The SmarK Rant for WWE Money in the Bank 2021 – 07.18.21
Live from Ft. Worth, TX. Farewell to the Thunderdome, which saved the company for a little while and then overstayed its welcome by three months.
Your hosts are Michael Cole and his merry band of announcers.
Women’s Money in the Bank: Alexa Bliss v. Liv Morgan v. Nikki Ash v. Natalya v. Tamina v. Zelina Vega v. Naomi v. Asuka
Quite the random selection of people this year. Alexa stands there looking creepy while everyone else fights for the ladders, and she apparently is about to compel the briefcase down to the mat when Asuka saves with a german suplex. Everyone quickly trades big moves as Michael reminds us that Naomi Calls It the Rear View. Also, they say that nobody is meaner than Tamina. I think he made that up. Plus I’m pretty sure her dad was meaner. Tamina throws people around and splashes Liv and Zelina in the corner, but Asuka beats on her with backfists, thus casting doubt on the assertion that no one is meaner than Tamina. This theory is falling apart like communism. Asuka pins Tamina under the ladder and makes the climb, but Liv pulls her down for a backstabber. Nattie and Liv fight over the ladder and they stand there holding it like a bridge while various other wacky things happen. Speaking of wacky, Alexa crawls towards Liv while Liv shrieks in terror, but she sets up the ladder instead of using her magic powers and then hypnotizes Zelina into climbing back down. That draws some audible groans from the crowd. Zelina gets some of her shit in, but she falls on a ladder and Naomi powerbombs Liv onto her. Naomi manages to fight off Natalya and Tamina and then puts Nikki on the ladder and does the splits onto her, but Nattie tosses her and climbs. The crowd is weirdly anti-Natalya tonight for some reason. Natalya climbs with Zelina on her back and makes it to the case, but Zelina manages to choke her out and goes for the case herself before Liv saves. Everyone randomly slugs it out and Nikki dives from a ladder outside, into the pile in the ring. That was REALLY contrived. So Nikki climbs and Alexa saves and hits her with Sister Abigail, but Nattie and Tamina toss her and AGAIN the crowd is weirdly hateful of them. So everyone buries Alexa under a pile of ladders outside because she’s so terrifying, which leaves Liv to climb alone, but Tamina saves. We get three ladders and Liv climbs again, and of course we get six people up there with her, but Nikki sneaks up and steals it at 15:53 to win the contract. I’m glad they didn’t do any stupid bumps and kept the match to a reasonable length, but it wasn’t particularly good or memorable. *** Just a decent ladder match with the usual choreographed spots that the women tend to get. Good on Nikki, though.
Earlier tonight, the Usos win another tag team title, showing that getting a DUI is a great way to get a renewed push.
Meanwhile, the Head of the Table reminds the Usos who is REALLY the guy in charge and makes a subtle reference to Jimmy’s issues as of late.
RAW World tag team titles: AJ Styles & Omos v. The Viking Raiders
AJ lets Omos start the match with Erik, so Ivar comes in for a double-team and that goes badly for the Vikings. AJ comes in and Erik beats on him and throws him around, and slams Ivar onto him for two. The Raiders double-team AJ with knees and Erik gets two. AJ manages to clear the ring and brings Omos in for an assist with a rana onto Erik outside. Back in, AJ goes to a chinlock on Erik, but he backdrops out and it’s back to Ivar. He splashes AJ and runs wild as I’m not really clear on who the babyfaces are supposed to be here. Lariat on AJ gets two. Back to Omos, who catches Ivar with a slam and then doesn’t really have any followup. So he goes a nerve hold on Ivar and it’s back to AJ, who continues drawing a huge babyface reaction from the crowd. This is such a weird team, as they some of the worst chemistry I’ve ever seen in non-ironic champions. Like, AJ is clearly doing 120% of the work for the team and doesn’t seem to interact with his partner at ALL. The Vikings double-team AJ and splash him in the corner, and a double-team clothesline/suplex combo gets two for Erik. Back to Omos, who press slams Ivar for two. The momentum of the match just grinds to a complete halt every time this guy is in the ring. Erik comes in again and the Vikings try to double-team Omos as we get some Sid-level selling from him, and AJ rolls up Ivar for two. The Vikings hit their pop-up powerslam on AJ for two, but Omos shoves Erik onto his own partner to save. And then he chokeslams Erik and pins him to retain at 12:56. I don’t get what they’re going for with AJ and Omos and the match didn’t have any real heat segment or storyline to it. But the crowd liked it well enough I suppose. **1/2
Meanwhile, Drew McIntyre was wanting to win the WWE title in front of fans, but that didn’t work out for him, so he has to win the briefcase tonight instead.
WWE title: Bobby Lashley v. Kofi Kingston
Kofi flies in with a rollup for two and a flying double stomp for two, but Bobby backdrops him and puts him down with a clothesline. Blind charge misses and Kofi tries a bodypress, but Lashley slams him down again and takes him to the floor for a shot into the post. MVP reminds us of the disrespect shown by Kofi, so Lashley smashes him into the post again. Back in for a corner clothesline and elevated flatliner to set up the full nelson, but then he releases Kofi and hits him with a sack of shit slam. Another flatliner and Bobby beats on him and hits the Dominator NOT ONCE NOT TWICE BUT THRICE and then finally finishes the complete squash with the full nelson at 7:30. Not sure why that needed to be on PPV. *
RAW Women’s title: Rhea Ripley v. Charlotte Flair
They fight for the lockup to start and Charlotte flips off the crowd, which prompts them to black out the feed for some reason, and Ripley takes over with a dropkick. Ah, the crowd is chanting for Becky, no wonder. GOTTEN TO. They fight on the apron and Rhea dropkicks her to the floor and then misses a senton off the apron, and Charlotte gets two in the ring. She stomps Rhea down for two and goes to a chinlock, then stops and does a backflip into a kick and pounds on her with forearms. They trade some SNUG elbows in the corner and Charlotte backdrops her to the floor as the crowd chants for Becky again, but Rhea comes back with clotheslines in the ring. Northern lights suplex gets two. Rhea puts her down with a release german, but Charlotte takes her down for a Boston crab and Rhea reverses for two. Charlotte goes for the figure-four and Rhea rolls her up for two. Charlotte boots her down for two and it looked like someone forgot something and that was pretty weird. Charlotte goes up and Rhea pulls her down in a super-awkward fall and they struggle through a reversal sequence that leads to Rhea powering her up into a suplex for two. Rhea throws chops and Charlotte sends her into the corner and out to the apron, and follows with a moonsault that completely misses as usual. Back in, Rhea gets the cloverleaf, but Charlotte reverses for two. DDT gets two. They trade more chops and Charlotte wins that battle and gets two with her feet on the ropes, but the ref catches it. They fight to the top and Charlotte brings her down for Natural Selection off the top, but that gets two. Charlotte goes for the figure-four and Rhea tosses her to escape, but Charlotte runs her into the post and dropkicks the stairs into Rhea’s knee, then finishes with the figure-eight to win the title, again, at 16:51. Just accept it. Messy to start but it turned into a hell of a match with tons of great near-falls. ****
Meanwhile, Matt Riddle hangs out with Shinsuke and Rick Boogs and it ends up in a jam session as they play Randy Orton’s theme song.
Money in the Bank: Kevin Owens v. Shinsuke Nakamura v. Riddle v. Seth Rollins v. Ricochet v. John Morrison v. Big E v. Drew McIntyre
Everyone slugs it out and starts flying with the dives early, leaving Big E and Drew alone for a showdown. Big E quickly takes him to the apron for the spear to the floor, so KO tries for the ladder and Nakamura cuts him off with an exploder onto the ladder. Morrison flies off the ladder with a twisting bodypress onto Nakamura and the crowd actually chants “Johnny Drip Drip” completely without irony. Nakamura follows Johnny up the ladder and gets an armbar up there, but Rollins boots them down to break. And then Rollins and Morrison share a moment and both turn on Nakamura and stomp him down. They double-team Riddle and slam him onto a ladder and then take Owens to the floor and put the boots to him as well before setting up the dreaded ladder bridge, but that gets left for later. Back in, Owens fights back with a lionsault onto their ladder, but they team up with a sick suplex onto the edge of the ladder. Drew goes after the heels, but they manage to beat HIM down too and Morrison comes off the top with a twisting elbow onto Drew that seems to miss. And then Seth turns on his partner and sends him out of the ring, as he tries for the climb. Riddle brings him down for an RKO and then does a nifty striking battle with Nakamura, but Drew hits them both the Claymore and DDTs Big E. And then he gives Ricochet an Alabama Slam into a ladder for fun. With everyone on the floor, he hits them with a dive and then brings Seth in for a Claymore as he finally has a crowd to do his countdown gimmick. This brings out Jinder Mahal and his new lackies, and they attack Drew and Jinder beats him down with a chair and drags him out of the match. Meanwhile Ricochet jumps onto the ladder to stop Riddle, so Matt pushes him off and Ricochet lands on the top rope and does a physics-defying dive onto the pile outside. Riddle again busts out the RKO to clear the ring, but Rollins stomps him and then Nakamura puts Rollins 2 sleep and makes the climb. Morrison squirts his drip stick right in Naka’s face to save, but Owens brings HIM down and hits a stunner to clear the ring again. Pop up powerbomb on Ricochet and KO climbs on one leg, but Rollins saves and powerbombs him onto Chekhov’s ladder bridge to end his night. So Rollins climbs unfettered, but Big E finally shows up and brings him down with the Really Big Ending from the ladder to save and he wins Money in the Bank at 18:00. This was probably one of the best ever MITB matches thanks to all the new blood in there having fun and doing creative things, instead of the usual six or seven people taking the same bumps. ****3/4
Meanwhile, Seth Rollins is pretty disappointed with himself after losing and decides he needs a new plan of attack, declaring himself the next challenger to the Universal title.
Universal title: Roman Reigns v. Edge
I’m very relieved that crowds are booing the shit out of Roman Reigns because it’s going to make his eventual face turn all the more awesome. I ACKNOWLEDGE YOU, BIG DOG! They fight for a lockup to start while Roman shuts down a dueling chant. You’re not gonna overpower the Juggernaut, Edge. Unless you have some kind of magic formula that you inject into your body to make you stronger. But how likely is THAT? Edge rides him down and slaps him around on the mat before grabbing a headlock, but Roman puts him down to the floor to put him in his place. Back in, Edge goes for the arm, but luckily that’s not Roman’s punching arm and he slugs Edge into the corner to break. So Edge runs him into the corner a couple of times to go after the arm again, and Roman bails for some advice from Paul Heyman. That advice? What would Roman’s father do? TEACH HIM ABOUT SIKA. I didn’t even need a joke that time, that was awesome advice. So Roman goes in to deliver the lesson and then lures Edge to the floor for a samoan drop out there. And hey, that was Sika’s finish! Roman runs Edge into the post to take over and puts the boots to him in the ring and tosses him to the floor again for more punishment. Back in, Roman finds his happy place by pounding Edge’s face in for a while and chides Edge for TRYING TO TAKE HIS MONEY. Fucker. Typical Edge, if he’s not stealing someone’s girlfriend he’s stealing someone’s rightful money as champion. Roman’s the head of the table! He’s got Uso mouths to feed and Jimmy’s bail money to pay! The crowd says “Roman sucks” and he quips “What? I’m WINNING!” and then beats on Edge some more to make sure the crowd knows who the Big Dog is. Suplex gets two. Roman with a cravat on the mat and then lays on him with a chinlock while half the crowd, probably the unvaccinated mouthbreathers, chant “You can’t wrestle”, and then the educated half corrects them by pointing out that “Yes he can”. That makes sense because Edge looks like a paranoid survivalist who lives in a shack.
Edge fights out with body shots, and Roman just SCOFFS at them and slugs him down. “Acknowledge him, guys in cowboy hats!” notes McAfee. You tell ‘em. The Drive-By kick gets two. It’s Superman punch time, but Edge counters into a backslide for two and they collide for a double down. They slug it out off that and Edge gets the Edge-O-Matic for two off a missed punch. Edge makes the FIRED UP PART-TIMER COMEBACK and hits the Impaler DDT for two, but they fight to the top and Roman elbows him down. So Edge hangs him in the Tree of Woe and then takes him down for an STF that he turns into a crossface to prevent Roman from making the ropes. But then Roman reaches down deep and gets there anyway. Edge tries the spear and Roman catches him with the guillotine, but Edge takes him to the floor to break. Should have just tapped, now Roman is gonna have to do it the hard way. Roman charges and Edge runs away like a coward, resulting in Roman smashing the barricade, and then Edge waits until Roman is trying to recover and spears him out there like an even bigger coward. BE A MAN, Edge. Back in, that gets two. Roman fights back and hits a superman punch so earth-shaking that it bumps the ref, which allows Roman to break off a piece of chair and teach Edge a lesson. However, Edge steals the piece of metal and crossfaces Roman with it, and that brings out the Usos and Mysterios to brawl while Edge continues to cheat. Finally Seth Rollins comes out of the crowd and superkicks Edge to right that wrong, and Roman clarifies for us that he is the one with the juice. However, Edge blocks the superman punch with a spear, which gets two. And then Rollins tries to interfere again and Edge goes after him, as Roman hits him with his own spear, and the BIG DOG triumphs again at 33:15 while Edge brawls into the crowd with Seth Rollins to give them something else to do while the real stars celebrate to end the night. Can Roman even have a match under four stars at this point? I don’t want to live in a world where I have to find out. ****1/2
But then, before Roman can be acknowledged by THE WHOLE WORLD, like he deserves, John Cena arrives from Hollywood to interrupt, the next part-timer to be superman punched and sent packing by the Big Dog. Hopefully Cena will also acknowledge him on the way back to retirement.
Home run show. Nuff said.