The Rope Break #8: WWE Money in the Bank 2017 Review!!

By Curtis Suthard – 6/19/2017

The Rope Break #8:

WWE Money in the Bank 2017 Review

 

I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to talk about this PPV, really. Instead, let’s talk about NJPW Dominion and, specifically, Omega vs. Okada 2! Yeah, I barely ever talk about NJPW on here, so let’s do that instead. So, as much as I really truly enjoyed this rematch, I must admit I still prefer the first. But, don’t get me wrong, this was one of the greatest matches that I have seen in a while. Now, that’s not honestly something I would be saying about a match that ended in a draw. But, an hour long, hard-hitting thrillfest by two of the absolute best in the industry today, that ends in a draw. A draw that will inevitably lead to a third, and possibly final match between these two men. That I can get behind and agree was a great finish….

Ugh, alright. We are all here to talk about Money in the Bank, right? So, I guess let’s stop avoiding it and just get this over with. If you couldn’t tell already, or have been living under a rock (or don’t pay any attention to the world of pro-wrestling! In which case, I’d question why you’re here), last night’s Money in the Bank was a bit of a disappointment. Specifically, one major disappointment that darkened the rest of the show for me. But, before I force myself to relive one of the worst wrestling finishes that I have seen for a “Historic”-level match (a match that I was firmly sold on and truly looking forward to), let’s put it off for a few sentences more and talk about the pre-show match.

The Hype Bros. VS. The Colons: Zack Ryder made his triumphant return last night, after missing action due to an injury for last handful of months. Ryder hooked back up with his top “Broski”, Mojo Rawley and got off on the right foot with a win over the Colons. The match was fine. Though, I’m not a fan of Mojo, he does look a bit better in the ring every so often, and he looked pretty good last night. Ryder got a good pop, once he got the tag, but looked like he may have tweeked that same injured knee of his during the match. But, The Colons were also working it over, so he could have just been selling it so well it fooled me some. I guess I could do some research and see if he legitimately reinjured the thing. But, I’m not gonna. Hopefully he didn’t.

The Colons looked alright as well, which doesn’t really matter since they still lost in the end. I was hoping for some sort of push for these guys after the “Superstar Shake-Up” moved them over to Smackdown. They got away from that ridiculous Shining Stars timeshare gimmick and looked like they might be set up as a competent Tag Team for the Smackdown division. Unfortunately, things aren’t looking so good for The Colons, as they seem to have been relegated, once again, to relative jobbers. Bring Carlito back WWE! Throw him in there with Primo and Epico to form a good little stable that good have a nice run. C’mon!

Carmella VS. Tamina VS. Becky Lynch VS. Natalya VS. Charlotte (Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match): Ok, a lot has already been said about this match already. So I’m not going to linger on it too much. But, this was one of the biggest let-downs in a while. That video package promoting this match, that was run a few times, was fantastic. Kudos to the production teams at WWE who put those together. 99% they are great. And this one was one of the best. Unfortunately, it only hyped up a match that everyone had to be aware of, had a horrible finish.

In my last Rope Break, where I previewed and predicted the outcomes of all of these matches, I said that I felt that the WWE “Women’s Revolution” had sort of stalled out a bit and that this match was, quite possibly, reigniting the whole thing. A “First Ever” Women’s Money in the Bank match was truly a great thing for the industry and Women’s Wrestling, in general. So why take this monumental accomplishment, something that could be talked about for decades to come, and give it one of the screwiest and disappointing endings of all time?

For those of you who need a recap or have attempted to blank it all from your mind, here’s how things went down. It was a fine match to start with. Everyone was getting their moment to come off looking strong. Everyone, sort of, got their moment to climb the ladder and come within inches of winning the match by pulling down the briefcase that hung above the ring. There were a couple of great spots there, like Charlotte doing her corkscrew monsault thingie off of the top turnbuckle to outside of the ring. Everything was going just fine. Until, James Ellsworth, Carmella’s valet/boy toy/comedy act decided to get involved. Now, I was fully prepared for Ellsworth to do something. Like, for example, tip the ladder as Becky Lynch was climbing it and dropping her off of it. That kind of thing, I would be fine with and was expecting. Even if those actions had directly led to Carmella winning the match. Cool! They’re heels and that’s what the bad guys do. Cheat to win and all that.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the visual of James Ellsworth, in the “First Ever”, “Historic” and “Epic” Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match, climbing the ladder, unclipping the briefcase and dropping it into the lap of Carmella, who was just sitting in the center of the ring below him. Then, only to make matters worse, as the referees argued amongst themselves about what to do and just what the hell was going on, Ellsworth takes the microphone and announces that Carmella is the winner and everything is just over. That’s it! Ellsworth is just calling the shots around these parts and everyone’s ok with it? What!? Who thought that this was a good idea?

I mean, I was all for Carmella winning. I was pulling for Becky, but anyone walking out of there with the briefcase, I was fine with. Had Carmella just climbed the ladder herself, after Ellsworth interfered and retrieved the briefcase, I would have been cool with it. But, to have it go down like that? Why? It tarnishes the whole thing and sets back this “Women’s Revolution” in WWE a mile, if you ask me.

So, where do we go from here? Well, both Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon have spoken and let it be known that they won’t be standing for this. Both did this in tweet form, because y’know, with a “Historic” match (not to mention a WWE Championship match and a Men’s Money in the Bank match) on the card, who would have thought it was a good idea to have either the GM or Comissionner there? Or even just someone in a position to govern anything? So, we’ll have to wait a night or so to find out. Here’s the worst case scenario in my mind: The “Let’s Do It All Over Again!” plan. Please don’t do that. I beg you WWE creative, don’t. Some others grumbling on the interwebs have maybe suggested that Ellsworth is proclaimed Ms. Money in the Bank and HE holds the briefcase, with an opportunity at the Women’s title, whenever HE chooses, down the line. Now, THAT, is truly the worst case scenario. But, I still have some faith in WWE that that cannot possibly happen. Please don’t let that happen! We will just have to wait and see.

The New Day VS. The Usos (Smackdown Tag Team Championship): Ah, now it’s time to wash the bad taste of a screwy ending out of our mouths with what could easily be a great match. And, it was pretty damn good. This one was fast-paced and well done by arguably two of the best Tag Teams in pro-wrestling today. Both teams came off looking really good. The Usos whole heel turn has really revitalized the stale gimmick that they had been doing for a long while. And they do the heel thing quite well. Working over Kofi’s knee with some cheap shots, plenty of interference and trash talking throughout the match. These guys are doing a great job.

The New Day also looked really good. Kofi, especially stood out a bit in this match for me, and was a bit of the work horse of the whole thing. When he threw that Dragon Sleeper on, I admit, I marked out a bit. That was cool. Big E looked just as good also. Though, one tiny thing about Big E: maybe stop doing that Spear/Suicide Dive thing through the ropes. I cringe every time he does it, because it looks like he lands hard on his shoulder and that’s just an injury waiting to happen that could easily put the big guy out of commission for a long while. But, he still looked great. Even sort of botching his attempt at catching Jey Uso out of mid-air and giving him the Big Ending, was fine. He recovered nicely. Though, had it gone off without a hitch, it probably would have been spectacular and the highlight of the match? Maybe next time?

Because, of course, there will be a next time. The Usos decided to back it up and head home, as they simply grabbed their titles and took the count out for a loss. Which, of course, means, that they lost the match itself, but not the Tag Team Championships. Which I am fine with. They’re heels, it makes sense. It also means that this feud will probably be going on for a while. And, if they continue to have matches like this one, I am looking forward to it. My only issue here, was the placement of this match on the card, coming hot off the heels of the horrible, screwy ending of the previous match. Also, the match did seem a bit short. But, other than that is was a fantastic match.

Lana VS. Naomi (Smackdown Women’s Championship): Going from a match that I felt was a bit short to a match that was too long. Lana looked decent in her first outing as a full-time wrestler and did a good job. Not great, but good. Lana picked a body part, Naomi’s leg, and did a good job working it over for most of the match. She did hesitate a bit too much from time to time. She stalled a lot and even just seemed to be standing there, doing nothing one time too many. But, she looked better then Eva Marie! Now, I know that that is a low bar to hurdle, but I’m trying to be a bit positive.

Naomi did a fine job as well. Just sort of going through the motions a bit. It’s not that I don’t like Naomi, I do. It’s just that she isn’t the best in the ring, though she is admittedly better than a majority of the Smackdown Women’s roster. She just needs some improvement. But, I have seen Naomi have some really good matches. So, maybe this time around, it wasn’t all her fault. Lana did come off very green.

So, the ending. Just as things were looking to be headed in Lana’s favor, Carmella and Ellsworth come trotting down to the ring, Money in the Bank briefcase in hand. Carmella heads to the announcer/time-keeper little booth and acts as if she’s about to cash in. Which would have been the smart thing to do, since it looks like she has a very good chance of having the whole thing taken from her this Tuesday on Smackdown when the Commissioner and GM make a decision. But, alas, she decides to just sit back and watch the match end. Which it should have already ended, as Lana had hit her finisher on Naomi before Carmella popped up, but just stood there, staring at Carmella instead of going for the pin. So, when Lana finally snapped to and went for the win Naomi had recovered enough to kick out, zonk Lana and get the win to retain her Championship. And that was it!

It was at this point in the night that we got a break from all of the in-ring insanity and got a real treat, with a brand news Fashion Files segment in the style of Miami Vice. Fandango and Breeze got a mysterious VHS tape from the men who have been terrorizing them lately. On the tape were two shadowy figures who challenged Breezango to a match, later that night. Bum Bum Bum! Two things: 1) Fandango’s ancient, oversized cellphone with the taped on sign that read “Property of Paul E.”! It’s stuff like this that has made me love these guys. All the goofy little, tongue in cheek references they make in their segments are awesome. Especially, the stuff on the bulletin board. 2) My youngest son, who is a very casual wrestling fan, was clearly not fooled by the shadows, as he immediately turned around and informed me that it was “Those two dumb guys who try to be scary. With the face paint” who were the mystery men. Clearly, he could only be referring to The Ascension. So, mystery solved.

Next up, we got a little treat as Maria Kanellis and her hubby, Mike Kanellis (Bennett) made their return/debut in WWE. I will say this right up front: I’m not a big fan of Mike Bennett. I liked him as a member of The Kingdom over in ROH, teaming up with Matt Taven. I’ve just never really been sold on the guy. But, I am always down with mixing things up a bit, so I do look forward to what they will be doing in the future. I’m not sure about this whole “Madly in Love” gimmick. But, I guess we will just have to wait to see where it goes?

Randy Orton VS. Jinder Mahal (WWE Championship): So, finally I predicted the outcome of a match right! What I am trying to say, is that I did horrible on my predictions for this show. But, this match, for me at least seemed to be a lock. A couple of things lead me there. Firstly, the show was in Randy Orton’s hometown of St. Louis. And the current trend in WWE, is that you lose in a title match in your hometown. Second, and another current trend in WWE, you lose in a title match when you have acknowledged family members sitting ringside. Yes, “Cowboy” Bob Orton was there to cheer on his son, Randy (along with a few other Legends) on Father’s Day. So, you just know things are not looking good for Randy. The only real saving grace here is that we didn’t get Super-Weird Father and Son, Titus O’Neil-Style Kiss on the Lips action. And, finally, as I said before, I think we all know that it is very clear John Cena’s making his return soon and it looks like the rumors could be true, we may see Cena and Jinder Mahal head into one the absolute worst Gimmick matches of all time.

Anyway, let’s talk about the match for a moment. It was ok. That’s really all I’ve got to say about, honestly. Both guys did a really decent job, but it just wasn’t anything special. Their first match, I felt, was actually pretty good. It could have been because of the way the match started or the intensity that Orton especially brought to it or just the low expectations that I had about Jinder going into it. I thought that their first encounter was pretty damn solid, though. This one was just sort of a rehash of almost everything they did in the first match, just with a bit less intensity. Jinder did an adequate job for his part, but I’m still not entirely sold on him being THE top heel on Smackdown. He lacks some good character stuff in the ring that moves the story along throughout the match. The Singh brothers have more presence and character out there than Jinder, does most of the time.

So, yes, it was an ok match. Eventually, the Singh brothers would interfere and be sent to the back by the ref. Only to have them go after Randy’s pop, Bob Orton, in a move we could all have telegraphed from a week ago. Which of course led to Randy getting distracted and wasting time beating on the Singh’s at ringside. Which gave Jinder Mahal enough time to recover and slap Orton in that sort of weak-looking finisher of his. That’s it, case closed. We may get a rematch or something on Smackdown. Though probably not, as it seems that Jinder is getting protected a bit by not really being made to defend his title or even being very active at all on Smackdown, so far. Hopefully, Cena doesn’t just come in and steamroll the guy, because that would just suck. But, Jinder’s got to step it up a bit. Even his mic work needs to improve in leaps and bounds. He’s the top heel! C’mon, man! Step it up!

Breezango VS. The Ascension: Yay, The Ascension are back or whatever. I really am not too sold on these guys. I think Viktor is actually hampered a bit by Konnor, who is definitely the weaker link. Not to mention that the gimmick just kind of sucks. Breezango won though! So cool! That’s really it. Smackdown (and RAW as well) need to do something to build up their Tag Team Division, as it only seems that the top two teams really shine. Breezango though have been breaking out a bit, getting to show off their humorous side and the fans seem to dig it. Now, they just need to show off more of that in-ring ability that both of these guys DO possess.

Sami Zayn VS. Kevin Owens VS. A.J. Styles VS. Dolph Ziggler VS. Shinsuke Nakamura VS. Baron Corbin (Money in the Bank Ladder Match): This really was THE thing that saved the whole show for me and probably most others. It was a really good, fun match with plenty of good to great moments. Each guy got their moment to shine. Though, Kevin Owens seemed to be the one who drew the short straw in this match and wound up just taking most of the punishment. But, he still did a good job and took a couple of truly nasty shots with a Half-Nelson Suplex on the ring apron, getting thrown onto the side of an open ladder and getting a Death Valley Driver/AA-type thing from A.J. onto a ladder set up between the corner of the ring and the announce table.

The match started off excellent as well, as Baron Corbin interrupted Shinsuke’s entrance and gave him a solid beatdown, which sent him to the back for the beginning of the match. There was some doubt, borderline dread on my part that Nakamura was going to miss the whole match due to Corbin’s attack. But, luckily, Shinsuke made it back out to the ring at just the right moment, as Corbin was inches away from the briefcase and took it to everyone in the match. Which led to the real highlight of the whole shebang, as A.J. Styles and Shinsuke stared each other down, after moving the ladder from the center of the ring, in order for the two of them to go at it one-on-one. It was an incredibly cool moment and is hopefully the set-up for at least one, if not a series, of high-profile matches to come.

Let’s also take a moment to acknowledge both Sami Zayn and Dolph Ziggler who both looked great as well in this one. Dolph was on fire, more than once, and there might have even been a small window there where I could almost see him winning. Sami, who was my pick to win, came off looking very strong. Maybe the strongest he has been in a match, yet. There was a moment there where Sami was firing on all cylinders and taking out everyone. It was great.

But, alas, it was Baron Corbin, who in the end, climbed that ladder and pulled down the briefcase to win the match. And, I am all for it. I really thought that this would be a likely outcome for the match and possibly the best outcome. Corbin, maybe with the exception of Zayn, needs a little boost and direction for his character to go in. And, having in his possession the opportunity to cash in for a shot at the WWE Championship any time, could definitely lead to some fun and exciting moments to come. We’ll just have to wait and see if his cash in is handled correctly and done in a moment that will really help to propel him forward.

So, did I like the show? Not really. That first match and it’s finish was really such a downer that it was hard to get back into the swing of things. The Men’s Money in the Bank match did help, as it was really very good. The New Day VS. Usos match was also really good, but was poorly placed in the line-up. Mike and Maria Kanellis’ debut was odd and a little out of place. The WWE Championship match was a watered down repeat of the first match that the same two guys had a month ago. Breezango’s taped segment was great, but the follow up match to it really wasn’t. And, the Women’s Championship match was just a bit too long and kind of sloppy. So, because I like rating things and I also like using the graphics that Jack worked so hard on, I am giving WWE Money in the Bank 2017, a 2 out of 5 on the Official Nerd Nation Radio Pocket Protector Scale!

So, with all that said I am off to get prepared for Monday Night RAW, which could be a fun one. The Big Dog, Roman Reigns is set to make his Summerslam announcement. Braun Strowman could be back, as well. Rumors are swirling that the Undertaker could be making an appearance too, but I hope not. Just let that Wrestlemania match be it, please! Plus, I’m pretty sure that it is all just hype for the official announcement for the WWE 2K18 game coming out later this year. Then, onto Smackdown, where Daniel Bryan returns and hopefully something good can come from this whole Women’s Money in the Bank debacle. Just don’t make it worse! That is all that they have to do. DO NOT MAKE IT WORSE!

I will try to be back here, say, later this week in an attempt to finally go weekly with The Rope Break. Until then, you can send me any question or comments or simply, heap praise upon me at curt@nerdnationradio.com

Or, you can, of course, call me names and insult my mother at jack@nerdnationradio.com! I dare ya’