The Money in the Bank Ladder Match Competitors Staked Their Claim at Winning the Briefcases
We saw something similar to this two years ago on Raw, but sadly, this wasn't nearly as entertaining. On the bright side, Kevin Owens kept me engaged with his mic work and Baron Corbin shaving his head is a good look for him. I will say, though, that this did nothing to get me more excited for either Ladder match than I was before. By this point, I'm just ready for the build to Money in the Bank to be over more than anything so we can move on because I feel like I've seen every combination of these men and women against each other over the last month and a half.
Natalya def. Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks and Ember Moon in a Fatal 4-Way Match
As tired as I am of multi-person matches after seeing so many of them on the road to Money in the Bank, this was an excellent bout with strong performances from all involved. They more than made the most of the time allotted to them and there never seemed to be a dull moment. I figured Bliss would win by pinning an "injured" Natalya after someone else laid her out, but it was actually reversed with Natalya forcing Bliss to tap out for the victory.
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre def. Breezango
When Ziggler and McIntyre were the first ones eliminated from last week's tag team Battle Royal, I was hoping it would lead to McIntyre turning on Ziggler in the not-so-distant future and breaking off into singles competition. That could still happen soon, but they appeared to be on the same page here and that's disappointing. They're a quality tandem and I appreciate their intensity, which is what we saw in this squash match, but I just hope this isn't for the long-term.
Roman Reigns def. Sunil Singh
I would argue that was a classic bait-and-switch tactic from WWE, and while that's exactly what it was, I didn't have a problem with it because no one was looking forward to Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal in the first place and they'll be facing off at Money in the Bank, regardless. Of course, Reigns made short work of Singh only for Mahal to attack Reigns afterward. It was a basic angle that effectively furthered their feud, even if their current program does nothing for me.
The B-Team def. Heath Slater and Rhyno
As I've noted on a number of occasions recently, The B-Team are a fun little undercard act, but I just don't view them as legitimate threats to the tag team titles, and thus I couldn't care less about them vs. "Woken" Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt. They scored yet another win this week, but that didn't change anything in my eyes. Meanwhile, Hardy and Wyatt simply feel like they're phoning it in with their promos and it's a shame.
Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins Interrupted Elias
Elias did his usual shtick by playing a song while bashing the audience as well as Rollins, only to be interrupted and sent packing from the ring moments later by Rollins himself. Rollins then did the obvious by smashing Elias' guitar and the crowd ate it up. I loved how Rollins even praised Elias beforehand and I get the feeling that their Intercontinental Championship match will be one of the better bouts at Money in the Bank.
Ruby Riott def. Bayley
I know I'm not the first person to say this, but Riott has been killing it since coming to Raw in the Superstar Shake-up. I'm happy she's been winning more often than not and her matches tend to be above-average. I found this encounter between Bayley and Riott to be better than their bout at Backlash and it once again resulted in a victory for Riott. The Riott Squad humiliated Bayley afterward, but Banks was nowhere to be seen, so look for that to be a talking point next week.
Ronda Rousey Attacked Raw Women's Champion Nia Jax
Perhaps turning Jax back into a heel is for the best because she comes across as so scripted in situations such as this one, but I'm still not in favor of how lazy and inconsistent the turn was. Rousey is a much better talker when she's kept short and sweet, so she did well for herself here and the attack on Jax gave her a boost of momentum heading into their Raw Women's Championship clash. There's been a ton of chatter from fans that this could close out Sunday's pay-per-view and I honestly believe that would be the wrong move because of how bad the bout could be.
No Way Jose def. Curt Hawkins
Hawkins dressing up as one of Jose's conga dancers so he could try to get one over on Jose was very smart and something we haven't seen from him before. Unfortunately for Hawkins, he was hit by Jose's finisher in a matter of seconds and had his losing streak extended. Having this be brief was for the better, because the crowd was already drained and didn't need to sit through a pointless drawn-out match.
Sami Zayn Attacked Bobby Lashley During an Obstacle Course
Good god, this feud just won't end! I'm convinced by now that Creative is intentionally making everything about this storyline as stupid as possible because every one of these segments with Zayn and Lashley has been horrendous. Needless to say, this was no exception. Sure, Zayn got a measure of revenge by laying out Lashley, but I doubt it will matter in the end because he's bound to lose to him at Money in the Bank. Then again, does anyone truly give a crap either way?
Braun Strowman def. Kevin Owens, Finn Balor and Bobby Roode in a Fatal 4-Way Match
Much like the opener, this was a fantastic Fatal 4-Way even though there was nothing at stake. That said, they did a wonderful job throughout the night of teasing that Owens, Balor and Roode would have to team up to take out Strowman, and ultimately that is exactly what they did. Despite that, it wasn't enough to eliminate Strowman, who won the match. The story told and the in-ring action were both top notch and all four Superstars deserve credit for a hell of a main event.
The go-home show for Money in the Bank (at least on the Raw side) was an underwhelming one. Granted, the two Fatal 4-Ways were the highlights of the night, but they meant nothing, which is the general theme of WWE programming these days, and therefore nothing on these shows is must-see. Most of the middle progressed storylines ahead of Money in the Bank, but if I wasn't going to be in attendance for that event in Chicago, I wouldn't be anticipating it nearly as much as I have other installments.