Friday, August 19, 2022

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Money In The Bank in Review: More than just a briefcase

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History was defined at Money In The Bank as the very first female holder of the title was crowned. We also saw a solo in-ring debut from one Ravishing Russian… so let’s see how well they both went down.

The first match of the night is the very first Women’s Money In The Bank! The ladies all make their way to the ring – with Carmella having a slightly remixed beginning to her theme – to start the contest.

Once the ladies are in the ring, the match begins.

Each woman is given their spotlight moment; Charlotte Flair has a Twisted Bliss-esque attack from the top rope, whilst Tamina inserts an impressive Samoan Drop as well as hitting the others with a ladder. Becky Lynch and Natalya find themselves victim of being smashed into the sharp object too. Carmella also manages to implement a Stratusphere onto Becky.

Towards the end of the match we see Lynch climbing the ladder whilst her opponents are all knocked out. Unfortunately for the Lass Kicker, James Ellsworth is on the opposite side. He decides to then tip the ladder over, knocking Lynch out.

After failing to pick up his laid out friend that’s a girl, Ellsworth decides to climb the ladder himself, with the support of the crowd. He then picks up the briefcase and drops it into Carmella’s arms.

The bell then rings, but the referees get into a big discussion about whether Carmella really did win. However, James then takes ahold of the microphone and announces her victory, so the two then escape to the back to celebrate.

After the match, Becky Lynch discussed her frustration with the result. She insisted that no matter what she does, and no matter how hard she works, somebody else will always cheat her out. Whether it’s someone in a mask or in a furry sweater, they will always outdo her.

A few of the ladies of WWE also vented their frustration on the event:

Whilst General Manager Daniel Bryan and Commissioner Shane McMahon also chimed in:

The next match for the women is the title match between Naomi and Lana! On the pre-show, Booker T suggested that Naomi has been overestimating her opponent. However when the champ was interviewed, she made it clear that she isn’t afraid of Lana and is a fighting champion.

The contest is a pretty quick one. Naomi has some flashy moves and Lana inserts a lot of screaming. Lana gets some offense in, but Naomi proves to be tougher than expected after kicking out of her Spinebuster finisher. At one point however, after Lana is venting her frustrations to the referee, Miss Money In The Bank Carmella skips to the ring with James and referee Dan Engler by her side. She is about to cash in the briefcase, however decides to just watch the match instead.

Lana then prepares Naomi for a second Spinebuster, but is then quickly put into a submission – the same one that forced Alexa Bliss to tap out at Wrestlemania 33 – and gives up.

Carmella then teases another cash-in, but then decides not to, despite Naomi being all for it.

Naomi is then interviewed backstage and insists that she wasn’t surprised by Lana’s huge attempts. She states that when one is in a title match, anything can happen, so the champion must come prepared for the worst. On the topic of the new Miss Money In The Bank, Naomi insists that she has had a target on her back ever since she gained the title. From Charlotte to the Welcoming Committee, she has always been prepared. She also states that whether it is Ellsworth or Carmella, she’s ready to defend the title.

On Talking Smack, the topic of a cash-in is brought up, but the champ believes that she would still be the champ regardless. She insists that every woman should’ve had someone helping to make things fair, but Booker T insists that as it was No DQ, it was already fair enough.

The final women related action tonight features none other than the return of the First Lady… Maria Kanellis! Maria, coming out to a very loved-up entrance with her husband Mike Kanellis, announces her return and demands the respect of the WWE Universe. Things are looking up for her, and I can’t wait to see it fold out.

Thoughts: This night was very controversial. From people feeling offended by the events to those seeing it as nothing more than “heel heat”, it was definitely an interesting show.

Firstly, the title match. I went in expecting a botch fest and received a reminder of the five minute 2011 era matches. Not the two minute ones, the five minute ones that felt like fifteen minutes because they were so rare.

The match wasn’t bad, but in the current era of women’s wrestling, it was far from good. Had this been 2011, I would’ve seen it as a stellar contest. But it’s not. Naomi carried the bout to the best of her ability and made sure it wasn’t entirely forgetful – though I’m not sure that was even a possible task to begin with.

Lana did a decent job. She doesn’t have much of a move set, nor does she have an interesting personality, but she did okay. There weren’t any noticeable errors, but for a pay-per-view title match, you should expect more. However we all know how Lana works, so if you expected anything more than what we received, you might have played yourself there.

I’m happy that Naomi was able to perform tonight, but I’m happier that she no longer has to face Lana. The champ is one of the best the company has, so she deserves a higher profile match. But this was her first pay-per-view title defense, which tends to always be a throw away match anyway. So it is what it is.

Now onto the elephant in the room: the Money In The Bank Ladder match!

The result was – for lack of a better term – ridiculous. The purpose was to generate some form of heat to Carmellsworth, but this match was more than what it got – or at least it should have been.

It’s understandable that this is a storytelling show. We need to see stories and we need to see characters. And to be fair, the idea of Ellsworth taking down the briefcase was a good idea – had it been the third match. Or the fourth match. Or even the second. But this was the first. The very first.

When people are going to look back at the very first time women broke the glass ceiling and managed to get a Money In The Bank Ladder match, the image of a man taking the briefcase down and becoming the spotlight is what they’ll see. Carmella was sat on the ground whilst Ellsworth was high up, taking down the briefcase. That is far from “iconic”. It’s more embarrassing than it is iconic.

And the excuse of “but when a woman does it” does not apply here.

When Maryse helped a man take down the briefcase in 2010, it wasn’t after years of men being told “no” and being subjected to two minute matches with no stipulations. It wasn’t after years of being brought down based on gender in a company run by women. It wasn’t after years of trying to be seen as tough competitors, only for the ending to be reduced to a joke. That was never the case for men. They have always been at the forefront of the WWE, sports entertainment, sports, and the entertainment world in general. This was a match that was supposed to inspire little girls that want to be the next Becky Lynch. It was supposed to touch the hearts of the next Charlotte Flair. But instead, it told those girls that a joke was more important than a woman being the spotlight here. It was one moment, one small but striking moment of a woman taking down the briefcase, that was all that was needed, but we didn’t get it.

It makes sense that Carmella is a heel and has been teaming with Ellsworth for this to happen. Of course it does. But this exact scenario was not what was needed. He could have pushed Becky off and allowed Carmella to do it. Let the woman be in the spotlight. Let the woman get all of the hatred for it. It’s a woman’s match! But a man took the spotlight and will go down in history as the first person to take down the women’s briefcase. It was supposed to be about women making history, not women making his-story.

But, heel heat!

The match itself wasn’t bad, but could’ve been better. Tamina was definitely the star of it, with her constant appearance – despite that one moment. But thirteen minutes was way too short… And with the men getting more than twice that amount of time, added to the fact that a random tag team match took place, it’s pretty ridiculous.

Hopefully we shall see some form of redemption on Tuesday, but the thought of Carmella losing the briefcase is what is frustrating to me. She’s the perfect holder of it; she has the sass, she has the persona, she has the general aura of a Money In The Bank winner. So let’s pray that WWE do not take it away from this hardworking, talented woman. She deserves this briefcase and has the ability to elevate it to where it needs to be. Just let the scenario be about her. Let the story be about the women.

Are you happy with the result? What do you think will happen on Tuesday? Who do you think should challenge Naomi? And when will Carmella cash in? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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