Another day, another wrestling show…
I kid, but really I’m feeling a bit jaded at the moment, wrestling wise. I think it’s because last night was Takeover and now there’s Money In The Bank, then the WWE UK shows looming over my head. Throw in New Japan’s G1 Climax Tournament next month and I’m genuinely wondering how I can watch all this.
I’ve got a plan, don’t worry…it’s just going to take a bit of planning. I’ll worry about Money In The Bank first. I can’t say I’m looking forward to it – I’m getting tired of the Money In The Bank formula. Throwing multiple wrestlers into a ladder match repeatedly is kinda lazy and it’s losing it’s lure now it happens so many times a year. Plus, the Money In The Bank PPV is four hours and fifteen minutes long with nine matches…that’s far too long!
Daniel Bryan vs Big Cass was actually a good opener (3/5). I’ll admit, I overrated their Backlash match, I was just happy that Daniel Bryan won so easily. To be fair though, that match and this match were decent contests. The action was pretty quick, logical and again, the right man won. I did think the match dragged a little bit, probably because I just wanted Bryan to win and end this feud. The matches have been surprisingly good, but I think Bryan is above feuding with Big Cass, contract expiring or not. I’m really surprised that Big Cass has lost twice too…if this was 2013, Cass would probably have beaten Bryan in five minutes, so I’m grateful for small mercies…
Mercy is something I don’t have for Bobby Lashley vs Sami Zayn (2/5). This was poor, like a pointless TV match and shouldn’t have been on a PPV. I think Zayn is great – before he got derailed in Autumn 2016, Zayn was on fire and my wrestler of 2016 – and to see him wasted in a silly feud like this, jobbing to a guy who hasn’t been missed in the decade he’s been gone is painful. I’d have had no problem with Lashley winning a competitive match or at least a longer match, but this was a one sided five minute match that was a waste of time.
Seth Rollins’ win over Elias calmed me down a bit, it was another decent match where the right man won (3/5). Both men worked hard and even though things slowed down during Elias’s offence, the match picked up at the end. This might be Elias’ best individual in ring performance, but I think he was a bit out of place here facing workhorse Rollins. I was satisfied with this match, but found myself wondering what would have happened if we had switched the last two matches around? Elias would have fit better in the Lashley feud while Rollins and Zayn could have had a great match. I do feel that the roster are all pretty talented, but the cards and booking are all over the place.
The women’s Money In The Bank match was a good effort, but I’m not really a fan of these matches (3/5). All the tropes were on display here in a paint by numbers ladder match – the resting, the stunts that get quickly forgotten, taking time to attack opponents instead of climbing the ladder to win, the dramatic finish. I appreciate the effort the wrestlers put in, but it makes me sad to see the risks taken for a match that will be forgotten by next week. I wasn’t too thrilled with Alexa Bliss winning either, I feel like she’s only just dropped the title and it would have been good to have someone else win for a change.
Jinder Mahal vs Roman Reigns was just WWE’s practical joke on the WWE Universe, a match no one asked for or wanted (2/5). I can’t think of any other reason this match was on the show other than to troll the audience. This was a pretty slow, basic, plodding match, fought before an apathetic crowd and was another match that could have easily been kept to TV. At least Reigns won clean so there won’t be any more matches between these two…
I’m not sure what I thought of Carmela vs Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Title….I was surprised at how competitive it was, I just assumed Asuka would win in a few minutes. It was an alright match, scrappy but surprisingly engaging…I wasn’t sure who was going to win after Carmella survived the first few minutes. The ending though…I like James Ellsworth, but I’m not sure I need him back, helping Carmella retain the belt every week. I also don’t want to see Asuka getting pinned – even without the streak it should be a big deal to pin Asuka and it should come about from a hard fought match, not the silliness on show here.. I’ll go to a 2.5/5 here…I feel confused and a little disheartened for the future of the Smackdown Women’s title (I just figured Asuka would win here to set up Asuka vs Charlotte II at Summerslam) but I was mildly entertained by the match.
I think I’ve officially given up on the thought of an A J Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura dream match. The last few months of their feud have seen me try to be optimistic, but I’m done with watching them face each other. If anything, their WWE feud has got me wondering if their Wrestle Kingdom match was actually that good. This Last Man Standing match was fine, but like all their matches, I felt like it never got to fifth gear. I think 3/5 is fine for this one, it was probably better than all their other matches, but not drastically. With A J winning, I’m sure this is the end of the feud and I’m glad – both men could use a change.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect from Nia Jax vs Ronda Rousey. WWE have no idea what to do with Nia Jax – one minute she’s a monster heel, then she’s a sympathetic face, then she’s slowly heading back to being a heel again. I’m not sure if they know what to do with Ronda either…I’m not convinced she’s a good face and I think her talking/acting isn’t up to WWE standards…I’d have started her as a heel, made sure she had a manager and just keep Ronda to in ring action, which to be fair she’s pretty good at. The match? I thought it was decent and was just getting into it when Alexa Bliss cashed in her Money In The Bank briefcase. I was hoping Rousey would stop her, but no…back to Bliss as champion again…Post match and all, I’ll go 2.5/5…I think this could have been much better with more time given to it and a different outcome. I thought the post match was a good surprise but Alexa’s pin over Nia seemed unconvincing and I was surprised Nia didn’t kick out. I would have tried something different, like Rousey tapping out Bliss during the cash in – at least then, there is controversy and a different take on events, as well as a ready built match for next month.
The Men’s Money In The Bank match was Braun Strowman vs the world, which I admit I find quite entertaining. Again, this match suffered the usual tropes, but watching Braun fighting and destroying seven guys like some type of slasher film monster is always fun. I’m not sure that he needed to win the match, but if it means a Lesnar vs Strowman match, I’m all for it. I’ll go 3.5/5 for this one – while it was similar to the women’s match, I enjoyed the Braun stuff and that shaded it for me.
Verdict – I feel like I’ve been really grumpy and I’m sorry…I do like wrestling, honestly, I just found a lot to nitpick on Money In The Bank. There was definitely no need for this show to be over four hours long – they could have easily cut this show down to three hours. I didn’t find the show inspiring either, as there was little development going forward. There was no Lesnar on this show, A J retained, Carmella retained, Bliss is champion again…I can’t say I’ve really got a hook to watch Extreme Rules next month, a show that will probably feature more ladder matches anyway….
Overall I’ll go 2.72/5.00. I think that’s fair – this was a slightly above average show that would have been improved with some quality control. Remove Lashley/Zayn and Reigns/Mahal, let Rollins face Bryan in a ‘interbrand match’ and have less people in the Money In The Bank matches..to me, big shows should be special and only for the best talent. Letting everyone onto them dilutes their appeal. Unfortunately, this is the issue now all the pay per views are dual brand, Hopefully, Extreme Rules will be better…