WWE Money in the Bank 2018 didn’t quite live up to it’s predecessors, but it was still entertaining.
Braun Strowman winning the Money in the Bank briefcase and a solid card buoyed the show, there were still some missteps along the way.
Here’s how it all shook out.
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass: C
This was better than their initial offering, which is a good thing. Familiarity in the ring helps.
While Cass may have a long way to go — and he’s not going anywhere, considering he’s got the size and look that Vince McMahon loves — he’s got the tools necessary to be somebody in the company. Whether or not fans will take to him is a different issue.
Daniel Bryan is Daniel Bryan. ‘Nuff said.
What’s next: Hopefully Daniel Bryan is put in a meaningful feud in the coming months. Big Cass is doing nothing for him — at least for now — and while it’s good for both guys to be in this feud now, it’s pretty much at its end.
Sami Zayn vs. Bobby Lashley: C-
This feud has been so cold, and it’s unfortunate, because Sami Zayn has been so good since his heel turn. This match was a glorified squash.
Bobby Lashley is athletic. Bobby Lashley is decent in the ring. Bobby Lashley has as much character as a jar of mayonnaise, but not nearly as versatile.
The match ended with a backbreaker rack/vertical suplex sequence, repeated three times. There was nothing of substance here.
I wish I could write more about this, but it just existed … it was a “RAW”-worthy match, and nothing more. Zayn deserves better, and if Lashley is going to be a major player in the coming months — which appears apparent — then he needs to be more.
What’s next: I’m going to assume more of this feud is coming. It seems weird to end it on such a blah match, but maybe this is where we’re at now.
Elias vs. Seth Rollins: B+
It really seems like Seth Rollins is getting better and better with every match. Hard to believe — he’s a superstar.
Seth Rollins is exactly what WWE should be looking at when it comes to their main-event scene — even if that’s never going to happen, or at least seems increasingly less so at this point.
The one thing I wish Rollins would leave behind is selling the knee for effect in his matches. He’s done it in essentially every PPV match he’s done, and it seems to be losing some of its luster. Granted, he’s still a hell of a worker and puts on quality match after quality match.
Elias, though still pretty green, is also getting better in the ring. The crowd already eats out of his hand with his guitar vignettes. He’s primed for a mid-card title run, and it’s coming sooner rather than later.
What’s next: The end of the match confuses me: Rollins grabbed the tights for a 3-count. Are we looking at a potential double-turn? I hope not — Rollins is so great as a face right now and a turn wouldn’t make much sense. Still, I expect Elias to grab a mid-card title at some point, since he’s so incredibly over with the crowd. These two will probably keep feuding for a while, and
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: B-
The match was a bit sloppy to start, but it picked up afterwards. Then it got sloppy again. Then it ended.
But shout out to the women who continue to raise their game and prove they belong and deserve more than just being treated as eye candy. The best part is — a woman won the women’s briefcase this year! What a damn concept.
General, there were a lot of spots that seemed well planned, but just didn’t work out that way. Instead, they came out sloppy and apparent.
The end of the match was a bit sloppy and drawn out — climb the ladder, get pulled down, repeat. Becky Lynch was the hot choice, but Bliss winning and being the light at the end of the Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey tunnel was a godsend.
What’s next: Where to begin? There’s too much to unravel here, with too much nothing going on in the women’s divisions. Hopefully it gets cleaned up.
Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal: D
What else needs to be said, done or otherwise to get the Roman Reigns point across?
Listen, the crowd chanting CM Punk isn’t as much about CM Punk as it is the idea of CM Punk: a guy that worked his ass off and made his way and name, who broke out of this generic mold — like Reigns — who delivered a story and a message every time on in the ring and on the mic. Reigns is the antithesis of Punk — a guy who seldom works good matches, unless carried to one, and
This crowd was absolutely indifferent. If I wasn’t on the clock, I would have taken a nap, maybe grab a Slurpee.
Because the truth is: the match itself wasn’t out-and-out bad, the most damning part is that Reigns (and to a certain extent, Mahal) is such a bland character with nowhere to go that absolutely nobody cares anymore. It’s irredeemable.
It was another nothing win for Reigns in a nothing match where the crowd just didn’t care.
What’s next: I’ll keep saying it, Roman Reigns just needs to go away. Not forever, just for now.
Carmella vs. Asuka: C+
I’m really digging the direction they took Carmella’s character in: from being the scared, wimpy, lucky champ to being uber confident and believing in her ability.
The crowd isn’t invested in Carmella. I think she showed some good guff in this match — she’s not the technical sorceress that Asuka is, but she’s the champion and she played the match as such.
On the other side of it, it’s sad to see how far Asuka has come since her NXT undefeated streak. Granted, you have to consider the world of NXT and the WWE Universe two completely separate things.
Did we really need James Ellsworth, though? I’m not sure what he brings back to Carmella as a character, and after the initial happiness of
What’s next: I’m hoping that Asuka gets her shot at the “SmackDown” Women’s title again. She undoubtedly deserves it and has earned it,
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: A-
Every now and then a feud comes along where two guys just need to let their in-ring ability do the talking. Punk vs. Joe in ROH, Okada vs. Omega in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, to name a few. Styles vs. Nakamura is one of those feuds, but we were given a lot of nonsense to try and bolster it — the excessive low blows highlight that.
Of the, I don’t know, two thousand or so matches they’ve wrestled since they started their feud in WWE earlier this year, this one was probably the best. It was well-paced and while the end was a bit of a spot-fest, it worked well.
I feel a little bad for heel Nakamura, though — not sure what’s left for him at this point. I really thought he’d get this win.
What’s next: I don’t really know what happens with Nakamura at this point — I felt like his heel character really, really needed this victory. I don’t see them having another match any time soon. It’s also hard to see anyone getting the briefcase and immediately cashing in on Styles.
Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax: C+; Alexa Bliss cash-in: A+
So, we still don’t know what Ronda Rousey is: she was womanhandled by Nia Jax for the majority of the bout. She did sell the crap out of the match for Jax, and she fell back on the MMA stuff for her offense. It’s boring to watch, to be honest. We know that her character is: a female Apollo Crews, who can never seem to stop smiling.
That said, Rousey did sell well and seemed much more comfortable in the ring this time around, but we still need to see more.
Alexa Bliss was the light at the end of the tunnel. Nia Jax is a botch waiting to happen, and her character and mic work is … suboptimal. I am all here for another Bliss title run, especially after what we were given from Jax recently.
What’s next: Jax and Bliss rekindle their feud, this time with some Rousey sprinkled in. Hopefully more comes of this this time around. I will say, Jax’s character is really confusing: Is she a heel or a face?
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: B+
The problem with this match was that it was mixed with guys who you just knew don’t have a main-event run in their future: Roode, Rusev, Balor, Kofi. Though Strowman winning is a plus, it should have never gotten to the point where he needed the briefcase. He was over in and of himself, he could have
Hopefully, he puts it to good use, because whether the champion is Reigns or Lesnar, it’s Strowman’s time. It’s been Strowman’s time, and hopefully they don’t waste what little momentum he has left.
The match itself was a fun spot-fest. Kevin Owens once again proving that he will do whatever it takes to put on a good match is the biggest highlight to me, crashed through tables 20 feet below off a ladder.
What’s left: Now we play the waiting game: When will Strowman cash in? Hopefully as soon as possible. Hopefully, as Lesnar sleeps.
There were a few nothing matches on the card: Reigns vs. Mahal, Big Cass vs. Bryan, Zayn vs. Lashley. The middle of those three less so, but it’s still an indictment on WWE, who can’t seem to build a valuable feud without a belt being involved.
Bolstered by the MITB Ladder match and Shinsuke vs. AJ, this was a pretty good pay-per-view. Nothing to write home about, but solid for what it was.
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