by “Gorgeous” Garrett Smith
Money In The Bank 2018 proved yet again that this ppv is one of the most exciting nights of the year. There were many surprising and shocking moments that naturally, nobody saw coming. It had the daunting task of following NXT: TakeOver Chicago II, but it impressed as well. So let us take a look at what transpired in Chicago:
Daniel Bryan versus Big Cass:
I was never really on board with this feud to begin with. I hated the character that Cass was portraying, and it was slowing down the return to prominence that was Bryan. Anyways, this was the second outing these two have had (the first being at Backlash of this year) and it followed the same model. The smaller man trying to cut down the much larger man. It ended with Bryan forcing Cass to submit. Not a great opener to a stellar show, but definetly not the worst match on the card.
Match Grade: C+
Bobby Lashley versus Sami Zayn:
Another “why is this even a thing?’ type of feud. The build to it was absolutely terrible but not due to the perfomers, it was all writing. However, this match was meh. Because of the build it was hard to find a way to be invested in the match and that took away from everything they were doing. Lashley goes over.
Match Grade: C
Seth Rollins[c] versus Elias:
In typical Elias fashion, he serenaded the audience with a song that bashed the local Chicago natives, however when the bell rang, the champion was firmly in control of the contest. Things turned around for the challenger though as he began to focus on Rollins’ neck. The two failed to execute their respective finishing moves so Rollins countered a roll up into one of his own, and with the help of holding Elias’ belt, retained his title. It was an odd and abrupt way to end what was becoming a very good match.
Match Grade: B+
Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Ember Moon, Alexa Bliss, Lana, Naomi, Becky Lynch, and Natalya:
Things got off to a quick start as the women started brawling as soon as the bell rang. Every woman had their moment to shine and take control, but it never did last. Plenty of high risk maneunvers, and many moments with a ladder used as a weapon that made my body hurt. Lynch was inches away from victory for a second straight year, but came up short as Alexa Bliss pulled down the briefcase and stood tall over the rest of the field. Overall this was a fantastic showing for all of the women involved, and was what the original should have been.
Match Grade: A-
Roman Reigns versus Jinder Mahal:
It really pains me to say that this was the worst match on the card…. These two dudes deserve so much better. However, the match just wasn’t any good. Both are capable of much better. It had a better build than Zayn/Lashley, but that’s not saying much. It was another thrown together pairing that seemed to be a way to try and get Reigns over but putting him with someone else the crowd hates. It backfired as the crowd took over the match and chanted and cheered for everything over these two. Reigns offense these days always involves a boring comeback, and Mahal isn’t the most technical guy in the world. This match went on way too long. Reigns goes over, per usual.
Match Grade: D
Smackdown Women’s Championship
Carmella[c] versus Asuka:
I don’t understand the booking of Asuka these days. This night saw her third loss since Wrestlemania. This match was fun, though Carmella should in no way be in the same realm as Asuka. She defineity pulled out the best match of her career as she kept the challenger at bay. Things got weird when someone dressed in Asuka’s entrance gear stepped onto the ring apron. It was none other than James Ellsworth, and he provided just enough of a distraction for Carmella to retain her title.
Match Grade: B
AJ Styles[c] versus Shinsuke Nakamura
This match had the stipulation of being a Last Man Standing Match. The competitors took the contest all over the arena floor in a very gritty match. It seemed very tame, because as fans we are expecting something akin to Attitude Era violence in these types of matches. Plenty of chair shots and low blows were present on the other hand. Overall it was very dramatic, with plenty of counts of 8 or 9 that nearly saw the end for both competitors. It took a Phenominal Forearm from the heavens for Styles to walk away from this as the champion, and it was fantastic. Again, we are still waiting on a match that can compare well to their Wrestle Kingdom contest, but this is something that we can look back at with fond memories.
Match Grade: A+
RAW Women’s Championship
Nia Jax[c] versus Ronda Rousey:
Jax was booked as a strong champion here. She flat out dominated the former UFC star for much of the contest, even throwing her around like a rag doll. Rousey was no slouch though. She rolled with the punches so to speak and took big bumps and kept on coming. She looked amazing yet again and began to focus on trying to submit Jax with an armbar. When things were looking up for the challenger, Alexa Bliss, who had won the MITB contract earlier in the night, came out of nowhere and knocked her down with the briefcase, causing a DQ. She then decided to cash in on the weakened Jax, and once again became RAW Women’s Champion. Very good swerve here, and Rousey appears to have been born to do this. It’s still early to say, but she has the potential to be an all-time great.
Match Grade: A-
Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens, Finn Balor, Bobby Roode, The Miz, Samoa Joe, Rusev, and Kofi Kingston:
As soon as the match started, everyone got on board with Owens’ plan and teamed up to take out the monster. They forced him to retreat up the ramp and then buried him under a pile of ladders that were being used as displays, then everyone seemed to pair off and take each other out. This match was flat out fun, and one of the best in recent memory. There were plenty of fun spots, such as Rusev applying the Accolade to Roode, Miz, and Kofi at the same time. Strowman breaks a ladder by running through it. Balor hits Coupe de Grace from the top of a ladder. Everything was eclipsed though, by Strowman tossing Owens off of a 50 ft ladder through some tables. They will be playcing clips of this match for years. Strowman is then the man to secure the briefcase for himself, becoming Mr. Monster in the Bank.
Match Grade: A
“Gorgeous” Garrett is the Head Writer for Mark Set Go and a former SmackDown Predictions Champion. To stay up to date on thoughts on WWE and much more follow him on twitter @SmithGarrett91