Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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WWE Money in the Bank in Review: Divas Get Some Spotlight, AJ Shines Bright as Referee

Hola, everybody. It is I, the one and only Bobby here to bring you your recap of last night’s WWE pay per view, Money in the Bank! I’m sure we didn’t think we were going to even get a recap, but WWE blessed us with some bountiful action in the form of a six Diva tag team match. Said bout pit our Divas Champion, Layla, alongside Kaitlyn and Tamina Snuka against the trio of Beth Phoenix, Natalya and Eve Torres.

But in other news, we also got to see the debut of AJ as a referee (I think), as she dons the black and white stripes and comes between the two men she’s been at the center of, in Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. Did AJ make her choice Or just crank up the crazy even more and leave us wondering what’s going through her skeptic mind?

Our official review of the action below:

Divas match

Positives: I thoughts maybe we would get some random Divas Title match thrown on the card when I saw there were only four matches planned heading into the event. My only problem was no one was really built to challenge Layla so it would’ve been weird seeing her defend against someone random. And if it was Beth, we would’ve already seen that match multiple times. I’m happy they mixed it up and put some women on the card who don’t usually get matches on PPV because it felt fresh and different. Props, WWE!

I enjoyed the match (and the fact they got single entrances… I had to check and make sure I wasn’t watching a WWE ’12 feed for a second). I thought the ring work was good, everyone seemed crisp, and nothing came off slow or awkward. Plus, all six actually got to get into the ring and nobody just stood around doing nothing! That in itself is a huge accomplishment when it comes to these multi-Diva matches.

Sue me, Kaitlyn is a favorite of mine. She works her butt off and delivered stellar work on NXT Redemption, so I was elated to see her finally get a match on pay per view. She deserves it and I hope this is the start of great things for her.

I thought Beth was the star of the match. It’s no secret Beth is a great wrestler, but I just felt like she was on her game tonight. I think most of my love for her in this match stems from the way she took the finish (as much as I hated it for making little sense, but more on that below). Tamina’s superkick looked like it murdered her, and then she falls right into the Lay-Out. Not many people could’ve made that look as devastating as Beth did, so kudos to her on a great job.

Negatives: I absolutely hated the finish. Nothing against Layla, but her winning for her team was the worst possible outcome this could’ve had. With no Kharma appearance (if that’s even possible, who knows?), this match needed to establish a number one contender for her title so it felt like it took place for a reason. Whoever got the pin could’ve now had a built in feud with Layla (and one that she so desperately needs), but alas nothing happened and it kind of just felt like something we’d see on TV. I would’ve had Kaitlyn be the one to pin Beth Phoenix to continue her build up from Superstars because I felt that was a huge win for her and they didn’t capitalize on it. For some reason they don’t seem to want to go with Natalya, and I’m kind of shocked they didn’t even go with Eve. We’ve seen Layla pin Beth over and over, so it didn’t really make the match feel like it served any sort of purpose.

It didn’t feel short because each Diva got some time to shine, but I think I read that the match as a whole was only three minutes. No match should be shorter than Ryback’s!

Also, poor Layla. Her reign is falling into what I call “Natalya Syndrome” where she just beats people with the same move week after week. No feuds, no storylines, just matches where she wins. This type of role only works well for a person you believe can decimate the entire roster. Layla is like 5’2″! Nothing against her, but I mean come on (laughs), she needs some sort of actual feud. The division consists of more than just Beth Phoenix so give Layla a feud!

Match Rating: 2.5/5. I don’t really feel fair with this because there was nothing bad in the match and the ladies worked hard, but when it’s three minutes I feel weird rating it the same as some of the past title matches we’ve seen on PPV.

AJ as Referee
Positives: I know this isn’t Diva related, but the match between Punk and Bryan was incredible! Yes, I’m upset it wasn’t the main event, but I’m sure you could pretty much go up to anyone and they’d share the same reaction. Still, main event or not, it stole the show and delivered on so many levels. We know Punk and Bryan are capable of nothing but spectacular showings, but they know how to make each one of their matches different from the last and it’s part of why this story has been so great. I don’t feel like I’m watching the same match over and over like I do with most feuds that surpass a few months, which I think should be commended on both of them.

AJ, my shining beacon of hope in the WWE. I love AJ. She’s my favorite Diva as I’m sure anyone who knows me can attest to. The success she’s getting from this story makes me happy for her because she’s attaining everything she ever dreamed of and worked so hard to get. I didn’t feel like AJ was overbearing at all as a referee, which is something I worried about heading into the match because if she took away from Punk and Bryan in ring at all, fans would probably not be happy with her. I absolutely loved that she went to the back in the middle of the match since it let them shine and made her moment coming back at the end feel special since we weren’t wondering why she wasn’t “crazy” the entire time and it only kicked into gear towards the end. When she came back, I just sat watching in awe because I didn’t know what she was going to do next. Like my friend Nessa said on Twitter, not having any idea whatsoever of what’s happening next is so rare in WWE, but they managed to do it last night. AJ plays this role beyond belief, and I’m forever in shock at the level of stardom she’s reaching since it feels like yesterday we were watching her wrestle Naomi on FCW!

Hallelujah! I know this storyline has its detractors, but this is the most I’ve ever been into a story on main TV since… almost ever? Nothing comes to memory of topping it. I did NOT want it to end tonight because it’s fun actually having something to look forward to that you know will get air time and devotion. I don’t think I can put it into words how I feel about the story and the people who dislike it, because Cryssi already put it succinctly in her fantastic Raw Redux last week. I will say that I think people should be happy that this much is being put into a Diva. So what if it’s not happening to the entire division? Would you rather have a Diva being treated like a main event level talent while the rest still compete in matches or them all having no characters, stories, or time to shine in the ring? I said this earlier, but I honestly feel we could have another feud that could reach Mickie/Trish level of intrigue and it would still have people saying the champion has been in this feud too long and needs to move on to other challengers. I guess you have to come to expect that nothing will make every single person happy, but this makes me happy and for that I will forever support and continue with it.

Negatives: None! I love it! Like Ryback, I want to be fed more and more for always and eternity. I know the ending wasn’t what people wanted, but personally, I’m not that bothered because I didn’t want the story to end yet. Maybe it’s my own personal bias because I’m loving actually looking forward to Raw and SmackDown again now that I know we will get development in this every week, but I’m not looking forward to the day this has to eventually stop. Until that day though, I will forever enjoy the brilliance that has helped to soften the blow of losing NXT Redemption and continue on my days recapping WWE love triangles.

What did you think of Money in the Bank? Tell us in the comments!

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