Money in the Bank was a masochistic spot-fest, and I loved it!
The gimmick match for which the WWE’s entire premium live event is built around has become something fans look forward to like the Royal Rumble.
It isn’t just a gimmick match for gimmick’s sake like what Hell in the Cell has become because, like the Rumble, there are real stakes.
The briefcase is not just a shot at a title at the winner’s discretion and it isn’t just a prop to be used to win or lose a match, but it is also a status symbol meant to propel a superstar beyond their status.
Men's Money in the Bank ladder match — Ricochet vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. LA Knight vs. Santos Escobar vs. Butch vs. Damian Priest vs. Logan Paul
The men’s Money in the Bank match opened the card live from the 02 Arena in London.
This is the second premium live event in a row that WWE has held outside the states with May’s Backlash event held in Puerto Rico.
The UK fans were jacked, and it amplified the match for fans watching at home.
They popped for everything, especially the big spots from England’s own Butch, who executed a graceful backflip that took out the entire opposition.
Butch is from Birmingham, 120 miles from London, and while he was never favored to win, it was still an important showing for him.
Many wondered how Logan Paul would fair in a match that seemed designed to showcase his best features.
He was not without big moments as he springboarded himself outside of the ring to take out all six competitors.
There was a spot later in the match with Paul and Ricochet springboarding off the ropes and onto the two ladders set up beside a dueling Nakamura and Santos Escobar.
Paul and Ricochet have been linked together ever since their amazing double clothesline feat from opposite sides of the ring at January’s Royal Rumble.
They brawled until the ladder tipped over into the biggest spot of the match where both men struggled to gain balance on the ropes before Ricochet hit a Spanish Fly onto two tables set up outside.
The move was very close to a botch, but in the end the uncertainty added to the impact.
The finish teased an LA Knight win — he was the betting favorite for most of the leadup and has grown into a fan favorite since the Rumble — but he was thwarted at the last minute by Damian Priest.
He is rumored to be in line to receive a big push following the excellent work he did with Bad Bunny at last month’s premium live event, Backlash, in Bad Bunny’s home country of Puerto Rico.
Priest grabbed LA Knight just as he had his hands on the hook, and then proceeded to chokeslam Knight off the ladder, leaving Priest alone to claim his prize.
This is a chance to elevate Priest and WWE needs to keep him in the mix so that when he does ‘cash in’ he is a believable challenger.
Women's Tag Team Championship — Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez
The first title match of the night took place between the Women’s tag team champions Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler defended against rising star Raquel Rodriguez and former women’s champ Liv Morgan.
In one of the night’s best swerves, Baszler turned on her longtime friend Rousey just as the champs had Morgan cornered.
Baszler tagged Rousey in, seemingly to get the win, and moments later Baszler attacked her former MMA training partner from the back before placing a chokehold that left Rousey vulnerable.
Raquel tagged in Liv before hitting the Tejada bomb, setting up Morgan to hit “Oblivion” for the win.
There is plenty of excitement in a Raquel/Morgan title run, but the Rousey-Baszler program could offer up a truly special grudge match heading into SummerSlam.
Intercontinental Championship — Gunther (c) vs. Matt Riddle
In a match between two Indy wrestling darlings of the 2010’s, Gunther defended his intercontinental championship, a title he won in June of last year, against Matt Riddle.
Riddle returned from an injury that derailed the momentum he had off the back of RKO’s tag run, his odd-couple tag team with Randyyyy (Orton), but it has been slow out the gate for him. This match was his chance to solidify his spot.
For Gunther, he continues to look like a monster. He is a perfect representation of the non-American heel that WWE loves to portray, and he was attempting to continue his reign of destruction.
Gunther has never lost a singles match heading into this defense, and his chances seemed better with Riddle selling a left ankle injury.
Gunther kept his foot on the offense pedal and maintained control throughout the match, but Riddle hit the Floating Bro in a desperate attempt at an all-or-nothing strategy.
Gunther was caught in a Riddle armbar, a go-to move for the former UFC fighter, but Gunther turned it into a powerbomb before faking the stacked pin and transitioning into a single-leg Boston Crab.
Riddle was able to break free on the Gunther transition, but he was caught in a precarious position as the chop master delivered righthand chops to the ankle of Riddle.
The chops softened up Riddle’s ankle enough that he was forced to tap after Gunther sunk in the ankle lock.
The highlight of the match was a returning Drew McIntire, who came out to confront Gunther following his successful IC defense.
The Scot received all sorts of love from the English crowd, and they absolutely popped when McIntire delivered the Glasgow Kiss and then his Claymore Kick to leave Gunther laid out.
Cody Rhodes vs. Dominik Mysterio w/Rhea Ripley
WWE’s biggest face in the company, “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes took on Dominik Mysterio with Mami (Rhea Ripley) in tow.
Mysterio’s heat is red hot as countless TikToks of him getting booed to no end will demonstrate.
Cody was forced to avoid Ripley interference. He caught a 619 attempt from Dom and moments later hit a Cody-Cutter.
From that point, Dom was ripe for the CrossRhodes which Cody hit for the 1-2-3.
John Cena Returns
In one of the many surprises tonight, John Cena returned to WWE TV.
The 16-time world champ brought the crowd to their feet and, surprisingly, the fans sang the actual words of his theme song and not the typical, but melodic, “John Cena Sucksss… John Cena Sucks!”
Cena’s appearance was puzzling as he broke the 4th wall and admitted that WWE suits don’t love the crowds “hijacking” the show by, you know, having fun.
He came out and said he wanted us to know the London crowd was “underappreciated.”
The crowd work resulted in a “Thank you, Cena” chant, which he also acknowledged that the execs in the back don’t love because it slows down the show.
The full picture came into place when Cena announced that he wanted to bring WrestleMania to London, a statement that caused a predictable crowd eruption.
Grayson Waller came out to Austin Theory the situation.
He spit the typical ‘I’m young, and you’re an old Cena’ promo.
He would of course challenge the idea of a London WrestleMania, and then he attacked Cena, which got him an Attitude Adjustment for his troubles.
Women's Money in the Bank ladder match — Zelina Vega vs. Becky Lynch vs. Zoey Stark vs. Bayley vs. Iyo Sky vs. Trish Stratus
The women’s MITB match was an amazing accomplishment as all six participants worked to elevate each other and the match. They put it all on the line and rewarded fans with terrific action.
Bayley received a lot of adulation from the London fans, much to her dismay, yelling “shut up” to fans serenading her with chants.
Becky Lynch was a non-factor for the first half of the match after being taken out early on, but she came in and cleared house to get as close to the briefcase as she would get during the match.
She manged to lock in the Disarmer on Zoey Starks before Trish broke it up.
Iyo Sky took one of the biggest risks in the match as she Moonsaulted off the ladder to take out Vega, Bayley, Starks, and Becky.
This would clear the action for Becky and Trish, feuding since Mania, to both make a grab for the briefcase, but it worked out so that Iyo Sky and LWO’s Vega could go spot for spot.
Zelina Vega hit a Sunset Flip off the ladder and onto, well, a ladder. It was a devastating move. Vega really showed up and gave an excellent performance.
In the end, Iyo Sky would hold the briefcase in victory in one of the best female MITB matches, maybe ever.
Social media reactions clearly favored the women’s MITB over the men.
World Heavyweight Championship — Seth Rollins (c) vs. Finn Balor
In a rematch of the inaugural Universal title match, Seth Rollins defended his World Heavyweight championship against Finn Balor.
Balor was victorious over Rollins when they fought at SumerSlam 2016, but he picked up an injury in that match and was forced to relinquish the title on RAW the very next night.
It was an unfortunate set of circumstances, but they certainly added to the buildup of this match—playing into Balor’s stagnant career since returning from that shoulder injury that would be the longest layoff of his career.
The match didn’t get the chance to hit another gear as the finish was used to propel further storylines, specifically that of the infighting within the Judgement Day faction.
The newly crowned MITB winner, and Balor’s Judgement Day associate, Damian Priest came to ringside toting his briefcase guaranteeing him a title shot at his discretion.
It wasn’t clear whether Priest was looking to cash in, but he certainly made his presence felt.
As Balor set up for his top rope finisher, Coup De Grace, Priest got up and faked like he was preparing to interfere.
This got Balor’s attention and he was distracted long enough for Seth to recuperate and hit the stomp to retain via pinfall.
Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa vs. The Usos
The main event is the best WWE TV has had to offer in the Roman era.
The Bloodline faction was one of the most over factions in wrestling, due in large part to Sami Zayne’s work over that period.
The storytelling was slow for some fans, especially after Roman’s successful title defense against Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania.
But you cannot argue with the results as the climax of Roman’s family drama has kept fans captivated.
The family feud between the USOs and Roman and Solo Sikoa was not for a title, but perhaps more importantly, the “Tribal Chief’s” status as head of the table felt as much up for grabs as anything.
Fans were treated to the much-anticipated Jey Uso VS Roman portion of the tag match.
These two have seemed destined to throwdown with wonderfully subtle storytelling elements used throughout the Bloodline programs.
However, it was also important for Jey to prove he can swim with Roman if he ever hopes to achieve success at a “singles” run—something that has been previously rumored but never coming to fruition.
The passionate crowd helped to set the stage and establish the fan favorites—the USOs.
Roman seemed to be thrown a bit to start the match, perhaps a sign that he cannot just take family feelings out of the feud.
The frustration set in as Roman decided to take a break on the outside where special council Paul Heyman stood to offer up motivation by pointing to Jey and saying, ‘do you want your kids to sit at his (Jey’s) table.’ This stoked Roman’s fire.
Jey caught fire in the match and took Solo to the outside.
Just as Jey was about to dive out to Solo, Roman hit Jey with a Superman Punch to squash the momentum.
But the USOs were in their domain as one of the greatest tag teams in the world. They used their tag experience to hit a double Spear on Roman.
Jimmy countered Roman’s Superman Punch attempt and caught him with a Superkick. Jimmy then went to the top rope, but the gamble didn’t payoff as Roman caught Jimmy with a guaietolin.
This led to the moment we were all expecting—the referee bump. Referees being taken out in Roman’s matches has become so common that it is now comical.
Roman and Solo hit a tag team version of their finishers, and their bodies were stacked on top of one another just as the ref made it back to the ring to make the count but was ultimately broken up by a double kickout from the USOs.
Desperation may have set in as Solo took an uncommon high-risk maneuver on the outside through a table set for Jimmy before he slipped out of the way at the last minute.
Roman once again hit his Spear, but Jey kicked out. This set up Jey to turn the tide with a low blow kickout followed by double Superkicks.
Then, a splash from Jey unto Roman would end up being enough to keep the “Tribal Chief” down for the 3-count.
The win set off a celebration in London and the fans let the USOs know just how proud they were to share in the moment.
This is one of the biggest wins in the USO’s legendary tag team career, but it could be argued it is also the biggest loss of Roman’s career.
There are so many questions coming out of MITB, but none more pressing than where does Roman go from here.
He is still the undisputed world champion, but the faction that protected him and his blind spots for so long is now his biggest hindrance.