A2Z Analysiz: Money in the Bank 2017 (AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura)

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Scottrade Center – St. Louis, MO – June 18, 2017

Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton , and JBL are on commentary.

~KICKOFF MATCH~
The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley) defeat The Colons (Epico Colon & Primo Colon) at 8:30. Rawley and Ryder control Epico in the early going, and when Primo gets in he gets the same treatment. The Colons engage in some shady tactics to take control, and they focus on Ryder’s previously injured left knee. They take a commercial break and come back to the Colons continuing to work Ryder over. After a while of that, Mojo gets the hot tag and he cleans house. The Hype Bros hit the Hype Ryder to get the win. Solid tag team preshow action here.
Rating: **½

~MATCH #1~
Carmella (w/ James Ellsworth) defeats Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Natalya, and Tamina at 13:20 in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match. This is the first-ever women’s Money in the Bank match. The action is fast and furious from the bell, with Tamina looking dominant early on. Natalya makes the first serious attempt at grabbing the briefcase, but she’s stopped by Charlotte. Every time someone thinks about going up the ladder, another competitor is ready to knock them down. One thing I’ve never understood is what they have Tamina wrestle in. It doesn’t look particularly comfortable or functional. Charlotte gets her chance to shine, taking out Natalya and Tamina on the floor with a twisting moonsault from the top rope. That leaves Carmella and Becky alone in the ring. Becky takes Carmella out and climbs up the ladder, but Ellsworth comes in and tips her over! Since there are no rules, Ellsworth climbs up and retrieves the ladder and drops it into Carmella’s waiting arms! That’s certainly a unique finish. People complained about it, but really it’s designed to put heat on the winning heel, which is a good thing. I think had they had Carmella explain that she only cares about herself and winning the briefcase and that she was above the whole “women’s evolution” thing that all the other women are beholden to. They never really took it that way, and instead had Carmella explain basically nothing, but in theory this is not that bad of a finish. Good opening match too, with plenty of hard work and good spots.
Rating: ***¼

~MATCH #2~
The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston, w/ Xavier Woods) defeat SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso) via countout at 12:00. Jimmy and Jey have been the Champions since 3.21.17, and this is their fourth defense. They stick to the formula here, with New Day controlling at the start and the Usos taking over after some questionable tactics. The champs isolate Kingston, keeping him in their half of the ring. Eventually, Big E gets the hot tag and he’s a house afire. The match breaks down and the referee loses control. Woods does his best to distract Jimmy and Jey with his trombone playing. When the New Day connect with the Midnight Hour, the Usos decide they’ve had enough and they take the countout loss. These two teams would go on to do much better in this particular feud, but this match was pretty mediocre, and they noticeably blew several spots. I don’t mind the finish in theory, as it keeps the feud going, but it doesn’t really help the star rating of the match.
Rating: **¾

~MATCH #3~
SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi defeats Lana at 7:30 to retain the title. Naomi has been the Champion since 4.2.17, and this is her third defense. Lana does some very basic things and grounds Naomi, who does her best to make the challenger look good in her first-ever singles match. The commentators are falling all over themselves talking about how great Lana is, but she’s very clearly not ready to be in the position they’re forcing her into here. Partway through the match, Carmella’s music hits and she has the briefcase and The Big Hog with her. She teases cashing it in but then decides to just stay and watch instead. That whole distraction leads to nothing, and Naomi puts on the Slay-o-mission to get the win. This was barely a TV-level match, and a strong argument against single-branded special events.
Rating: ¾*

~MATCH #4~
WWE Champion Jinder Mahal (w/ Samir Singh & Sunil Singh) defeats Randy Orton to retain the title at 20:50. Mahal has been the Champion since 5.21.17, and this is his first defense. The challenger is in his hometown and he starts off hot, much to the delight of the crowd. Mahal weathers the storm and zeroes in on Orton’s left knee. This goes on, and on, and on, for a while. Orton fights back and connects on a superplex, right in front of the man who made it famous (his dad, Bob, is watching from the front row). Late in the match, the Singh brothers get involved after Orton hits the RKO and the referee throws them out. Sunil and Samir take their time leaving and get into an argument with Bob Orton at ringside. Randy Orton doesn’t take too kindly to that and he destroys them out on the floor. This takes an inordinate amount of time to accomplish. Back in the ring, Mahal hits the Khallas to get the pin. Ugh, all of that just to set up Orton walking into a finisher. This was a 10-minute match loosely residing in a 20-minute bag. Neither guy has enough interesting in their repertoire to go that long, especially with such a weak-ass finish. This did nothing to help Jinder Mahal with his credibility issues.
Rating: *½

~MATCH #5~
Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) defeat The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) at 3:50. Speaking of arguments against single-branded shows, here’s this. The Ascension controls early, isolating Deputy Dango in their half of the ring. From out of nowhere, Fandango captures Viktor in an inside cradle to get the pin. Yeah, this happened.
Rating: *

~MATCH #6~
Baron Corbin defeats AJ Styles, Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Shinsuke Nakamura in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match at 29:45. This is the first appearance for Styles, Corbin, and Nakamura; the second for Owens and Zayn; and the sixth for Dolph Ziggler, who won one in 2012. Owens is the current United States Champion. Corbin attacks Nakamura during his entrance, using a ladder to take him out. The match starts officially with only five of the six announced competitors in the ring.

It doesn’t take long for everyone to go to the floor, where ladders quickly get involved as weapons. Everyone gets a chance to hit one thing or another, keeping it a pretty even playing field in the early going. Styles and Owens have been feuding over the U.S. Title, and Owens and Zayn are going to #FightForever, so we’ve got a couple of running storylines represented in this match. The action is non-stop, with lots of big spots. Everyone takes some nasty bumps along the way here. After about 20 minutes of intense action, Corbin looks poised to retrieve the briefcase as he’s all alone. But wait! Nakamura makes his way out, complete with his entrance music, and he’s ready to fight! He takes out Corbin, Ziggler, and Zayn, dishing out multiple Kinshasas. Styles and Nakamura wind up face to face on opposite sides of a ladder and they decide to put the hardware aside and go at it mano-a-mano. They wind up on top of the ladder slugging it out, and Corbin sneaks in and tips it over! That’s enough for Corbin to unhook the briefcase and win the match. The match was fantastic, with all the mini-stories (Styles/Owens, Owens/Zayn, Nakamura/Corbin, Nakamura/Styles, and also Ziggler was there) lending themselves to some great, action-packed sequences. Corbin winning the briefcase turned into a total waste, so really all the hard work here was basically for naught.
Rating: ****

A2Z Analysiz
The two ladder matches are good (though the women would outdo themselves on SmackDown nine days later), and the rest of the card is instantly forgettable. Almost nothing on this show mattered or had any affect on the SmackDown brand and all its wrestlers. Money in the Bank 2017 is a strong argument for having The Best of Both Worlds on the special events.

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