WWE Money in the Bank (2017)
(Promotion: WWE – Brand: SmackDown Live – St. Louis, Missouri – June 18, 2017 – Attendance: 15,392)
Hosts: Renee Young, Sam Roberts, Booker T
Naomi seems far more comfortable as a guest on the panel this month. She is relaxed and showing personality. Later, Roberts made her character look stupid by pointing out that she didn’t have to request a title defense against Lana, who has never had a singles match in the company. Why would he do that? It’s the writers’ fault, not hers.
It seems as if Booker is more concerned about getting himself over rather than offer viewers insight or context about the show.
Hype Bros. (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley) defeated Primo & Epico Colon.
Ryder pinned Primo Colon with the “Hype Ryder.” Rawley is fatiguing to watch in his present form.
Money in the Bank
Carmella (w/ James Ellsworth) defeated Becky Lynch, Tamina, Charlotte Flair & Natalya.
Tamina is the better version of Nia Jax.
The format of the show is weird. The hype package runs AFTER all five women are in the ring.
While the audience is vocal and supportive of the match, the action feels very…careful. The ladders aren’t necessarily coming into play. Lynch has a huge fanbase.
Ellsworth retrieves the case and drops it down to Carmella. He begins dancing. The ringside referees discuss the legality of him retrieving the case. Ellsworth grabs the microphone and announces Carmella as the winner. Her music hits. This was a disappointing finish to the match. It was logical but flat.
The case should be a good prop for Carmella going forward.
Lana is interviewed.
She cuts a good promo. She states that she will shock the world tonight.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E) (w/ Xavier Woods) defeated The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) (c) by countout.
New Day cut a promo about The Usos. Woods makes a tacky joke about the Usos not “dropping the soap.” Oy.
The repackaged, serious Usos feel like a sanitized version of Mark and Jay Briscoe from Ring of Honor. They are dressed like afternoon shift employees at a Planet Fitness. Get some gear, dudes.
Audience: “New Day…Rocks!”
Kingston locks Jey in a wicked “Dragon Sleeper.” Jimmy breaks it up. Kingston then hits the “S.O.S.” for two.
E catches Jey mid-air and gives him the “Big Ending” for a botched two-count. Jimmy makes the save a half-second too late but the match continues.
Kingston performs a “Trust Fall” from the top rope to the floor. What a breathtaking spot.
The Usos opt to get counted out of the ring to retain their championships. Once again, this is logical but unsatisfying. Talk about cutting the legs from an otherwise good match. Who is coming up with the finishes tonight?
Smackdown Women’s Championship
Naomi (c) retained the title by submission over Lana.
Lana is a bit scrappier than I expected her to be. The two are actually mixing it up on the mat.
Naomi hits the “Rear View” for a two.
Lana retaliates with a sit-out spinebuster.
Carmella’s music hits. She skips to the ring carrying the briefcase. Ellsworth is accompanying her. She feigns cashing in her newly won title opportunity.
Lana submits when Naomi locks her in the FTG (Feel The Glow).
Fashion Police vignette airs.
These Fashion Police bits are every bit as campy and funny as the old Mr. Fuji/Magnificient Muraco segments on Tuesday Night Titans (TNT) back in the day.
Mike & Maria greet the audience.
Former Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling standout Mike Bennett and his wife Maria Kanellis come out to the surprise of the audience. Bennet has adopted his wife’s surname. The gimmick is that the two are an obnoxious couple in love. The duo appears to be a package on equal footing. Maria announces that the “first lady” is back in the WWE and they are going to educate everyone about the “power of love.” It’s interesting that he is skipping NXT. Maria’s delivery felt particularly stiff and scripted.
The St. Louis Legends introduced.
Greg Gagne, Larry “The Axe” Hennig, Baron Von Raschke, Sgt. Slaughter, “Cowboy” Bob Orton and Ric Flair are seated in the front row and introduced to the live crowd. Orton got an incredible ovation. The intros provide the evening with a legitimate “feel good” moment. JBL mentions that Harley Race was supposed to be there also, however he recently had an accident preventing his attendance. He wishes him a speedy recovery.
Jinder Mahal (c) (w/ Singh Bros.) defeated Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship.
Mahal and Orton each elicit huge reactions from the live audience. The aura is thick and vital. The audience is hype AF.
Orton goes for the RKO in the first minute, yet Mahal deflects it. Orton follows up with a Thesz Press, gut buster over the top rope and Garvin Stomp.
Orton is dumped over the top rope and tweaks his left knee. The story of the match becomes the knee.
JBL points out that Mahal is a “changed man” since winning the strap.
Orton dumps the champion in the laps of the legends in the front row.
Mahal drops Orton on the announce table.
Orton: fallaway slam.
Mahal drops Orton knee-first across the barricade. He then locks him in a figure four leglock that Orton reverses.
Orton is being picked apart.
Orton packages Mahal for a two-count. He levels Mahal with a Superplex, his father’s finishing maneuver.
The two exchange uppercuts.
Orton gets the better of his opponent with a powerslam and hanging DDT. He hits the RKO but one of the Singhs place Mahal’s foot on the bottom rope. He begs the ref not to DQ the champ for this. The referee chooses to eject the brothers from the match. However, as they return to the back they stop to taunt the legends. They snatch Orton’s father. Orton attacks them. He RKO’s Sunil on the floor and Samir on the announce table.
Orton re-enters the ring only to walk into Mahal’s finisher, The Khallas, and is pinned.
I can’t lie, I’m a total bandwagon jumper on the Mahal train but he is so great in this role. He draws incredible heat and has wrapped himself totally in the foreign heel persona. The Singhs dog and pony show only add to the package. This is my favorite act in mainstream wrestling.
The Fashion Police (Fandango & Tyler Breeze) defeated The Ascension (Viktor & Konnor).
Byron Saxon points out the silliness of the buildup to this match. That’s the second time tonight.
This match exposes the depth issues of the roster.
There is actually some nice camera work tonight. (Specifically when Konnor has Breeze trapped in a headlock. Great closeup.)
Fandango rolled up Viktor for a pinfall.
Well, if there were any lingering doubts, the Ascension are now utterly irrelevant.
Money in the Bank
Baron Corbin defeated AJ Styles, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens & Shinsuke Nakamura.
JBL picks Ziggler to win.
Corbin jumps Nakamura on the stage and brutalizes him with a ladder and camera. The referees attend to Nakamura while Corbin smirks his way to the ring.
All five men are brawling outside the ring.
Nakamura is assisted to the back by the medical staff.
Any time Zayn and Owens square off is a good thing.
Corbin gives Ziggler the “Deep Six” on the floor.
Styles and Owens exchange shots mid-ring. Owens blocks and attempted “Styles Clash.”
Zayn slams Owens off the top onto a ladder.
Saxon: “How quickly hope fades.”
Zayn and Ziggler are trading punches.
Ziggler gives Corbin the “Zig Zag” off the ladder.
Ziggler and Zayn are struggling atop the ladder. Zayn sunset flip powerbombs him from the top of the ladder.
Audience: “Ho-ly Shit!”
Owens and Zayn are battling on the apron, where Zayn wrecks the United States Champion with a full nelson suplex.
Styles hits Zayn with a “Phenomenal Forearm” as he climbs the ladder.
Corbin chokeslams Styles.
Owens kicks Zayn in the crotch.
Styles buries Owens with a “Death Valley Driver” (DVD) off the apron onto a ladder.
Styles is attempting to retrieve the briefcase when Ziggler pulls the ladder from beneath him. He briefly hangs from the chain before slamming into the mat below. The impact is significant.
Corbin goes to climb the ladder when Nakamura’s music hits. He hits the ring and begins destroying Corbin with kicks.
Nakamura rocks Ziggler with two “Kinshasas.” Zayn and Owens each get one as well.
Styles and Nakamura square off at the base of the ladder, mid-ring. This is a terrific visual and moment. It’s both a nod back to their rivalry in New Japan Pro Wrestling, but also feels like a nod to things to come. It’s cool.
They trade blows. Nakamura gets the better hand with an exploder.
Styles counters a “Kinshasa” with a “Phenomenal Forearm.”
Audience: “This is awe-some!”
The two fight their way to the top of the ladder.
Crowd: “AJ Styles/Na-ka-mu-ra!”
Corbin pushes over the ladder. He sets up another, climbs to the top and retrieves the briefcase.
This was a helluva match. It was exciting. The booking was thoughtful and provided some great moments.