The John Report: WWE Money in the Bank 2018 Review

It’s time for WWE Money in the Bank featuring matches from the Raw and Smackdown Live brands. The biggest matches on the card are two Money in the Bank Ladder Matches - one featuring the men and one for the women. This is only the second year the women have had a Money in the Bank match while the men's MITB matches go back 13 years to 2005 when it started at WrestleMania before MITB became its own pay-per-view event. Other big matches on the card are WWE Champion AJ Styles defending the title against Shinsuke Nakamura in a Last Man Standing match that could mean the end of their feud that has lasted about three months. The match that has been promoted the most is Nia Jax defending the Raw Women's Title against Ronda Rousey in Rousey's first ever singles match in WWE.

I want to begin by saying Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. To my father up in heaven, thank you for watching wrestling shows with me, thank you for taking me to wrestling events, thanks for buying me tapes, thanks for buying me action figures and thanks for being a great father. Let’s get to it.

WWE Money in the Bank
Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois
June 17, 2018

The opening video package focused on the key matches for the show like the Raw Women’s Championship, WWE Championship and two Money in the Bank ladder matches.

There was a shot of the packed house in Chicago. There were ladders all over the stage.

Daniel Bryan’s music hit and the fans went crazy for the introduction of Daniel Bryan. Plenty of “yes” chants as usual. The Smackdown Live announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves were shown on camera at ringside. Graves is also on the Raw announce team with Michael Cole and Jonathon Coachman.

Big Cass received boos for his entrance. The Spanish announce team was shown at ringside telling you read tjrwrestling.net every day and the German team was there too.

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass

Bryan with punches to start, Cass shoved him down, Bryan took him down and Cass kicked Bryan away. Bryan worked on Cass’ left leg with kicks to the knee. Cass sent Bryan into the turnbuckle, Bryan did a flip onto his feet and Cass knocked Bryan into the barricade. Cass slammed Bryan onto the apron and rolled him back in. Cass slapped on a bearhug. Bryan elbowed his way out of it, but Cass stopped him with a knee to the ribs. Bryan ran the ropes, Cass caught him and hit a spinning slam for a two count. Cass with a running splash in the corner. Cass mocked the “yes” taunt leading to boos from the crowd. Bryan with a drop toe hold that sent Cass face first into the middle turnbuckle. Oops. Bryan with a dragon screw leg whip to take down Cass again and Bryan did the leg whip again. Bryan drove Cass’ left knee into the side of the apron followed by a whip of the knee into the ring post two times. Bryan went up top and connected with a dropkick to the back of Cass. Bryan with a corner dropkick two times and Cass tried a slam, but Bryan took him down with a Yes Lock submission. The crowd went wild for it, but Cass got his hand on the bottom rope. Bryan with a running dropkick that sent Cass into the barricade. Bryan went up and hit a flying clothesline off the top onto Cass on the floor. That was impressive. Back in the ring, Cass slowed Bryan down by crotching him on the top rope. I think there was a “CM Punk” chant for some reason…oh right it’s Chicago. Cass hit a fallaway slam off the turnbuckle for a two count. That was a good spot. Cass put Bryan on his shoulders and slammed him off for two.

Cass worked over Bryan with punches as the fans chanted “Daniel Bryan.” Cass with a running boot, Bryan moved and Cass was crotched on the top rope. Bryan with a chop block to the back of the left knee two times in a row. Bryan hit the Yes Kicks to the chest, but Cass came back with a choke. Bryan broke free, dropkick to the knee of Cass and a roundhouse kick to the face by Bryan. Charge by Bryan, Cass launched Bryan into the air and hit a big boot to the face for two. Nice nearfall with Cass looking frustrated about it. Cass looked at the floor thinking of a slam on the floor. Cass put Bryan in the torture rack on his back again, Bryan broke free and hit a running knee to the face. Bryan slapped on the Heel Hook on Cass’ left knee again and Cass tapped out to give Bryan the submission win after 16 minutes.

Winner by submission: Daniel Bryan

Analysis: *** The match was good with Bryan working on the left knee of Cass the entire time, which played into the finish. Cass got a few nearfalls in there that were believable although I don’t think anybody wanted to see him win because he’s the kind of heel that people are bored of. I’m glad that Bryan won even though I thought Cass would win since Bryan won the last time. I’m happy to be wrong and glad that Bryan won. This match felt like a carry job by Bryan. I'm ready for Bryan to feud with The Miz or Samoa Joe now.

A commercial aired for the WWE UK tournament that airs June 25 and June 26. It tapes this Monday and Tuesday in England.

The New Day trio were backstage in the locker room looking at a laptop. Big E had way too much water. Kevin Owens walked into the room with a garbage bag that had pancakes, which made New Day happy. Owens had syrup as well. Big E said he can stay. Owens suggested that they take on Braun Strowman. Kofi Kingston said they are not cheaters. Owens mentioned bringing them pancakes and Canadian maple syrup. Xavier Woods invited him to talk with them. Owens said he doesn’t like pancakes while telling them their cereal sucks. The New Day told him to leave. Owens said don’t blame him if Braun Strowman dominates later. Owens said IHOP was right to change it to IHOB because burgers are better than pancakes. New Day took the syrup and Owens left.

Sami Zayn got a good response even though he’s a heel. There wasn’t much of a reaction for Bobby Lashley. The build for this match has been poor. It’s a Raw match, so Graves was joined by Cole and Coachman for this match. Zayn sent out a tweet before the show praising Lashley’s dad on Father's Day and ripping on Lashley.

Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn

Zayn left the ring multiple times to get away. Zayn got in a cheap shot eye gouge when the ref wasn’t looking and Zayn hit a running kick that sent Lashley out of the ring. Zayn whipped Lashley into the ring post two times. Back in the ring, Zayn worked over Lashley with punches. Lashley with a clothesline. Zayn went for a cross body block off the top, Lashley caught him and hit a fallaway slam. Lashley with a running clothesline, shoulder tackle to the gut and a spinebuster. Lashley with a delayed vertical suplex. The crowd was quiet for this match. Lashley picked up Zayn for a second delayed vertical suplex because some fans chanted “one more time” for it after the first time. Lashley picked up Zayn over his shoulder in a backbreaker submission spot. Lashley hit a third delayed vertical suplex. Lashley covered with one hand on the chest for the win after six minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bobby Lashley

Analysis: *1/4 Bad match. It was an easy win for Lashley as most of us expected it to be. Zayn got a bit of offense early, but then Lashley took over. Three delayed vertical suplexes for the win isn’t an interesting way to finish a match. Zayn looked like a loser by the end of it. This feud didn’t help either man. I hope they both move on from this.

A commercial aired for Gold Bond and a movie called Mile 22 with Mark Wahlberg and Ronda Rousey in it.

Nia Jax was shown backstage talking to referee John Cone about what she can do to Ronda Rousey later. Rousey was shown in the locker room warming up with her buddy Natalya looking on.

A commercial aired for the Miz and Mrs. show on USA Network on July 24. The Miz's dad George is awesome.

Elias was in the ring doing one of his pre-match songs. The fans were into it as he asked who wants to walk with Elias and the fans cheered. Elias talked about how he’s going to take Seth Rollins’ Intercontinental Championship. Elias said that Rollins is a stepping stone on his path to the future, so he should lay down now and Elias can walk on by. Elias did his bit about how WWE stands for “Walk With Elias” with the fans chanting it. Elias started to play, then he stopped, said Chicago wasn’t worth it and that was it.

Seth Rollins, the Intercontinental Champion, made his entrance to a big reaction.

Analysis: Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan both working in the first hour. They should be main eventing PPVs. Just saying.

Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Elias

Rollins was in control early when he hit a slingshot attack over the top onto Elias on the floor. Back in the ring, Rollins hit a springboard clothesline. Elias with a hard clothesline leading to Rollins landing hard on his head onto the ring apron, which is the hardest part of the ring. Rollins was running and Elias nailed him with a DDT for a two count. Elias slapped on headlock. Rollins had a bloody lip. Elias missed a knee drop. Rollins sent Elias face first into the top turnbuckle. Rollins with running forearms, a Slingblade and a clothesline that sent Elias over the top to the floor. Rollins ran the ropes and hit a suicide dive that sent Elias into the barricade. Rollins was selling the neck injury that he has been selling the whole match. Rollins with a Blockbuster off the second rope for a two count. Rollins went for a move off the ropes, Elias moved, when Rollins landed his left knee buckled and Elias hit a running knee to the face for two. Elias got a rollup for two. They got into a slugfest where they exchanged punches. Elias nailed a running boot to the face, Rollins came back with a standing side kick to the face for two. Rollins grabbed his left knee while trying to cover Elias, so that’s some great selling by Rollins. Rollins went up top slowly due to the knee injury, Rollins jumped off with a Frog Splash, but Elias got his knees up to block leading to a two count for Elias.

Elias went up top for something even though he never goes top, Rollins popped up with a superkick followed by a Falcon Arrow slam for two. The crowd liked that spot that always gets a good reaction. Rollins with a kick to the gut, but Elias avoided the Stomp. Elias went to the floor. Rollins went for a dive, Elias avoided it and Elias sent Rollins into the ring post two times. Elias up top and he hit an elbow drop off the top for two. The crowd chanted “this is awesome” for them. Elias wanted the Drift Away neckbreaker, but Rollins got to the ropes. Elias set up Rollins on the top rope. Rollins tried a Powerbomb and then Rollins’ knee buckled. Each man got rollups, Rollins sat on top holding the pants of Elias and that was enough to win. The match went 16 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

Analysis: ***1/2 Good match with a controversial finish. It’s weird to see a face like Rollins cheat to win, but that’s something that can lead to a rematch if they do the match again. Rollins was a selling machine in this match as he sold the neck injury early and then the left knee as the match got going. The greatness of Rollins exists partly because of that. He does all the little things right like selling injuries the right way even when he’s on offense. That was the best Elias match to date. Working with Rollins certainly helped him. I liked the story of it. There will probably be a rematch and Elias may win the title next time. It would make a lot of sense for Elias to get the title because it would elevate him while Rollins can move on to main eventing where he belongs. I had Rollins retaining here because it just felt like this title reign is going to continue.

A commercial aired for Extreme Rules, which is the next PPV on July 15.

A video package aired hyping up the Women’s Money in the Bank contract ladder match.

The white Money in the Bank briefcase was hanging above the ring.

Here’s the order of entry for the women in the Money in the Bank match: Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Ember Moon, Lana, Natalya, Naomi, Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair was last.

The announce team calling this match is Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Jonathon Coachman.

Women’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match: Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch vs. Ember Moon vs. Natalya vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Charlotte Flair

Natalya kicked Banks and threw her out of the ring. The other women all paired off outside the ring. Natalya isn’t wearing a knee brace. Charlotte tossed Moon over the barricade at ringside. Lynch dropkicked a ladder into Natalya and a dropkick into her buddy Charlotte. Moon hit a somersault dive off the barricade. Moon whipped Natalya shoulder first into the steel steps. Moon with a dropkick, Moon kicked a ladder into Banks, Moon shoved Naomi out of the ring and a step up enziguri by Moon connected on Banks. Moon hit a cross body block onto Banks on a ladder that was folded in the ring. Ouch. Lana pulled down Moon by the hair. Lana hit the X-Factor facebuster on Moon onto a ladder. Lana set up a bigger ladder, but Natalya stopped that with a clothesline. Natalya with a body slam on the ladder that was folded in the ring. Natalya slammed Naomi legs first onto the ladder that was in the ring. Charlotte smiled at Natalya followed by hard chops to the chest since these two have worked a lot. Charlotte with an overhead suplex. Lynch confronted her buddy Charlotte. The fans chanted for Becky as they fought for possession of a ladder. Naomi back into it with a clothesline on Natalya and Naomi hit a dropkick to the ladder that knocked Charlotte and Lynch down. Bliss back into it, but Naomi took her out with a dive over the top to the floor. Naomi jumped off the apron with a Blockbuster on Banks on the floor. All eight women were down outside the ring. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. The pacing was very fast for the start of this match. Naomi and Moon slammed a ladder onto Lynch followed by a double dropkick by Naomi and Moon. Naomi and Moon had a face off in the ring with Moon hitting a knee lift, Naomi kick to the head and Moon hit an arm drag on Naomi that sent Naomi back first into a ladder against the turnbuckle. Banks sent Moon into the ring post. Lana in, but Banks kicked her hard. Banks set up Lana on Moon on the ladder that was against the turnbuckle, so Banks hit a double knee attack on both women. Banks set up a ladder in the middle of the ring, Charlotte pulled her off and those two familiar women had a staredown. They both climbed up and knocked eachother down at the same time. Charlotte hit a neckbreaker on Banks. Charlotte wanted a Powerbomb on a ladder, but Banks climbed up the ladder under the briefcase. Natalya back in, Lynch in and Banks hit a double knee attack on Charlotte and Natalya. Bliss back in the ring with a punch on Lynch. Bliss barely did anything in the first ten minutes.

Banks climbed the ladder, Bliss went up the other side, Lynch pulled Bliss down, Banks slugged it out with Banks and Lana brought in a bigger ladder into the match. Lana climbed the bigger ladder, Banks had her hand on the bottom of the briefcase, Moon got in on the climb, Natalya joined so there were six women on the two ladders. Natalya picked up Banks and gave her a Powerbomb into a ladder, which took out Banks and Lynch went crashing down. Charlotte back in with a boot on Natalya. Moon, Lana and Bliss were fighting on a ladder. Charlotte gave Moon a Powerbomb into a ladder. Charlotte took care of Lana with a backbreaker. Charlotte pulled Bliss off the apron and Bliss hit a sunset flip Powerbomb on Charlotte that looked impressive. Lana shoved Bliss down. Bliss told Lana it’s her briefcase and Lana nailed her with a kick to the head. Lana slapped on the Accolade submission on Bliss to a huge ovation. Lana climbed the big ladder that wasn’t directly under the briefcase. Naomi jumped onto the ladder. Naomi kicked Lana off. Naomi reached up, but she was too far away to unhook it and Lynch pulled Naomi down. Lynch pulled the ladder under the briefcase. Charlotte climbed up the other side to block Lynch. They slugged it out with punches. Bliss shoved the ladder over, but Charlotte nailed Bliss with a Spear. Charlotte climbed, Banks pulled her down with a Backstabber to Charlotte. Naomi sent Banks into the ladder. Lana pulled Naomi off. Natalya got back into it, she put Lana on her shoulders and hit an Electric Chair Drop on Lana. Moon back into it with a kick that sent Natalya down. Charlotte stopped Moon’s climb and Charlotte hit a Spear onto a ladder that was against the turnbuckle. Lynch with a knee to Charlotte and Lynch hit a Bexploder suplex on Charlotte. The foot of Charlotte hit the bottom of a ladder. Lynch climbed up the ladder, Lynch had her hand on the briefcase ready to unhook it, but Bliss tipped the ladder over sending Lynch face first into a ladder. Bliss may have been a second too late becuse Lynch looked dumb reaching when she had her hand on the briefcase. Bliss climbed up the tall ladder and grabbed the briefcase to win the match. It went 19 minutes.

Winner: Alexa Bliss

Post match, Bliss celebrated with the briefcase. The fans cheered while the other women in the match were down around the ring.

Analysis: ****1/4 That was a very good ladder match. It’s hard to remember all of the cool spots, but I thought they did a lot of cool moves while doing some bumps that were all safe. I’m glad nobody tried to overdo with a crazy leap off a ladder. Some of the bumps they did where they landed hard on ladders was a bit rough, but I don’t think anybody got hurt too bad. I was hoping for a different outcome like Natalya or Becky Lynch winning, but clearly WWE management loves Bliss because she’s had many title reigns while also getting the briefcase in this match. Bliss doesn’t necessarily “need” the briefcase since she’s always in the title picture, but as a heel she’s the kind of woman that you want to have carrying that thing around with the chance to cash in at any time. I thought Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Ember Moon and Naomi were the best performers in the match. Bliss won, yet she barely did anything in the first ten minutes. That fits her character because she wanted to take advantage when the others were down later in the match.

Kurt Angle, the Raw General Manager, was in the office with Smackdown General Manager Paige. Angle was happy that the women’s Money in the Bank is coming to Raw with Alexa Bliss. Angle said he likes co-branded PPVs because he can see old friends while naming his friends on Smackdown and Paige said not to think about taking talent to Raw. Paige was confident that a Smackdown wrestler will win the men’s Money in the Bank. Constable Baron Corbin showed up telling Angle not to celebrate because they need to win the men’s Money in the Bank. Paige wondered why Corbin is so bitter and mentioned Corbin failing to cash in Money in the Bank last year. Corbin was mad. Corbin said to Angle it was one down, one to go. Corbin left, Angle credited Paige for a good line and that was it.

Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal video package aired because it was next.

Sunil Singh was in a wheelchair with a neckbrace as he did the introduction for his buddy Jinder Mahal. The international announce teams were shown from their seats around the arena. Hello to Funaki and the rest of them.

Roman Reigns made his entrance to boos from the crowd while Cole did his usual line saying “here comes The Big Dog” for Reigns. The crowd booed Reigns during most of his entrance.

Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh)

Reigns worked over Mahal with the usual punches. The fans shit on the match right away with “CM Punk” and “boring” chants. Reigns tried a Drive By while Mahal was on the apron, Mahal moved and Reigns landed hard on the apron. Singh got up out of the wheelchair and shoved Reigns into the ring post. The fans chanted “this is awful” as Mahal slapped on a chinlock on Reigns. Fans chanted “Johnny Wrestling” for Johnny Gargano as Mahal continued this really long chinlock on Reigns. With Reigns on the apron, Mahal with a shoulder tackle to the gut that sent Reigns into the barricade. They went back into the ring with fans chanting “Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” because they are bored. Mahal grabbed another chinlock, the crowd was distracted by beach balls and they chanted “asshole” at somebody that likely took the beach ball away. Reigns got his boot up, running clothesline, Mahal with a boot to the face and Reigns hit an uppercut punch. The crowd did the wave while Reigns hit Mahal with clotheslines in the corner. Mahal came back with a running knee for two. The announcers completely ignored the crowd rejecting this match. Reigns got a nearfall. I missed the move because I was tweeting about the crowd not giving a shit about the match because that’s the story of this match. Reigns wanted a Superman Punch, Mahal moved and Mahal hit a gutbuster (knee to the ribs) for a two count.

Mahal went for The Khallas, Reigns backed him into the corner and Reigns hit a Superman Punch for two. The fans were chanting “Y2J” for Chris Jericho, who is not there. The fans are just bored for this match. Reigns did his yell, Mahal kicked him and whipped Reigns shoulder first into the ring post. Mahal was bleeding on the left side of his face. They exchanged punches, Reigns with a knee to the chest and Reigns hit a leg drop to the back of the neck that knocked Mahal out of the ring. Reigns hit a Drive By dropkick on Mahal. Singh tried to shove Reigns into the ring post, but Reigns stopped himself and the ref realized Singh wasn’t hurt. Reigns hit a Superman Punch on Singh, which the crowd booed. Reigns with a Superman Punch to Mahal. Reigns hit a Spear on Singh on the floor. Reigns back in, Mahal with a cradle for two. Reigns with a Spear for the pinfall win after 17 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns

Analysis: **1/4 It was just an average match that went too long. The work in the match was fine with a predictable outcome, but the story of this match was how much the fans rejected Reigns. They chanted things that had nothing to do with the match because they are tired of this push for Reigns. I'm sure I missed a lot of the chants too. I don’t mind Reigns as a performer. It’s just tough to sit through these matches where fans completely crap on the matches because they are tired of Reigns in this role as a superman face that overcomes the odds. It’s just not working. Mahal’s work was fine. It wasn’t an exciting match, though. Reigns winning was obvious.

A video aired about a Special Olympics athlete named Katie Millar that aired last week on WWE TV. Katie was in the crowd at ringside sitting beside Travis Browne and his sons. Travis is Ronda Rousey’s husband, but they didn’t mention him.

A video aired from the Kickoff Show showing that The Bludgeon Brothers beat Gallows and Anderson to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. They also recapped the other matches on the show.

The video package aired for Carmella vs. Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Title.

Asuka made her entrance as the challenger for the Smackdown Women’s Title. Carmella entered with the Smackdown Women’s Championship around her waist.

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Carmella vs. Asuka

Carmella with an open hand strike. Asuka with a running hip attack followed by slaps to the face. Asuka kicked Carmella in the ribs, Carmella was on the apron and Asuka with a running hip attack that sent Carmella to the floor. Carmella took her title, she tried to leave, but Asuka nailed her with a running kick. They battled on the apron with Carmella sending Asuka face first into the ring post. Carmella rolled Asuka in for a two count. Carmella trapped Asuka with a body scissors. Asuka broke free with a back fist, Carmella avoided it and hit a kick to the ribs followed by a superkick for two. Carmella continued on offense, Asuka to the turnbuckle and she went for a dropkick, but Carmella moved. Asuka slapped on a knee bar submission on Carmella only for Carmella to get to the ropes. Fans chanted “Asuka” for the challenger. Knee lift to the face for Asuka followed by a running dropkick. Asuka with kicks to the chest, German Suplex and another running hip attack from Asuka got a two count. Asuka charged at Carmella, who was on the apron, Carmella moved and Asuka went crashing to the floor. Carmella snapped Asuka’s neck across the top and Carmella kicked Asuka’s hand that was holding the ropes to knock Asuka out of the ring. Carmella with a suicide dive that got a two count back in the ring. Carmella tried three covers and threw a tantrum after she failed to win. Asuka with two spinning back fists followed by a kick to the face. Somebody in an Asuka costume walked onto the apron with a mask. Asuka stared at it and looked stunned by it. Carmella got a rollup for two. Asuka hit a knee to the face. Asuka stared again. The person in the outfit took the mask off, it was James Ellsworth, who winked at Asuka. Asuka was stunned by it and Carmella hit a superkick for the pinfall win. It went about 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Carmella

Analysis: *3/4 It was a cheap win for Carmella as expected due to the rumors of Ellsworth returning to WWE. That’s exactly how I wrote it in the preview with Asuka in full control, Ellsworth shows up to distract and Carmella hit the superkick to capitalize. It was bad for an Asuka match. She usually has better matches, but Carmella really isn’t known for having great matches. Asuka was made to look like a fool here since she was distracted by Ellsworth standing there for so long.

Post match, Ellsworth was happy while Carmella celebrated with the title. Graves celebrated the return of Ellsworth.

A commercial aired for Something Else to Wrestle With hosted by Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson on WWE Network. Their next episode on Wednesday is about The Hardy Boyz.

The announce team talked about the Super Show-down show in Australia in October that was announced on Saturday.

The video package aired for AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship.

Shinsuke Nakamura entered first for the WWE Championship match. Nakamura was booed, but you could tell there were fans cheering as well due to Nakamura’s star power.

AJ Styles, the WWE Champion, received a loud reaction since he is as popular as anybody in WWE these days.

WWE Championship (Last Man Standing): AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

The fans chanted for both guys as they locked up in a tight headlock. Styles with a dropkick followed by a backbreaker. Nakamura with an elbow to the jaw. Styles sent Nakamura out of the ring. Styles jumped over the top with a flying forearm on the floor with referee Mike Chioda counting Nakamura down for about five. Styles whipped Nakamura into the barricade two times. Nakamura hit a suplex on Styles on the bottom of the ramp that put Styles down for a six count. Nakamura put Styles on the apron with Nakamura hitting a knee to the face followed by a kick to the back of the head. Styles was down for a five count. Nakamura took control in the ring with a knee drop. Nakamura choked Styles with his foot on the throat. Spin kick by Nakamura put Styles down for about a six count with Styles looking like he was stunned. Nakamura with a running knee that sent Styles out of the ring. They went over the announce tables and Nakamura tossed Styles over the barricade into the crowd. Styles fought back with punches followed by two kicks and they went back to the ringside area. Styles jumped to the barricade, Nakamura kicked his foot and Styles crashed face first. Nakamura sent Styles face first into the bottom half of the steel steps. They went back in the ring, Nakamura wanted a suplex, Styles with a Pele Kick and Nakamura with a boot to the face. Nakamura jumped off the turnbuckle and Styles met him with a dropkick to the ribs. They were both down for seven. Styles worked over Nakamura with strikes. Styles picked up Nakamura and slammed him down face first. Nakamura went for a low blow punch, Styles moved out of the way and they got their signals crossed because Styles went for a Pele Kick that barely connected, Nakamura recovered and hit a reverse Exploder. Styles came back with a running forearm. They were down for about six.

Styles picked up Nakamura and dropped him with a Ushigoroshi neckbreaker to the knee. Nakamura was down for eight. Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Nakamura kicked the legs to knock Styles down. The fans chanted for both guys. Nakamura sent Styles midsection first onto the barricade. Nakamura cleared off the German announce table. Nakamura slammed Styles onto the German announce table, but it didn’t break the table. Nakamura cleared off the two other announce tables. Nakamura ran across the tables and hit a Kinshasa running knee strike with Styles down on the announce table. The ref counted Styles, and Styles rolled off the table onto his feet at the nine count. They went back into the ring. Nakamura looked for a weapon under the ring. Nakamura brought a table into the ring. The fans were excited to see the table. Nakamura set up the table in the ring. Nakamura set up Styles on the top, Styles slipped out of it and Nakamura fought back with punches. The table was knocked over, so Nakamura suplexed Styles ribs first onto the side of the table. Nakamura set up the table against the turnbuckle, Nakamura whipped Styles against the table and the ref counted Styles down. Styles got up at a count of nine. Nakamura exposed the top turnbuckle. Nakamura kicked Styles in the back. Nakamura went for a running knee against the turnbuckle, Styles moved and Nakamura’s knee hit the exposed turnbuckle, so Nakamura was hurting. This match was past 20 minutes.

Styles with a kick to the knee. The fans were chanting for both guys again. Styles kicked the knee with Nakamura selling the knee injury. Styles slapped on the Calf Crusher on the left knee. Nakamura tapped, but it means nothing in this match. Nakamura got back at seven. Styles with a hard kick to the left knee. Styles grabbed a chair and hit Nakamura in the left knee with it. Nakamura back up. Styles hit Nakamura in the left shoulder followed by another chair to the leg. Nakamura pleaded with Styles to stop. When Styles went for another chair shot, Nakamura hit a low blow punch to the groin like he has done so many times. The ref counted Styles down for an eight count. Nakamura with a Kinshasa running knee on Styles on the floor with the damaged left knee. The ref counted both guys down, Nakamura got back up, Styles wasn’t moving and Styles jumped up across the announce table at a nine count. The crowd cheered that. They went over to the Spanish announce table. Styles shoved Nakamura off the table. Styles jumped off the announce table with a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles picked up Nakamura and jumped off the steel steps with a Styles Clash on the floor. The crowd cheered with a “holy shit” chant. Nakamura managed to get to his feet at nine. Nakamura did his “come on” hand gesture. Styles kicked him in the groin as payback. That drew a big response. Styles went back into the ring and connected with a Phenomenal Forearm that drove Nakamura through the English announce table. That was an awesome spot. Both men were counted down. Styles up at 7. Nakamura stayed down. Styles wins. It went 30 minutes. The crowd cheered loudly.

Winner: AJ Styles

Analysis: ****1/4 That was a very good match. The last ten minutes of the match were excellent. It went a bit long because I thought that maybe if it was 20 minutes instead of 30 minutes it would have helped the match. The problem with LMS sometimes is the crowd loses interest due to the counting early in the match that is obviously not going to end the match, but it’s like that in regular matches too. As for the finish, it was built up well with Styles getting the revenge with the low blow and the great Phenomenal Forearm. It sucks that Nakamura failed to get the title, but I figured Styles would get the win here. Styles can work with The Miz or Samoa Joe here. I could see Nakamura against Daniel Bryan or perhaps the US Champion Jeff Hardy.

The Raw Women’s Championship is next. A video package aired about the rivalry.

Nia Jax got a decent reaction. Ronda Rousey got a big ovation. Rousey was wearing a white top that said “Rowdy” on it.

Raw Women’s Championship: Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey

Jax tossed Rousey across the ring followed by a splash against the turnbuckle. Jax tossed Rousey across the ring again. Jax missed a corner charge. Rousey worked over Jax with punches, but Jax came back with a headbutt. Jax with a corner splash. Jax put Rousey on her shoulders, Rousey took her down with a Kimura armbar. Rousey tried to get the armbar locked in, but Jax rolled through. Jax powered out of it and Jax hit a sitout Powerbomb. When Rousey got up, Rousey stumbled to the floor. Jax went after Rousey on the floor and Jax sent Rousey into the barricade. Back in the ring, Rousey with punches to the ribs. Jax with a press slam on Rousey. Charge in by Rousey with a guillotine choke. Jax powered out of it by slamming Rousey’s back into the mat three times. Jax with a bearhug. Rousey broke free and Jax nailed a Samoan Drop for two. Jax went for a leg drop, Rousey moved out of the way and Jax hit the mat. Jax charged in, Rousey escaped to the top rope and Jax lightly hit the post. Rousey slapped on an armbar using the rope for an assist for a count of four. Rousey slowly stared at the apron, Rousey climbed up, the crowd cheered and Rousey jumped off with a cross body block for two as Rousey did a power kickout. Rousey with punches followed by a knee lift. Rousey grabbed the side of Jax and did a judo throw that sent Jax across the ring for a two count. That was a move you don’t see in a wrestling ring very often. Rousey went for the armbar on the left arm, but Jax covered for two. Jax with a slam. Rousey went for the armbar on Jax’s left arm again, Jax tried to fight it and Alexa Bliss showed up with the briefcase. Uh oh. Bliss hit Rousey in the back with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Disqualification finish. It went about ten minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Ronda Rousey

Analysis: *** That was a pretty good match with a clever story where Jax was on offense for the majority of match, Rousey looked great in her comeback and the crowd was really getting behind her. The attack from Bliss came out of nowhere because it happened in a way where Bliss just showed up out of nowhere. Rousey was very impressive while Jax did well too. I liked the match a lot.

Bliss hit Rousey in the back with the briefcase again. Bliss sent Rousey into the steel ring post. Bliss hit Rousey in the back with the briefcase again. Bliss sent Rousey over the announce table. Bliss hit Jax two times in the left arm with the briefcase. Bliss officially cashed in the Money in the Bank contract.

Raw Women’s Championship: Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss

Bliss kicked Jax’s arm and Bliss hit a DDT. Bliss went up top and she hit the Twisted Bliss splash on Jax. Bliss covered Jax and the ref counted the pinfall. Bliss wins the title after about one minute of action. The crowd reacted to it in a big way.

Winner by pinfall and New Raw Women’s Champion: Alexa Bliss

The win means that Bliss is a 5-time Women’s Champion.

Analysis: No rating because it was such a quick match. I thought maybe Jax would find a way to win to put over Jax as a fighter, but I’m fine with Bliss winning the title again. It’s clear that WWE management loves Bliss as a heel champion because that’s her fifth reign in less than two years. That’s a lot. I’m intrigued to see where things go next with Jax and Rousey on the hunt for Bliss.

Commercials aired for Total Bellas and Extreme Rules.

The announce team for the men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match are Cole, Graves and Saxton.

The video package aired for the men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match.

The order of entrants for the men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match went like this: Samoa Joe, Finn Balor got a big ovation, Aiden English did the introduction for his buddy Rusev on Rusev Day, Kevin Owens got a decent reaction, Bobby Roode got a pop for the start of it, The Miz was next and Braun Strowman got the loudest reaction of all.

The New Day trio were up last with Big E looking like it would be him. Woods took his shirt off to reveal that it will be Kofi Kingston in the match. It is Kingston’s seventh MITB match, which ties him with Kane according to Cole. The match started at 10:54pmET as we near the four-hour mark.

Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rusev vs. Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Roode vs. The Miz vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kofi Kingston

The green Money in the Bank briefcase was hanging above the ring. There were ladders all around the ringside area.

Strowman cleared house early on by knocking everybody out of the ring. Owens charged at Strowman and Strowman decked him with a punch. They went up the aisle with everybody working together with ladders to knock down Strowman. They went over to the staging area where the wrestlers buried Strowman under about a dozen ladders. The Miz set up a ladder in the ring. Samoa Joe got back in to stop Miz from climbing. Joe drove Miz back first into the turnbuckle. Kingston back into the ring with Trouble in Paradise on Joe. Kingston dropkicked the ladder into Miz. The fans chanted “Kofi” as Kingston hit a boom drop leg drop onto the ladder that was on Miz. Owens back in with a superkick. Owens tried to climb up. Balor stopped him and Balor hit Owens with a double foot stomp to the chest. Roode back in and he whipped Balor into the ladder that was above the ring. Balor with a basement dropkick on Roode. Owens with a ladder shot to the ribs of Balor. Owens tripped up Balor and sent Balor into the ladder that was outside the ring. Owens with a superkick to the jaw that put Balor on the announce table. Owens grabbed a tall ladder that was near the announce table. Owens climbed up the ladder, but Owens climbed back down to go after Rusev in the ring. Rusev hit a fallaway slam onto Owens back first onto a ladder. Joe back in with a step up enziguri on Rusev. Kingston jumped off the top with a punch for Joe. There were “Kofi” chants. Miz back in the ring, Kingston knocked him out and Kingston hit his dive off the top onto a bunch of guys that were there. Balor hit a somersault dive onto the guys that were outside the ring. Strowman got back to his feet after his five minute break. Joe greeted Strowman with a suicide dive forearm. Owens with a superkick on Strowman, Rusev with a superkick on Strowman and Owens threw a ladder on Strowman. Owens got a table. Joe slapped on a Coquina Clutch on Joe and Owens hit a superkick on Strowman. Owens climbed up a huge ladder that was by the staging area. Owens teased jumping off the huge ladder, but Strowman got back to his feet. Owens was on the side of the ladder, Strowman climbed up the other side and Strowman tossed Owens about 20 feet through a table that was underneath them. That was a huge fall for Owens. I assume there was some padding under the table, but that was still a huge drop.

Strowman went back to ringside and destroyed a ladder. The Miz freaked out realizing he was the only one in the ring. Strowman punched Miz in the chest. Joe hit Strowman in the back with a ladder. Balor with a running dropkick that sent Strowman over the barricade at ringside. Roode sent Balor into the ring post. Roode charged at Joe, but Joe hit a uranage slam on Roode. Fans chanted “Rusev Day” as Rusev sent Joe out of the ring. Rusev with a kick to the head of Roode. Rusev nailed Kingston with a kick to the head. Rusev applied his Accolade submission on Roode and Kingston at the same time. Rusev kicked Miz and Rusev tried a three man Accolade, but Joe went back in with a Coquina Clutch. Rusev rolled through and hit a superkick. Rusev climbed up, Miz tipped the ladder and Rusev went crashing into the top rope. The Miz climbed up, he got his hands on the briefcase and Kingston stopped him. Kingston got his hands on the briefcase. Roode shoved the ladder to knock Kingston and Miz down. Balor with a Slingblade on Roode. Balor with clotheslines that sent Miz and Kingston out of the ring. Balor kicked Roode. Balor climbed up a ladder that was against the ring. Balor jumped off with a Coup de Gras double foot stomp on Roode. That was pretty high up. Balor climbed up, the crowd cheered, but Strowman was back. Strowman sent Balor into the ladder. Strowman with a Powerslam on Joe and a Powerslam on Miz. Balor climbed one side of the ladder, Strowman was on the other side and Kingston jumped on Strowman’s back. Strowman pulled Kingston down. Strowman was alone at the top and Strowman unhooked the briefcase to win the match after 19 minutes.

Winner: Braun Strowman

The crowd cheered loudly as Strowman posed with the briefcase in his hands.

Analysis: **** I thought it was a very good match. The most memorable part was when Owens took that massive bump off a 20 foot high ladder through a table underneath. I’m sure it was a bump that they did as safely as possible, but it’s still scary to see a guy fall that far. Some of the guys in the match didn’t get to do much, nor did they have moments where it looked like they might win. The Miz came close a few times, but he really just took a beating for most of it. I thought Samoa Joe and Rusev both could have been booked better and both of them should have had a moment or two where they could have won The outcome surprised me a bit because I thought that Strowman winning was too obvious. I don’t mind the move at all because Strowman’s an entertaining character that was the most popular guy in the match. It’s just a question of whether he really “needed” the briefcase and I think the answer to that is no. I would have liked to see somebody else win it that could have been elevated by it. That doesn't mean I hate this because I like Strowman. I'm just saying I would have gone in another direction.

Strowman celebrated with the briefcase while the announcers wondered when he might cash in the contract. That’s how the show ended.

Analysis: I hope Strowman is the next Universal Champion at SummerSlam or even before that. He’s the right choice to take the title from the absentee champion Lesnar.

This event had a run time of 4 hours, 15 minutes.

 

Five Stars of the Show

  1. Alexa Bliss
  2. Braun Strowman
  3. AJ Styles
  4. Shinsuke Nakamura
  5. Ronda Rousey

 

Final Thoughts

It gets a 7.5 out of 10 from me.

I enjoyed the show a lot. I thought the most memorable moment was Alexa Bliss leaving with the Raw Women’s Title. The spot with Owens going through the table was memorable. The last few minutes of Styles/Nakamura was great. Strowman winning after getting attacked by everybody else in the match was well done. I think booking wise it was a very good show and most of the matches were enjoyable. The low points weren’t that bad.

The one thing I’ll add as well is it felt really long at over four hours. Maybe I’m just tired after a long day and doing the Takeover review the night before. Perhaps this is the new style of PPV we’ll get every month with nine matches for over four hours. I’m not sure. It just felt like Money in the Bank dragged on a bit too much.

With all of that said, a thumbs up from me and Money in the Bank was an enjoyable night of WWE action.

 

Pay-Per-View Rankings for 2018

Royal Rumble – 8

Money in the Bank – 7.5

WrestleMania – 7

Fastlane – 7

Greatest Royal Rumble – 6.5

Elimination Chamber – 6

Backlash – 4

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Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below. I’ll be back during the week with Raw and Smackdown reviews as usual.

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

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