The SmarK Rant for WWE Money in the Bank 2018 – 06.17.18
Live from Chicago, IL
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Corey Graves & The Coach, plus whoever the Smackdown geeks are.
I know I said I’d do NXT first, but Money in the Bank is, you know, money in my bank.
Big Cass v. Daniel Bryan
Bryan throws kicks in the corner to start and tries the heel hook early, but Cass powers out because he’s Big. Bryan goes back to the leg, but Cass sends him to the apron and into the railing while the crowd informs him that he can’t wrestle. Back in, Cass slugs away and drops a pair of elbows for two. Yeah, that’ll show ‘em! Clearly a wrestling move, so the audience has successfully been contradicted. Bryan fights back and walks into a bearhug, which is another wrestling move that Cass knows. Bryan fights back and walks into the spinning slam for two. Bryan goes back to the leg again and comes back with the tilt-a-whirl into the Yes-Lock, but Cass makes the ropes this time. Bryan baseball slides him into the railing and goes up with a bodypress to the floor. Back in, he goes up and gets crotched by Cass, who brings him down with a fallaway slam from the middle for two. Cass with the HUMAN TORTURE RACK, and he slams him out of that for two. Cass goes back to flipping his hair and throwing punches as the match grinds to a halt every time he goes on offense, but Bryan clips the knee again to bring him down. Bryan with the kicks, but Cass cuts him off with a choke. Bryan hits another one anyway, but Cass gets a big boot for two. He goes back to the torture rack, but Bryan flips out of it and hits the Yes Knee, then finishes with the heel hook at 15:15. Decent opener that was essentially Daniel working the entire match by himself while Cass wandered from spot to spot and sometimes remembered that his knee was injured. ***
Meanwhile, The New Day debates who is going into the ladder match tonight, but KO brings them a garbage bag full of pancakes and syrup as a gift. Would the two not in the match perhaps consider taking out Braun Strowman in exchange for his fine gift of breakfast foods? The negotiations break down when Kevin mentions that he hates all breakfasts and their cereal sucked.
Sami Zayn v. Bobby Lashley
Interestingly, the Chicago crowd boos the shit out of Lashley. Who could think the brilliant build-up of this match could possibly fail? Sami runs away to start and catches Bobby with a cheapshot to put him on the floor after a couple of minutes of chase. He sends Bobby into the post, right in the handband, and pounds away on him in the ring. The crowd chants for Bobby’s sisters to show their support. Lashley comes back with a clothesline and the crowd continues turning on him as he makes his comeback with corner clotheslines. Spinebuster and the delayed vertical suplex set up the Dominator, and another suplex. Oh my god, TWO SUPLEXES? Is he trying to kill the man? Another Dominator and a THIRD vertical suplex finish at 6:34. Well, he gave him three vertical suplexes, what human being could possibly survive that? Pretty terrible. *1/2
Intercontinental title: Seth Rollins v. Elias
Elias calls the crowd a bunch of “loudmouthed scumbags seeking attention” in his pre-match promo, so they chant “We deserve it” and “We are scumbags” in response. They trade hammerlocks to start and Elias stomps him down, but Seth gets a dropkick to put Elias on the floor and follows with a dive. Back in, Seth with a springboard clothesline, but Elias clotheslines him on the apron, and we all know that THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. So Elias stomps away in the corner while the camera zooms and shakes, and Elias goes to work on the neck and gets two. DDT gets two. Kneedrop gets two. Elias goes to the cobra clutch, and I’m reminded of Okada because Elias isn’t very good at that move, either. Elias misses a kneedrop and Seth comes back with the sling blade and clotheslines him to the floor. Seth follows with a dive and comes back in with a blockbuster for two. Seth hurts his knee trying another springboard and Elias boots him for two. Rollup gets two. They slug it out and Elias boots him down, but Seth gets a superkick for two. Seth goes up in an ill-advised move and tries the frog splash, but it hits the knees and Elias gets two. Elias goes up and fights off Rollins, but takes too long and Rollins gets the superplex into the falcon arrow for two. Another superkick puts Elias on the floor again, but this time the dive misses and Elias runs him into the stairs and the post, and goes up with a flying elbow for two. Nice to finally see some fire from Elias after 15 minutes of lethargy. Elias tries Drift Away, but Seth is in the ropes, so they head to the top and Seth brings him down, setting up a series of rollup reversals until Seth hooks the tights and retains at 17:07. Kind of a surprising result, actually. Good match thanks to Seth continuing to be on fire as a babyface. Elias looked like he had nerves or just missed his marks on a few spots. ***1/4
Money in the Bank: Natalya v. Charlotte Flair v. Becky Lynch v. Naomi v. Ember Moon v. Sasha Banks v. Alexa Bliss v. Lana
Everyone brawls to start and Becky dropkicks a couple of ladders into the others, but gets taken out on the floor by Ember Moon. Back in the ring, Ember fights off Sasha and Naomi and hits a springboard crossbody onto Sasha, onto the ladder. That can’t be healthy. Lana comes in and drops Ember onto the ladder, but Nattie slams her onto the ladder and then drops Naomi onto the ladder and hits the seated dropkick on her. Charlotte cleans house and fights with Becky over a ladder, but Naomi dropkicks them both down and dives onto Bliss outside. Naomi gives Sasha a blockbuster off the apron, and back in the ring Becky fights off an Ember-Naomi alliance and tries to sneak up a ladder held by them. That goes pretty badly for her, but it was worth a try! Naomi throws her kicks on Ember, but gets hiptossed into the ladder. Sasha puts a ladder in the corner and stacks Ember and Lana on it for the double knees, and finally gets the first climb before Charlotte breaks it up. Charlotte puts a ladder in the corner and tries a Razor’s Edge onto it, but Sasha escapes and climbs, until Becky pushes the ladder over and climbs. Alexa Bliss saves and makes her first climb, and then everyone ends up climbing multiple ladders as we get an extended sequence of people trying to climb a ladder that’s four feet away from the briefcase. Lana actually hauls Bliss down and applies the Accolade, but Naomi climbs and nearly gets the case before Becky saves. Becky also wisely moves the ladder into proper position, and she slugs it out with Charlotte on top before Bliss pushes them both over. Everyone takes turns climbing and saving until Becky suplexes Charlotte onto a ladder and gets to the top, but Alexa dumps her over and wins the briefcase at 18:30. Hot start, but it didn’t really go anywhere and Bliss is kind of an obvious winner who didn’t need it. Like, perhaps it’s time to give the Bliss push a bit of a rest. ***1/2
Meanwhile, Paige and Angle do their super-fake arguing over which brand is superior, but Constable Corbin interrupts and reminds everyone that Stephanie is the actual boss.
Roman Reigns v. Jinder Mahal
Roman pounds on him to start and the crowd has immediately decided they’re gonna hate this match. First CM Punk chant comes 45 seconds in, for those keeping track, and Roman gets a samoan drop for two. They fight on the floor and the crowd moves onto chanting for random people, but Sunil Singh miraculously pops out of his wheelchair and sends Roman into the post. Jinder runs him into the railing while the crowd chants for Rusev Day, and back in for the chinlock. That drags on while the crowd chants for Johnny Gargano, and Roman gets dumped to the floor again. Back in, the crowd chants for Cena while the announcers act like idiots and pretend they’re booing Jinder. Jinder goes back to the chinlock and now there’s something going on in the crowd and no one’s paying any attention to the match. Jinder misses a kneedrop and now the beach ball has become the babyface star of the match. Roman makes the comeback and the crowd does the wave, but Jinder gets a high knee for two. Roman escapes the Khallas and gets a big boot for two. The crowd cuts right to the point: “This match sucks!” Jinder dodges the superman punch and hits the gutbuster for two. “End this match” is the comment from the crowd. Roman obliges with a superman punch, but only gets two. Jinder blocks the spear and sends Roman into the post. They slug it out on the apron and fight back to the floor as this match just keeps GOING. Sunil attacks Roman again but fails this time, and Roman spears him on the floor. Back in, Jinder rolls him up for two, but Roman spears him to finish at 15:38. Yeah, they’re gonna shove him down our throats AGAIN at Summerslam, and going 50/50 with Jinder in a boring match isn’t exactly the way to heat him up for a title match. * Even more insulting when the announcers just ignore the crowd reaction and act like they’re having a great match.
The announcers stop to recap all the earlier matches because we’re two hours into this and people have likely forgotten everything that’s happened thus far.
Smackdown Women’s title: Carmella v. Asuka
Carmella stalls to start and Asuka gets pissed and beats on her, then sends her to the floor. Carmella tries to leave, so Asuka knees her from the apron to stop her. Carmella runs her into the post for the heat and gets two, then goes to a submission hold on the mat. Superkick gets two and she goes to an armbar and dodges a dropkick from Asuka. Asuka blocks a kick and takes her down with a kneebar, but Carmella makes the ropes and goes back to her boring offense until Asuka makes the comeback with kicks. Hip attack gets two. Asuka charges and lands on the floor, however, and Carmella follows with a dive. Back in, that gets two. Asuka comes back again with another kick, but someone jumps onto the apron dressed in her gear and the match grinds to a halt while Asuka stands there and watches as they unmask to reveal…James Ellsworth. Superkick finishes for Carmella at 11:00. Funny how quickly Asuka became just another geek in the division, getting pinned via distraction finish. Carmella is not very good at the wrestling aspect of being a wrestler, so I guess it’s good that they brought Ellsworth back to save this crappy title run? Although once again, they’ve got nothing for Chad Gable or Shelton Benjamin but literal running joke Ellsworth gets a job again. Total nothing match. ½*
WWE title, Last Man Standing: AJ Styles v. Shinsuke Nakamura
They slug it out to start and AJ gets the dropkick and a backbreaker right away for a 2 count from the ref. Nakamura bails and AJ hits him with a springboard forearm to the floor, which draws a 5 count. Nak suplexes him onto the ramp and gets a 6 count off that. Back to the ring and Nakamura curb stomps him off the apron, but AJ is up at 5. Nakamura puts him down with some good stiff kicks, and that’s a 5 count on AJ. Bad Vibrations in the corner, but AJ fights out until Nakamura hits him with an enzuigiri for a 5 count. Back to the floor and they fight into the crowd where AJ makes a comeback but gets tripped up while trying a springboard off the railing. Back in the ring, Nakamura tries the exploder, but AJ hits him with a high kick and a dropkick and both are down for 7. AJ comes back with the strike combo and faceplant, and then dodges Nakamura’s low blow attempt. Nakamura gets his exploder, however, and sets up for the Kinshasa, but AJ cuts him off with a forearm and both guys are down for 6. AJ with the Ushigoroshi for an 8 count on Nakamura, but another forearm attempt is blocked by Nakamura and they head back out again. Nakamura suplexes him onto the table and then runs across the 3 tables with a Kinshasa, and that gets a 9. Back in, Nakamura sets up a table after a few attempts at it, but AJ brings him down off the top rope and the table gets knocked over. Vince is gonna FIRE that table. Nak suplexes him onto the side of the table anyway and runs him through the table, but AJ pops up at 9. A turnbuckle gets exposed and Nakamura charges and hits his knee on the exposed steel, allowing AJ to go to work on it. Calf crusher and Nak is tapping to no avail, but he’s up at 8. AJ grabs a chair and beats on him with that while Nakamura literally begs for mercy…and then goes to the nuts when that doesn’t work. AJ is up at 9, so Nakamura hits him with another Kinshasa on the floor, but he’s up at 9 again. Nakamura takes him back onto the table again, but AJ escapes and hits the Phenomenal Forearm from the table, then follows with a Styles Clash on the stairs and that puts him down for…9. Nakamura wants it brought on, so AJ kicks a field goal on his junk, hits another forearm from the ring and through the table, and that’s finally enough to put Nakamura down for good at 30:39. They gave them time and finally they delivered the great match that they’ve been building up for months, although it was pretty boring until the last few minutes. **** Time for a new challenger, though, Nakamura is done as a top guy.
RAW Women’s title: Nia Jax v. Ronda Rousey
Nia immediately throws Ronda around the ring and tries a samoan drop, but Ronda takes her down with the armbar and Nia escapes with a powerbomb. Ronda heads to the floor and Nia swings her into the railing, which gets two. Back in, Nia with a press slam for two. Ronda tries a guillotine and Nia slams out of that and goes to a bearhug, but Ronda fights out of it and then walks into a samoan drop that gets two. Nia misses a legdrop and Ronda gets a hanging armbar from the apron, then goes up with a crossbody for two. Ronda makes the comeback and slugs Nia down, then takes her down with a judo throw for two. This sets up another armbar, but Nia reverses for two, so Ronda tries it again, breaks Nia’s grip, and Alexa runs in for the DQ at 10:40. She lays out both women and cashes in on Nia, hitting a DDT before going up with the Twisted Bliss to regain the title. The match was much better than expected and you knew that they had to book some kind of a screwjob to get out of it, and at least this gets the albatross of the briefcase out of the way. ***
Money in the Bank: Kevin Owens v. Rusev v. Bobby Roode v. Braun Strowman v. Finn Balor v. The Miz v. Samoa Joe v. Kofi Kingston
Everyone attacks Braun to start and he beats everyone up in response. Everyone gangs up on him outside and bury Braun in ladders, but Miz wisely tries to climb while the rest are occupied. Joe stops that and gets hit with Kofi’s kick, and Kofi follows with a Boom Drop on Miz via ladder. Owens and Balor fight on the ladder and Roode brings them down, but Owens gets another ladder and takes Balor out, but sets up for a dive off a ladder on the floor and gets cut off. Back in the ring, Joe hits some people with the ladder, but Kofi clears the ring and dives onto everyone on the floor. They all catch him, and Finn follows with his own dive. Braun awakens from his slumber and destroys everyone, but Rusev cuts off his rampage and Braun gets jumped by the rest at the entrance. Owens goes up a monster ladder and threatens a dive, so Braun follows him up and tosses him through a table down below. Braun goes on a killing spree, destroying ladders on the floor, but Joe cuts him off in the ring and we get a great Rusev-Joe slugfest and it’s RUSEV DAY as he puts Kofi and Roode into a Double Accolade. Miz breaks that up, so Rusev adds him to the pile and it’s a TRIPLE ACCOLADE, which sadly ends when Joe chokes him out. Rusev comes back on him and climbs, however, and Miz is forced to make the save. Miz gets to the top and Kofi cuts him off, but Roode pushes them both over. Balor takes Roode out and then hits a Coup de Grace from the monster ladder on the floor into the ring. And then Braun returns and wrecks everyone again. He climbs with Kofi on his back, then hurls him to the ground and wins the briefcase at 19:33. Well, Braun was certainly due for a big win, and if there’s one person who can conceivably cash in on Brock, it’s him. Usual great spotfest, although it SUCKS to be Smackdown tonight. ****
I’d go thumbs up, although the first half of the show was a complete nothing and did not need to exist at all. Last few matches were all great, though, and it was a much stronger effort than Backlash.