The most unusual WWE Money In The Bank show is in the books and, while it was an unpredictable event, it turned out to be just about everything we could have asked for. While WWE WrestleMania 36 was a show without live fans, nobody knew what to expect here because the ladder matches would be truly unprecedented.
Using the winning formula from the Boneyard Match and the Firefly Fun House Match, WWE produced two main event matches that were wild, chaotic and utterly entertaining, though they were hard to follow at times. Thanks to the show’s fun ending and a solid showing overall, this year’s WWE Money In The Bank should be considered a success.
Working backward, the Money In The Bank matches were made in the same vein as the aforementioned instant classics from WWE WrestleMania 36. The ladder matches were cinematic, and they clearly stood apart from WWE’s typical product. From cameos by Vince McMahon and Brother Love to overt tie-ins to recent history, the men’s match was a viewing experience that made it impossible to take your eyes off the screen. McMahon’s cameo was particularly funny, as he vigorously rubbed his hands with hand sanitizer after AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan brawled into his office. Before that, Styles had obvious flashbacks to the Boneyard Match when he stumbled into a dark-lit room where The Undertaker’s gong was playing. This moment was hinted at moments earlier, as Styles was clearly disturbed by the sight of an Undertaker poster on the wall. As with the Firefly Fun House Match, WWE showed that its best content utilizes the vast mythos the company has at its disposal. These small ties to Styles’ feud with The Phenom made the match more well-rounded and dynamic.
Time and again, both Money in the Bank matches were just fun to watch. A crazy food fight broke out when Otis threw a plate of food at Paul Heyman, and the insanity culminated in Otis shoving a pie into John Laurinaitis’ face. Another cameo, courtesy of Doink the Clown, made the match feel even more unpredictable. At every turn, it felt like anything could happen. The battle transitioned into a typical Money in the Bank match at the end. Well, other than the fact that King Corbin threw Rey Mysterio and Aleister Black off the roof. There was clearly a platform just a few feet below, but the moment added to the sheer insanity of the match. In the end, Otis, WWE’s fastest rising star, emerged victorious when the case fell into his hands.
The veterans in the match, like Mysterio, Styles and Daniel Bryan, didn’t need to win, but Black could have greatly benefited from a victory. Otis’ triumph shows WWE is riding the hot hand. While it may be too soon for an Otis main event push, the big man is clearly a fan-favorite. If nothing else, by rolling with Otis, WWE is allowing the fans to influence the on-screen product.
The Women’s Money in the Bank Match was, comparatively, less enthralling than its counterpart. By airing the two matches concurrently, WWE set one of them up to fall short of the other. This bout had its moments; Nia Jax powerbombed Carmella through a table, Stephanie McMahon reminded Dana Brooke that the real briefcase, rather than the decoy she had found, was on the roof, and Shayna Baszler choked out Mysterio. (He had a rough night.) But, through no fault of its own, the Women’s Match wasn’t as exciting as the Men’s, so it felt like a letdown. Asuka winning the match was the right choice, as, aside from her feud with Becky Lynch, she has been stuck in the tag team division for the better part of a year now. We’ll just have to wait and see who Asuka winds up matched up against.
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