Styles, Owens, Nakamura, Ziggler and more – the stars of SmackDown battle in ladder matches for a shot at the world championship. Join us for all the action!
By Matt Fowler
Trying to figure out how to bide your time before Roman Reigns makes his big SummerSlam announcement this Monday on RAW? Why not watch – I dunno – Money in the freakin’ Bank!
All the matches for “momentum” are no more! It’s M-I-T-B time, as United States champ Kevin Owens, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, and Dolph Ziggler all try to climb that ladder to grab a briefcase containing a world title shot.
This year though, for the first time, the women’s division is getting in on the carnage as Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Taimina, Natalya, and Carmella will all attempt to bag and tag a briefcase of their own. Is there room, perhaps, for a mystery sixth participant? We’ll have to see.
First of all, these are the only “Hype(rion) Bros” I want to see…
Yeah, not a fan of Mojo and Zack and their boundless energy. They’re exhausting. It is funny though how much Mojo was thrashing Jinder Mahal a few months ago, even at WrestleMania, and now he’s got nothing to show for that Andre Battle Royal win except for a return to the tag team ranks.
I also hoped for more from Epico and Primo when they shifted over to SmackDown, but they’re still pretty nondescript. At least they got to drop the shady time share gimmick. Though I still wish creative had followed all the way through with that, taken us to the resort, and revealed it to be pure paradise. SWERVE!
Nothing special about this opener really. It got the Hype Bros back into their groove and put a few smiles on faces.
Winners: The Hype Bros
How is there not a rule that an actual match participant needs to be the one to grab the case? I knew Ellsworth would be a factor, whether he’d actually help Carmella win the entire thing or not, but to have him grab the case and toss it down to her? What a gross finish to the first ever all-women MITB match, having it won by a man.
Again, no problem with him being the heel’s hood ornament and cheating for her, but the fact that the rhetoric at the end was “there isn’t a rule about it” is just sloppy. It reminds me of how formless some of the Extreme Rules matches were a few weeks ago.
For a second there, it seemed like the decision might get reversed since three refs were arguing on the outside, but it was to no avail. I know too many rules can suck, but no rules can suck even more. Rules are props for good, engaging storytelling.
Up until that finish though, the match was solid. It was fast paced, with nary a low spot and plenty of hard bumps – off the ladder and on the ladder. Every participant should be proud, regardless of the crude tone-deaf ending. I fear “creative” will take the real heat here, rather than it landing on Carmella like they want it to. Story-wise, Daniel Bryan says he’ll address the controversy on Tuesday.
Hey, I was into this. Despite being residually grumpy from the “Ellsworth Situation.” I love the gritty, ruthless Usos. And I like that they’ve been feuding with the goofy fun-loving teams on the roster. This wasn’t always the smoothest match, but there were some nice false finishes at the end. Hell, I even liked this match despite the countout walk-away. I want this angle to continue and I want Usos to remain champions. So it nailed all my requests.
I also liked how it was paced. The Usos freakin’ CLOBBERED Kofi for a long time, making New Day feel like underdogs despite having an extra man in their corner. Even New Day’s third, Xavier, couldn’t upset the Usos with his distracting on-the-apron trombone tooting. Then New Day began to fiercely fight back and made things more even. Good work.
Winners, as the result of a countout: The New Day
Okay, so the question here was: Would Lana be so secretly amazing in the ring that she’d wow us all and win the title on her first go? Making Naomi look like a fool in the process? Or would she be, you know, adequate, and act as a modest challenge for Naomi before a cash in attempt by Carmella? The answer was somewhere in between. Lana was fine. Nothing that could ever match our anticipation, having waited for her to train and get in the damn ring for years now, of course. And Carmella came down with her case and – didn’t cash in.
It was just a tease. And I’m glad too because the crowd was pretty dead quiet for all of it. Imagine if they’d tried for something big here. It would have landed with a thud. Plus, it would seem odd for anything to go down right now after Daniel Bryan said he’d have something to say about the ladder match finish a few days from now. Naomi won by making Lana tap.
In bigger news, we got the official debut of Mike Bennett and Maira Kanellis – aka “Mike and Maria Kanellis!” Yes, JBL simply could not process that Mike took her last name. This will perpetually haunt him, I’m sure. They’ve got a motivational speaker “power of love” gimmick going. Time to get ooey gooey, people.
Winner, and still SmackDown Women’s Champion: Naomi