States Championship match
Theory flexed at Bobby Lashley as the bell rang. The crowd opened up a big “Bobby” chant. The two men locked up, and Lashley tossed Theory across the ring with ease. Theory slid to the outside to regroup. He paced around angrily, then got back in the ring. Theory ran at Bobby. Lashley gave him a Spinebuster. Lashley set up in the corner, looking for a Spear. He charged, but Theory rolled to the outside again.
Lashley followed to the outside. He hoisted Theory onto his shoulders and tried to spin him into the ring post. Theory grabbed and held on. He slid down Lashley’s back and pushed him into the post. Theory climbed the steps and dove at Lashley. Bobby caught him, but collapsed awkwardly to a knee. He recovered and spun Theory into the ring post. The LED board flickered. Lashley tossed Theory back in the ring. Bobby set up for the Spear again. Theory collapsed into the fetal position. Lashley took pity on him for a moment, but then tossed him into the corner. Lashley mounted the middle rope for some punches, but Theory slid between his legs. He delivered a big clothesline to Lashley and covered for one.
Theory kicked Lashley repeatedly in the chest. He dragged him to his feet and give him a stiff left hand. Theory hoisted Lashley to the top turnbuckle, then leapt at him. Lashley caught him in Uranagi position, but Theory broke free with an elbow. He pulled Lashley down and drove an elbow into the shoulder. Theory applied a seated chin-lock as the match ticked toward 6:00. Lashley fought to his feet, but Theory used his body weight to force Lashley back down. “All day!” he yelled. Lashley turned and rose again, the crowd willed him on. Theory kneed Bobby in the stomach and tripped him to the mat again, wrenching the chin-lock. Lashley rose to a knee, then to his feet. He scooped Theory up, spun him around and went for the Hurt Lock. Theory slipped free.
Lashley gave Theory an overhead belly-to-belly. Theory stumbled into the corner. Lashley dropped him with a pair of short arm clotheslines. He set up for a stalling Suplex, but Theory slid down the back and rolled to the apron. He caught Lashley with a guillotine. Theory rolled back into the ring, but Lashley caught him and lifted him into a military press slam. Lashley hooked the leg for a near fall at 8:50. Bobby went for a gutwrench, but Theory landed on his feet. Theory tripped Lashley into the middle turnbuckle with a drop toe hold. Theory rolled through the apron and hit a big missile dropkick for a two count.
The crowd built toward another “Bobby” chant. Theory set up for the A-Town Down, but Lashley countered into a roll up for two. Theory popped up and hit Lashley with a Spear. He dragged the challenger to his feet and scooped him up, but Lashley slid down the back and applied the Hurt Lock. Theory tapped quickly.
WINNER: Bobby Lashley in 11:01 to win the WWE United States Championship
(LeClair’s Analysis: This one worked pretty well. Lashley dominated in the early going, with Theory playing the cowardly heel who’d oversold his abilities against the bigger, stronger challenger. I thought the opening sequencing was great, with Theory avoiding a spear first by leaving the ring, then again by falling into the fetal position. Lashley’s temporary restraint is what allowed Theory to get his first advantage of the match. The crowd was into this one completely, and it helped tremendously. Lashley received a big pop when he entered, and it carried throughout the match. Theory even got a “Theory sucks” chant, which is something you don’t hear a whole lot nowadays. Getting the title off of Theory before his program with Cena makes plenty of sense, and puts Raw’s top babyface in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the summer without a world title on Monday nights.)
-Megan Morant welcomed Liv Morgan backstage. Morgan said the possibilities for her are endless. “I really, really don’t wanna mess this up.” She said she may only get one opportunity to become champion. Liv said WrestleMania sounds good, but for now, she just wants an opportunity to celebrate.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Effective, emotional promo from Liv here. There wasn’t much to it, but her facial expression and voice sold the emotion and weight of the moment for her.)
-Jimmy Smith tossed to a video package for the Raw Women’s Championship match.
Carmella headed to the ring first. Smith said that Carmella is peaking at the right time. Graves said he and Carmella will “test the limits of Sin City” when she becomes Raw Women’s Champion. Saxton groaned in disgust. There was a long pause before Bianca Belair’s music hit, building some anticipation from the crowd. She entered to a solid reaction. Graves said that Belair is looking past her challenger. Mike Rome provided standard Championship introductions.
Smith reminded the audience that it was supposed to be Rhea Ripley in Carmella’s spot. The crowd began a modest “EST” chant.
(3) BIANCA BELAIR (c) vs. CARMELLA – Raw Women’s Championship match
Bianca Belair grabbed a waist lock on Carmella and took her down. Carmella rolled to the apron, asking for a break. Graves said there’d be so many pictures of Carmella online with the Raw Women’s title after the show. Saxton slyly suggested she buy a replica title after the show. Belair quickly backed Carmella into a turnbuckle. Carmella shot out of the corner with a quick strike elbow. Belair shook it off, scooped Carmella up and gave her a side backbreaker.
Carmella rolled to the outside again. Belair followed, cornering her. Carmella got a running start, trying to catch Belair off guard Bianca flattened her with a shoulder tackle. The two women worked their way to the apron. Carmella caught the champion with a quick kick to the face. Belair tumbled in the ring and Carmella covered her quickly for a two count. “Count faster!” ‘Mella demanded. The challenger backed Belair into the corner and elbowed her in the face repeatedly. She posed for the crowd, who booed her. Belair slumped down in the corner, so Carmella hit a Bronco Buster. She covered for another two, then transitioned into a double arm hold. Belair rolled her over into a cover for two.
‘Mella ripped Belair down by the hair as the match hit 4:45. She went for another corner Bronco Buster, but Belair shot to her feet and delivered a big clothesline. Bianca gave Carmella the Long-EST Suplex. She backed the challenger to the corner and rained down punches. Belair backflipped out of the corner after nine punches and caught Carmella with a big right hand as she stumbled out. Bianca whipped ‘Mella to the opposing corner and charged, but Carmella moved. Belair hit the turnbuckle hard. Carmella covered her for a two count. As Bianca rose to her knees, ‘Mella caught her with a Superkick and covered for a near fall.
Belair struggled to her feet. Carmella began slapping her, calling her tacky. She pushed Belair’s face. Bianca shot up, pulled Carmella onto her shoulders and delivered the K.O.D. for a cover and three count.
WINNER: Bianca Belair in 7:13 to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
Bianca Belair celebrated on the top rope. Carmella attacked her from behind, ripping her to the mat and pounding at her back. The crowd booed her heavily. Carmella laughed her way up the ramp.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Not a great match, but it was exactly what it needed to be. Carmella put up a fight, but Belair was in control for the majority of the match. When ‘Mella got cocky, Belair didn’t just get a quick win, she shot up, shrugged off Carmella’s meager attempts to get in her head, and hit her finish and pinned her emphatically. This was a necessary statement win for Belair en route to what I’d hope will be a bigger match at SummerSlam. I disliked the post-match attack, which tried to get Carmella heat back. There’s no need. This was a b-show title match that should’ve served only to put the champion over and move her onto something bigger. I get that they have TV to fill, and Carmella will likely get another title match on Raw sometime before SummerSlam, but I don’t think that’s worth giving Belair anything but a dominant win and post-match celebration here.)
-A promo aired for SummerSlam. The announcers talked up the event at Nissan Stadium. Graves talked about Logan Paul signing with WWE. They showed a clip of Miz saying they’d team up again. A clip aired of Paul claiming he wants to face Miz at SummerSlam.
-In a clip from earlier in the day, Alexa Bliss entered her locker room to find Lilly. There was a bunch of merchandise hung from a locker. Bliss asked where it all came from, then pulled out the WWE Capitol One credit card. She picked up a gift from Lilly – a tiny pair of roller skates. “Thank you, but maybe next time, ask for my size first.” The crowd booed this heavily.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Yikes. This was awful, and the crowd saw right through it. WWE has to be careful with this kind of promotion, because it can backfire against the acts they force into these awkward positions.)
-Michael Cole and Pat McAfee joined Corey Graves at the commentary table for the Unified Tag Team Championship match.
The Usos headed to the ring and grabbed microphones. Jimmy said he’s feeling lucky. He asked if he said put all his chips on black or red. Jey responded no to both. They said they’ll put all their chips on the Bloodline, then recited their “we the one’s” line with the crowd behind them. The Street Profits entered next, taking the long way through the crowd. Cole said they’re “going old school.” He mentioned that the Street Profits once held the tag team titles for 312 days.
(4) THE USOS (c, Jimmy & Jey) vs. THE STREET PROFITS (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) – Unified WWE Tag Team Championship match
Angelo Dawkins began the match with Jimmy Uso. The announcers debated whether or not the Usos could withstand the pressure placed on them by Roman Reigns. The crowd opend up a “we want the smoke” chant. Jimmy gave Dawkins a shoulder tackle then posed with his brother in the corner, drawing boos. Dawkins responded with a tackle of his own. Both men hit the ropes. Dawkins leapfrogged Jimmy, then took him down. He bounced Jey off the apron. Dawkins tagged Montez Ford. Ford set up for the splash, but Jimmy rolled out of the ring quickly.
Jimmy let the referee count while Montez Ford led the crowd in a “suck it” chant from the middle rope. Jimmy let him go, returning to the ring at a count of seven and tagging in his brother. The crowd started a “McAfee” chant. Jey Uso dropped Montez Ford with a leaping clothesline. He whipped Ford to the corner, but Montez leapfrogged him and delivered a dropkick. He kipped to his feet and did the “suck it” taunt to Jimmy. Montez tagged Dawkins and flipped him onto Jey Uso for a cover and two count.
Dawkins twisted Jey’s arm and delivered a quick pair of elbows. He shot Jey off the ropes, but missed a blind tag from Jimmy. The Usos caught Dawkins in a double Spinebuster. Dawkins stumbled to the apron. Jimmy gave him an uppercut to the floor. Jimmy dove through the middle rope onto Angelo, driving him into the barricade. The Usos circled Dawkins at ringside as the match approached 5:00. They gave Angelo a double team Suplex into the ring post, letting him collapse awkwardly to the floor. Jimmy taunted Montez with a “suck it” of his own.
Back in the ring, Jey and Angelo traded open rights. Jey caught Dawkins on the chin and dropped him. He snarled at the camera, then drove a shoulder into Angelo in the corner. Jimmy tagged in and drove an elbow into Dawkins’ face. McAfee said the Usos are confident and relaxed. Jimmy draped Dawkins over the middle rope and choked him. He broke the hold at a count of four, then tied the referee up long enough for Jey to hit a cheap shot. Jimmy mocked Montez, dancing in front of him. He mimed taking a sip from the Street Profits’ cup.
Dawkins managed to take Jimmy down and reach Ford for a tag. Jimmy tagged in Jey. Ford leapt from the top rope,, but Jey caught him with a perfectly placed Superkick. Jey stalked Ford and shoved him into the corner. Uso whipped Montez into the corner. Ford buckled to the mat. Jey draped his shin over Ford’s neck over the bottom rope. He distracted the referee long enough to allow Jimmy to catch Ford with a Drive-By, a la Roman Reigns. Jey tagged in his brother and draped Ford over his knee. Jimmy came off the top with a leg drop and covered Ford for a two count as the match hit 10:20.
Jimmy Uso worked Montez Ford to the corner and delivered a deliberate chop. Ford stumbled down the ropes and Jimmy chopped him again. The Usos continued to cut the ring in half, slowing the pace dramatically. The Usos split the legs of Ford, garnering boos. Jey grabbed a chin lock and then drove his forearm right into the temple of Ford. Montez went glassy-eyed. He pulled himself to a knee and tired to make a tag, but Jey just kicked Dawkins off the apron. Jey tagged in his brother.
Montez Ford came alive with a sudden burst, knocking Jey off the apron and catching Jimmy with a number of punches. Ford wound up on the apron. He went to catapul himself onto Jimmy, but Uso caught him with a vicious uppercut that rang through the arena. Jimmy moved to the apron. He and Ford traded punches. Ford managed a Suplex onto the edge of the ring. Jimmy fell to the outside. Ford finally managed to reach Angelo Dawkins.
Fresh off the hot tag, Dawkins dove onto Jimmy Uso on the outside. He tossed him in the ring and hit a caught flying elbow. Dawkins gave Jimmy a spinning splash and elbow in the corner, followed by a spinning corkscrew Neckbreaker for a near fall at 15:30. Jimmy slid to the outside to regroup, but Dawkins gave chase. He shoulder tackled both Usos and tossed Jimmy back inside. Dawkins looked for a Spinebuster, but Jimmy caught him with a punch. Dawkins stumbled into his own corner. Ford tagged himself in. Dawkins hit Jimmy with a shoulder tackle. Uso went flying and Ford caught him in mid-air for a German Suplex. He covered for two.
Jimmy reached Jey for a tag. Ford tagged Dawkins. Angelo got Jey on his shoulders and turned to his corner. Ford flew off the top for a Blockbuster. Dawkins covered for a very close near fall. Angelo and Jey traded punches, falling on each other between shots. Uso caught Dawkins with an eziguri and tagged in Jimmy. Dawkins knocked Jimmy off the apron, then hoisted Jey onto his shoulders. The Street Profits set up for another Blockbuster, but Jimmy broke it up. Ford came off the top anyway, and The Usos ducked. Jimmy and Jey caught Ford with double Superkicks for a near fall.
The match hit 20:00 and the crowd began a “this is awesome” chant. Jimmy tagged in Jey. The Usos went for One-D, but Ford slid free and gave Jey a hurricanrana to the outside. He tossed Jimmy out as well. Ford got a running start and dove clear over the turnbuckle onto the Usos below. He tossed Jey back in the ring and hit the Frog Splash. Ford covered, but Jimmy Uso broke it up at the last possible moment. All four men struggled to their feet. “Fight forever!” the crowd demanded.
All four men came to blows in the center of the ring. Dawkins and Jimmy spilled to the outside. Dawkins ate a superkick and Jimmy tossed him into the timekeeper’s area. Ford kicked Jey into the corner. Jimmy blind-tagged himself in, but Montez didn’t see. The Usos gave Ford tandem Superkicks. Ford dragged himself up and walked into the One-D from the Usos. Jimmy covered for a three count.
WINNERS: The Usos in 23:00 to retain the Unified WWE Tag Team Championships
After the match, the announcers tossed to highlights. During the pinfall, a different camera angle showed that Montez Ford’s shoulder was up for the count. The Profits were furious. The announcers confirmed. The Profits left disappointed.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Excellent, main event level match. This one started out slow, but The Usos are so good at controlling the ring and taunting their opponents that they managed to keep the crowd invested and simultaneously get them excited for the pair of hot tags in the front half of the match. The Profits got some massive, star-making spots. Montez Ford, in particular, was given a plenty of shine on commentary, with frequent notes about how much muscle he’s gained. He looks great, and certainly like he could be a viable singles star before too long. The crowd really got into this as it progressed. This is the most important the tag team titles have felt in years, thanks in large part to The Usos and their consistent performances and increasing star power. I thought WWE did a really nice job building toward this one, and thought the match delivered in a big way. The Usos got a big, clean win but they gave the Profits a legitimate gripe and reason to have a rematch, presumably at SummerSlam. Great stuff.)
-A creepy vignette aired with grainy clips of candles, churches, crosses, and limbs just out of focus. The boots and arm certainly appeared Bray Wyatt/Fiend-esque. The announcers were confused.
-Michael Cole set the table for the Smackdown Women’s Championship match before tossing to a video.
Natalya headed to the ring first. She gave heart sunglasses to a young fan at ringside. Cole noted that it’s her uncle, Bret Hart’s birthday. Ronda Rousey headed out with a smile on her face. The crowd popped when they heard her music, but the reaction dulled to a mix. She got in Natalya’s face, holding up the women’s title. Samantha Irvin introduced the competitors.
(5) RONDA ROUSEY (c) vs. NATALYA – Smackdown Women’s Championship match
Cole talked about Natalya training Ronda Rousey when she first got to WWE. Natalya shoved Ronda and she shrugged it off. They locked up again. Nattie ripped Rousey to the mat and grabbed a quick arm hold. Rousey reversed it quickly. Rousey flipped to her feet and tried to lift Rousey up. Ronda rolled her into a cover for a two count. Nattie picked Rousey’s ankle and applied the Ankle Lock. Rousey crawled to the ropes and used the bottom one to flip over. She applied the Ankle Lock herself. Nattie broke it quickly. She hit the ropes and stopped over Ronda’s neck. Ronda tripped her up and applied the Ankle Lock again.
Nattie pulled herself to the outside. She got in McAfee’s face and told him to shut up. “I’m paid to talk!” Pat said. Rousey chased Nattie on the outside. Nattie rolled in the ring and slapped Rousey hard in the face. She hit a spinning clothesline and covered for two. McAfee said they’ve been saying awful things to each other in the ring and online. Nattie tossed Rousey to the corner and posed for the crowd. They booed her loudly. Natalya slapped the champion again and grabbed a seated Sleeper hold. Nattie worked Rousey to the mat, talking trash. Rousey got her hand in between her throat and Nattie’s arm, working her way to her feet.
Rousey struggled to cover up as Natalya hit her with open hand strikes in the corner. Rousey fought out with a hip toss, but Nattie rolled right through it and grabbed an abdominal stretch. Rousey slowly stood, which only allowed Natalya to sink into the hold deeper. Rousey managed to slide free and apply the same hold herself. She drove her elbow into Natalya’s ribs. Nattie turned it over again. Rousey rolled through and tried to grab the Arm Bar. Nattie kept her hands locked, saving her from the hold.
Natalya glared at the camera and went back to work. She walked into a rolling clothesline from Rousey, followed by a Judo Throw. Natalya stumbled into the corner. Ronda hit her with a running step up knee. She rolled Natalya onto her shoulders, looking for Piper’s Pit. Natalya slid down the back and rolled up Ronda for a one count. Rousey responded with a cradle of her own for one. Natalya rolled through it into an Arm Bar as the match crossed 8:30. Rousey broke free and set up for the Sharpshooter. She turned it over and gave a Shawn Michaels-esque flex. Natalya dragged herself to the ropes and Rousey lost the hold on her way there.
Both women struggled to their feet. “You’re gonna tap out with your rack out, Nattie!” Rousey gasped. She grabbed the arm, but Nattie flipped her out of the ring. Rousey clutched at her knee. Nattie smelled blood, attacking the leg on the outside. She set her up on the apron and applied the Sharpshooter on the edge of the ring. She utilized the referee’s full count before Rousey used her legs to send Natalya crashing into the ring post. Nattie barely answered the referee’s count, returning to the ring at nine.
Ronda limped toward Nattie. She tried to scoop Nattie up for Piper’s Pit, but her knee gave out. Nattie slid down the side, but Ronda held onto her arm. She went for the Arm Bar, but Natalya turned it into the Sharpshooter. Rousey kicked frantically and fought free. She picked the ankle and applied the Ankle Lock. Natalya looked to reached the ropes, but instead rolled Rousey up and into the Sharpshooter. Ronda managed to slip free and grab Nattie’s arm. She used her legs to choke Natalya while gripping the arm. Nattie tapped.
WINNER: Ronda Rousey in 12:33 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship
(LeClair’s Analysis: Interesting match. It was slow going in the beginning, and they seemed to be losing the crowd due to the pacing. Both Nattie and Ronda seemed hell bent on calling each other “bitch” as many times as they could. Things picked up in the back half, with some neat counters and exchanges. Natalya looked especially motivated to be in a PLE title match again. Rousey looked c comfortable, which is not something you can always say during this run of hers. This wasn’t meant to steal the show, but I thought it was a solid enough change of pace and a good win for Rousey, despite the ridiculous build.)
After the match, Rousey collapsed against the ropes, selling the injured knee. Liv Morgan’s music hit and the crowd erupted. She rushed to the ring, briefcase in hand. Samantha Irvin announced that she’s cashing in her contract.
(6) RONDA ROUSEY (c) vs. LIV MORGAN – Smackdown Women’s Championship match
Liv Morgan charged at Ronda Rousey. Ronda picked her ankle and rolled her into the Ankle Lock. Liv screamed in agony. Rousey laid out, locking the hold in deep. Liv screamed and kicked frantically. She managed to turn over and kick Rousey off her. Liv stood long enough to dive into a folding pin for a three count.
WINNER: Liv Morgan in 00:30 to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship
Rousey regrouped and approached Morgan with the title. She handed it over and patted Morgan on the shoulder. They hugged, and Rousey gave her the ring.
(LeClair’s Analysis: This was well booked. When Ronda picked the ankle and laid out, the crowd was genuinely nervous. It was palpable. Ultimately, though, they got what they wanted. The crowd popped big when Morgan broke the hold. They could see what was coming. She got a big “you deserve it” chant. I hadn’t thought much about the possibility of Liv cashing in tonight, only because I was so per-occupied with the minute to minute coverage. In hindsight, though, it seems like this is becoming a yearly thing. WWE doesn’t like to have two briefcases out there, so they force a cash-in almost immediately, usually with the women. I said earlier that I’d like to have seen Morgan get some credibility and rehab before they push her into the title picture with the briefcase, but that’s out the window now and they’ll need to do it on the fly. This might be challenging with much of the rest of the women’s roster, but Morgan has built up such a strong connection with the audience that they may just be able to get away with it.)
-Cole and McAfee tossed to a video package hyping Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. The narrator called it the “final chapter.”
-Samantha Irvin introduced the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match.
Riddle entered first, riding his scooter down the ramp, soaking in “bro” chants. McAfee wondered if this could be Riddle’s night. Seth Rollins entered in new, striped, multi-colored gear. Cole said he’s entering the match for the third time. He tossed to Rollins’ cash in at WrestleMania 31. Rollins led the crowd as they serenaded him. Omos was third out third to virtually no reaction. Cole said Omos may not even need a ladder to grab the briefcase. M.V.P gave him a pep talk before leaving him to head to the ring alone. Madcap Moss entered next. Cole tossed to a clip from last night’s Smackdown, showing how Moss qualified for the match. Sami Zayn headbanged his way onto the stage, wearing a Bloodline shirt. “For you, big uce!” he said to Reigns through the camera.
Sheamus followed, flanked by Ridge Holland and Butch. Ridge had to force Butch to the back, leaving Sheamus to head to the ring. Drew McIntyre entered last. McAfee said he’s the man he’d be most afraid of in the match. Sheamus stared down Drew on his way to the ring. McIntyre pointed his sword toward the ring and gave a couple fans a quick high five. Everyone left the ring except Omos. McIntyre stepped to him, then climbed to the top rope to pose.
The ring filled up again. Adam Pearce’s voice rang out, holding the bell. He said he wanted to raise the stakes by adding one more person to the match. He introduced Theory. The crowd booed. Cole said it “smells like Mr. McMahon.” The crowd continued to boo loudly all the way up to the bell.
(7) RIDDLE vs. SETH ROLLINS vs. OMOS vs. MADCAP MOSS vs. SAMI ZAYN vs. SHEAMUS vs. DREW McINTYRE vs. THEORY – Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder match
Omos began clearing the ring to open the match. He gave Madcap Moss a big boot, then shoved Riddle. He gave Drew McIntyre a big body slam and headed to the outside to retrieve a ladder. Seth Rollins and Theory ran into fram with a ladder, but Omos dropped them both with ease. He hit Sheamus with the ladder, then Drew McIntyre. Madcap Moss and Riddle slid through the bottom rope, but Omos backed into them with the ladder. Omos tossedd the ladder over the top rope into the ring and went to set it up. Sheamus cut him off. Sami Zayn was shown hiding behind the ring post.
Wrestlers hit the ring one by one to get swatted down by Omos. Riddle tried to grab a choke hold, but Omos just slammed him. Madcap Moss hit him with rapid body shots, but Omos tossed him out of the ring. McIntyre hit Omos with a Claymore out of nowhere. He fell to the outside and landed on his feet, but then stumbled and fell. Drew McIntyre set up a ladder and began to climb. Sheamus cut him off and tossed him out. Sheamus began his ascent. McIntyre pulled him off. McIntyre and Sheamus came to blows. Meanwhile, Theory snuck in the ring and began climbing the ladder. McIntyre and Sheamus noticed. Theory froze. Sheamus and Drew pulled Theory down. Sheamus tossed him to the apron for Ten Beats, but McIntyre shoved him off and began his own set. Sheamus grew angered, shoving Theory aside and coming to blows with Drew again.
Seth Rollins entered with a ladder, knocking McIntyre and Sheamus to the outside. He tossed the ladder onto them and cackled. Riddle jumped Rollins and tossed him into a ladder. Seth shrugged it off and folded the ladder up. he tried to Pedigree Riddle onto it, but Riddle countered with a backdrop onto the steel. He followed up with a Broton. Rollins rolled to the outside. Sami Zayn entered for the first time and tossed Riddle. He set up a ladder with haste and bolted up the ladder. Madcap Moss pulled him down and knocked the ladder over. Zayn tripped Moss face first into the bouncing ladder. Sami slammed the ladder over Madcap’s back as the match hit 6:05.
Moss recovered and worked Sami into the corner. He whipped him into the ladder draped in the corner, sending Zayn flying haphazardly. Moss set the ladder up in the centerand began to climb. Riddle followed. Omos returned to the ring and pulled Moss down. Riddle got a hand on the briefcase, but Omos pulled him into a Powerslam. Omos looked up at the contract. Theory dove at him off the top rope. Omos caught him by the throat and delivered a one-handed chokeslam. Omos turned his attention back to the ladder. He climbed , but Madcap Moss began shoving the ladder. It wouldn’t budge. McIntyre joined in, and together, they topped the ladder. Omos just stepped off. Sheamus hit him from behind with a ladder. Riddle came in with a ladder shot, as well. Riddle, Sheamus, Madcap Moss, and McIntyre all hit Omos with ladders until he fell. Then, they buried him under the pile.
Seth Rollins was left alone in the ring. He reached the top of a ladder, but Sami Zayn rose to meet him. Sheamus set up a ladder next to their’s and climbed. Zayn, Rollins and Sheamus all had hands on the briefcase. Theory joined the fray. Sheamus toppled Zayn and Rollins’ ladder. Theory knocked Sheamus to the mat. Theory reached, but Madcap Moss pulled him off and gave him a Fallaway Slam into the turnbuckle. Moss began climbing the ladder at 10:20. Sami Zayn climbed to the top rope, bringing Moss down to take him out. Moss hit Zayn in the head with a ladder, but Zayn held on. He leapt over Madcap’s back to reach the ladder and climb. Madcap grabbed him and Powerbombed him into the ladder posed on the bottom rope.
Drew McIntyre and Madcap Moss climbed the ladder in the ring, trading punches at the top. McIntyre gave Moss a Glasgow Kiss, knocking him to the floor. Drew reached up, but Sheamus toppled his ladder. He gave McIntyre White Noise. Drew rolled to the outside. Sheamus set up a ladder in the corner, but got attacked by Riddle. Sheamus fought him off and gave him an Irish Curse Backbreaker. Sheamus went for a Brogue Kick, but Riddle moved. Sheamus’ leg got caught in the rung of the ladder. Riddle spun him and gave him the Hangman’s DDT off the ladder rung. He followed up with a kick to Moss, and the snap Powerslam on Rollins.
Theory tossed Riddle toward the ladder, but he jumped onto a rung and climbed to the top. Riddle dove with a Floating Bro onto a crowd of wrestlers below. With bodies strewn about the ring, Omos re-entered. He tossed Madcap Moss to the outside, then Drew McIntyre. Omos looked toward the briefcase again. “Nothing can stop Omos at this point!” Cole exclaimed. Riddle jumped on Omos’ back again, grabbing the Sleeper. Omos whipped him to the mat. Behind everyone’s back,. Theory climbed the ladder again. Omos noticed and grabbed Theory by the throat for a big double arm Chokeslam.
Omos centered the ladder. Sheamus gave him a Brogue Kick into the corner. Sami Zayn followed up with a Heluva Kick in the corner. Riddle leapt on Omos and applied the Triangle Choke, spilling over the ropes. Moss hoisted Omos by the legs and send him tumbling to the outside. McIntyre gave him a leaping headbutt. Omos bent on the apron. Rollins delivered a Stomp. McIntyre cleared the announcers desk. McIntyre, Riddle, Sheamus, and Zayn worked together to Powerbomb Omos through the table.
Sami Zayn rushed into the ring and climbed the ladder while the remaining wrestlers battled outside. McIntyre saw Zayn and rushed in to make the save. Sheamus entered and tossed a ladder into Drew’s face. The two men struggled to their feet, and Drew delivered a Future Shock DDT. McIntyre set up a ladder in the center and pinned Sheamus underneath it. Drew had a hand on the briefcase, but Butch rushed to the ring and jumped on McIntyre’s back. McIntyre continued to climb with a body on his back. Butch eventually got the better of him in the Sleeper. Drew stepped down. Sheamus freed himself and gave McIntyre a Brogue Kick.
Sheamus pinned Drew under the ladder and began his climb. McIntyre bench pressed the ladder, teetering Sheamus and sending him crashing. McIntyre gave Butch the Claymore, then kipped up. He set up the ladder in the center and began climbing again at 21:40. Sheamus pulled him down by a leg. Both men began climbing. They traded punches near the top. Sami Zayn toppled the ladder, sending them crashing into a propped ladder in the corner. McIntyre and Sheamus rolled to the outside. Zayn climbed the ladder Madcap Moss climbed and shoved him off. Madcap reached for the case, but it was swinging. Rollins shoved the ladder. He gave Moss a Stomp.
Rollins climbed the ladder. Riddle came in the ring with a massive ladder. He hit Rollins in the back with it, then set it up. Riddle climbed, but Rollins did too. Riddle grabbed Rollins and gave him a Super RKO off the ladders. Two ladders sat beneath the briefcase. Rollins and Riddle were both down in the ring. Riddle dragged himself up and began climbing the ladder slowly. Theory slid in the ring and climbed quickly. He and Riddle traded punches. Riddle began chopping Theory, but Theory shoved him to the floor. Theory grabbed the briefcase and unhooked it to win the match.
WINNER: Theory in 25:32
(LeClair’s Analysis: Fun match. Hectic and chaotic from the start with plenty of big highlight moments you’d expect from a main event Money in the Bank match. I think this was Omos’ most impressive night with the company to date. He was in the right places at the right times, had several massive early spots, and then took some major offensive blows from the rest of the wrestlers in the match. I still don’t see much of a future for Omos, and the bar is admittedly low, but I did think he reached it for the first time tonight. Drew McIntyre shined big with a couple of huge feats of strength moments and near wins. They’re certainly going in heavy with the story of he and Sheamus, and Butch’s interference seems to indicate they’re planning on dragging this through SummerSlam in some capacity. The late addition of Theory came with significant disapproval from the crowd. I think Pearce coming out to announce an eigth man had them excited for a return or debut, and when Theory’s name was announced, there was an audible groan with boos that carried all the way until the bell rang. You got the sense that Theory was really the only guy that they really didn’t want to win. That, of course, is exactly what happened and it took the wind from the sails of a crowd that had been quite lively the whole night. A large number of fans seemed to get up and move to the exits in rapid succession, quicker than you’d normally notice at a show like this. I think there’s some potential with Theory, but I still find the character to be one-dimensional and a bit flat. We’ll see if adding the contract to his repertoire brings any additional credibility or interest, but right now, this might be a tough uphill battle to get the crowd fully on board with Theory in a prominent position of any kind.
I do think both Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn would have been far more captivating and interesting winners. Particularly Zayn, who could’ve played up the idea of not cashing in Roman, only to eventually do just that. I also dislike the implications for adding Theory to the match. Both McAfee and Cole made a point to note that his late addition likely came at the urging of Mr. McMahon, meaning that character has seemingly not been written off, even in the wake of the ongoing investigation. It’s just a bad look.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, a fun night of action. I thought the men’s Money in the Bank match was a strong interation of the yearly tradition, while the women’s match faired okay but felt a little disjointed and sloppy. The Usos and Street Profits easily stole the show, with one of the better tag team matches in main roster WWE in quite some time. I said on last week’s Smackdown post-show, and I’ll reiterate it here: the tag team titles haven’t meant this much since the Smackdown Six era in 2002. The lack of Roman Reigns on weekly television has forced WWE to put serious focus on undercard titles, having the belts on the Usos long term have dramatically rasied their prestige. The high profile feud between the Usos and Orton & Riddle, followed immediately by a main event level program and match with the Street Profits has made the tag title scene the most interesting piece of weekly WWE TV. I thought the U.S. Title match was strong, too. The booking made plenty of sense, especially when you consider Theory’s eventual MITB win later on. Lashley is an important figure on the babyface side on Raw and should give a boost to the U.S. title, while giving the show a re-envigorated title to highlight. The two women’s title matches, while only average, served their purpose and the crowd got a big, joyful cash in from Liv Morgan with intrigue to carry into the weeks ahead. This wasn’t a knockout show, by any means, but a perfectly enjoyable night by WWE PLE standards.
I am probably in the majority when I say that this year’s MITB was a fun event, although 99% predictable. The women’s match was the show-stealer to me, with Liv Morgan being a mild surprise winner. Personally, I was expecting Lacey Evans to win, but I am sure her time will come. Evans inevitable return to heel status will make for an interesting and new challenge to Bianca Belair. Speaking of which, after her post-match beatdown, I thought Liv Morgan would try to cash in, but they wisely saved that for later. I am still a big Ronda Rousey fan, but her latest run as champion is / was flat and uninspiring to me. The Lashley vs. Theory match was better than I thought it would be, but when Lashley won, it was obvious they had something else in mind for Theory. I know (or I assume) he is going into a program with Cena, but I am interested in seeing if he will start annoying Reigns, Lesnar and Heyman with his briefcase. All in all, I have no complaints about tonight’s show. All of the matches were good, but the women’s match and the tag-team match were outstanding, in my opinion. Thanks.