When they first announced this PPV as a brand exclusive for Smackdown, I was worried about the overall quality. Well now that it’s over, I must say the Smackdown team did a good job at pulling it off.
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
The video package for this match was pretty damn cool. I liked how each woman was able to say something that pertained to her character.
Right off the bat, this match started off quite strong, and it needed to. It was easy to get invested as these women wasted no time bringing out the ladders. Tamina especially looked like beast, and that was refreshing considering how she’s never too noticeable in singles action.
There were a few shaky moments when several of these competitors could’ve won, but it didn’t hinder the overall match. In fact, those spots were glossed over well. When it came to actual ladder bumps, these five deserve a ton of credit. We all know weapons are rarely used in WWE’s women’s matches, so to see all of them as comfortable as they were was amazing.
In terms of the stand out wrestler, it was definitely Charlotte. From start to finish, Flair was incredibly fluid, and seemed to be in the right places for every spot. Her dive onto Tamina and Natalya may not have included a ladder, but it was the highlight of this match.
The finish was certainly odd, but I loved it. Ellsworth is there to be Carmella’s puppet, and what better way for him to showcase that than him grabbing the briefcase? It perfectly suited the duo.
New Day vs The Usos
With the New Day having such a long break, their promos have become funny once again. The one that opened this match had some great insults towards the Usos.
The early part of the match was a typical tag match, but the wrestlers involved made it easy to watch. While they worked the normal formula, they also found moments to showcase their characters. The Usos especially did this well. A great of example would be the champs telling Big E that he was in the wrong part of town while he was being double teamed in the corner.
I found the last half of the match to be incredible. The perfect use of nearfalls and finishers was enough to keep this unpredictable. I genuinely had no guess on who was going to win. Many fans may be disappointed with the count out finish, but it was obviously a device to keep this feud going. The two teams have chemistry, so why not keep it going?
Naomi vs Lana
Going into MITB, this match had the lowest expectations. Lana’s only wrestled one TV/PPV match (Wrestlemania 32), so fans had the right to have reservations.
Quite honestly, I thought the first bit of this contest was pretty smooth. However, that’s only because it was Naomi executing offense.
When it came to Lana, it was no surprise that her move set was kept simple. While she wasn’t terrible, I like to think that the bar is set much higher for women’s wrestling these days. It’s quite lame that her only impact move was a vertical suplex.
The crowd was obviously dead for this, so sending Carmella out to tease a cash in was the only way of waking them up. That was the only thing worth seeing here. I hope the WWE now remembers why they moved away from women with little wrestling experience.
Maria & Mike Kanellis Debut
Well Mike Bennett taking Maria’s last name is obviously the joke for this gimmick, but will it work? The two can be a legitimate mid card act, and I hope they’re not relegated to being low card comedy.
Randy Orton vs Jinder Mahal
This is match is a good example of where the result is more intriguing than the actual wrestling.
I can’t say this was a terrible match, but it’s unfortunate we had to wait until the last few minutes for it to feel significant. With that being said, it was pretty funny to see Jinder lock in the figure four and shout “WOOO!”.
I feel this match only went as long as it did because of the title, and it certainly could’ve been cut down. While I wasn’t too big on this match, the live crowd certainly was, which is good. They also had every right to be excited towards the finish, because Orton did a great job at beating down the Singh Brothers. That RKO through the table set the bar high for guys in the main event.
When it finally came to an end, we were given the result we had most expected. It’ll now be interesting to see who Jinder feuds with next.
Fashion Poilce vs The Ascension
Seeing the Ascension as the attackers was quite lackluster. Regardless, it was a great way of getting the Fashion Police over on this PPV.
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Having Corbin take out Nakamura was a great way to start the action. It automatically gave Baron a ton of heat with the crowd, which is something that works for his character. Also, it doesn’t expose Nakamura as much to the WWE wrestling environment.
The first bit of this match felt a bit messy. It didn’t feel like any particular superstar was a focus at any point. In that sense, I felt like I was watching a few well known wrestlers working spots. This didn’t really change until Sami and KO worked the ladder spot in the ring.
The pace truly picked up once each man teased grabbing the briefcase. That gave the fans a chance to remember why each wrestler played a significant role in this feud. I believe this worked as great set up for the highlight of the match , which was Zayn’s powerbomb to Ziggler. In fact, I’d go as far to say that Sami was the stand out.
One thing a loved about this match (and the women’s ladder match) was that we never saw any slow teases of wrestlers grabbing the briefcase. Nobody ever wasted time climbing the ladder, and that made everything much more believable. Out of all those teases, I’d say AJ definitely had the best, as it lead to him taking the brutal bump.
Based on the reaction from the live crowd, it was obvious that the WWE made a great decision to keep Nakamura out until the finish. This lead to the best confrontation of the night, which was between AJ and Shinsuke. It was truly a magical moment, because it felt like the match revolved around them. Also, I’m glad the commentators recognized their history.
If anybody was going to ruin such a great moment for the fans, who better than Corbin? Similar to his ambush on Nakamura, him tipping the ladder gave him nuclear heat with the live audience, and fans watching on television. I know for a fact that I was worked into hating Corbin in that moment.
For my first PPV back, I very much enjoyed most of the show. Sure, there were a few matches that simply sucked, but the three strong ones made up for those. If done right, this week’s episode of Smackdown can be a great start up for some new feuds.
The low point of the show was Lana vs Naomi, while the two high points were the two ladders matches. Overall, I’d give this show a 7/10.