The Hits & Misses Of MITB

Among the gimmick pay-per-views that became a a staple of the WWE calendar, some of which were phased out, Money in the Bank is one of the shows that maintained its level of importance. Perhaps, that’s because it’s a gimmick match that by nature doesn’t have to be based on a feud, but rather the potential of the competitors as possible world champions in the future, which creates a level of intrigue. On the flip side, when the HIAC PPV was shoehorned onto the schedule, it was simply because it was on the calendar, not because a feud justified the gimmick.

With that in mind, it should be noted that the UK crowd, similar to other overseas audiences that rarely get live WWE events because of the transportation and logistics involved, added a lot to this show.

The broadcast opened with the men’s MITB match, and considering that the concept has been around since 2005, it was almost unavoidable that pattern that was seen with these types of matches. The difference is, if the athletes involved can create a moment that stands out and becomes memorable, as opposed to the typical ladder spots that have become common place for MITB. In this case, the insane and botched Spanish fly attempt from Ricochet onto Logan Paul off the ropes through a table will become the spot that this match will be remembered for. I’m not sure if it was miss timed or if they simply came up short on the rotation of the move, but I honestly thought that Logan Paul was seriously injured after going headfirst through the table. The match itself, which went almost 25 minutes was all action and had a good pace that didn’t drag at any point throughout it. It was structured well, and the drama that was created with the back-and-forth of action prior to the conclusion is proof of that instead of this just being the standard car crash type of ladder match, the way the different wrestlers had the advantage before Damian Priest finally got the briefcase added another layer of depth to this contest.

Obviously, LA Knight was the crowd favorite, and all things considered, I have to say that I think it would’ve been the right move for him to win the contract. That’s not a knock against Damien priest at all, but rather to point out that Knight got over organically and spontaneously with the audience. There was a time before the massive guaranteed money of rights fees and corporate mergers made the individual star power of the talent more or less moot that when a star got over organically with the crowd, the office would run with it because the talent drew money . With the cash guaranteed because of the rights fees, it becomes more about who the office wants to use in a particular spot at any given time. Unintentional or not, this amount of guaranteed money almost eclipses fan demand because it’s quite literally money in the bank. I’m not sure what plans, if any, management has for LA Knight, but at the same time this creates an intriguing scenario for Damian Priest. The biggest takeaway here is, it proves an important point about presentation. There was a time when Damian Priest was just a generic baby face on Raw without much to do or momentum in his career, despite his skills. There was also a time when the Judgment Day as a stable was dead in the water. When the presentation was improved, it allowed for the talent of the members of the stable to shine through, and the argument could be made that the group has three of the best performers on the entire roster.

The Women’s Tag Team title match was fine, but nothing spectacular. In truth, it was a basic TV match more than a pay-per-view bout so there’s not much to discuss about it.There was a Ronda Rousey video package shown before the bell, and maybe that was designed to set up the Shayna Baszler heel turn mid-match, but instead of emphasizing Ronda‘s accomplishments, it almost exposed how much her stock has dropped during her current stint in the company. The argument could be made that her star power was fading when she initially joined the company five years ago, but it undoubtedly has diminished since she returned to the organization last year. The bottom line is Ronda. Rousey was a name in main stream sports but when she got knocked out and sent into retirement from the UFC in 2016, she wasn’t nearly the same star that she had been previously. Her in-ring skills are average at best and her promos have never been a strong point so this Shayna Baszler heel turn was probably the only option to attempt to rejuvenate her run in the WWE.

The Intercontinental title match, for what it was, had its moments as an entertaining bout. The contest went about six minutes, so there wasn’t much time given to develop beyond anything more than a basic match, but again, it had its moments. Gunther has done such a tremendous job as the IC champion and has brought a level of prominence to the championship that hasn’t existed for several years. His believability and authenticity are rare in the modern era. He did well in this match-up with the usual combination of strikes and power maneuvers. If there was any criticism of this match, it might’ve been that Gunther actually sold too much for Matt Riddle, and didn’t look quite as strong as he could’ve or should have at the pay-per-view. As far as Matt Riddle goes, he was a natural to the pro wrestling game when he transitioned from mixed martial arts. However, as we know, he was written off of television in December of last year, and didn’t return until just a few months ago because he failed a second drug test and was sent to rehab. Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely hope that Matt Riddle overcame his substance issues because it’s always disappointing to see talent wasted, but at the same time, he’s one more failed drug test from being fired so the office probably shouldn’t put too much stock in him until he proves that he can continue to pass the wellness policy.

Cody Rhodes vs. Dominik Mysterio was a match to emphasize angles, not in ring action. Don’t get me wrong, the match was fine, but considering it only went about seven minutes, it didn’t have the chance to get into second gear. However, the much bigger point is that this segment proved just how over Cody Rhodes still is with the audience and that he probably should still be the one to dethrone Roman Reigns, although there’s a solid counterpoint to that based on the results of the main event. Despite being called the American nightmare, Cody was one of, if not the most over performer in London. On the other end of the spectrum, Dominic has a level of heat not usually seen in the modern era. He generates legitimate heat and that is a very valuable tool in sports entertainment. How or if the office utilizes it remains to be seen. Cody got the win in a basic match but again the in-ring work was secondary since Cody was so over with the crowd.

The Women’s division is often the best aspect of WWE programming in terms of consistency and quality, but for whatever reason, the MITB match missed the mark. There’s a fine line between controlled chaos and a clunky presentation, and this was a mess. At one point, Trish and Zoey Stark looked lost with where to put the ladder. Speaking of Trish, it looked like she might’ve broken her nose so maybe that threw her off her game because while she’s usually always solid, she looked almost out of place in this match. Zelina Vega landed a nasty power bomb on Starks on the ladder that looked brutal. Iyo Sky got the win and it was a wise decision because she’s as talented as anyone in the division so she would also be great as champion.

The World Heavyweight title match was a little underwhelming, which isn’t necessarily meant as a knock, but rather to explain that it was a 10-minute Raw match instead of a co-main event of the PPV. The match was okay, but I would’ve expected more from two stellar athletes like Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. Maybe it was because everyone knew that there was no chance that Rollins was going to drop the title, but there just wasn’t a lot of substance to this contest, which does absolutely nothing to establish the new championship.

The main event segment was another example of a match that was designed to put over the angle, not a focus on in-ring action. It was very well done and while this wasn’t a “work rate” match, it had drama that built the anticipation of the conclusion. As I wrote previously, the cache of Roman’s extended title run can only be used once, and if management doesn’t think Cody is the next top guy then Roman should remain the champion until they choose someone that they think can be a major star. As we saw the very few times Roman didn’t win a tag match during his current run, it was always his partner that took the pin, which kept Reigns strong as the dominate champion. Most assumed that if The Usos were going to win this main event, Solo Sikoa would take the pin. Instead, Jey Uso pinned Roman Reigns, which was his first pin fall defeat in over three and a half years. The cache of those three and a half years just put Jey Uso in the conversation of potentially the competitor to beat Roman Reigns for the title. If nothing else, this gives Roman a very credible challenger for the championship for the stadium show at Summer Slam next month.

Quite simply, The Bloodline is the best storyline in the industry and it’s probably the best angle in at least the past three years. The office has done enough to keep the angle fresh, but have continued to get the most mileage possible from it to maximize its importance. The performers involved ate all top notch, which is why it continues to be a draw on television.

What do you think? Share your thoughts, opinions, feedback, and anything else that was raised on Twitter @PWMania and

Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

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