The SmarK Rant for WWE Money in the Bank 2019 – 05.19.19
Live from Hartford, CT
Your hosts are Tom Philips, Michael Cole, Renee Young, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves
Money in the Bank: Naomi v. Carmella v. Nikki Cross v. Mandy Rose v. Ember Moon v. Dana Brooke v. Natalya v. Bayley
Nikki quickly grabs a ladder and does the Terry Funk spin with it to clear the ring, but Brooke dropkicks her over. Speaking of Dana, I admittedly haven’t been watching the weekly TV, but WHAT HAPPENED TO HER FACE? She looks like a totally different person and not in a good way. Carmella and Nattie fight over a ladder and Nat catapults her into it, but Naomi throws them both out of the ring. The announcers point out that Mandy tried to destroy the marriage of Naomi earlier in the year, but then don’t really follow up on what happened. I’m assuming nothing because it’s this company. More stuff happens, including Carmella getting hurt and supposedly leaving, none of it particularly interesting, and Naomi moonsaults Bayley on a ladder to get her out while Nattie fights with Mandy for the ladder. Cross comes in and clears the ring again, but Dana throws her out and climbs. She gets to the case, but Mandy catches her and we get a cute spot with Dana hanging from the case but somehow unable to remove it. Nikki runs up the ladder and tries for it, but then Nattie pushes the ladder over to dump everyone out. Ember flies back in with the Eclipse to get rid of Nattie. But lo and behold, Carmella returns on her bad knee and takes out Mandy. And then Sonya comes out and takes out Carmella and pulls Mandy back into the ring before walking her up the ladder on her back. Bayley pushes them both over, however, and wins the case at 13:52. Well that was certainly unexpected. Match was a complete mess getting there, though, with weird pacing despite everyone working hard, and nothing really that interesting outside of Ember Moon flying off a ladder with the Eclipse and stealing the show. It was like they were trying to work a million miles an hour like the men and kept losing the thread. **1/2
Meanwhile, Sami Zayn bugs HHH while he’s on the phone, because he’s looking for Shane so he can have some protection from Braun Strowman. HHH has no sympathy and sends him on his way. Also, Braun Strowman is banned from the building for no adequately explored reason.
US title: Samoa Joe v. Rey Mysterio
Joe kicks Rey down in the corner, but Rey comes back with a bad rana and seated senton. Joe chops him down, but Rey reverses a powerbomb into a rollup for the pin and the title out of nowhere at 1:35. Joe looks like he suffered a broken nose in there somewhere. So Dominic comes out to celebrate, but Joe lays out Rey and destroys him to make sure no one gets over here. Also, the referee looked completely incompetent by counting when Joe had his shoulder clearly off the mat. So it’s win-win! *
Meanwhile, Braun shows up at the building he’s been barred from, looking for Sami Zayn.
Cage match: Shane McMahon v. The Miz
Shane smartly runs for the exit immediately, but Miz drags him in and beats on him. Shane keeps running and Miz kicks him down in the corner, but Miz comes back with a rolling cradle for two. So after witnessing Miz throwing the worst kicks in wrestling, Shane comes back with the worst punches in wrestling while Corey questions why we’ve even having this match. I agree. Shane with a torture rack drop for two. Shane, who is blown up and red after a 4:00 match, tries the coast to coast, but Miz counters him into the figure-four. Shane pulls himself to the door to break, but can’t crawl out. He does manage to bring a chair in, but Miz boots it back at him. Sort of. They manage to fuck up even that simple spot and then Miz gives him some weak chairshots to the back, which is good because Shane looks like he’s going to die any minute. Apparently Miz wants to punish Shane, although we’re all getting punished by watching this shitty match. Skull Crushing Finale on the chair gets two. But Shane has his foot on the ropes and the ref stops the count mistakenly. So Miz brings Shane to the top rope and they both kind of awkwardly fall to the mat. Shane climbs again but Miz hits him in the ankle with a chair and that paralyzes Shane and leaves him unable to climb out. So they slug it out on top of the cage and Shane bumps back in, and Miz gets a frog splash for two. And he manages to make that look terrible as well. I mean, he’s been wrestling on the main roster for more than a DECADE now, how can he still not know how to do simple stuff like that? Shane comes back with his devastating triangle choke and the announcers have to pretend like this is a dangerous submission hold. Shane goes for the door, but Miz catapults him into the cage, and Shane tries to climb out again. Miz catches him and tries a suplex, but Shane is so sweaty that he falls to the floor and wins at 13:20. Yes, that was seriously the finish they came up with, I’m not even being facetious. Worst match of the year, EASILY. -***
Meanwhile, Sami Zayn has been hung upside down like a fish.
Tomorrow, Mick Foley introduces ANOTHER FUCKING TITLE. Because that’s what this company needs. Hey, remember the Women’s Tag team titles? Are those getting defended again on PPV at some point?
WWE Cruiserweight title: Tony Nese v. Ariya Daivari
They should literally redesign the belt with a picture of a toilet on it because I guarantee everyone goes for a bathroom break here. They do some gymnastics and Nese gets a legdrop for two. Daivari slugs him down to take over and kind of leisurely stomps him before fucking up a reverse Boston crab as they lose the crowd completely. Nese powers out of that and comes back with a springboard moonsault for two. Inverted DDT gets two. Daivari and Nese battle on the apron while the crowd dozes, possibly because Shane sucked all the oxygen out of the arena trying not to die from exhaustion in the last match. Nese gets a dive and back with a 450 for two. Daivari comes back with a superkick and a frog splash, and a lariat gets two. The announcers are shocked by this development. I guess he won matches with it? Not like we’d know. Nese comes back with a running knee for the pin out of nowhere at 9:25. I fucking hate their new standard finish where the guy kicks out of a finisher and then just comes back with his own finisher to win. Just a match, not bad, not great. **1/2
Meanwhile, HHH asks Braun to leave even though he was already barred from the building.
SUPER SHOWDOWN: IT’S AS GOOD OR BETTER THAN WRESTLEMANIA! As long as you’re not a journalist, or a woman, or of Israeli decent.
RAW Women’s title: Becky Lynch v. Lacey Evans
Becky attacks in the corner and Lacey runs away, so Becky hits her with a baseball slide and whips her into the railing. Back in, Lacey gets a cheapshot to take over and goes to work on the arm. Slingshot elbow gets two. Lacey goes back to the arm, but Becky fights back with a forearm for two and goes up. That misses and Lacey screws up Sliced Bread, but gets a high knee for two. Becky rolls her up for two and goes for the armbar, but Lacey reverses to a rollup, which the ref completely ignores for some reason, and Becky gets the armbar to finish at 8:48. This was fine, another totally unexceptional and super-simple match with ANOTHER horrible referee botch. **
Smackdown Women’s title: Becky Lynch v. Charlotte
So we go immediately into this one and Charlotte gets the choke in the corner, but Becky fights back and runs into a boot in the corner. Charlotte goes up and gets slammed off, but keeps coming with chops until Becky gets the enzuigiri. Charlotte takes her down with a Boston crab, but Becky makes the ropes and they have a fun slugfest. Charlotte takes out the knee and they slug it out again, leading to Charlotte stepping on her head and choking away on the ropes. Charlotte tries Natural Selection on the apron, but Becky grabs the ropes to block and Charlotte bumps to the floor off that. This brings out Lacey to punch Charlotte, but Becky cradles Charlotte for two. And then Charlotte just boots her down for the pin and the title at 6:10 to split up the belts again. Hella disappointing match with a lazy finish. **1/2 Lacey and Charlotte double-team her, but Bayley makes the save and then gets laid out by Charlotte like a geek as well. However, Charlotte charges and manages to knock herself out, so Bayley cashes in the briefcase. I’m surprised the ref didn’t fuck that up as well.
Smackdown Women’s title: Charlotte v. Bayley
Flying elbow and Bayley wins the title at 0:05. Well, good for her. Probably a big “fuck you” to Sasha, but good for Bayley regardless.
Meanwhile, Elias smashes a guitar on Roman Reigns backstage. Why wouldn’t the cameraman warn him? What an asshole. “How’s the Big Dog gonna compete, he was just destroyed by a guitar!” Um, he beat cancer, I’m pretty sure he can come back from a balsa wood guitar.
Elias joins us to play a new guitar, and insults the local population and former sportsball team. However, Roman hits him with a superman punch from the entranceway while Elias tries to leave Hartford, and then pins him with a spear. WTF was the point of that?
Universal title: Seth Rollins v. AJ Styles
This show is in some serious need of saving at this point. We get the stalemate to start as they work in “Beastslayer” on commentary as much as possible, and Seth gets a clothesline and whips AJ into the corner to take over. AJ comes back with a dropkick as Renee notes “We hear the phrase ‘iron sharpens iron’ around here so many times…” When? When has anyone ever said that on TV? They slug it out and the announcers explain that winning the title is about “representing leading the WWE RAW brand into shows like Super Showdown.” And here I thought it was about being the best wrestler. Well, I learned something. They fight to the floor and AJ necks him on the top rope, but Seth hits a pair of suicide dives and comes back with the sling blade in the ring. Seth gets a flying clothesline for two and tries the ripcord knee, but AJ gets the ushigoroshi and they trade rollups for two. Seth with the buckle bomb and frog splash for two off that. They fight on top and Seth tries a superplex, but AJ brings him down and hits a torture rack bomb for two. AJ tries the forearm, but Seth crotches him and hits the inverted suplex off the top, into an inverted falcon arrow for two. Can’t say he didn’t change it up there. Rollins cues up the band, but AJ counters into the calf crusher. Seth makes the ropes, so AJ hits him with the springboard DDT for two. Rollins gets a superkick and they trade strikes, with Seth countering the Pele with a superkick, but AJ catches him with the Styles Clash for two in a neat counter to the curb stomp. Seth hits him with the knee and another superkick, and the curb stomp finishes at 19:45. Hot news, two great wrestlers have a great match. ****
The Lucha House Party v. Lars Sullivan
As a part of his racial sensitivity training, Lars beats up all three luchadores by himself. We never learn what the actual six-man match was supposed to be, sadly.
NXT Takeover [City Redacted] coming in a couple of weeks!
WWE Title: Kofi Kingston v. Kevin Owens
They quickly brawl to the floor and Kofi hits KO with a dive off the apron. Back in, Owens with a superkick and he stomps away and follows with a senton for two. Kevin tosses him and follows with a frog splash to the floor, and that gets two. This match really doesn’t feel like a bigtime main event. It feels like a Smackdown midcard match. KO chokes him out in the corner and cuts off a top rope move with a boot to the gut, but he tries a buckle bomb and Kofi backdrops out of it. Kofi comes back with dropkicks and the Boom drop, but Owens counters it into the Boston crab. Kofi makes the ropes to break. Good thing it’s not a cage match. Oh wait, that wouldn’t matter either. They fight on the apron and Kofi stomps him on THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING, but he misses a dive and Owens gets two. They do the finish reversal bit and the SOS gets two for Kofi. Owens gets another crab, but Kofi fights back and Owens powerbombs him for two. Another questionable referee botch there as he clearly stopped the count. Owens tries the stunner, but Ratings Trouble in Paradise puts him on the floor as this match is just not going anywhere. Back in, Owens with the stunner for two, but Kofi is in the ropes. Owens rips off the magic red shoes of Kofi, but a swanton misses and the kick finishes for Kofi at 14:55 to retain. No disrespect to Kofi, who is a good worker and a great guy, but he doesn’t have “it” and shouldn’t be in this role. They tried, but this run is a total failure and it’s time to pull the plug. **1/4
Meanwhile, there’s RUMORS that Super Showdown, which is from some undefined international location, may be as good or even exceed Wrestlemania! What, is it gonna be EIGHT hours long?
Money in the Bank: Baron Corbin v. Finn Balor v. Ricochet v. Andrade v. Ali v. Drew McIntyre v. Randy Orton
So I guess Zayn is just out and there’s no replacement? Big brawl to start and Orton suplexes Ali onto the announce table, then Balor, then Ricochet. Hope that poor table had health insurance. No, wait, it’s not AEW. Orton tries the first climb and gets brought down by Andrade, and then everyone storms in with ladders for a Mexican ladder standoff. Everyone trades finishers early and Ricochet is left alone with the ladder, but Ali stops him and they trade climb attempts while doing flips and tumbles. And then Corbin and McIntyre toss the little guys around, but Orton catches Corbin with the vintage DDT. Drew hits him with the kick to cut that off, however. Balor is the next guy to get the shine, cleaning house with ladders, but Andrade cuts that off and makes the climb. Balor saves and Andrade powerbombs him off the ladder and onto another ladder, which literally bounces five feet in the air off the impact. Who OK’d that spot? So Vince complains that ratings are falling due to injuries, and then they have Balor take a POWERBOMB through a LADDER? Ali comes back and gets his shit in, but Andrade hangs him in the ladder and they slug it out on dual ladders, which leads to a Spanish Fly off the ladders. This match is way over the line between “crazy spots” and “needlessly dangerous”. Ali goes after Drew on the floor, but Corbin chokeslams him through the Spanish table just like he did to the guy who stiffed him on the tip earlier in the evening. Back in, Corbin chokeslams Balor onto a ladder and hits Deep Six on Ricochet outside, but Drew turns on him with the Claymore kick. Back in, poor Balor keeps taking a needlessly dangerous beating, as Drew suplexes him on the ladder, then slams Andrade onto Balor as well. Ricochet climbs for the case, but Drew tosses him out of the ring and breaks another ladder. Drew climbs, but Orton hits the RKO on him, leaving Corbin to climb, but Ali saves this time. He makes the climb…but Brock enters the match as the last guy, gets rid of Ali, and wins the briefcase at 19:00. FUCK YOU, VINCE. Brock continues to be the smartest man in wrestling, probably making $100,000 for walking up a ladder and winning the match. What a stupid finish, although it’s a fine allegory for the state of the promotion right now. Bet that’s it for Kofi at Super Showdown if not sooner. As for the match, it was not only needlessly dangerous, but even worse because it just ended with Brock literally just walking out and scooping all their heat. Vince: “I OWE YOU ONE, PALS!” I’d go **** for the insanity of the match, but I really don’t want to see those kinds of stupid spots at this point.
Overall, I dunno. The Universal title match was pretty good, but the Brock finish just left such a bad taste in my mouth and the undercard was such trash that I can’t give it any kind of serious recommendation. So on the scale of Burn It / Avoid It / Skim It / Watch It / Binge It, I’d say SKIM IT for the title match and men’s ladder match, but if you’d rather just AVOID IT that’s cool too. So somewhere in between those.