WWE – Money In The Bank 2019 (Cert 15)

2 Discs DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 216 minutes approx.

It’s that time of year when the men and women of WWE get to literally climb the ladder to success, or in this case a briefcase that purportedly contains a contract for a title match against the champion of the holder’s choosing. Eight women and eight seven men (more on this later) will vie for the chance to become Mr or Miss Money In The Bank 2019.

With a six-week gap between Wrestlemania 35 and this show, this would have given the WWE ample time to build up the excitement for this show; instead we got the messy Superstar Shakeup that didn’t change much, promptly followed by the introduction of the Wild Card rule that allows wrestlers to jump brand. This was designed to boost ratings but all it does is make both shows the same since the same few wrestlers are making the crossover appearances every week!

The biggest news coming out of the show was the finish to the main event that, for a quick shock pop was a cool thing to do, but in the long run was one of the worst ideas Vince McSenile has had in, well at least a week.

Money In The Bank took place on May 19th 2019, at the XL Centre in Hartford, Connecticut before “a sold out crowd” (rather telling, not even an inflated fake number was announced) with commentary from Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton for the SD Live matches and Graves with Michael Cole and Renee Young for the RAW matches.

As ever, while my match review won’t contain any results or major spoilers, though there is a huge one in the extras listings, expect plenty of opinion and backstory to the matches.

 

Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match – Bayley vs. Naomi vs. Mandy Rose vs. Carmella vs. Dana Brooke vs. Ember Moon vs. Natalya

No qualifying matches this year, just eight names plucked from the ether to compete, though with many ladies out either with injuries or simply sulking, and others busy or stuck in tag team purgatory, this line-up is as good as it gets. For the likes of Dana Brooke and Nikki Cross (subbing for an injured Alexa Bliss) this is a chance to break out, whilst I would have given Sonya Deville the spot over Mandy Rose  (in storyline, Sonya gave Rose her spot) but one is blonde, the other is a lesbian and Vince is the booker – you do the maths!

Pretty good match if a little over-rehearsed in spots possibly due to the aforementioned newbies in the match but once they got a rhythm going, it was a fun spot fest with the girls taking some nasty lumps. The big moment was Ember Moon hitting an Eclipse from high up the very tall ladder into the ring on Natalya! The right person own too.

 

A show long angle begins where Sami Zayn, who defeated Braun Strowman for his spot in the men’s MITB match, is worried Braun will be after him, so Triple H tells Sami Strowman is barred from the arena. You know what that means….

 

WWE US Title Match – Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio

Oh boy, this was an unfortunate mess and the latest disaster in this programme between Joe and Rey. Having had to cut their WM 35 match short due to Rey’s injury, this match barely lasted 90 seconds because Joe’s nose was broken and the ref then made a really bad count as the loser’s shoulders weren’t even down on the mat! The announcers even had to acknowledge this botch, supposedly due to the blood loss which wasn’t that bad.

Despite this, Joe then attacked Rey afterwards and legit injured Rey’s shoulder again! Surely there is a message here somewhere…

Steel Cage Match – The Miz vs. Shane McMahon

One would have hoped this interminably insipid and turgid feud between the A-Lister and Sweaty McSweatface would have ended at WM 35 with the ludicrous bump from the high scaffold that ended the match. Sadly, it continues with this cage match, another dull and sloppy affair featuring ANOTHER bad ref call that had the crowd chanted “BS” since there is no rope breaks in a cage match.

But if you are a fan of heavily sweating, red faced, out of shape 50 year-olds going toe-to-toe with younger full time wrestlers stinking up the ring, this steaming turd of a bout and exercise is ego fulfilment for the boss’s son- even with the inventive finish – is for you. Otherwise, outside of the fans chanting for “CM Punk” (because of Shane’s “Best In The World” gimmick) and “AEW” (ouch!) the skip button on your remote control is your friend.

WWE Cruiserweight Title Match – Tony Nese (c) vs. Ariya Daivari

You have to feel bad for the 205 Live roster – they work their socks off in front of a dead crowd following the SD Live tapings on a Tuesday night on a show nobody watches, then the big title matches that have been built up on TV are usually relegated to the kick-off show which nobody watches.

For the first time in a LONG time, the Cruiserweight title is actually defended on the main show and nobody cares. Maybe it was because it had to follow the nonsense from before, or the crowd really don’t watch 205 Live, but this was another match that failed to engender any interest in the division. Nese is capable of good matches, Daivari really doesn’t have anything special about him so this was a mismatch destined to fail despite the obvious effort of the wrestlers.

WWE RAW Women’s Title Match – Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans

After spending months doing her Bez tribute act by walking up and down and little else, the Sassy Southern Belle (who also claims to be a classy lady, which is it?) finally did something and punched Becky Lynch on RAW. She then beat Natalya to earn this title match. And er…that’s it.

Evans is good in her role, though her character is lost on the younger audiences but what do you expect when a 74 year-old man is running the show? In the ring there is much room for improvement and it shows in this match but with Becky’s popularity and experience they just about covered for it. Then we had ANOTHER botched ref call – that’s three for those counting – on a night where zebras were fast looking likely to become an extinct species.

WWE Smackdown Women’s Title Match – Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair

If you’re going to brag about being “Becky Two Belts” then you need to back it up and that is what Becky vowed to do on this show, by defending both belts on the same night. However, she didn’t expect Charlotte to show up right after her match with Evans, but The Man wasn’t going to back down either.

To be fair, these two have had better matches and whilst the crowd was into this one, it was a fun hard hitting sprint that served its purpose, though it was evident to the fans that it might have been more of a stopgap for something much bigger, and they may have been right…

Roman Reigns vs. Elias

They are keeping it nice and easy for Roman, giving him short matches upon his return after beating cancer and this was no exception. Elias attacked Reigns backstage then came to the ring, playing an electric guitar (sell out!), bragging about his assault on reigns only for the Big Dog to recover and gets his swift vengeance.

WWE Universal Title Match – Seth Rollins (c) vs. AJ Styles

Disc 2 kicks off with a first time dream match in WWE, though they did acknowledge on TV, complete with footage, that these two fought on the indies back in 2006. Considering how the show has gone thus far, these two really needed to live up to expectations to get the fans back onside, and well know how previous “dream matches” have gone where Styles is concerned.

Luckily they did deliver, despite Styles injuring himself during the bout, which he worked through and gave everyone a good match. The build up had seen Styles teasing a heel turn but his popularity remained strong in spite of this tired booking trope, if anything it put pressure on Rollins to maintain his fanbase too but in the end, this was about the wrestling and it didn’t disappoint. 

 

The Lucha House Party came out for an apparent unadvertised match but were attacked by noted racist and homophobe Lars Sullivan, destroying all three with ease by way of atoning for his bigotry. Only in wrestling… Lars actually suffered a cut to the head which Kalisto took credit for in the wake of his Twitter comments about Lars’ offensive rants on a bodybuilding forum a few years back.

 

WWE Title Match – Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Kevin Owens

From the file marked “wasted opportunity” they ran an angle where Kevin Owens turned face and temporarily replaced an injured Big E in The New Day, only to have him turn heel again after just THREE WEEKS! With Daniel Bryan now in a tag team and a new challenger for Kofi needed, this was inevitable but three weeks?

Suffice to say, interest in this match wasn’t that high, though Kofi’s popularity and goodwill with the fans has sustained rather well since WM 35 – just not in this match. Having to follow Styles vs. Rollins was no mean task and the buffer segment with Lars Sullivan didn’t help cool the crowd either. Match was fine but never felt high stakes or more than anything you could see on TV.

Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match – Randy Orton vs. Ali vs. Andrade vs. Finn Bálor vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Ricochet vs. Baron Corbin

So, Sami Zayn was eliminated from this match earlier by Braun Strowman, except Braun denies everything (if he had stayed away from the arena as ordered, he wouldn’t have been as suspect at all!) so who did it? Maybe we’ll find out later but here we go with another line-up of names one may not automatically have thought of, like Andrade and Ali, yet fair play to them for getting the spotlight.

And boy did they ensure people would notice them, taking it turns to see who could put themselves in the hospital the soonest – except for Orton who is a lazy git and Corbin who sucks. Ali, Andrade, Ricochet and Bálor displayed their desire to end up in a wheel chair with disturbing regularity during this bout, the highlight (as such) being Bálor bouncing off a ladder before landing on it a second time!

Then there was the finish. I don’t do spoilers but Christ on a bike this was one of those moments that was first “OH MY GOD!” then “Oh my god…”, flying in the face of logic and the self-destruction of the other seven men, not to mention the future of the title scene with this particular briefcase holder providing not hope but an unsettling and unwelcome sense of déjà vu

 

Bottom Line:

We’ve been here before – the wrestlers work their butts off but the “creative” end lets them down, which by now should be taken as read, though somewhat disconcertingly since this has been the same conclusion drawn for the past few years new.

The big news coming out of this show is the winner of the men’s MITB which I am loathe spoiling here but is common knowledge to any wrestling fan not living under a rock. It sums up everything that is wrong with WWE and Vince McSenile’s insistence on creating “moments” with no consideration given for the long-term direction of the fallout. Yes, it got the desired reaction from the live crowd but that soon turned to disdain once the realisation set in.

For the women, this show might be the start of the rehabilitation for one person, though there are issues with the title scene in pushing someone like Lacey Evans into the top programme so soon after debuting, when she was still a work in progress in NXT. This extends to the WWE Title picture, the rushed turn of Kevin Owens was logical but the lack of build up hurt the match, baffling considering how much time they had to set up someone else.

Like always, there is a case for there being a good show here if you cherry pick from the card; taken as a whole its flaws – not all of them creative – shine through more than the highlights, so choose wisely.  

 

Best Match – Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles

 

Extras:

German Language

Disc One:

Money In The Bank Kick-Off Match – Daniel Bryan & Rowan vs. The Usos

Disc Two:

Monday Night RAW May 13th 2019 – Becky Two Belts Signs Two Contracts

Smackdown Live! May 14th 2019 – Guest Host For The Kevin Owens Show

Monday Night RAW May 29th 2019 – The Beast In The Bank Is Here!

 

Rating – ***

Man In Black