Previously on the Best and Worst of Money in the Bank: Shane McMahon defeated The Miz in a steel cage match, LARS SULLIVAN dominated, and Brock Lesnar won a Money in the Bank ladder match he wasn’t even scheduled to be in. It feels like that show happened 15 years ago now, doesn’t it?
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Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Money in the Bank for May 10, 2020.
Let’s start off this year’s column with our top story,
Two People Died During The Money In The Bank Ladder Match And The Announce Team Didn’t Even CARE
In case you missed it, Thomas “Tom” Pestock, who plays “King Corbin” on the mildly unpopular WWE Friday Night Smackdown series, murdered two of his co-workers during a professional wrestling match by hurling them off a roof and into the parking lot from 85 feet up. Firstly he murdered 31-year veteran Rey Mysterio (real name Óscar Gutiérrez), then he immediately murdered Satanic kickboxer Aleister Black (real name Asmodeus). It’s a tragedy not seen in the sport since disgraced former champion Hulk Hogan knocked his opponent off the roof of Cobo Hall following their themed monster truck sumo battle at Halloween Havoc in 1995.
Remember when R-Truth got blown up and killed by MacGruber on Raw and just kept coming to work and wrestling like it didn’t even matter? Not only did that set a precedent for how WWE employees independent contractors are being treated during a global pandemic, it set the STANDARD for WWE pay-per-view in 2020. Just last month, a major match at WrestleMania ended with two characters dying and a third being buried alive. He got better. This month, the pay-per-view ends with two guys being so nonchalantly killed that the announce team doesn’t even mention it. Michael Cole pipes in to say “this is how Otis won Money in the Bank” for everyone who literally just watched it, but remains silent during multiple homicides in the workplace.
The best part of all of this is that they make a point to show us multiple times via helicopter cam that they aren’t actually fighting on the “roof” of WWE Headquarters, they’re fighting on the little raised platform in the middle of the roof that’s usually for smoke breaks and bored corporate lunches. So as soon as Mysterio and Black have plummeted to their doom we pan back to show that the spot where Corbin threw them “over the edge” has a big crash pad and a bunch of scaffolding affixed to make sure nobody dies. I’m not saying you should actually put people’s lives at risk, but when you’re a billion dollar company doing a bunch of pre-tapes, maybe don’t make such a point of showing us how fake it is? Or go in the other direction and have Graves be like, “actually Cole you can’t argue with the fact that Corbin threw Black and Mysterio over a ledge, but not THE ledge, as dressing up in costumes and fighting over a magical briefcase shouldn’t result in death.”
By the way, in case you think I’m taking this too seriously — I am — AJ Styles tweeted about how Corbin is “on the run from the law” after doing this, and Aleister Black tweeted out a picture of a ghost. Yes, this is entertainment, but the hazards are real.
Two additional notes:
- Aleister Black should stay dead but still show up to wrestle as that ghost, and wrestle full matches with a sheet over his head like he’s Casey Affleck in A Ghost Story
- they should do the Royal Rumble on the roof of WWE Headquarters, where you can only eliminate your opponent by throwing them off the building. Talk about every man for themselves!
Of Cameos And Food Fights
Almost no aspect of this match (these matches?) made sense, but I love the ongoing idea that when they aren’t performing at WWE events around the world, WWE Superstars live (often in full gear) in WWE Headquarters. It’s just a big case for Vince McMahon’s action figures. Money in the Bank cameos included Brother Love taking a shit, John Laurinaitis scooting around on a scooter in the cafeteria of WWE HQ at like 9 PM on a Sunday, someone who is definitely not Doink the Clown “cameoing” as Doink the Clown, two of four McMahons (more on them in a minute), and Paul Heyman, who received the first strike in the semi-annual “this is a show for stupid people and babies” WWE food fight. At least we got out of this one without any dessert mysteries.
Daniel Bryan And AJ Styles Vs. Dinosaurs
I’m not sure I’ll be able to phrase this like I want, but Vince McMahon in his office on a Sunday night not watching the WWE pay-per-view and vigorously hand-sanitizing after yelling at Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles for trying to do wrestling for him is the most on-the-nose meta moment since Vince screamed I DON’T GIVE A DAMN WHAT YOU PEOPLE WANT at a live crowd as a “fictional character” participating in a “storyline.” Have you guys tried entertaining instead? Have you tried being 6-foot-4 and full of muscles?
Anyway, Vince’s cameo was pretty funny even if he looks 10 years older every time we see him now. It looked like Daniel Bryan was stepping into a tomb to fight a Draugr Overlord. My only real complaint is that AJ Styles didn’t launch into an explanation of how Vince’s Tyrannosaurus skull isn’t real, and that the devil put dinosaur bones in the ground to trick us. Into the flat, flat, 4,000-year-old Earth.
Side note: It didn’t amount to much in the long run, but my favorite part of the match might’ve been Styles seeing a poster of The Undertaker and revealing that he’s got MAJOR PTSD from, you know, being put into a grave by The Undertaker and covered in dirt until he died. That manifests itself into him thinking (?) Undertaker is randomly in one of the rooms, when he’s clearly off somewhere showing a WWE camera crew his latest dog whistle. I wish they’d had an arm reach out of the casket and fist-bump Aleister Black, though.
Dana Brooke Is A Fucking Moron
The stupidest moment of this entire thing is when Dana Brooke bursts into the conference room and pulls down a Money in the Bank briefcase decoration, thinking she’s won the match. Stephanie McMahon (in a very clear “person not in the room at the time of filming” cameo) more or less Skypes in to tell Dana that the real Money in the Bank briefcase is on the roof. You know, like they announced several weeks ago, and have been saying 15 times per episode ever since. Maybe the cartoons at the top of the show screaming GO ON THE ROOF were too subtle? Dana just sits there staring at the briefcase like, “whaaaat,” until Carmella can calmly walk in, remove a picture of herself from the wall, and smash it over Dana’s head. Dana, being dumber than a shit full of bricks, rejoins the match in time for the food fight but never removes the picture:
Dana Brooke’s having a killer 2020. Added to the Smackdown Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania and then removed due to being quarantined, then added to the Money in the Bank match so they can have a character too stupid to know how it works even after almost a month of explanation. At Backlash they should put her in a tables match and have her try to win it by jumping through a window.
Asuka’s Dance Fighting Was Delightful
I couldn’t decide which GIF to use here, so in addition to her weird elevator dance here’s her weird balcony dance and her weird lobby dance. I’m not sure who decided Asuka’s character should be “Japanese woman who drank so much coffee she’s freaking out, unable to clearly communicate, and leaking snot out of her entire face,” but it works. And hey, speaking of Asuka …
Here Are Your Winners
Asuka becomes Miz Money in the Bank after fending off last-minute competition from King Corbin, who doesn’t seem to understand that there are two briefcases and two sides of a ladder so theoretically you and someone in the other match could be up there at the same time but not be enemies. At least she didn’t have to kill anybody for it.
Later, after the murders, Corbin and AJ Styles are battling for the men’s briefcase when that spoony bard Elias shows up and Jeff Jarretts him in the back with a guitar. Styles can’t hold onto the briefcase, possibly due to rigor mortis, and drops it into Otis’ hands. I think NFL referees would say Styles “had control” of the briefcase before dropping it and is the rightful winner of the match, but whatever, Otis won a ladder match without ever climbing a ladder. He had a big food fight, though!
So that leaves us with Asuka and Otis née Dozovic as your Monies in the Bank. I hope Asuka cashes in on Charlotte Flair and becomes NXT Women’s Champion again. Anything but Becky Lynch’s reign ending without someone beating her in a real match. Otis has said in interviews that he wanted to use the Money in the Bank briefcase to cash-in on the Tag Team Championship, but that seems shortsighted. Lucha House Party got a title shot by interrupting one promo and saying “lucha lit” twice. You can get tag title shots easier than you can get COVID tests. The pessimist in me feels like this is going to lead to Mandy Rose manipulating him into giving it to HER for a women’s title shot — whether or not you can cross gender lines with the wrong colored briefcase is beside the point, as WWE has established that none of the rules matter anymore, it’s just whatever they say it is — thereby proving that women are catty and jealous and “nice guys” are easily manipulated dopes. Who knew a billionaire in his 70s who struggled with physical and emotional abuse as a child in 1940s North Carolina would have a dark view of the world?
Even worse: Otis loses the briefcase to Dolph Ziggler somehow, and Dolph cashes in just to get powerslammed by Braun Strowman. GET THE FANS BACK SOON PLEASE THIS IS NOT FUN.
Also On This Pay-Per-Vew
… because the Money in the Bank ladder match squared is the only thing that mattered!
Smackdown Presents: Additional Smackdown
Jeff Hardy has returned (without ‘No More Words,’ sadly) and gets a competitive but relatively easy win over Cesaro. Cesaro’s so good at professional wrestling that he can never be its star, merely the Good Hand they send out to carry people who aren’t as good as him (which is almost everyone) to watchable, functional matches. He’s like Barry Horowitz if Barry Horowitz was 6-foot-5, ripped, stronger than Mark Henry, faster than Rey Mysterio, and willing to do literally anything they ask of him. Totally makes sense why that guy still wouldn’t be the focus of your show after eight years.
Anyway, Jeff is cool but is Orange Cassidy levels of damaged by there being no crowd in attendance to react to him. Drink every time the announce team mentions Jeff’s “redemption story.” You’ll be dead from alcohol poisoning before he hits the Swanton.
The fatal four-way for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship might’ve been the most WWE thing of the night, as New Day lost a bunch of non-title matches as champions only to retain with the titles on the line at the pay-per-view. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly. The match is fun, though, although it doesn’t accomplish much that the eight-man tag from Smackdown didn’t already.
Only so much you can do with this quarantined version of the tag division, which might actually be bigger than it was pre-quarantine, and is at least a little better than what’s going on on Raw. John Morrison is still better against luchadores than he is against any other kind of wrestler, and hey, at least we got through this pay-per-view without Lacey Evans winning Money in the Bank and Forgotten Sons winning the tag titles to pair with “you’re poor because you don’t WANT IT BAD ENOUGH” Braun Strowman on the ultimate Fox-friendly Smackdown.
And then, Tamina.
Tamina Snuka’s a pretty low-hanging fruit at this point between her random pushes coinciding with whenever there’s new bad news about her dad and the fact that she looks like she’s going to throw up every time she has to do anything but calmly walk forward, so I’ll save you a bunch of, “Tamina wrestles like a confused deer that was just hit by a car,” jokes. Bayley’s good and excels at getting great matches out of low-quality opponents, but even she can’t be expected to warp the very fabric of our existence.
RIP Tamina’s push, March 2020 – May 2020. I look forward to 2 1/2 years from now when she randomly shows up again and they tell us how dominant she is!
Bray Wyatt, who is a genius:
- decides to wrestle a Universal Championship match as the haunted children’s show host who doesn’t really want to fight, as opposed to the unstoppable, teleporting shadow demon whose only known weakness is getting gently tackled by a sweaty grandpa. It’s like when Finn Bálor would break out The Demon for a mid-card match against Baron Corbin and then be like, “title match against Brock Lesnar? I should be fine without using the immense power at my disposal. Wait until he sees these red underpants!”
- believes that Braun Strowman briefly wearing a sheep mask means he’s fully and completely brainwashed. This leaves him open for a powerslam, and not even a surprise one straight out of the hug … a powerslam AFTER the hug, and after Strowman has both pushed him away and dramatically revealed that this plastic ruminant face doesn’t make him want to stop being world champion and follow around a semi-reformed swampbilly cult leader with emotional problems.
He should try brainwashing Dana Brooke. He could probably do it with a bar of soap.
Raw Was Also Here
In a match that definitely needed to be on pay-per-view, the announced bout of MVP vs. R-Truth is hilariously baited-and-switched into a Bobby Lashley squash. Truth’s pretty funny during it. I feel bad that there’s legitimately nothing for him to do now that WWE excitedly put the 24/7 Championship on a famous person and then immediately lost him forever because he has more important things to do. Maybe he should get fired and go enter the Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship tournament?
Only Seth Rollins would be cool enough to start doing a Jesus gimmick and get rid of an entrance theme called, ‘The Second Coming.’
In a vacuum (and probably outside of one, if we’re being honest), Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship was easily the best match of the night. They went full indie wrestling with it, countering and kicking out of finishers and ending with a strike exchange that makes them repeatedly stumble backwards into the ropes and bounce back until someone hits the finish. I know this is a tired thing to read already, but this would’ve probably killed in front of an actual crowd, as it’s truly futile to try to do compelling near-falls in silence. The foundation of the near-fall is in getting a live crowd to buy it, go along with it, and react to it being false. It’s the wrestling equivalent of a tree falling in the woods and EVERYONE being there, but nobody hearing it. I can’t wait for live crowds to return and give these matches some motivational context. The last couple of months have been an instructional series on how much professional wrestling relies on its relationship to the audience.
I liked the handshake bit at the end, too. It was unexpected, which was nice. I also hope that the rub of Rollins’ gimmick is that he starts as an egotistical, opportunistic “false prophet” but eventually sees the light, and thanks to sunk cost fallacy is stuck being an actual Christ figure. Matt Hardy’s not the only wrestler on the road to Damascus!
(Or he’ll Mutual Respect his way into a tag team match on Monday as McIntyre’s partner and immediately betray him to set up another match exactly like this at Backlash, I don’t know, I’m trying.)
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Night
If WWE wanted to do a throwaway MITB winner, I feel like they missed an opportunity. They should have given it to R Truth and then had him use his cash in on a shot at the 247 title
Asuka won and prevented Corbin from winning. This is like if Fauci found a cure and impeached Trump for good all on the same day.
Seth should use that submission more often, he could call it Cross Face Jesus
Bayley and Sasha loudly booing Tamina is the most reaction Tamina’s gotten in years.
The review has confirmed: AJ Styles did not have complete control of the briefcase and make a wrestling motion, is it therefore not a catch.
AJ sees dinosaur skull on Vince’s wall: “what’s that? some kind of big turkey?”
See, not that hard to put on a mask, is it Florida?
I wouldn’t say Tamina has known “leg” issues. I’d say she has known “can’t wrestle for shit” issues.
This match has had more hallway fights than a Netflix Marvel show
Please cut to Big Show catching both of them.
”Guys, I couldn’t let this happen again.”
That’s it for this year’s Best and Worst of Money in the Bank column. Backlash with a 25% capacity crowd is going to feel like WrestleMania 18, isn’t it?
As always, we appreciate you for reading and getting this far. Sorry the shows aren’t better, and more conducive to actual observations and well-written jokes. If you’re able to give us a share on social media it’d help us stay in business, and a comment down below with help keep everyone engaged and interested in the show about fat jokes and falling deaths. Make sure you’re here throughout the week for our coverage of the rest of the weekly shows, which you definitely don’t need to watch between now and Backlash. Which is called “Backlash” even though it’s not happening right after WrestleMania, and isn’t called “Payback” despite Payback also being a former PPV and the thing the mysterious hacker keeps promising will happen soon.
OH WELL, SEE YOU THEN.