The focus for Money in the Bank is usually the two eponymous Ladder matches, which once again this year spotlighted both the men’s and women’s divisions. But MITB 2018 also promised other big matches, including the probable conclusion of the AJ Styles-Shinsuke Nakamura feud and Ronda Rousey’s first crack at the RAW Women’s Championship.(UK)
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass
At the time, this felt like a strong showing for Big Cass, and a superior effort to their previous bout at Backlash. Then, Cass was fired two days later, and the match now feels like it never happened. At least Daniel Bryan (who is sticking around, assuming he signs that new WWE contract of course) comes out on top.
Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn
This is one of those matches where you just wanted them to get it out of the way, not because of the talents involved but because of the awful segments on television that had preceded this contest. Zayn has been sidelined ever since, while Lashley flirted with the Universal Championship scene before suddenly plateauing back down to earth.
Intercontinental Championship Match
Seth Rollins (C) vs. Elias
Elias proved in this match that he has more to offer than just his singing and guitar-playing skills. Admittedly, it’s rare for his opponent Seth Rollins to have a bad match with anybody. But regardless of the reasons why, this is another thrilling Intercontinental Championship match, and one of the evening’s best bouts.
Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Ember Moon vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch vs. Naomi vs. Lana vs. Charlotte Flair
I really enjoyed this one. Removing the stench left by the James Ellsworth-related controversy last year, this all-women’s MITB match placed the spotlight on the participants themselves, and they deliver one exciting moment after another. Alexa Bliss coming out on top was a bit of a surprise, but not as much as another Alexa-related development later on.
Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal
Watch this on mute and, while it’s not a great match whatsoever, it is at least watchable. Watch it with the Chicago crowd audible, though, and it’s virtually impossible to enjoy the bout from a neutral standpoint. It has become a concerning trend for a live WWE audience to completely ignore at least one match on the PPV card, and every reason from Roman’s push to poor-quality WWE content has been used to explain this phenomenon. Hopefully, it’s one that the company will be able to nip in the bud (it’s always great to have a hot crowd, but not at the expense of the match you’re watching), but as things stand, this is just another example of this ongoing situation.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
Carmella (C) vs. Asuka
I mentioned James Ellsworth earlier, and he returns to television at the finish of this match (which would have been a genuine shock, had social media not revealed that Ellsworth was heading back to WWE in the days preceding MITB). The downside is that Asuka looks really weak, and even as an attempt to put heel heat on Carmella, one cannot ignore the damage this does to the formerly-undefeated bad-ass.
WWE Championship Last Man Standing Match
AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
I thought this was slightly overrated at the time; it’s a great match, but a shade below classic status in my opinion. Nevertheless, it is a highly enjoyable brawl, and a fitting way to cap off the long-running Styles vs. Nakamura rivalry. Through it all, Shinsuke was unable to remove the WWE Championship from the possession of AJ, which leads me to believe that he won’t be capturing the title at any point in the future either.
RAW Women’s Championship Match
Nia Jax (C) vs. Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey again demonstrated here that she has taken to wrestling very quickly. Putting together a believable and stiff singles battle with Nia Jax, Rousey plays her role perfectly here (as does Jax, to be fair), and she appears to be on the verge of winning the RAW Women’s Championship. Cue interference from Alexa Bliss, and a post-match MITB cash-in on Jax which leads to Bliss winning the title. The upcoming Ronda Rousey vs. Alexa Bliss showdown at SummerSlam, which obviously stemmed from these MITB developments, should be a huge moment for the RAW women’s division.
Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Braun Strowman vs. Finn Bálor vs. Bobby Roode vs. Kevin Owens vs. Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz vs. Rusev vs. Samoa Joe
Though the main event matches the theme of the show (Money in the Bank), the Last Man Standing bout might have been a better way to round this card off (not least because the WWE Championship was at stake). This is still a fun match, no doubt, and it boasts some memorable spots (especially the huge fall that Kevin Owens takes off a ladder through several tables below), but something feels odd about this being in the headline spot. Braun Strowman capturing the MITB briefcase was an interesting decision; on paper, nobody should be able to withstand a potential Strowman cash-in, and with Brock Lesnar holding the title as of this writing, the use of the Money in the Bank briefcase could be the only way to end his lengthy Universal Championship reign. Might we see this happen (whether Braun lifting the title involves Roman Reigns or not) at SummerSlam?
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
The Bludgeon Brothers (C) vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
On the one hand, it can’t have been pleasing for these four participants to have their title match relegated to the Kickoff Show. But on the other hand, WWE had barely done anything to promote it, meaning that such a decision was inevitable. It’s still a decent effort, with The Bludgeons retaining to continue their somewhat underwhelming run as holders of SmackDown’s doubles titles.
RAW – June 11, 2018
Fatal Four Way Match
Braun Strowman vs. Finn Bálor vs. Bobby Roode vs. Kevin Owens
The other DVD extras on the second disc include segments involving Kevin Owens, The New Day and Seth Rollins from the Kickoff Show, as well as an AJ Styles-Shinsuke Nakamura contract signing and a post-MITB beatdown of Alexa Bliss by Ronda Rousey.
And we also get this four-way match which closed RAW prior to the PPV, where all of the men’s participants from the main event do battle. All three work together to try and take Strowman out, but it would be to no avail, with The Monster Among Men coming out on top, just as he would at MITB itself.
Money in the Bank, as is usually the case, is one of the better WWE supershows of the year. Both Ladder matches are well worth watching, AJ vs. Nakamura is a strong brawl, Nia vs. Ronda is very engaging, and Rollins vs. Elias is exciting as well. The other matches are mediocre at best, but not offensive enough to greatly reduce the entertainment value of the show. The running time of over four hours is excessive (this is a WWE trend that will not be changing anytime soon), but judging it as a whole, there is a lot to like about MITB 2018.
If you haven’t seen the show, I would suggest checking this one out on the Money in the Bank 2018 DVD, especially given that it concludes a number of WrestleMania-related storylines and begins the build towards the next truly big show, SummerSlam.
Get your hands on the new WWE MONEY IN THE BANK 2018 DVD…
– United States: RIGHT NOW! Get your copy of the MITB 2018 DVD here on Amazon.com.
– UK/Europe: RIGHT NOW! Get your Money in the Bank DVD now on Amazon.co.uk.
– Australia: RIGHT NOW! Get your copy of the MITB 2018 DVD over at Madman.com.au.