Last night, SmackDown Live hosted a historic Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View. Overall, the in-ring action was good, but some matches had controversial or underwhelming endings. All over the card, the Pay-Per-View was very divisive, so let’s break down what went well and what didn’t.
Zack Ryder Returns From Injury
A few months ago, Zack Ryder won a Battle Royal to make himself and Mojo Rawley the new #1 Contenders for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. Unfortunately, Ryder injured his leg during this victory and he was put on the shelf until last night. Ryder looked like he hadn’t missed a step and he put on a great performance to get the win over the Colons.
The Fashion Files Continue
When Breezango were on the hunt for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships, they started getting featured every week in episodes of the Fashion Files (a Law & Order parody). Breezango lost both of their title matches against the Usos and fans started to worry that the Fashion Files would be no more. Instead, the Fashion Files have continued every week.
There was another episode of the Fashion Files last night, which led to Tyler Breeze and Fandango defeating the Ascension later in the night.
Jinder Mahal Cements His Legacy
When Jinder Mahal defeated Randy Orton at Payback for the WWE Championship, many fans (and Randy Orton) called it a fluke. When Mahal retained the title against Orton last night, however, it became a different story. Even though Orton was distracted by the Singh Brothers for the tail end of the match, he decided to go after them instead of finishing off the champion. Mahal didn’t interfere with the attack and he waited for Orton to come back to the ring. When Orton returned, one use of the Khallas (Cobra Clutch Slam) put The Viper away. Regardless of distractions, Mahal is effective enough in the ring to take out a 13-time World Champion.
Shinsuke Nakamura & AJ Styles Collide
Before signing with WWE, Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles simultaneously ended their runs in New Japan Pro Wrestling by facing each other for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Their match tore the house down and ever since Nakamura was drafted to SmackDown Live, fans have been waiting for these two elite performers to go at it again.
Luckily, Nakamura was able to recover from his beatdown from Baron Corbin to return to the Money in the Bank Ladder Match and compete. Once the King of Strong Style knocked out most of the competitors, it was just him and Styles left. They set the ladder to the side and fought each other, knowing that they couldn’t win with the other still standing. This was short-lived, but it was a great tease for a match that could headline WrestleMania.
Great Matches With Bad Finishes
If you take out the endings of all of the matches from Money in the Bank, last night’s event would have been one of the better Pay-Per-Views this year. When taking the endings into account, however, a lot of great matches get soured. This was prominent in two cases: the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match and the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match.
The Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match was historic, being the first-ever of its kind. Because of the importance of this match, there was a ton of backlash when James Ellsworth, a man, grabbed the briefcase in a women’s match. This gives Ellsworth and Carmella a ton of heat (which they needed), but since fans recognized WWE as scripted programming, outrage is turned towards the company.
When it comes to the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match between The New Day and The Usos, the back and forth action was amazing. There were tons of near falls that made sense without kicking out of finishing moves and as the match went on, there were more and more big spots. The Usos barely escaped being pinned by the Midnight Hour and decided to walk away with their Tag Team Championships, losing by an intentional count-out. This took all of the excitement the fans had and threw it out the window.
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