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WWE Money in the Bank 2021
by Samoa Rowe
July 18, 2021
Live from the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, in front of a real arena crowd. I'm reviewing this against my better judgment, because I'm really fed up with WWE ladder matches, but I'm curious to see if any adjustments are made to the product now that they can no longer control the climate of the Thunderdome. Our hosts are a collection of puppets repeating whatever Vince McMahon yells into their headsets.
Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
Evil Alexa Bliss vs. Liv Morgan vs. Nikki A.S.H. vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Zelina Vega vs. Naomi vs. Asuka
Alexa perches on the top rope and stoically watches everyone enter. She skips around the ring and tries to get the case using The Force, but gets interrupted, and they head right into the format of 2-3 people taking turns in the ring while the others simply vanish from existence. Seriously, no one is brawling at ringside, it's like they're selling injuries less than 2 minutes in. A ladder quickly comes into play, and sadly, there's nothing new or interesting they can seem to do with it, although the live fans are pretty into it. Alexa gets a good character moment when she finds Liv pinned by a ladder in the corner, and creeps up the ladder like a horror villain. The moment quickly passes. In a less endearing moment, Alexa hypnotizes Zelina to stop her from getting the briefcase. Soon, Naomi pops the fans by powerbombing Zelina onto Morgan through a ladder. Naomi hits a double enziguri and double stunners. Nikki wakes up and eats Naomi's split leg drop onto a ladder. Natalya climbs with Zelina on her back, but Morgan awkwardly breaks it up. As Jim Ross would grumble about, everyone gathers like a group of morons for Cross to wipe out with a (glancing) crossbody off of a ladder. Alexa puts Nikki down with Sister Abigail. Everyone gangs up and buries Alexa under a pile of ladders. They stupidly stand around to survey the scene while Morgan is the only one trying to climb, but Tamina stops her. Everyone but Alexa climb up 3 ladders, and Nikki reaches over them all to grab the case at 15:45. The fans appreciate this result. Overwhelmingly ho-hum outing, with numerous awkward moments and creative brain farts, **.
Winner: Nikki A.S.H.
Earlier today, the Usos beat the Mysterios to become Tag Team Champions. That's certainly a unique way to punish Jimmy for his second or third DUI. They're seen celebrating with Roman Reigns in his suite, and gladly offer their belts up to the Head of the Table. Roman will let him keep their gold, but takes credit for doing all the hard work for them. The Usos bend over backwards for Roman, who rewards them with a group hug.
Raw Tag Team Championship:
AJ Styles and Omos © vs. Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar)
AJ gets a superstar reaction from the fans. Omos looks like he's dressed for a night on the town. AJ immediately tags out, hoping Omos can make short work of Erik. The Vikings make a quick tag, but Omos brushes off their double team attempt. Ivar avoids getting isolated and the Vikings eat AJ alive in their corner. The fans chant for AJ as he makes a one man comeback, and then Omos throws him into a rana onto Erik at ringside. Erik breaks a chinlock with a back drop. Ivar gets something resembling a hot tag and splats AJ. Omos looks winded just watching this, but tags in to scoop slam Ivar. The Viking Raiders manage another kinda hot tag and kill AJ with a springboard lariat/suplex combo for 2. Omos tags in and finds Ivar on the top rope for a convenient press slam. The cocky pin gets 2. Omos whips AJ into Ivar's seated senton, and Erik tries to make something happen with running forearms. The Vikings clear out Omos for a dive. AJ ambushes Ivar, but eats the Viking Experience, but Omos throws Erik to break the cover. The match breaks down into a kicking contest, until Omos finishes Erik with a double armed chokeslam at 12:58. Not bad, everything was laid out to protect Omos and still showcase his freakish strength, but was pitifully long at 13 minutes, **¼.
Winners and still Raw Tag Team Champions: Omos and AJ Styles
Todd Patrick interviews Drew McIntyre backstage, and he gets a surprising MIXED reaction from the live fans. He panders to the fans and gets a warmer reception from his more vocal supporters. Drew reminisces about all his success in the Thunderdome, but he's driven to become WWE Champion again in front of fans, and winning MITB is the best way to make it happen.
Bobby Lashley © (with MVP) vs. Kofi Kingston (with Xavier Woods)
The last time I watched a full Smackdown, Kofi lost the WWE title in 7 seconds, and it's taken all the way until now for him to care enough to chase the title again. He musters a quick start, but Lashley drops him with a clothesline. Kofi springboards into Lashley's waiting arms and he hits a high elevation spinebuster. Lashley drops Kofi hard to the floor and then drives him into the ring post. The fans are kind enough to not give up on poor Kofi, but Lashley hits a mean flapjack. Kofi squirms out of the Hurt Lock, so Lashley hits a wild fallaway slam. Pair of Dominators by Lashley, and the fans are starting to sense that this is a squash with no comeback on the horizon. Lashley hits a third Dominator and finishes with the Hurt Lock at 7:34. Complete and utter destruction by Lashley, and another good indicator of Kofi is perceived by management, *.
Winner and still WWE Champion: Bobby Lashley
Raw Women's Championship:
Rhea Ripley © vs. Charlotte Flair
The fans give Charlotte a lot of crap at the bell and earn a middle finger salute. There's a “We want Becky” chant as Rhea begins focusing on Charlotte's knee and dropkicks her off the apron. Rhea misses a somersault senton off of the apron and Charlotte dropkicks her into the barricade. Back to the ring, Charlotte hits an exploder suplex into the buckles. The fans get into Charlotte's head again, this time chanting for Rhea, resulting in Charlotte taking a backdrop to the floor. They resume the “We want Becky” chants, and I'm sure Vince wishes they were still in the Thunderdome at this moment. Ripley's Northern Lights suplex gets 2. Wild German suplex by Ripley, but she then misses a missile dropkick and gets stuck in a Boston crab. Rhea escapes out and reverses a Figure Four, but Charlotte hits a kick for 2. Charlotte avoids an electric chair slam, but Rhea muscles into an incredible dead lift suplex for 2. Charlotte absorbs many open hand chops before serving a vicious hard Irish whip. Top rope moonsault to ringside by Charlotte forces the fans to pop. Ripley answers with a mean looking cloverleaf variation, Charlotte escapes and reverses into a slick DDT for a hot nearfall. They stiff each other in a slugfest and Charlotte hits a back elbow for 2, but gets caught with her feet on the ropes. Charlotte almost loses her temper on the ref, and Ripley finds an opening for a superplex attempt. Charlotte blocks and nails a top rope Natural Selection, but RHEA KICKS OUT! Rhea blocks a FIgure Four by thrusting Charlotte's head into the buckles. Charlotte smashes Rhea's head into the post and then traps her foot against the ring steps for a series of mean kicks. Charlotte locks on the Figure 8 and wins at 16:48! You know what, I am fed up with all the Charlotte hate on the internet, every time I catch her in a PPV match she tears the house down, and this was no exception. Rhea's title reign wasn't lighting the world on fire, so this title change almost feels like mercy. They overcame months' of wishy-washy booking and delivered a great match anyway. Also, the fans who were booing her and demanding Becky are now on their feet celebrating her victory, so there, ****.
Winner and new Raw Women's Champion: Charlotte Flair
They air a cute Applebees commercial featuring various superstars making a ruckus at the restaurant. The kicker is Baron Corbin cast as the greeter and THEY HAVE STOLEN THAT JOKE FROM ME! COME ON NOW!
Matt Riddle yucks it up with Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs, and they end up playing Randy Orton's theme song, making a mockery of it. Another running joke has been stolen from me, I'm depressed.
Men's Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
Kevin Owens vs. Matt Riddle vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (with Rick Boogs) vs. Ricochet vs. John Morrison (with The Miz) vs. Big E vs. Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre
Morrison politely dismisses Miz so he can go it alone. Drew's little sword demonstration feels like the sort of goofy midcard shtick that gets dropped before a main event push, not something you saddle an alleged top star with 18 months into his run. Everyone brawls at the bell, but Rollins is more concerned about Morrison's stupid haircut, making him an easy target for flying Riddle and Ricochet. Drew and Big E have a showdown, despite disruptions from the fliers. Big E spears Drew through the ropes! Nakamura slams Owens onto a ladder, and the hot start drifts away and it's time for a few guys to hit spots while everyone else naps. Morrison works with Rollins to punish Riddle and Ricochet with nasty stunt bumps. They're kind enough to hold still with a ladder so Owens can moonsault onto them. They repay him with a tandem suplex onto the side of a ladder. Drew wakes up for a hot streak, and the fans are pretty indifferent towards him. Morrison hits a glancing corkscrew elbow drop onto Drew on a ladder. The ring fills again, and Riddle pays tribute to Orton with an RKO out of nowhere. Riddle and Nakamura hit each other with stereo kicks, Drew takes them down, and Drew Alabama Slams Ricochet onto a ladder. Claymore on Rollins, and now the fans are reacting to Drew. Jinder Mahal and henchmen arrive in time to cost Drew the victory and drag him out. Ricochet tight rope walks to stop Riddle from winning, and then hits a spectacular springboard 450 onto a bunch of guys at ringside. Riddle serves up RKO's on Ricochet and Big E, Rollins floats in for a curb stomp. Nakamura hits Rollins with a GTS. Morrison stops Nakamura with the drip stick, but Owens hits him with a Stunner. Ricochet eats a pop-up powerbomb and Owens looks poised to win, but Rollins pulls him into a powerbomb through a bridged ladder! Big E drops Rollins with a Big Ending off a ladder and retrieves the case at 19:06! I'm A-okay with that outcome. Despite my catty attitude, this was a really strong MITB match, with some decent narratives playing out, and a wild third act, ****.
Winner: Big E
Backstage interview with Seth Rollins, who is really upset about losing MITB and somehow lays all the blame on Edge. He thinks he should get the winner of Reigns/Edge, because in WWE you get things simply by asking.
WWE Universal Championship:
Roman Reigns © (with Paul Heyman) vs. Edge
The fans are pretty hyper at the bell and give them a dueling chant. They lock up and trade disrespectful breaks, but Roman totally started it. Roman shoulder blocks Edge to ringside and soaks up the crowds' hatred. Edge turns Roman's shoulder and arm into targets and forces the champ to take a time out. Roman storms back with strong punches, Edge kicks him out, Roman hits a Samoan drop on the floor. Maybe I watch too many promotions where selling isn't valued, but it feels like Edge is overselling the Roman beatdown, which starts around the 8 minute mark. Roman applies a chinlock and threatens to keep it on all night long. Edge eventually escapes, but then stumbles into a body shot. Drive-by dropkick gets 2 for Roman. Edge blocks a Superman Punch and nearly wins via backslide. Edge continues to rally, hitting his patented drop for 2. Flapjack by Edge, and then the Edge-o-cution for only 2. Edge stomps Roman in a tree of woe and then applies a loose crossface. Roman survives in the ropes and takes a breather. Roman reverses the spear into a guillotine choke, Edge thrusts them both through the ropes to break it. Edge dodges a spear, which sends Roman crashing through the barricade. Edge stops the count and hits a spear through another wall, the late cover gets 2. There's a loud “Edge” chant while he considers his next move. A Superman Punch takes down both Edge and referee Charles Robinson. Roman breaks a metal rod off of a chair and tries to recreate Edge's crossface from Wrestlemania, but gets blocked. Instead, Edge sticks the rod in Roman's mouth for a crossface. The Usos try to interfere, but get jumped by the Mysterios. There's still no ref, so Seth Rollins is allowed to break Edge's crossface with a kick to the head. Roman signals the end, but Edge surprises with a spear, a second official rushes in for a late 2 count. Fans chant “This is awesome!” Edge has to boot Seth off the apron, and Roman hits an easy spear to win at 33:11. Really flat ending, if they want to do Seth vs. Edge at Summerslam, they'd already done enough with Seth's previous interference. Kind of a hard match to rate because I personally didn't find it to be all that compelling, but the crowd was going nuts from bell to bell. Evens out to something like ***¼.
Winner and still WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns
Edge and Seth brawl away, leaving Roman to gloat in the ring. He's interrupted by none other than JOHN CENA and the roof blows off the arena. There's no mixed reaction here, these fans LOVE him. Cena steps up to Roman and lets him know that he can't see him, and that's a wrap.
Final Thoughts: The first hour and a half was pretty dire, but things turned around with the final three matches, and the Cena return felt like a milestone event. Like with recent AEW shows, the fans really helped make this show feel special, as they were loud throughout and mostly played along. Anyways, when this was over, I felt good about having watched, and may be willing to cover some more WWE pay-per-views going forward again.
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