The SmarK Rant for WWE Money in the Bank 2023 – 07.01.23
By Scott Keith on 1st July 2023
The SmarK Rant for WWE Money in the Bank 2023 – 07.01.23
Happy Canada Day!
Live from North Englandsfordshire, UK
Your hosts are Michael Cole & Wade Barrett
Money in the Bank ladder match: LA Knight v. Logan Paul v. Ricochet v. Shinsuke Nakamura v. Butch v. Damian Priest v. Santos Escobar
Everyone attacks Logan for some reason, probably because they’re jealous little weenies, and Logan gets dumped as everyone brawls to the floor. Back in, Priest gets bullied by the others with a ladder, but LA saves and then gets taken out by Nakamura. Ricochet runs wild on Butch and Nakamura, but he gets dumped, and then Logan beats on Escobar and makes the climb. So everyone gangs up on him AGAIN like he’s Andre the Giant or something, and Butch finds a cricket bat under the ring while Wade Barrett goes on a rant about England sucking at cricket. Don’t even get me started! I have many strong opinions on English cricket. Logan strikes up a deal with Priest in the name of Puerto Rico and they set up some tables, but then Damian turns on him and sends him sliding on the stairs facefirst. Ricochet with an insane dive through a ladder and onto the pile outside, which allows LA Knight to climb, but Logan brings him down with a legsweep before getting taken out by Priest again. They set up a wacky construction set at ringside and Nakamura tries to put Priest through a ladder bridge, but Logan trips him up and does the splash onto Priest himself. The crowd still thinks he sucks, though. I gotta say, empirical evidence to date is that he definitely does not suck. Back in the ring, another wacky ladder bridge gets set up and Nak drops Ricochet on his neck in a sick bump off the ladder and then makes the climb. Escobar stops him, so Nakamura armbars him through the ladder and then Butch jumps on Escobar’s back and chokes him down onto the ladder bridge, which sets up Ricochet hitting a 450 from off-screen onto both of them. Everyone slugs it out and Priest climbs, but Knight brings him down. Paul hits him with a blockbuster, Ricochet hits Paul with a shooting star, Escobar hits Ricochet with the Phantom Driver, Nakamura knees Escobar to the floor, and then Butch climbs a giant ladder on the floor and moonsaults the pile. Back in the ring, Butch climbs, but Logan takes him out and then has to fight off everyone else in succession. Escobar takes him out and makes the climb, but LA Knight gets another ladder and Escobar takes him down with a rana. We get a four-way slugfest on the ladder, but Knight pulls one ladder over. And then we get an absolutely terrifying spot where Logan Paul and Ricochet are supposed to fall over and through the tables outside, but they land on the top rope instead and Ricochet improvises a Spanish fly through the tables. Back in the ring, Butch bites LA Knight’s fingers on top of the ladder and goes for the case, but Priest shoves him off and onto a ladder in the ladder. So then Knight runs wild and takes out Escobar and Nakamura, but he gets to the top and Priest cuts him off and drops him with a Broken Arrow off the ladder and claims the case at 20:31. I like that they kept the super-dangerous ladder spots to a minimum and made them mean something, and the match itself was non-stop action. ****1/4. I was 100% on Team Logan Paul here but LA Knight losing and making all the weird online stans cry is good enough a result for me.
Women’s tag team title: Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler v. Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez
Liv sends Shayna to the apron with a rana and then boots her to the floor before Raquel tosses her onto the champs outside. Back in the ring, Shayna takes out the arm and controls with an armbar. Ronda cuts off the tag attempt with an anklelock, although clearly Liv’s furry boots provide enough protection to nullify the move. So she escapes and makes the hot tag to Raquel, who runs wild with slams. Ronda cuts her off with a hanging armbar on the top rope, but Raquel powerbombs her down for two. Back to Liv, but Shayna takes out the arm and Raquel has to save her again. Ronda takes out Raquel from the apron in an awkward spot while Shayna chokes out Liv, but Liv successfully crates separation. And then Shayna randomly turns on Ronda and chokes her out, and Raquel powerbombs Ronda into Oblivion to finish at 9:00 and give them the titles. I don’t understand why that happened and the announcers don’t seem to have much of an idea either. Wasn’t much to the match before the bizarre swerve finish. **
Meanwhile, Senor Money in the Bank ponders his options for cashing in the briefcase.
Intercontinental title: Gunther v. Matt Riddle
Riddle tries to go for the arm right away and beats on him with kicks, but Gunther chops him down. Riddle fights back and goes for the leg this time, but Gunther SWEEPS THE LEG and goes for Riddle’s injured ankle. Dude could wear BOOTS, it’s literally his own fault. Riddle fights back with a knee strike, but Gunther suplexes him onto his head and goes back to the leg with a kneebar this time. Riddle fights out of that but tries a senton and gets caught in a sleeper this time. Riddle flips out of a german suplex, but lands on his bad foot and Gunther puts him down with a lariat for two. Riddle with a knee strike for two. Riddle with a floating bro for two. Gunther blocks a slam and chops Riddle down, but he goes up and gets caught in a triangle. So Gunther slams out of that for two. And then he beats on the ankle and finishes with a heel hook at 7:55. Result wasn’t much in doubt here. **1/2. And then we get the return of Drew McIntryre, who has presumedly signed a new contract, and he takes out Gunther with the Claymore Kick to set up Summerslam. He’s actually been the featured character in WWE Champions this weekend, so that probably should have been a sign as well. I will say, if they’re giving Gunther the Honky Tonk record then that’s fine, but if they’re not, then hopefully he drops it to Drew before breaking Macho Man’s number.
Cody Rhodes v. Dominik Mysterio
I don’t particularly understand the career trajectory of Cody Rhodes this year because this feels like a giant step down after the Brock feud, but I guess we should let them finish the story? He’s still mighty over, though. Dom runs away to start and tries to escape to the back, but Cody hauls him back in and puts the boots to him in the corner. Cody with a running Bulldog powerslam, but Dom escapes the Crossroads and runs away again. So Rhea has to provide distraction while Dom hits a dive to take over and they fight on the floor. Back in the ring, Dom misses a charge and gets a back elbow for two. Dom with the Three Amigos, but Cody gets a disaster kick for two and then counters a 619 attempt into an airplane spin. Cody Cutter and Crossroads finish at 8:37. OK then. Just a TV match with an abrupt finish. **. Dom has nuclear heat but it doesn’t really translate into the ring in any meaningful way.
John Cena joins us for a truly surprising appearance and the crowd is so surprised that they forget to boo him. So he puts over London and declares that Wrestlemania should come to London. Oh my god I can 100% see Vince running Wembley just to spite Tony Khan. Completely on brand. So then Grayson Waller interrupts and pitches Wrestlemania Australia instead, but Cena is gonna pass on that. So Waller attacks, but Cena pops up with the AA and that’s the segment. So I guess we’re getting Wrestlemania in London because AEW dared to sell 65,000 tickets.
Money in the Bank ladder match: Bayley v. Zelina Vega v. Iyo Sky v. Zoey Stark v. Trish Stratus v. Becky Lynch
Apparently Bayley has joined in the Judgment Day before the match. Huge if true. Everyone brawls on the floor to start and Zoey & Trish dominate that and drop Sky facefirst on a ladder. Trish makes the first climb and gets knocked off by Bayley while the crowd sings to annoy her. Zelina makes the climb and gets hauled down and double-teamed by Bayley and Iyo. Vega winning after getting squashed in Puerto Rico would be a giant waste of time. Zoey makes a climb and Becky cuts her off, and the women all kind of awkwardly try climbing with everyone looking kind of lost. Vega climbs off Trish and goes for the case, but Zoey stops her and everyone falls down. This match desperately needs a Natalya in there to direct traffic because they’re just all over the place, literally. Iyo moonsaults off a ladder onto the pile, which doesn’t really make much sense in the context of the match. This leaves Trish alone and she climbs, but Becky cuts her off. And then Zelina runs wild again, but gets double-teamed by Becky and Trish before they turn on each other again. Then it’s another complete trainwreck and Zoey handcuffs Becky but can’t hook her around the post. So they all fight and everyone else in the match has just vanished. They have a pretty embarrassing brawl and Becky slams Trish onto a ladder bridge (after it falls over the first time) and that once again leaves Vega to make the climb. Zoey cuts her off, so Zelina powerbombs her onto the ladder bridge in a terrifying spot. Iyo makes a climb and Bayley pushes her over to save and climbs for it herself, but Becky saves and pulls her down with the handcuffs in the mouth. Bayley didn’t have anything to do with those handcuffs! Take it down a notch, Becky. But then it pays off with the best spot of the match, as Iyo handcuffs them together through the ladder, leaving them both helpless, and she climbs up to win the case at 17:53. The match was kind of a dumpster fire, but the finishing sequence was SPECTACULAR, one of the best they’ve ever come up with for these, and nearly saved the match. ***1/2.
Watching this show live with the commercials and breaks and stuff, it really strikes me how they completely ignore the existence of the WWE Network outside of the US and just talk about “Peacock Premium Plus” and stuff like that means anything to the rest of the world.
Consolation Prize title: Seth Rollins v. Finn Balor
I love that they came up with a third World title because Roman never defends his, and it’s STILL not enough to knock him out of the main event spot. I guess Seth’s rate limit was exceeded. I know, people are gonna wonder what the hell I’m talking about 2 years from now but in 2023 that’s a SICK BURN. Source: Trust me, bro. They fight to the floor to start, and Seth guillotines him on the apron to set up a reversal sequence in the ring. Finn stomps the ribs for two and runs him into the corner to work on them. Finn continues to beat on the ribs, but Seth fights back with a lariat and they slug it out. Rollins with a backbreaker and a running knee, but Balor rolls him up for two and continues beating on the ribs. Sling blade follows, but Seth buckle bombs him and goes up for a frog splash. That hits knees and Finn goes up himself, but misses the coup de grace. Cradle gets two, however. They trade kicks and Rollins hits a Pedigree for two. So this brings out Senor Money in the Bank, and Balor rolls up Seth for two. Seth gets all distracted and Balor runs him into the post and hits a pair of coups de grace on the floor, and back in for another one, but now Priest distracts HIM and Seth hits the stomp to finish at 12:09 and retain. This never really got going to any great degree and it felt like a TV match with a weak finish, but the work was good leading up to it. ***.
The Usos v. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa
IS TONIGHT THE NIGHT WHERE JEY USO FINALLY MAKES HIS DECISION? He certainly had enough time between the last match and this one to make a lot of decisions. Solo takes on the Usos by himself until Roman decides he wants the tag to handle things himself. Roman beats Main Event Jey down and chokes him out on the ropes while I stop to marvel at how perfectly they’ve booked Solo Sikoa since his debut last year. Honestly the Samoan Bulldozer character is really difficult to mess up and this is further proof. Roman bails for some advice from Paul Heyman, who provides motivation needed for Roman to beat Jey down in the corner. The Bloodline double-teams Jey in the corner and Solo goes to a nerve pinch. Over to Jimmy, who immediately gets clobbered by Solo with a forearm shot. Solo beats on Jimmy in the corner while the crowd chants various stuff at Roman. I have no idea what they’re singing but they’re certainly enthused about it even though the match has been boring as fuck for the first 15 minutes of nothing happening. Roman comes in and beats on Jimmy with corner clotheslines, but Jimmy comes back with a clothesline to the floor and makes the hot tag to Jey Uso to hopefully get this match going. Jey goes up with a crossbody on Solo and a hip attack in the corner. Wait, when Solo did that earlier he was paying tribute to Umaga apparently, but now Jey does it and he’s paying tribute to Rikishi? It’s like Samoan-ception. Jey dumps Solo and hits a dive, but Roman takes him down with a superman punch. The Usos team up with a spear on Roman, and that gets two. Roman with another superman punch on Jimmy for two while Jey brawls with Solo outside, but Jimmy comes back with a pair of superkicks and an Uso splash. Roman counters with the guillotine, but Jimmy powers out of it and THERE’S your ref bump. Usos with the 1D for the visual pinfall. Back to Solo, who takes out the Usos with a uranage and they hit Jey with a double-team spike and spear combo, and Roman stacks them like cordwood, but only gets two. So Sikoa preps the announce table, but misses a splash and goes through it himself, allowing Jey to make the comeback in the ring. Roman spears him, but it only gets two. The Usos batter him with superkicks to set up the flying Jey splash, and someone finally pins Roman at 32:05. Took FOREVER for the match to get to the point it needed, but they did, and there’s your Summerslam main event. The molten crowd 100% made this match. ***.
The booking was weird all night, but they did the right finish when it counted at the end, and the crowd was of course nuclear all night. Nothing off the charts great in the ring, but it was an entertaining show and another thumbs up for them this year. I wouldn’t call it something I’d go out of your way to watch or anything, though.