Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE Money in the Bank 2018 Review with Match Ratings and Show Grade

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Welcome back to the column that has always been “money in the bank” in terms of instantly posted Pay Per Views and is exclusively here at LordsofPain.net. For over 3 years now (after my initial WWE Network boycott to support CM Punk’s departure in 2014), I have reviewed every single Pay Per View instantly after the show ends with the exception of 2 shows (one due to a loss of a family member, another was an NXT show that I just didn’t feel like reviewing). I did review NXT Takeover: Chicago last night, in case you missed it, and you may read it by clicking here.

Before we start my show review, just a few thoughts on the Money in the Bank Pay Per View. From the gimmick match based Pay Per Views started during 2010 (I believe), Money in the Bank is the only one worth catching. This includes Hell in a Cell, TLC, and Extreme Rules… All crap. “Hey, it’s October, time to wrestle a bunch of cage matches” or “Hey, it’s December, time to wrestle a bunch of TLC matches”. Whatever. How does that make sense for the wrestler? At least with Money in the Bank, there is a prize to winning the specific gimmick match. If you win the Ladder Match and obtain the briefcase hanging, you become a #1 contender who can cash in that contendership anytime you chose… Including after the World Champion wrestles a match! There is a real “sense of urgency” to this event and in my opinion, it helps “save” the WWE’s summer. Wrestlemania to SummerSlam used to be a major drag but the Money in the Bank show, particularly since the 2011 spectacular show, began to drive interest that helps carry on for 2 more months into SummerSlam.

That said, I do NOT like the rule that allows WWE wrestlers to cash-in the Money in the Bank briefcase anytime. Rob Van Dam had the BEST cash-in because he named the time and place in advance rather than scoring a cheap win. If you’ll recall during 2006, RVD won the match and he announced his cash-in by selecting the date and venue… RVD challenged John Cena for the ECW: One Night Stand 2016 and it gave Van Dam a unique “home court advantage”. Cena had to defend his WWE Title in front of rabid ECW fans in a smaller arena and it was spectacular.

What I have disliked about BOTH Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank for the last 10 years is that both gimmick matches are used to rush wrestlers to the top. Winners of both events, for the most part, have been failing because they DID NOT work their way up to the top. Most of the great wrestlers such as Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, and Batista grew as midcarders and used winning the Rumble match as the catapult for them to the top when the timing was absolutely right. Guys like Edge and Rob Van Dam were well overdue for World Title shots and winning the Money in the Bank match was deserved. Looking at recent Money in the Bank winners, I don’t know…

– Baron Corbin… wasn’t ready.
– Sheamus… Failed World Title reigns previously.
– Randy Orton… Used as a wedge to destroy Daniel Bryan during 2013.
– Damien Sandow… Yeah, that guy. Where is he now?
– Dolph Ziggler… I only mention him because between the time he won it and cashed it in after Wrestlemania, he lost many times.
– Alberto Del Rio… Should have never left Smackdown during 2011. Helped end “Summer of Punk”.
– Daniel Bryan… Not ready to be champion during 2011.
– The Miz… Unfortunately, wasn’t ready for the main event during 2010. May be a midcarder for life.
– Jack Swagger… LOL
– CM Punk (twice)… Just not ready to be World Champion during 2008-2009. Timing was right during 2011 when he joined RAW as a heel and changed up his look.
– Kennedy… Couldn’t stay healthy, but given the roster depth through 2007, I’m not sure of that win.

Majority (if not all) were attempts to cash-in after the World Champion just wrestled a match. Can anyone tell me if those guys, after they won the briefcase, got over as Main Eventers? And again, I’m talking immediately after they won the briefcase.

And they should change the rule to allowing the Money in the Bank cash-in to occur BEFORE the Royal Rumble match. No need to have two separate #1 contenderships contradicting themselves.

But the cheap cash-ins aren’t working. That’s a fact especially when the WWE rushes the WRONG GUY to the briefcase. Or in the case of last year, the WRONG GIRL to the briefcase.

That’s my 2 cents on the Money in the Bank gimmick match…

The Pay Per View, itself, has been damn good and I would now include it as the 4th member of the “Big 4” Pay Per Views. Survivor Series hasn’t been the spectacular event that it once was and was almost eliminated by Vince a few years ago.

It seems that because of the Ladder Match, the wrestlers in the OTHER matches seem to step up their game to not get upstaged by that match. The undercard and the title matches are usually good on the card to make for an overall great wrestling experience. Because the Ladder Match adds a “sense of urgency” to become the #1 contender and that match pushing everyone else to have great matches, Money in the Bank should definitely become the 4th ranked Pay Per View of importance to the WWE behind only Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, and SummerSlam. I mean hell, it had a NXT Takeover event attached to it this year…

Anyway, onto my show review…

Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE Money in the Bank 2018 Review

I did not watch the Pre-Game show, especially with it starting at 6pm. Hell with that… I was able to watch most of the 7pm hour while on the road via streaming on my phone (I wasn’t driving) and then continue watching the show at 8pm. But let me say this… If all of effort put into pushing the Bludgeon Brothers has only landed them on the Pre-Game show for a match, then a bunch of people backstage need fired.

OPENING MATCH was Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass. I liked this match from a few developments that I saw… For one, Daniel Bryan wrestled exactly as I believe a smaller wrestler should against a much taller wrestler: (1) use strikes and (2) go for the legs. Bryan was consistent on that attack and therefore makes you believe that he can defeat someone above him in multiple weight classes. While Big Cass is still learning and a bit green on timing, psychology, and personality in the ring, I was encouraged that he was FINALLY going for powermoves. I liked the Fallaway Slam from the ropes, the Human Torture Rack, and then the reverse DVD. DO MORE OF THAT, big guy. That said, my main problem with Big Cass is that he should NOT be practicing these moves in a big program with Daniel Bryan but should be developing his craft in the midcard instead. Bryan’s working on the leg paid off and he made Big Cass tap by hooking that surgically repaired leg. [ ***1/4 ]

New Day and Kevin Owens backstage segment with pancakes and syrup was just silly. Not sure how that advances any of the characters involved in that segment.

Next match was a TURD between Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn. After weeks of some of the WORST RAW segments of all time, it is fitting that this awful storyline ends with a squash to put it out of its misery for good. I don’t understand what the WWE is doing with Zayn. The guy does nothing but have good matches and puts over everybody. Waste of a potentially good babyface talent. [ No Stars ] Actually, what this match needed was a FINGER OF SHAME!

After that, we thankfully had Elias vs. Seth Rollins. Now THIS was a match… The wrestler’s skill-sets were perfect complements and everything was snug from bell to bell. Someone backstage must have had a talk with the wrestlers on selling leg injuries as Rollins had a knee buckle and he was forced to sell it for the latter half of the match. The only weakness of this match was WHY Elias was going for top rope moves when he normally didn’t try those kind of moves… Otherwise, as good as it gets and Elias has major potential at this rate. I like how Rollins escaped with a win, as that helps keep Elias strong despite the loss. [ **** ]

The event continued to improve with the Women’s Money in the Bank. All 7 ladies busted their arses to put on a great match and tried a few new things with the ladders that you never saw before. I always felt bad for Becky Lynch because everytime she climbed the ladder, the fans popped for her… Someone backstage HAS to be hearing that. She’s over… Having Alexa win makes the most sense for the RAW brand as with forces like Nia and Rousey on that roster, someone needs to have the courage to cheaply cash that briefcase in to screw either one (I know, goes against what I said above). In my opinion, that is the only way that I can believe that Rousey or Jax can lose to Bliss. [ **** ] Much better than last year’s female ladder match.

Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal was up next… Honestly, it was OK… Jinder seemed to have high energy for the opportunity but his offense was weak looking as usual. Roman was his usual “out of breath” self but I thought that the match was arranged well to hide his usual weaknesses in the ring. I liked the interference outside by Singh, for example… Match came together in a decent fashion although both wrestlers are so hated by everyone (“negative” heat) that the crowd was completely crapping on the match with “CM Punk” chants, waves, and other derogatory chants. Honestly, I don’t mind that because both guys are responsible for helping to tank viewership numbers on both RAW and Smackdown. Considering ALL of the resources thrown at them, both wrestlers could have provided more effort, on their own, to complement the opportunities handed to them. Hard to be hungry to become a top guy when it’s handed to you by management and not earned by working your way up the ladder. [ **3/4 ]

I wasn’t a fan of Carmella vs. Asuka. If you go back to 2016 when Carmella vs. Nikki Bella, that version of Carmella that was taking it to Nikki was a wrestler with upside. Since using James Ellsworth as a crutch for her character, it hurt her personality as a star and she’s not over as Women’s Champion right now. And of course, guess who is back? Ellsworth… His distraction helped Carmella retain. Oh joy. So you have Asuka, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte Flair on the SAME roster and yet you have this comedic act as your Women’s Champion. Whatever. [ 1/2 * ]

I have to be honest again about Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles… Didn’t enjoy their match once again. Where is this great “Wrestle Kingdom” effort that their loyal NJPW fans keep saying will eventually happen? The match was dull until the very end and the hot Chicago crowd agreed with me… Kinda silent until the end was near. Many will suggest that the match bookings have limited them, but I remember Rock vs. Mick Foley having many gimmicks thrown at their matches during 1999 and they were ALL great. Great performers will always shine through. These two just appear to be past their primes, notably Nakamura who just lacks the energy that we once saw during his first NXT Takeover match against Sami Zayn. Maybe it was Zayn carrying that match completely? I’m starting to believe it… Styles won the match to hopefully end this feud once and for all. [ *** ] Just took long and not enough energy. WWE gave them more than enough time to develop a good match and they didn’t deliver… Again. Time to demote Nakamura to the midcard for good and begin preparing the next WWE Champion to defeat Styles soon. Viewership is under 2.2 million with this feud.

Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey was next. I was wondering if they’d make this the Main Event… This match has credibility because Nia has a major weight and strength advantage on Rousey who was used to fighting people her size in UFC. Nia was able to manhandle her during the early part of the match but eventually, Ronda flipped the switch on offensively. She went off the top rope for the first time ever, hit a Judo Throw on Nia, and began attempting to lock on the arm bar. THEN, Alexa Bliss arrived to attack Ronda Rousey with the Money in the Bank briefcase and attacked Rousey further on the outside of the ring. Bliss then attacked Nia with the briefcase and then cashed in the briefcase. After a DDT and her top rope splashing finisher, Bliss is your NEW Women’s Champion for RAW. That was perfectly executed to make Bliss champion despite the dangers of Jax/Rousey who could obviously kill her. THAT is where the cheap Money in the Bank cash-in works because of the heel stealing a win to be opportunistic. Also, this finish keeps Jax and Rousey strong because they had a non-finish and their rematch will be strong. [ **** ] for everything. Bliss will have 2 of the most dangerous opponents in the WWE coming after her!

The MAIN EVENT was the Men’s Money in the Bank match-up to determine the on-demand #1 contender with Braun Strowman, the Miz, Bobby Roode, Kofi Kingston (representing New Day), Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, Rusev, and Finn Balor. Everyone goes after Strowman to start the match and eventually throws him under a pile of ladders. After a while, Strowman wakes and goes on the attack. Owens took a hell of a bump off of the top of a ladder from Strowman and then Braun ran into a ladder held by 2 wrestlers to bend the ladder. The look on Miz’s face was priceless… It was cool to see Samoa Joe and Rusev mixing it up and then Rusev placing 3 wrestlers at once in his submission hold. Finn Balor’s time to shine and he took out many wrestlers and then hit his stomping finisher onto Roode from the top of a taller ladder. But again, Braun Strowman returns and inflicts pain on everyone. He fought off Balor and Kofi at the top of the ladder to win the Money in the Bank briefcase. [ ***1/2 ] Match served to put over Braun who was clearly overpowering in this match anyway. Enough good bumps to make it worthwhile. Could Braun cash this in at SummerSlam?

LAST WORD: Good lord, WWE, it’s about time that you had a good Pay Per View since the Rumble event. That and the wrestlers stepped up in light of NXT Takeover having a great show. There were some BAD match-ups with Bryan/Cass and Mahal/Reigns but each seemed to have their maximum best effort shown. Asuka vs. Carmella and Lashley/Zayn were awful points of the show and should cause people backstage to be fired. The rest of the show was very solid. Both Money in the Bank matches delivered, Elias vs. Rollins was great, and Jax vs. Rousey was strong in a storyline sense and it had Bliss stealing the win like a true heal (exception to my MITB rule). NOT every match in a 4 hour show can be great and that’s what many fans have to realize. [ B ] for my show grade, as the booking of some of the matches could have been better.

SO JUST CHILL… ‘TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!

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