Coming to you live from the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, it’s a big WWE Network special. Two Money in the Bank briefcases and six titles will be decided tonight!
Daniel Bryan and Erik Rowan vs. The Usos – The new SmackDown! Live Tag Team Champions Bryan and Rowan are fighting for the honor of their brand against former champions – and current Raw roster members – The Usos. What a fall for Daniel Bryan. He was just defending the WWE Title at WrestleMania and now he’s on the pre-show, and it’s not even a title match! On top of everything else, the tag team champions lose, making a Raw team the number one contenders for the SmackDown! Live titles. Color commentator Corey Graves was particularly apoplectic about that. At least D-Bry still has a belt.
Money in the Bank 2019
Yes, I’m watching this instead of the GAME OF THRONES finale… I’ll get to it eventually. I have to start watching the show eventually, right?
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Naomi vs. Carmella vs. Dana Brooke vs. Nikki Cross vs. Mandy Rose vs. Ember Moon vs. Bayley – Considering Becky Lynch is defending both of her women’s titles tonight, I would have figured Becky Two Belts would have opened the show. This is a good choice, too, though. Carmella is taken out of the match early because of an injured knee, which is surely a disappointment for the MISS WRESTLEMANIA battle royal winner. Outside of Bayley and maybe Nikki Cross, who took the place of Alexa Bliss, there is literally no one in this match I care about enough to think they should win. Of course, Carmella comes back and gets taken out by Mandy Rose’s partner, Sonya DeVille, who carries Mandy Rose up the ladder to help her get the briefcase. Thankfully, my hero, Bayley, gets up the ladder, stares them down and shoves them off before getting the win. The crowd in Hartford went nuts. The right woman definitely won here.
United States Title Match: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio – Mysterio was trying to avenge a 30-second loss to the champ, and what better way to do that than a surprise quick win after reversing a power bomb for a quick pin? Samoa Joe’s left shoulder was off the mat, though, so a bloody Joe destroys Rey after the match. I would’ve done the same thing.
Steel Cage Match: Shane McMahon vs. The Miz – I still can’t believe they’re using Shane O’Mac as a heel to get Miz over as a face. But it works. Everyone just wants to hate the McMahons. A reminder: this storyline came out of one of the stupidest decisions WWE has ever done, having Shane win the Best in the World tournament at CROWN JEWEL. And then Shane won at WrestleMania. As Miz tries to beat up Shane for beating up Papa Miz, Shane spends the match just trying to escape, and introducing a chair to the match on one of his attempts. Miz hits a Skull Crushing Finale ON THE CHAIR and Shane manages to get his foot on the ropes to break up the pin, and the announce team rightly complains that there’s no DQ, so a foot on the ropes wouldn’t break up the pin. The commentary has gotten a lot better over the last couple of years. It’s not up to Monsoon-Ventura levels, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was when the Network was first introduced. I can’t believe how long this match went after that chair shot. This had the psychology of an indy match where high spots did nothing. Shane should’ve been dead, instead he’s leaping around the cage, trying to escape. Somehow, McMahon manages to get to the outside of the cage and, as Miz tries to pull him back into the cage, Shane slips through his shirt and falls to the ground for the win. A unique way to end the match, at least.
Mick Foley is announcing a new title on Raw? Do we need a new title? WWE already has, like, 9 of them, not even counting NXT or NXT UK.
Cruiserweight Title Match: Tony Nese (c) vs. Ariya Daivari – Here’s one of those nine championships now! I’ve been on a streak of enjoying these cruiserweight matches, but I think it had more to do with liking Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander… neither of those guys are here, though, so I’m struggling to care. Daivari wrestling with that gold chain around his neck and that leather belt is ridiculous. Why would the referee allow him to have weapons in the ring with him? Of course, he won’t use them because… he’s not bright? I don’t know. I need to stop thinking logically about these matches. Make Shane McMahon WWE Champion. Maybe Daivari should have used the belt. It could have helped. Nese gets a running knee for the win to retain. The match was fine, but nothing special.
Goldberg vs. The Undertaker at the second WWE SUPER SHOW-DOWN? The company’s third show from the Middle East? Sure, why not?
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans – The first of Lynch’s two title matches tonight. I expect her to lose one of them, but this isn’t it. The Southern Belle gimmick is a good one, but this is the first time I’ve seen her wrestle, so I have no idea if she’s ready to lead a division. Evans had a good showing, but ultimately gave up to Lynch’s Disarmer submission, and The Man retains her first title. But the decks are a bit stacked against Lynch.
SmackDown! Live Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair – The former champion seems to be changing the format sheet, coming to the ring and ordering the ref to ring the bell, and Flair laughed as the announce team seemed confused. But Lynch doesn’t back down. Flair, being a Flair, works the leg as Becky battles to survive the onslaught. Lynch gains the advantage, but Evans comes back down to the ring and nails the champion. Flair then goes for a big boot that misses by a good six inches and gets the win for her ninth women’s championship. Her father, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, won his first world title in 1983 and didn’t get his ninth title until 1992. Evans and Flair beat up Lynch until Bayley comes down with the briefcase to help even the odds. Ms. Money in the Bank tosses Flair into the middle turnbuckle to knock her out as the fans go nutty.
SmackDown! Live Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Bayley – An elbow drop does it. Flair’s ninth title reign didn’t last so long. I am ridiculously happy right now! The WWE women’s division should be built around Bayley. Hugs for everyone!
Elias vs. Roman Reigns – Before the match, Elias stalked Reigns backstage and nailed him with a guitar. Once he gets to the ring, he calls Hartford a “morally sub-standard toilet bowl.” I’m not sure I can disagree. Elias sings and insults Hartford some more and then says goodnight, “I love none of you” and then exits the ring. When he gets to the top of the ramp, Reigns hits him with a Superman Punch, and Elias comically rolls all the way down. A spear later and the match is over. Kind of a waste of time on a stacked card.
Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. AJ Styles – I’m still amazed that Styles – a guy that spent most of his career avoiding WWE – has been at the top of the card as long as he has since he finally came to the big time. It’s a testament to how good he is. He’s even good enough to kick out of an inverted superplex from the top rope into a Falcon Arrow. Rollins is no slouch himself, kicking out of a Styles Clash after AJ reversed a stomp. Some of these spots that result in two counts are just ridiculous. I should just get over it. Rollins finally counters a Phenomenal Forearm, hits a knee, a kick and a stomp in succession to retain the title. A nicely-paced fun match.
The Lucha House Party comes out for a 6-man tag, though we never find out their opponents because Lars Sullivan comes out and destroys them. He headbutts Kalisto so hard he splits his own head open. I would have rathered a Bray Wyatt promo.
WWE Title Match: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Kevin Owens – I was hoping this would main event the show, but I know WWE better than that. I’m really glad Owens is back; he’s a great promo and a good hand in the ring. I would completely go for a KO WWE Title reign. Alas, that is not to be on this night, as Kofi retains. Owens tried for a senton from the top and Kofi countered with knees to the back. Given the size of Owens and the size of Kingston, I imagine Owens landing on Kofi’s knees could probably do more damage than any of the other high risk moves he does. Kingston followed it up with a kick to the head for the win.
Xavier Woods, Kofi’s New Day teammate, came out to celebrate and I kept waiting for Woods to turn on Kofi, too, but that didn’t happen, either. Probably for the best.
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Baron Corbin vs. Finn Bálor vs. Ricochet vs. Andrade vs. Ali vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton – Unlike Bayley, the winner of the main event won’t have a chance to cash in tonight. This match is less one guy because Sami Zayn got sent to the hospital about midway through the show. There are three guys in this match I’d be happy to see win, guess who they are and win a No Prize. But really, as long as Baron Corbin is nowhere near the briefcase, I’ll be OK. CORBIN is one of the few guys to have won a briefcase and not won a cash-in match. With so many short guys in the match, having the smaller ladders in and around the ring is just cruel. I’m not even sure Ali could reach the briefcase from the tallest ladder…
In the first “holy shit” spot of the match, Andrade does a sunset flip on Bálor over one ladder and power bombs the Intercontinental Champion onto another ladder propped between the ladder and ropes. Bálor bounced off the ladder and it was pretty sickening. Moments later, Ali flipped Andrade off of one ladder and onto the canvas and Michael Cole shouted, “What the hell is wrong with these guys?” I never thought I would be in such emphatic agreement with Michael Cole. At least when Corbin chokeslammed Ali through the announce table, he wasn’t doing bodily harm to himself. Though when he double-crossed McIntyre, he may have been guaranteeing some painful payback.
Just as Ali was about to grab the briefcase… or try, because he still couldn’t reach it, Brock Lesnar’s music hit. The Beast runs down to the ring, knocks a ladder onto some cameramen and then knocks Ali off the ladder. Then he climbs to the top and grabs the ladder! The show goes off the air with Lesnar clutching the ladder and laughing. That’s so random.
It’s not who I would’ve gone with, but at least it was a surprise. There are so very few of those these days.
Another fun WWE Network Special that didn’t have anything that was terrible. I would even dare say most of the matches were pretty good. Of course, with Bayley winning the SmackDown! Live Women’s Championship, I’m gonna be high on the show, even if it almost guarantees another Brock Lesnar Universal Title reign.
That’s all for this time. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks for WWE’s third Saudi Arabia show, WWE SUPER SHOW-DOWN!