Oh. You thought Brock Lesnar was done? That he’d go hide out in the wilderness for a bit while Seth Rollins got a bit of time with the Universal Championship?
First off, hats off to the men’s ladder match contestants. The bumps they took in this one...sheesh.
The guys who took the craziest bumps are the ones you’d assume, by the way. Ricochet, Ali, and Finn Balor. Good lord, Balor’s going to need about 42 ibuprofen after this one. Three slams spine-first onto a ladder? YIKES.
Ali followed that up by hitting Andrade with a Spanish Fly off two ladders which had Michael Cole screaming “What is wrong with these guys?!”
I also liked what Randy Orton contributed to this match. He was slinking around the outskirts and it led to some fun moments. He smashed Balor/Ali/Ricochet into an announce table one after the other, for example. He also caught Drew McIntyre with a fantastic RKO.
When the dust finally cleared, Ali had thrown Baron Corbin out of the ring and started to ascend the ladder. But then ol’ faithful himself Brock Lesnar showed up, and all my enthusiasm got sucked out of the show.
...I get it, on one hand. We’ve bitched about a lack of quality, ratings are down, the pressure’s on...I get it. I get why WWE is turning to Lesnar in this situation. This gives him a way to appear on both shows once the new TV deals kick into place.
I just have – and let me bold this and underline it for clarity, Cageside – I have no interest in watching Brock Lesnar anywhere near a main championship. After the past half-decade, I’ve seen enough, thank you.
I love Lesnar’s talent. I love how some of his matches go. I love how they always feel important. But I do not love him as a champion, nor a challenger at this point. Please, use him any other way.
This match was awesome, but...man. What a nightmare for the future of whichever show he settles on.
Daaaamn, Bayley; have yourself a night.
After opening the show in the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder match, Bayley went on to cash in her newly-won contract on Charlotte Flair to win the SmackDown Live Women’s Championship.
And yes. That’s a lot going on.
Let’s backtrack to the ladder match; I thought Naomi in particular had a fantastic showing. From dodging those two ladders with the splits to her...what do you call it? The split-legged springboard moonsault from the top turnbuckle?
Look, that move was nuts. You know what I mean. Ember Moon hit an INSANE Eclipse from a ladder, too, springing off it into the ring to fell Natalya.
There were also some dumb moments, too. Any time Dana Brooke was around the briefcase, she completely forgot how to do anything. She could no longer climb, no longer reach up...man. It was rough. Mandy Rose had moments like that as well. Carmella was limping slowly back to the ring from the back and Rose decided to rush her instead of climbing.
...Do we do dumbest ass awards for ladder matches?
I liked the bait and switch of Deville literally CARRYING Rose to the briefcase only for Bayley to come and ruin it, too. Deville literally handed Rose this opportunity and did more to win it for her than Rose herself did.
But in the end, Bayley got the contract. And her moment to cash in was mere hours later. Just as Charlotte and Evans were ganging up on Lynch, Bayley ran down to make the save. And after a fortunate dodge left Charlotte lying in a heap, she cashed in.
Bayley’s are new champ. Of SmackDown, at least.
That’s a good bit of intrigue added to that show. Charlotte’s going to be furious, of course, and I’d imagine Lynch will enjoy what happened nearly as much as Bayley. Schadenfreude is fun.
Too much adversity for Becky Lynch
We probably should have seen this coming, considering how buddy-buddy Lacey Evans and Charlotte were on Raw this past week. At the dual contract signing, they both worked together to put Lynch through a table.
And despite losing her own match to the double champ – which featured the 4th or 5th weird refereeing job of the night – Evans was happy to lend Charlotte a hand. Together, they made sure that Lynch wasn’t walking out of Money in the Bank with both titles.
I thought Evans had a fine performance in her first prominent singles match on the main roster. She’s not a master in the ring, but who cares, honestly? Her strengths lie in the character work, which she pulls off very well. I’m also a big fan of how she’s willing to fight dirty, too. Y’know, considering she’s supposed to be a “proper” lady, whatever that means, and vows to take care of the “nasties.”
She also had a pin on Lynch that never got counted before it was transitioned into the Disarmher. Controvery or whatever.
Lynch thought she was done for a bit, but Charlotte then came skipping out of the back ready for her fight.
The most notable thing was that Charlotte’s match wasn’t supposed to be the right after Lynch’s first defense. Apparently. she was backstage “currying favors” to make that happen. I talked about all the Bayley stuff above, but it was always going to be interesting to see how long WWE allowed Lynch to hold both belts.
Seth Rollins def. AJ Styles to retain the Universal Championship – Yeeeeeeah that’s what I’m talking about. That’s the good stuff. That’s the sort of match we could use a few more of.
I really can’t start breaking this match down or we’ll be here all night. I just want to point out how INSANE that Stomp-into-Styles Clash counter was. Absolute insanity. The handshake after was really cool as well. AJ shouting, “Can’t you see this is hard for me?!” was a really great character touch.
Kofi Kingston def. Kevin Owens – You know what I realized during this match?
There was way too much going on this night to add wrestling to the mix. I spent this entire match dodging Game of Thrones spoilers and flicking my gaze to the Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors basketball game.
Anyway, this was a really brutal match and had a welcome...different feel from the Universal Championship match. The red-shoed Kofi Kingston did like Deku and overcame the obstacles. Plus Ultra, Owens.
(Ripping the shoes off Kingston at the end was such a wonderfully mean thing to do. Owens, please never change. Xavier Woods also did the Spongebob bit about Kevin as Owens walked away so you don’t ever change either, okay Xavier?)
The Usos def. Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan – This was a fun match, but I’m struggling to see what the point of a non-title wild card match is. Is this to set the precedent that you can flip brands if you win a title via wild card?
Rey Mysterio def. Samoa Joe for the United States Championship – May I direct your attention to something I wrote in my Raw review three weeks ago?
“Good promo beforehand by Joe, but I swear Joe’s entire WWE career is him getting rolled up and then looking absolutely in shock afterwards.”
Still applies, Cageside. Samoa Joe is the shocked Pikachu meme, live and in living color. I like how Dominick didn’t immediately jump in to stop Joe. We clearly are headed towards an in-ring debut for Dominick here, but I like how it’s not happening immediately. Samoa Joe tormenting the kid for a month before it happens could be tons of fun.
Shane McMahon def. The Miz – This was dumb. Not a fan at all.
I mean, at least they tried some stuff. The outrage over the ref stopping a pin fall count, for example. Here’s the issue: it’s not 1999 anymore. Instead of the crowd being righteously outraged over how the babyface was treated, the crowd chanted “bullshit!” It shows a lack of understanding your audience and what they want.
Also, why the hell does Shane kick out of everything? It was the same at WrestleMania. This dude’s like 50 years-old. Stop it.
Tony Nese def. Ariya Daivari – The match was solid, but it didn’t feel too dissimilar to what we see on Raw or SmackDown each week. When you have guys like Ricochet, Aleister Black, Finn Balor, Ali, and Buddy Murphy on the main roster, it’s hard for the Cruiserweights to really stand out with their own style.
Roman Reigns def. Elias – Elias clocked Reigns with his guitar backstage, went out and did in-ring concert, and they got destroyed for his troubles.
Lars Sullivan beats up the Lucha House Party – Not much else to say. It’s what you’ve seen on Raw and SmackDown.
This show felt too long. It had some really good moments and some stuff that I couldn’t care less about. I thought the men’s world title matches and the ladder matches in particular were good fun. And if that had been the entire show, this would be a really good grade.
There’s always a “yeah, but” to anything good these days. Agree or disagree, Cageside?