WWE Money In The Bank 2023 Results & Review (02/07/2023)
By Mick Robson
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Sticking with Australian dates for consistency's sake. After years of refusing to run international PPVs because of the time difference, WWE have finally caved and brought Money In The Bank (which many fans consider to have replaced Survivor Series in the "Big 4" PPVs nowadays) to London!
It's quite the loaded card, which received a late further boost with the addition of "social media mega-star" Logan Paul to the men's MITB ladder match. And also added late- as if the titular ladder matches weren't enough to sell this thing- the Bloodline Civil War, where one of the greatest and longest running stories WWE has had takes centre stage, as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns teams with Solo Sikoa to take on the Usos. And also, Seth Rollins & Finn Balor do battle over the Roman Consolation Prize... I mean, the World Heavyweight Championship.
Let's do this!
Man, this crowd is hot. One of the best decisions under the Triple H regime is to take PPVs- oh, sorry, PLEs- out of the United States. We get passionate crowds eager for some pro wrestling action, from Elimination Chamber in Montreal, to Backlash in Puerto Rico, to Money In The Bank here in London. The stage set-up is also a lot smaller here, allowing them to pack more rowdy English fans into the arena.
Match 1: Men's Money In The Bank Ladder Match- Damian Priest def. Ricochet, Shinsuke Nakamura, Butch, Santos Escobar, LA Knight & Logan Paul (at 20:25)
Thoughts: Kicking off the show super-strong with this one! This could have main evented, but no chance in hell is anything getting top billing over the Bloodline melodrama. And my god, is LA Knight over or what? Yeah! The crowd erupted for everything he did, and he didn't even need the massive high flying spots. Butch filled that quota with a moonsault off a huge ladder on the outside, and Ricochet and Logan Paul both almost died when a big Spanish Fly spot to the outside through a table got a bit botched. Still eye-catching, but just not in the exact way they intended.
A surprising finish added to this one- most people thought it was going to the "people's choice" LA Knight, or failing that, Logan Paul for some crazy heat and publicity. But with Knight inches away, Damian Priest hits a Broken Arrow off the ladder and claims the briefcase. Hell of a stunt show to get us started! (****)
Match 2: WWE Women's Tag Team Championship- Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan def. Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler (c) (at 9:00)
Thoughts: Liv Morgan came out in Spice Girls inspired gear- automatic points- but unfortunately Rousey & Baszler didn't share my fandom, isolating and beating down Liv. Rodriguez was a difference maker when she tagged in, using Liv as a weapon, powerbombing her to the outside onto the challengers. Rodriguez also destroyed Ronda with a huge powerbomb for a near fall. The challengers used their submission prowess to gain the upper hand, but just when Rousey appeared to have Liv dead to rights- Shayna turned on her! She took out her own partner with the Kirafuda Clutch, allowing Raquel to hit her Tejana Bomb, followed by Morgan's Oblivion to end it!
Wow. So much for Rousey & Baszler re-established the women's tag division. They unified the titles with NXT, only to split almost immediately after? Rumours circulating that Rousey has a "hard out" on her WWE contract, meaning her departure is imminent, and she wants to put over Shayna on the way out.
While the action was good here, the already near non-existent prestige of the women's tag titles takes another significant hit, being collateral damage in a budding Rousey vs. Baszler feud. (***)
We get a backstage interview with "Senor Money In The Bank" Damian Priest. He doesn't know what championship he's going to go for, but he's sure he'll be a champion. Just... for the love of God, don't challenge for a secondary title. I maintain it was the dumbest thing ever when Austin Theory did it.
Match 3: WWE Intercontinental Championship- Gunther (c) def. Matt Riddle (at 7:45)
Thoughts: More of a Gunther showcase, but an entertaining one at that. Gunther chopped and kicked the crap out of Riddle, but Riddle fought back valiantly. He's been allowed a bit more of an edge since his recent return. Points to Michael Cole for referencing the history these two have in Progress.
Riddle had an out for losing here- having a taped ankle due to attacks by Imperium in recent weeks on Raw- Gunther worked it over at various points, so that even when he had a chance to build momentum- like landing on his feet on a German suplex- his ankle would give out. Although he had a couple of moments of hope, such as hitting a Floating Bro, a Gunther heel hook would spell his doom (***1/4)
So a decent, if unspectacular IC title match... if only there was a way to spice things up a bit... the music of Drew McIntyre hits! We haven't seen the Scottish Warrior since the classic triple threat he had with Gunther and Sheamus at WrestleMania. Drew looks rejuvenated, and hits Gunther with the Glasgow Kiss and a Claymore. "The rumours of Drew McIntyre's demise at WWE are not true!" Cole declares.
Big moment for Drew's return, especially given the location. I guess we won't see Drew in Wembley, then.
Match 4: Cody Rhodes def. Dominick Mysterio (w/ Rhea Ripley) (at 8:40)
Thoughts: This went exactly how it needed to. People talk about Dom's improvement, but he still has about zero in-ring credibility. He had no business getting the better of WrestleMania main eventer Cody in any way, but having all his brief moments occur via way of Mami getting involved made it palatable. In the end, a Cross Rhodes and an easy 3, good showcase for the American Nightmare on a big PLE. Onto bigger and better things. (**1/2)
Next up... we get a massive surprise with the entrance of John Cena! He soaks up the positive reaction, noting that people used to sing "Cena Sucks" but now they're singing the actual theme song. He puts over the London fans huge, then calls for WrestleMania to come to London to a thunderous ovation.
The love-fest is stopped as the music of Grayson Waller hits! Waller talks his way through a "shut the f*** up" chant as he disingenously talks about what a massive fan of Cena he is. But Mania should go to somewhere more beautiful. Australia. "WrestleMania Straya!" he declares with a s**t-eating grin. When the London crowd chants, "Wanker", Grayson responds with, "Trust me, I don't need to." Greatness.
Waller offers to make Cena relevant again by having him as a guest on the Grayson Waller Effect. When Cena declines, Waller attacks him, briefly taking the 16 time world champ down. It's only for a moment though, as Cena pops up and hits the AA to end the segment.
Damn! Huge surprise seeing Cena, who seems to bask in the positive reception of being a legacy star after years of being a "polarising figure" receiving "mixed reactions". My big takeaway, however, was the involvement of Grayson Waller. I watched him as Matty Wahlberg on the Aussie indie scene in his rookie year, in front of maybe 50 people. Seeing him opposite John Cena is just insane to me. And besides all that- he got physical for the first time on the main roster. Meaning his injury must be healed, and his Smackdown in-ring debut is likely soon to follow. He's got Edge on the Grayson Waller Effect on Smackdown this week, could it be?
Match 5: Women's MITB Ladder Match- Iyo Sky def. Bayley, Becky Lynch, Zoey Stark, Zelina Vega & Trish Stratus (at 18:05)
Thoughts: Everyone had moments to shine here. The Becky/Trish feud continued here with ladders involved- it seems that they're destined for a Summerslam match. Credit to Trish for taking a Manhandle Slam on a ladder! Zelina Vega got a big moment with a Code Red onto a ladder. The building Damage CTRL dissension continues to grow here after Bayley pushed Iyo off a ladder, and Iyo retaliated by handcuffing Bayley to Becky through the ladder, enabling her to climb up unobstructed and claim the contract! Not quite as wild as the men's match, but not by much. (***3/4)
Match 6: World Heavyweight Championship- Seth Rollins (c) def. Finn Balor (at 12:30)
Thoughts: Rollins had his ribs taped, helping to position him as a bit of an underdog here. As much as I make jokes about the WHC being a consolation prize, Rollins is the right choice as champ. He never actually lost to Reigns during this Tribal Chief run and he's shown himself capable of carrying the Monday Night Raw brand.
Balor showed great aggression, selling the animosity from when Rollins injured him in the first Universal title match all those years ago. Damian Priest made his presence known, walking out with the MITB briefcase, interesting because even though he holds that contract, he's a stable mate of Balor's in the Judgment Day. In the end, Balor got distracted by him, allowing Rollins to hit the Stomp for the win. Good, but nothing classic. (***1/2)
Edge is promoted as the guest on the Grayson Waller Effect on Smackdown, then a video package plays highlighting Edge's career from start to finish. The video focuses on Edge saying he would retire on his own terms... oh s***, this is happening, isn't it? Edge's final feud? He's talked about walking away in about a month's time in Toronto.
Kayla Braxton interviews Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn in the skybox. Good night to be the tag champs! Zayn says that Roman Reigns will get what's coming to him in the main event.
Main Event: The Usos def. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa (w/ Paul Heyman) (at 32:10)
Thoughts: There may be no title on the line, but this is clearly the biggest story in the company. They built towards Jey and Roman finally crossing paths legally in the match, and the crowd was hot for it, right on Roman's case all match. Heyman interjected himself at the right time to motivate Roman verbally, referencing his son eating at Jey's table instead of his. Y'know, the new Tribal Chief. Storytelling!
The Usos build mometum and take the fight to Reigns and Solo with superkicks and suicide dives. Jimmy goes for a top rope splash, but lands right in a guillotine choke from Roman. Solo and Roman regain control, hitting a Spike/Spear combo-but Jey kicks out! Later, Reigns hit another Spear, but Jey kicked out, hitting an 'inadvertent" low blow in the process, just as Reigns did back at Clash of Champions against Jey years ago. We get a superkick party, Jey splashes Roman from the top rope... and pins him for the 3 count. The first time Roman has lost since 2019. (****1/2)
A PPV doesn't get much stronger than that. Zero duds, all the undercard matches served their purpose, and the MITB ladder matches were excellent. We had major surprises in Drew McIntyre & John Cena, and we had an epic encounter in our main event. For the moment of Jey pinning Roman, it's automatically elevated to damn near classic status. But I don't believe the story is over, and the action did drag in spots for running over half an hour. The London crowd did their part by enhancing the atmosphere, but WWE deserve to be commended for putting on yet another stellar WWE PLE in 2023.
Overall Score: 9/10
Until next time, take care.