The beliefs and opinions expressed in this article are mine, and do not represent everyone on the Nearfalls team.
Money in the Bank takes place live from the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth Texas, being WWE’s first Pay Per View to take place outside of Florida since the Covid 19 Pandemic lockdowns. This is the first WWE event in Fort Worth Texas Since March 28th, 2005, with the main event being Muhammad Hassan vs Shawn Michaels. Remember Hassan? What an absolutely wasted talent. While 2020’s M.I.T.B. was bonkers in the way that the competitors had to climb the entire Titan Towers building to win, this year the event goes back to normal, almost symbolic of the world trying to get back to normal in a post Covid era. Fans are back in attendance, and while I love to see it, it does make me a little nervous with the influx of fans jumping barricades in the last few weeks. The Thunderdome Era is behind us (pending no further government lockdowns), and we have what could be the biggest WWE Pay Per View in the last year.
Note: Initial Thoughts written prior to the event.
Initial Pay Per View Thoughts
After the incredible week we’ve had in Wrestling, from Slammiversary to Fyter Fest, the WWE is in a very vulnerable position, and needs to do something unforgettable. With rumors swirling of a Supershow between AEW, NJPW, Impact, and AAA being planned, and steps already being put into motion, it is an interesting time in wrestling history, and if WWE doesn’t adapt, they could surely be left behind. Maybe we will see Becky Lynch and John Cena return, but that won’t be enough to bring a larger audience back, who now see that competitor companies are a viable alternative to the mega-giant that is WWE.
Canceled match & Champions without matches
An I-Quit match was set to take place between SmackDown Women’s champion, Bianca Belair, and Bayley. Due to Bayley’s injury while training, the match was scrapped. Carmella was announced as Bayley’s replacement, but the match was changed to a singles match on the July 16 episode of SmackDown. Along with Belair, U.S. Champion Sheamus, and Intercontinental champion Apollo Crews will not be in action. Akira Tozawa, the 24/7 Champion also does not have a match, but I’m sure we will see some shenanigans for the Championship.
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships – Tag Team Match – Rey & Dominic Mysterio vs The Usos
Initial Thoughts: Uso was recently arrested for a DUI in Pensacola, Florida. This is his 3rd DUI arrest in 3 years, and I don’t see the Usos winning the tag titles, even though it would make sense for the ongoing Head of the Table Storyline.
Review: In a really decent match, The Usos defeated the Mysterios. I’m a little surprised that Jimmy didn’t receive some kind of punishment for his DUI, but I guess in WWE’s eyes, the storyline is the only thing that matters. It was a really good match, with some great false finishes, and a really cool spot where Jimmy jumped in front of the 619 to save Jey. The Uso’s winning the titles does make sense, in order to show that the Bloodline are dominant, and rule over SmackDown. I just wish that the victory didn’t happen so soon after a DUI. It absolutely sends the wrong message to their desired audience. All in all, the match was good, despite the negative connotations going into it. Michael Cole did equate the Bloodline to the Jonestown Cult, by claiming the Uso’s were drinking the Kool-Aid. The Cinematic promo that saw the Mysterios walk through a Stargate was weird. Are they capable of interdimensional travel? I’m also not super sure why they wore Jason/Hockey masks for their entrance.
What happens next?: Obviously a rematch has to be in order for the Mysterios, right? Aside from the Street Profits, there doesn’t seem to be anyone “credible” enough on SmackDown to feud with the Usos. Maybe this was booked into a corner. Whatever Dominic Mysterio does next, I’m all for it. Dude’s a natural. Hopefully, the Mysterios can use the Stargate to prevent Covid 19.
Women’s Money in the Bank
- Alexa Bliss
- Nikki A.S.H.
- Liv Morgan
- Zelina Vega
Appearances in M.I.T.B.
- Asuka: 1 + 1 victory
- Naomi: 1
- Bliss: 1+1 Victory
- Nikki: 1
- Liv: 0
- Vega: 0
- Natalya: 4
- Tamina: 2
Initial Thoughts: Liv Morgan has been on fire in recent weeks following the release of Ruby Riott. I’d like to think her winning would be a bit of Fan Service, but WWE has never been good at that. Aside from maybe Zelina, I don’t really see anyone other than Liv winning. Liv & Zelina are the newcomers to the match type. I do think that Becky Lynch will attempt to take someone (Tamina) out to enter the match, but will be stopped, only to return later in the match to prevent whoever stopped her from winning.
Review: Going into this match, Liv Morgan had a rocket strapped to her back, and then an additional rocket strapped to that rocket. Alexa Bliss plays her character to perfection, and can apparently hypnotize people, which she did to Zelina, forcing her to climb down the ladder. While a ladder was already set up, Naomi sets up a second one next to it, and begins climbing. I never understood that. Why would you set up another ladder, instead of climbing the one that’s already there? For some reason, everyone buried Alexa with ladders. A third ladder is set up next to the other two, and I’m still confused by it. Liv, Alexa, and Natalya carried this match, only to have Nikki A.S.H. secretly climb up and steal the briefcase, while Six of the competitors are on top of the three ladders. It’s convoluted and weird. How you gonna push Liv to the moon, and then pull the cord at the last minute? It seems that WWE likes to majorly sell us a rising talent, only to let us down. Liv was robbed.
What Happens Next?: Hopefully Liv gets another shot at the Women’s championship, whether it’s on Raw or SmackDown, but I would love to see a Liv vs Alexa feud. Storyline wise, Superhero Nikki A.S.H. versus a demonic Alexa Bliss sounds amazing, and I would pre-order a stack of matches right now if I could.
WWE Raw Tag Team Championships – Tag Team Match – AJ Styles & Omos vs Viking Raiders
Initial Thoughts: I’m honestly not really invested in the AJ/Omos storyline. I don’t really have a preference for this match, but I wouldn’t hate a Viking Raiders victory. If any championship changes hands, it’ll be this match.
Review: I really don’t like Omos. Being freakishly tall isn’t a personality trait. Omos throwing AJ outside of the ring, and AJ hitting a hurricanrana on Erik was pretty dope. The Viking Raiders put on a really offensive match, showing how talented they are, only to have Omos come in and knock them down so easily. It absolutely undermines AJ’s talent when he goes toe to toe with the Viking Raiders, and then Omos easily walks over them. It implies that Omos is better than Styles. Omos does a double hand choke slam to get the victory, and retain the titles.
What happens next?: I don’t really know, or care, honestly. The WWE tag division is really sloppy right now. Maybe a feud with RKBro, but I don’t expect anything special.
WWE Championship – Singles Match – Bobby Lashley (with MVP) vs Kofi Kingston
Initial thoughts: I would love to see KofiMania 2: Electric Boogaloo. Kofi has been a favorite of mine since he debuted. Following reports that Goldberg is returning, I find it highly unlikely that Kofi is going to walk out victorious, and we will be left with Bobby Lashley us Goldberg at Summerslam. Initial reports slated a Lashley vs Lesnar face off, but I’m not sure Lesnar is ready to chop off those luscious locks yet.
Review: There isn’t much to say about this match. Bobby Lashley completely dominated Kofi Kingston throughout the match. For their first pay per view event back in a post Covid world, the WWE decided to have a Squash match for what is supposed to be their most iconic championship. In his last two WWE Championship matches, Kofi Kingston was squashed, and I feel terrible for him. Even if he didn’t win, they didn’t have to do that to him. The only redeemable thing from this match was Kofi’s Skeletor attire.
What happens next?: The reports are probably true that Goldberg is coming to feud with Bobby Lashley, and no one but Vince knows why.
Grade: D- (Would have been an F if not for Kofi’s attire.)
WWE Raw Women’s Championship – Rhea Ripley vs Charlotte Flair
Initial Thoughts: Have you ever felt like you’ve seen the same match over and over, despite the facts showing that they’ve only faced off a few times? That’s what this feud feels like. I think Rhea will retain, leading to a rematch at Summerslam, where Charlotte will win her 13th Women’s Championship.
Review: My initial thoughts were that this wasn’t going to be that good of a match. I was wrong. Both competitors put on an excellent match, and a really good story of struggle, desperation, and seething hatred. They both pulled out all of the stops to make the match meaningful. Charlotte hit a top rope natural Selection, and I was shocked when Rhea kicked at. Wrestling 101 states that a top rope finisher is a guaranteed victory. Charlotte did a Kip-up to absolutely no crowd response. Remember when people went nuts for that? Pepperidge Farms remembers. Charlotte’s attire was poison Ivy themed. For Someone who lives in excess like Charlotte, donning an attire based on Someone who is trying to save the Earth is a bit tone deaf. To start the match Charlotte flips off the crowd, as it cuts to a black screen. I’m guessing that wasn’t planned. After tons of “we want Becky” chants, and a picture perfect Figure 8, Charlotte wins her 13th Women’s Championship. I don’t love the ending. because I’m not sure why we need another reign for Charlotte, but here we are.
What Happens next?: Becky Lynch is scheduled to return on Raw, and it’s obvious that it’s going to be Charlotte vs Becky going forward. Rhea might start a feud on Raw, but the best option would be to have her feud with Raquel Gonzalez in NXT
Mens Money in the Bank
- John Morrison
- Drew McIntyre
- Big E
- Kevin Owens
- King Nakamura
- Seth Rollins
Appearances in M.I.T.B.
Big E: 0
Rollins: 1 + 1 Victory
Initial Thoughts: I’d like to think that this is Big E’s year. He wins the contract, and immediately cashes in on his longtime friend, Kofi, after Kofi wins his second World Championship. Big E turns heel, setting up a rivalry, with Xavier having to choose a side. Maybe a three way at Mania for the title. But, that’s not happening. Instead, We will see Seth Rollins tie up the number of MITB Victories at 2 alongside CM Punk. Everyone aside from Riddle and Big E have participated in a M.I.T.B.
Review: Peacock was crashing out at the beginning of this match. Reports flooded Twitter to the point that it was in the top trends. How do we live in 2021, with space travel being talked about in the news, and we can’t even get a streaming app to work properly? Vince took his 1 billion dollar bag and didn’t look back. The WWE network didn’t need to go away, and the only reason it did is because of Vince’s greed. After extended entrances, the streaming issues started to somewhat get back to normal. Unfortunately I missed all the entrances. Shame. It finally began working smoothly several minutes into the match. I love flippy stuff as much as the next person, but know what you’re doing before you do it. Morrison attempted some kind of top rope barrel roll flip, and absolutely missed his target. Jinder Mahal and his followers ran to the ring to take out McIntyre, setting up a feud. Does anyone really want to see a Mahal/McIntyre feud in 2021? If Heath Slater were involved, I’d be more inclined to want to see it. Obviously you have to have a ladder break spot at every MITB event, and we got it here when Rollins powerbombed Owens to ringside onto a perched ladder, breaking it in two. Big E wins the Money in the Bank contract after hitting the Big Ending from the top of the ladder on Rollins. Big E gets emotional over his victory, and how could you not stan?
What happens next?: It’s clear that many feuds could potentially sprout from here; Mahal/ McIntyre, Nakamura/Riddle, Ricochet/Morrison could continue. The real question is, who does Big E go after?
WWE Universal Championship – Singles match – Roman Reigns with Paul Heyman vs Edge
Initial Thoughts: Edge has won everything WWE has to offer, except the Universal Championship. What a moment it would be for Edge to achieve that at an event, named after a match in which Edge was the first-ever winner. Regardless of the winner, this will be a very good match.
Review: Roman Reigns vs Edge for the Universal Championship is probably the biggest dream match that can be done in WWE right now. It’s been said many times, but Roman Reigns’ theme is God-tier. Remember in E.T. when you’re supposed to fear this extraterrestrial being, only to find out there’s nothing to fear? That’s Roman Reigns, except for the nothing to fear part. Whenever commentary talks about a “Big Fight Feel!” this is what they are talking about. This match had everything; technical wrestling, a dominant heel, a vengeful babyface, a top star, a legend, run-ins, ref bumps, false finishes, dramatically long pinfalls, & broken barricades. After a grueling match, Seth Rollins runs in and attacks Edge, and causes a distraction, allowing Reigns to hit the spear to retain his Universal championship. Following the match, we got what was the only surprise of the night, with John Cena finally returning. Dude is worth millions, and still wears goofy shirts, but I did miss him and his dad hair. This was the match of the night, and possibly the WWE match of the year. If this was your first Edge match, you would have zero clue that he was away for ten years.
What happens next?: Roman Reigns will feud with John Cena for the Championship, and Edge will feud with Seth Rollins.
Grade: If you could square an A++, that’s what this match would get.
I’m not going to sit here and say this was a bad event. A lot of it was really good, while other parts were just okay. Sure, having the fans back was cool, but if you’ve been watching literally any other promotion, fans being back is nothing new. I love to see it, but the WWE had this really great opportunity to show that they are a viable contender in the continuing war of wrestling, and they fell flat. I saw a tweet that said something along the lines of “if you like big productions, you would like WWE. If you want wrestling, there are almost infinite promotions to choose from.” WWE is maintaining the status quo, unable, or unwilling to try something new in an effort to be defensive of their competition, and remain relevant. This was a good event, but in the same week as Slammiversary and night one of Fyter Fest, it was subpar at best. The wrestling world is doing really big things right now, and WWE is being left behind.