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Cook’s Money In The Bank 2017 Report Card

June 18, 2017 | Posted by Steve Cook

Hi, hello & welcome to the Money in the Bank Report Card! MITB is usually one of the most entertaining shows of the year, mostly because we get a couple of multi-person ladder matches and everybody loves those. Main changes in 2017 involve the ladies entering the fray for the first time & the SmackDown brand getting to hold the event instead of the show being split between Raw & SD talent as it has been in past years.

Mood Update: I worked 12 hours Friday and 12 hours Saturday. I would have preferred to spend more time with my father instead of write about this show, but here we are. I will be hard to impress tonight. Just saying it like it is, folks. Not complaining, it’s the gig, but I like to let y’all know how I’m feeling heading into these things.

Here’s how I grade the WWE SuperStars…

A – Outstanding. Great moves, selling, interaction with the fans, everything. Stands out as a top performer.
B – Above Average. Very good offensively or defensively. Plays their role well. Helps the match accomplish what it set out to do.
C – Average. The type of performance that does nothing to stand out. No outstanding moves, no great effort to sell their opponent’s offense or draw the crowd into what they’re doing, just bland, basic wrestling. Sometimes, especially in a multi-man match, a short period of time spent in the ring without a chance to do too much.
D – Below Average. Poor execution, ignoring the crowd, not doing things that make sense.
F – Failure. Not doing anything useful. Actively holding the match back from accomplishing its objective.

Kickoff Match: The Hype Bros vs. The Colons: Remember that week the Colons seemed like they could be interesting on SmackDown? Remember when the Hype Bros earned a tag team title shot? Ohhhhhhhhhhhh I member. Now they looking to regain some of that momentum they lost when Zack Ryder tore his knee up and the Colons went back to the purgatory they know so well. Mojo’s no-selling of chops is endearing, as is his three point stance and his insistence that his opponent ain’t hype. The Colons get to work over Zack Ryder for awhile and test out that previously injured knee. The Knee-DT is one of my favorite kneework moves. The only problem is that I don’t think the Colons have a finish that targets the knee. Also, Zack is known to counter a vertical suplex with a neckbreaker and he does just that. Mojo tags in and is all GET HYPE STAY HYPE. He nearly finishes one of them with the Hyperdrive. Probably did but whoops. It’s ok because the Bros get to hit the Hype Ryder for the 3 count and the win.

Perfectly decent match. I like the unique stuff Mojo does, it helps him stand out more than the others here. I like Ryder a lot but he does tend to stay in his lane and do the usual stuff. Mojo’s out there. Sometimes it’s scary, but I like the variety.

Grades
Hype Bros: C+
Colons: C

Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Carmella (w/James Ellsworth) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Tamina: We start the main show with the women making history. No more hype, it’s time to deliver the goods. Any idea of these women sticking together with their faction-mates goes out the window immediately and everybody’s going after everybody. Tamina’s cleaning house early. Becky & Natalya argue over possession of a ladder in a pretty entertaining spot. Nobody wins, but Becky loses more when she gets bodyslammed on it. Nattie almost gets the briefcase, but a persistent Charlotte manages to get her back down to the mat. Charlotte’s attempt to climb up is derailed when Carmella crotches her on one of the steps. She heads up, Charlotte gets back up and they both fight at the top. Tamina pushes it over and they are foiled. Nattie attacks Tamina with a ladder and one of them uses foul language. Becky gets put into a Sharpshooter, and Carmella breaks it up…well, they were in the middle of the ring and you need a ladder there to get the belt so it kinda makes sense. Becky kicks Natalya out of the ring, but Carmella fouls up her attempt. Carmella has some difficulty positioning the ladder, which gives Charlotte the opportunity to break it up. Charlotte & Tamina fight on top of one of the sides of the ladder, a headbutt takes them both off of it. Charlotte with an ugly spear to Tamina, not pretty but effective nonetheless. The spear into the steps wasn’t much prettier, but also effective. Her top rope flip onto Tamina & Nattie was something else. Not sure what flip that was but it looked cool. Becky breaks up Carmella’s attempt to climb the ladder with a powerbomb. Becky heading up….James Ellsworth breaks it up! The scoundrel! He tries to help Carmella, but then decides he’s going to climb the ladder! He gets the briefcase and drops it to Carmella! Is that going to stand? The referees confer at ringside…it seems like an open and shut case to me but they’re taking some time discussing it. Ellsworth declares Carmella the winner and they play her music. All right then.

More SmackDown booking designed to piss off the audience, I suppose. I know enough people will defend it as good heat, but you do enough decisions like this one and the main event last PPV and the heat you’ll get is people changing the channel. All the women involved did good work, but I gotta give Tamina the most credit here, she definitely exceeded expectations and helped hold the match together.

Grades
Carmella: B
Charlotte: B
Becky: B
Natalya: B
Tamina: B+

Dasha throwing some serious shade at Lana pre-interview. Not sure how smart that is.

SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos (c) vs. The New Day: Kofi & Big E represent New Day this evening, and they represent themselves well early on. That splash Big E does on the apron can’t be fun for anybody involved. Also not fun, the ride Kofi took on the floor going over the top rope, or the flip bump he took off a clothesline on the outside. A double vertical suplex bouncing Kofi off the post is new to me. Kofi takes some punishment for awhile until it’s time to tag Big E in, and he goes all crazy on everybody. Kofi tags back in but that doesn’t stop Big E from hitting his apron spear on Uso. Kofi tries to hit Trouble in Paradise, but they target his knee with the same move they took out American Alpha with awhile ago. Big E suplexes one on the outside, but still gets taken out! Kofi with a dragon sleeper! It’s broken up and an SOS gets 2. Big E does a blind tag while Jey targets Kofi, hits a Big Ending and gets a 2 count! The timing and execution were a bit off on that one. Xavier distracts with the trombone, a roll up gets 2 on Big E. Spear is blocked by two knees, but then he dumps them outside. Kofi gonna tag in and wipe them out on the outside. This picked up. Midnight Hour gets a 2 thanks to Jimmy pulling Jey out of the ring. The Usos opt to get counted out so they can keep their titles.

Another wonderful finish! The action dragged to a standstill while the Usos were on offense, really picked up late, and then we got the countout finish to continue the feud and make sure nobody actually loses. It makes sense from a booking standpoint, but doing one screwjob finish after another makes me wonder just how much advice Vince Russo is giving WWE Creative these days.

Grades
Usos: C
New Day: B

Daniel Bryan tweeted that he will address the circumstances surrounding the Women’s MITB Ladder Match on SmackDown. So Carmella might want to cash in ASAP.

Cowboy Bob Orton Jr. & Sgt. Slaughter discuss JBL comparing the Usos to the Briscos & the Funks backstage.

SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Naomi (c) vs. Lana: I was wondering if Lana would wrestle in that dress. She has different wrestling attire, much to the delight of the crowd. Maybe Naomi will get disqualified attacking Lana in the corner to add to our run of finishes tonight. She goes on an offensive until the missed crossbody, Lana immediately covers for two and begins targeting the left knee of Naomi. I think I’ve read before that they tape everything in the Performance Center rings, so there could be in fact tape of Lana available to Naomi if she requested it. That suplex into the ropes couldn’t have been fun. Lana lasting longer than 5 minutes has the announcers and the audience baffled. The Rear View doesn’t put anybody away now. Lana hits her sitout spinebuster and I don’t think that even got a two count.

And here comes Carmella to cash in! Smart move, especially since Daniel Bryan has announced he would address the situation on Tuesday. Or maybe not. At least not yet, they’ll wait until the match ends probably. Lana tries her move again, but Naomi flips out of it and locks in a modified Anaconda Vice to get a submission out of Lana. Carmella opts not to cash in after all…she might live to regret that choice.

I mean…it wasn’t terrible. But it wasn’t especially good either. Lana’s got potential but needs some work before we can take her seriously as a contender.

Grades
Naomi: C-
Lana: C-

FASHION VICE~! The people that attacked Tyler Breeze appear via VHS tape (blurred, of course) and challenge them to meet them in the ring tonight.

I don’t think Mike & Maria Kanellis were the two people that attacked Tyler Breeze and crashed the Fashion Police’s office, but they make their way to the entrance. The fans seem happy to see Maria and displeased to see Mike, so not much has changed since ROH or TNA. They promise to teach everybody on SmackDown Live about the Power of Love. The 80s-style
power ballad they’re using as music is pretty tremendous, and Mike looks like such a douchebag with his new hairstyle/beard combo. This could work.

How does India feel about being treated as a heel nation by WWE? Just curious.

St. Louis Legends at ringside: Greg Gagne, Larry “The Axe” Hennig, Baron Von Raschke, Sgt. Slaughter, “Cowboy” Bob Orton Jr. & Ric Flair! JBL wishes Harley Race a speedy recovery from his recent injury.

 photo orton vs mahal_zpsx8n6ej1o.jpg

WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal (c) (w/The Singh Brothers) vs. Randy Orton: The placement of this match tells me that St. Louis’ favorite son isn’t going to make them happy tonight. He does early on. Jinder dodges the first RKO attempt of likely many. He runs back into the ring & right into a Thesz Press. Then it’s the Garvin Stomp. Back to the floor and the Singh Brothers remember that they almost died last month and give them plenty of room. They do manage a distraction once Orton’s teasing a rope-assisted DDT and Jinder back bodydrops him out of the ring. Orton lands awkwardly on the left knee, and it’s time for Jinder to work that over. Because that’s what we’re doing tonight. Orton comes back and Jinder gets dumped into the laps of the legends. Bob doesn’t do anything, shockingly enough. Jinder does smash Orton’s leg off the announce table a couple of times to retake the dominant position. Jinder gets a leglock in the ring and he’s in the perfect position for a chinlock. You gotta watch some Orton tapes, man. Fallaway slam by Orton, which I don’t think is on too many of his match tapes. Back to the knee! I wanna see somebody work an arm. Mix up a little bit, you know? Ortons are known for their weak arms anyway, and it lessens the impact of a possible RKO. Jinder locks in the figure four leglock…well, it looks better than Miz’s. Flair at ringside all like “That never works, people reverse it all the time.”, and sure enough it gets reversed. Jinder looking fairly impressive on offense here, though a bit repetitive. He has switched to the spinning toehold though, which I appreciate. Jinder teases a superplex, but it’s Randy that hits one like dear old daddy. They fight back and forth and Orton eventually gets the upper hand. Rope-assisted DDT, and now he’s feeling it. RKO right in front of the Singhs, and they put Jinder’s feet on the ropes! The referee sees it and everything, and after a conversation with Orton, Mike Chioda opts to toss the Singhs out instead of disqualifying Jinder. The Singhs talk trash with the legends a bit, and after some strategizing try to go after Cowboy Bob! Now Randy decides to kill them again, which of course gives Jinder plenty of time to recover. Especially when he decides to RKO one of them through a table, which takes a bit of a toll on his own body as well. Sure enough, Jinder hits the cobra clutch slam and gets the win. Weeee.

In fairness, that probably Jinder’s best singles match ever. Not like that’s saying a whole heck of a lot, but the dude is trying. It’s just that what I said last month still rings true: hopefully it does a ton of business in India because it’s not going to help much of anything here. I don’t want people telling me how many tickets they sold in St. Louis…as much crap as I give them sometimes that’s a good wrestling market and they’ll sell out a WWE PPV no matter who’s advertised. The Jinder Experiment continues, for better or worse.

Grades
Mahal: C
Orton: C

Sasha Banks singing is something that needs to happen more often based on five seconds of the Great Balls of Fire commercial.

Breezango vs. The Ascension: Turns out it was Konor & Viktor that attacked Tyler Breeze and trashed the Fashion Police’s office. Well they had to do something to get on a PPV, right? Things break down pretty quickly and it’s Breeze that ends up as the cop in peril. At least they don’t target his knee. Fandango gets the hot tag but gets his spine bustered for a two count. The Ascension goes for a Demolition Decapitation type move, but Breeze knocks Viktor off the top rope and Fandango rolls Konor up for the three count.

Not a whole lot going on there, honestly. Complete filler to pad out the show. Hopefully the mystery of who attacked Enzo Amore & Big Cass on Raw has a more satisfying ending.

Grades
Breezango: C-
Ascension: C-

This show really hasn’t been a whole heck of a lot so far. MITB is going to have to deliver to save it.

Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Baron Corbin vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler: Baron Corbin opts to ruin the best part of Nakamura’s matches and attacks him during his entrance. He yells at the timekeeper to ring the bell, but that’s the referees’ call. They do eventually. Good thing they took Nakamura out of most of the match, we wouldn’t want people to be interested. In fairness, there’s still Styles, Zayn & Owens out there, so there’s some peeps I like…as long as Zayn doesn’t kill himself on those dives. Ziggler & Corbin form a temporary team that lasts until Corbin cheapshots Ziggler. I just now figured out that Ziggler switched to long tights to do the whole Shawn Michaels cosplay thing. Which is fine, the Billy Gunn thing got really old a long time ago. Ziggler runs up a ladder to keep AJ from doing the Phenomenal Forearm, then jumps into a Deep Six from Corbin on the floor. Zayn does a dive onto Corbin then grabs his left knee. Those poor left knees. Owens goes to town with the ladder until Styles drop toeholds him and the ladder meets his face. Styles Clash attempt results in Owens backdropping him to the floor. Sami tosses Owens off the top rope into an opened ladder, which can no longer be returned to Home Depot tomorrow morning. Ziggler takes Zayn out with a forearm that looks like it missed by a mile, but at least he tossed him into the ladder after. Zayn fights back and hits a Blue Thunder bomb to take Dolph out for the moment. Corbin takes Zayn off the ladder, and Styles comes in to take him out. Styles & Corbin ascend the ladder, AJ grasps the briefcase & Ziggler joins the fray. Styles & Ziggler get yanked down by Corbin, but Ziggler Zig Zags Corbin off of it. Ziggler & Zayn go at it now…Zayn opts to do the Eddie Guerrero powerbomb off the top of the ladder! That wakes the crowd and me up for a minute. Owens & Zayn go at it on the apron…half & half suplex to Owens on the apron! That should take care of KO for a few minutes, but unfortunately for Zayn AJ Styles comes out of nowhere with the Phenomenal Forearm! Baron Corbin yanks Styles outside and into & over the American announce table. Zayn takes Corbin out for the moment with the Helluva kick, and it seems like he’s the only one stirring right now…nah, there’s Ziggler & here comes Owens…you know damn well KO won’t let Sami win something. Low blow! KO climbing up…he’s in range…Styles yanks him down! Owens gets him on the apron…Styles reverses, lifts him up…Death Valley Driver onto a ladder! (Kinda looked more like John Cena’s AA, to be honest) Styles climbs up…but here’s Ziggler…he yanks the ladder away and AJ is hanging by the chain! He falls awkwardly to the mat. Oooof. Meanwhile, Corbin sends Ziggler over the table, gets to the ladder…and here comes Nakamura! Corbin misses with the ladder, and Shinsuke attacks while the fans hum his music! He knocks Corbin out of the ring. Ziggler eats a boot & a couple of Kinshsas. Zayn stumbles into a reverse Exploder. Kinshasa! There’s one for Owens as well. Nakamura gets the ladder ready as nobody appears on the horizon…oh, here’s AJ Styles face to face on the other side of the ladder! They put the ladder aside and start firing away at each other! Reverse exploder by Nakamura…Kinshasa is met with a forearm by AJ! Now they ascend the ladder and battle for possession of the briefcase…Baron Corbin breaks it up, and sure enough he wins the briefcase!

I wouldn’t say this was one of the better MITB matches, though the Styles/Nakamura sequence delivered and actually woke me up for a few minutes there. Thought Zayn did a tremendous job doing the stuff you’d expect from him. And hey, Corbin did really well with his spots too. Can’t complain about the work, and in the “trolling the audience” booking that SD Live is going with tonight, it works really well. The big question I have is with the usage of Nakamura. How do you have that guy sit out most of the match, do the Spirt of ’76 comeback, and still job him out at the end? It’s the ultimate 50/50 make sure the guy doesn’t get over too much booking all in one match. I don’t get it, but that’s why they don’t pay me the big bucks.

Grades
Corbin: B+
Nakamura: B
Owens: B+
Styles: A
Zayn: A
Ziggler: B

Final Thought

So we got Jinder Mahal as WWE Champion & Baron Corbin with the Money in the Bank briefcase?

That should put butts in the seats! Huh!

article topics :

WWE, WWE MITB, Steve Cook

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