WWE Money in the Bank 2017 [LIVE TWEET STREAM/REPORT]

For some reason, despite an intriguing card, I found myself unable to get too excited forย Money in the Bank this year. I put that down to some personal rumblings going on in my life at the moment. That aside, I knew we’d be in for something worth seeing. I’d probably resigned to just watch the damn thing, rather than overthinking it too much. With a historic women’s Money in the Bank match scheduled, along with the standard edition as the main event, this pay-per-view was certain to be memorable in some way.

In the end, thisย was surely one of the strangest cardsย I’ve ever seen. While it had its fair share of boilerplate, a lot of this would have been impossible to predict. The women’s Money in the Bank ended in farcical controversy. The Usos abandoned a well-developing match just as it was heating up. The entire Lana vs. Naomi debacle was utterly surreal. Add the main event ending in a whimper, rather than a bang, and a protracted brawl-fest for the WWE Championship and i’m still somewhat unsure how I feel about it all. Perhaps, as I analyse it step-by-step, I’ll start to make more sense of this deeply unusual card.

The Kick-Off Show

In hindsight…

Recently, kick-off shows have been proving themselves to be energetic and entertaining beginnings; as can be seenย with Extreme Rules‘ย magnificent tussle between Kalisto and Apollo Crews. As a result, my expectations for kick-off shows have gone through the roof.ย Due to my issues with getting the Network started, I feel I was unfair in my tweets this time around. Of course, I missed pretty much all of the “analysis”, but i’m very glad to see Sam Roberts in an apparently regular role.

The match itself, having watched it for a second time, is actually one of the only pieces of ring-work that made total sense at this PPV. Everyone was on form, putting on a match that perfectly amped up an eager crowd for the coming event. I hope the Hype Bros. are back for more than a one-off gimmick. Their fire and charisma is always appreciated, and they have the psychology to back it up. Unfortunately, theย Colรณns are probably set to job for quite some time. Without some hard work on their gimmicks, they’re going to have a tough time getting over. When they can contribute towards putting together a solid match like this, they deserve a tad more air-time.

Carmella (w/ James Ellsworth) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Becky Lynch
(Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match)

In hindsight…

It took a little while for me to decide on how I feel, but I believe this was about as perfectly put together as it could be. I might as well come right out and admit that i’m actually a big fan of the controversy. Although I’ve said very harsh things about James Ellsworth in the past, I’ve started to warm to him and his quite revolutionary role as Carmella’s manager (or whatever the hell he is officially). While I have no idea how unpopular this opinion really is, I thought his interjection in this crucial first women’s Money in the Bank was inspired. Not only was it genuinely hilarious, but a good controversy is great for wrestling storylines from time to time. Also, it calls to mind the very first Hell in a Cell, when an interruption from Kane gave Shawn Michaels the win.

I also feel that the actual match was cleverly crafted and expertly performed. There were great spots, and well-positioned momentum shifts, all over the place. Each of the participants was able to make an impressive mark, including Tamina, a talent I usually dismiss. Charlotte Flair and Natalya put on the best show, with their fire and determination shining through from the beginning. There was plenty of ladder action but, in a smart move, it seems that quite a lot was held back for the benefit of future women’s Money in the Bank matches. I believe this is a sign of the development to come in the years ahead. Yet again, the women have made beautiful order out of giddy chaos.

The New Dayย (Big E & Kofi Kingston w/ Xavier Woods) vs. The Usosย (Jimmy &ย Jey Uso)
(WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)

In hindsight…

The New Day are great wrestlers, which is why it’s so good to see them back in the ring after a period of either not being around or fucking around. Tellingly of their talents, as well as – to be fair – the Usos, they put on a very engaging match at this PPV. Obviously, the participants involved are all more than well-versed on how to construct a rich tag-team segment. On the whole, that’s what we got here. Among the quality grappling and pace, I was particularly impressed by a short interruption from Xavier Woods. It wasn’t much more than a competent, classic distraction, but i’m seeing a lot of WWE putting more stock into the manager/valet role. Count-out victories are always sure to cause an instinctual sigh, but it’s made me believe the Usos more as heels, which is something they desperately needed.

Naomi vs. Lana
(WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)

In hindsight…

Lana really did need to shut the fuck up in this. I shouldn’t have to say it, but that’s not supposed to reflect some misogynistic “women should be seen, not heard” sentiment. I’ve been championing this women’s revolution in the WWE since it began, but Lana really does make for an awkward watch. She’s clearly gone through some training, and picked up some pretty good things along the way. That said, she’s still intensely clumsy, clunky (as mentioned in my tweets) andย far too loud. With her constant squeaking and squealing, i’m not entirely keen on another Lana match until she learns to calm down. In the end, she just didn’t deliver enough to justify this gun-jumping match-up, but at least we got more hilarity from Carmela and Ellsworth! Also, to echo the sentiments of many crowd-signs and tweets, where the hell is Rusev?!

A quick note…

As one reply on Twitter pointed out, I probablyย shouldย know the evidently popular Maria Kanellis. It’s worth detailingย a little of my history. I grew up on the 90’s, becoming a fan of wrestling (like most British boys at the time) thanks to the madness of theย Attitude Era. As my fandom for the world of WWE (then WWF) grew, I dipped backwards and educated myself on wrestling of the 80’s, widening my scope withย other promotions from the time. I watched through theย Ruthless Aggression Eraย before giving the whole wrestling thing a break to concentrate on music and puberty. I tried returning to wrestling several times, with overwhelming disappointment at the product turning me off with each attempt.ย Finally settling back in around three years ago, I’ve been very glad to see a general trend of improvement.ย Thisย is why Kanellis is nobody to me.

Jinder Mahalย (w/ The Singh Brothers)ย vs. Randy Orton
(WWE Championship)

A racist aside…

Back to the Match:

In hindsight…

It has to be admitted; this was a far better match than I ever would have expected. The main trouble, for me, is that Jinder Mahal had next to nothing to do with it. That’s not to say that he didn’t do the best he could, with subtle signs of improvement. I’m just still very sceptical of this entire storyline. It leaves me wondering why it was ever set in motion in the first place. This match was carried by the ring-awareness of Randy Orton, and the added fun that having his father, “Cowboy” Bob Orton, at ringside brought to the table. There was a lot about this that was fun to watch, but it just doesn’t excuse the limitations of our current champion or the implications of the story as a whole. Mahalย doesย have potential, but that’s just not enough for me.

Breezangoย (Fandango & Tyler Breeze) vs. The Ascensionย (Konnor & Viktor)

In hindsight…

My endearment towards Breezango has been deep of late. They’ve been pulling off some excellent breakneck ring-work, and that’s not even mentioning their viscerally funnyย Fashion Filesย segments. As for the Ascension, I can see why they’re over but I still need some convincing. I’dย likeย to be convinced though, so I am glad to see them back on my screen; Konnor in particular has a wonderful look. This match, however, is probably the hardest to analyse. That’s almost entirely because it was over before you’d even had a chance to settle into it. It felt, almost, like watching a match on fast-forward. There was some good stuff hidden in the rush though, especially from Fandango (who’s been proving an inherent consistency I didn’t think he had). As the following tweet states, I suspect that scheduling slip-ups impacted the unfortunate length here.

Money in the Bank 2017 Participants:

Baron Corbin vs. AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
(Money in the Bank Ladder Match)

Bump of the PPV:

Nakamura Returns:

In hindsight…

WWE main events have been things of beauty recently. They’ve been able to displayย top-level psychology and athleticism from a wide range of talents, with stipulations often being used to admirable effect. This year’sย Money in the Bankย is no exception to that growing trend. It felt like the spectacle it should, bringingย that feeling to every corner of a lengthy and draining match. Some of the ladder bumps were truly shocking; nobody seemed frightened to get stuck-in and have some fun with the available tools.

Overwhelmingly, you have to give the biggest props to Sami Zayn here. I’d started to see him as nothing more than a jobber (indeed, he still is), with an annoying entrance theme. I found myself taken strongly aback by his part in this match, which saw his passion splashed around liberally. By the end, I was behind him winning the briefcase, even though it makes no sense. After his jaw-dropping powerbomb from the top of a ladder, I decided i’d start incorporating a “Talent-of-the-PPV” award, just so I can make him the first recipient. Nice one, Zayn. Now, stop jobbing.

There’s not all that much to say about Baron Corbin’s victory, except it’s aย slightย shame. I think he was one of the guys who makesย sense holdingย it, but he was easily the least of the bunch. Dolph Ziggler and Zayn were never going to win, Kevin Owens is busy being the new face of America and it’s a bit too soon for Shinsuke Nakamura. That leaves AJ Styles who, in my mind, was calling out to hold the briefcase. It would have made up for injustices he’s suffered over the past yearย andย suited his personality beautifully. Corbin was the next best choice, but it just feels tooย early for him.

In conclusion…

This was a fine PPV. The ways it fell short were actually quite minor. In the ways it caused controversy on a grand scale, I actually found myself compelled and pleased with the risks taken. On the other hand, this did have the unshakeable feeling of being some kind of transitional PPV. It seemed like a lot of it was merely scaffolding for upcoming shows. Watched out-of-context, i’m certain this would actually be a very confusing beast. Within its context, though, I believe we were supplied with an intelligent and multi-dimensional event that might require a somewhat open mind in approaching it.

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