This Week in WWE: Money in the Bank becomes much, much clearer

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Robert O’Neill: We open Raw with a bang as Alexa Bliss is here to tell us who will be in the Men’s and Women’s Money in the Bank matches!

Chris Novak: So the men’s participants wind up being Baron Corbin, Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre and Ricochet. Allow me to take a little issue here. On one hand, I understand why these guys are in. On the other hand, I have no idea why these guys are in. Ricochet is fine. He’s the least of my gripes here. He’ll do some awesome aerial acrobatics that will make everyone’s heads turn. And I guess I understand Drew being in it as well, as they’re intent on heating him up. But can we please move on at some point?

Every other division seems to be intent on trying to move on from the past except upper card on Raw. I don’t get why some of the new blood on the show couldn’t be in this match. Which begs the question of why a lot of these guys stayed on Raw in the first place. It’s not that I think the match is going to be bad, because it’s not. It’s just the fact that I think they could’ve been better served by putting some fresher names in this match.

Anyways we got a tag team match afterwards. It was fine. The babyfaces won. Good stuff here, I suppose. Good stuff. But again, my rant still holds true.

Robert O’Neill: I think your rant really summed it up for me. We don’t need Braun/Corbin/Drew still around the top. Let others be in it and shine. You can elevate them even if they don’t win. The tag match was pretty enjoyable though.

Chris Novak: The Usos are out next. They’re facing The Good Brothers, who are now apparently on Raw I guess? The Shakeup ended two weeks ago, guys. Don’t know why this movement is still continuing here. The Usos won the match, which lasted about 10 minutes. Naturally, it was pretty good.

Robert O’Neill: Well, that was fun. It’s two good tag teams. Perhaps The Good Brothers can be used more or perhaps they can realign with AJ Styles again at some point or something. I don’t know. They’re leaving soon apparently.

Chris Novak: Afterwards they played a video of Dash and Dawson shaving each other’s backs in the bathroom. Okay? I guess? I have no idea what the point of this all is, but sure? This is going to lead to good matches at least, but this is a weird way to contrive all of that.

Robert O’Neill: There are so many directions they can take, and this is the one they choose. That’s wild.

Chris Novak: MizTV with Bobby Lashley and not, conspicuous by his absence, Lio Rush. Hey, remember how 10+ years ago these two were on the same brand? Weird, but true! For some reason, Bobby Lashley was talking about himself in 3rd person. Lashley made fun of Miz’s dad, and that spins itself into a match.

This was a quick one. Shane McMahon interfered on more than one occasion and Miz lost. Shane got in a beatdown after the match and choked Miz out. I guess we’re intent on keeping this feud going. Sure. Sure… sure.

Robert O’Neill: Shane is feuding with two future hall of famers at the same time in Miz and Roman. HIS POWER.

Chris Novak: The Viking Raiders pretty much squashed Gran Metalik and Kalisto. They’re not surprisingly getting over right now because they’re gigantic ass kickers. I want more out of these guys going forward, and hopefully they proceed with that.

Robert O’Neill: That’s fine with me. Keep building them up.

Chris Novak: Our second edition of A Moment of Bliss of the night goes down, as we find out who the Raw Women’s MITB competitors are. They are NATALYA... DANA BROOKE… NAOMI… and, of course, ALEXA BLISS.

Such is life right now with Raw. I can understand and rationalize every pick here. Dana might be a wild card here, but it’s cool, I suppose, that they’re giving her a PPV check and an opportunity. Ideally you would’ve liked to have seen Ruby Riott be in it, but I’d rather they flesh her out again as she’s probably going to be on her own.

Alexa and Naomi get in some verbal jousts after AMOB, and that leads to a match. The match was… completely fine and inoffensive. Naomi beat Alexa, which is the norm, pretty much, as she pretty much has owned her from Day 1 (one of the only to do so). My only advice for Bliss after this match? Invest in Nikes! They won’t let you down like your Converses did.

Robert O’Neill: I’m fine with the participants. I think it could make someone like Dana look good but the winner should probably be someone like Bayley. The match was fine.

Chris Novak: Another WILD ass Firefly Fun House vignette aired in between here. And I mean wild. This stuff is just hilarious and is, arguably, the best part of Raw. Whatever that says about the brand right now… well, yeah.

Robert O’Neill: I’m sold. These are awesome.

Chris Novak: Rey Mysterio got interviewed backstage by Chuck Caruso. His son Dominick is here too! Mysterio said he’s ready to get back up after being knocked down the past few weeks.

Becky Lynch got into a war of words with Lacey Evans. Long story short, Becky wants to go double duty because this eventually led to a big pull-apart brawl between the two of them. Which, to be honest, was one of the highlights of the show. Loved this segment, quite frankly.

Robert O’Neill: This was great. Becky brought the fire and shied away from some of the other stuff she’s been doing on the mic lately. Really looking forward to this match.  

Chris Novak: The Revival lost to Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder again. Rob is probably mad about this.

Robert O’Neill: I’m mad because it’s stupid. They have a good tag division now and they’re gonna keep having the belts on the comedy act. I don’t get it.

Chris Novak: Sami Zayn cut another one of his promos, dragging the fans. I wonder what this is eventually going to lead to. At some point, I mean, as entertaining as it is, SOMEONE has to interrupt him and inject themselves into this, right?

Robert O’Neill: I would imagine, but I have no idea who!

Chris Novak: Rey Mysterio defeated Samoa Joe, which means he’ll probably get another United States Championship opportunity. Probably at MITB, since they’re both not booked for it. Or it’ll happen next week or something! Who knows? Who’s to say?

Robert O’Neill: It’s neat that they’re bringing Dominic back in the fold, though. That was clearly the direction during Wrestlemania if Rey didn’t get hurt. This match was pretty good for two old guys who aren’t quite what they used to be.

Chris Novak: AJ Styles and Seth Rollins are here to sign the contract for their MITB Universal Championship match. As far as contract signings go, this was pretty run of the mill. Brawl at the end of it and all. I’m still predicting Styles is going to turn at some point in this feud, and this interaction did nothing to change my position on that.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: This was a… fine show that was bogged down just by some weird decision making. The choices to keep certain wrestlers on this brand and not send them for others seems to be hurting this brand right now. They could certainly use some more depth and some repositioning for some people. All in all though, this show was… fine. C+ worthy, as there were no real standout matches or anything, but it wasn’t the worst show either.

Robert O’Neill: This is the first Raw in a while that I didn’t enjoy. Some of the matches were good, but the segments were kinda bad and pointless. There’s nowhere to go but up on the road to Money in the Bank, and it wasn’t as bad as some Raws from last fall, so I’ll give it a C.

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Chris Novak: The road to Money in the Bank continues in Columbus. Becky Lynch vs. Bayley for the first time EVER in WWE proper is set to happen tonight, which should no doubt be a lot of fun.

Robert O’Neill: But first, Kofi Kingston is here! He’s in seemingly high spirits despite Kevin Owens turning on him last week.

Chris Novak: Some (looks at J.R.) might critique that but it fits him, no? It fits the gimmick? I don’t mind it. Kofi’s here with Michael Cole, who’s interviewing him in the ring. Cole being here to portray a level of seriousness is a good move.

Robert O’Neill: Kofi and Cole are talking about Kofi finally winning the title, but now he has a big target on his back, and Kevin Owens came at him. Kofi said if Owens wanted to challenge him, all he had to do is ask. Kofi would have given him the opportunity. Owens is out now and says it’s great that he got his moment, but moments are fleeting. But Xavier Woods comes out from behind and attacks Owens!

Chris Novak: An effective segment to be sure here. I feel like they could’ve done this a while back and still been fine? But better late than never, I suppose. I suspect we’ll get Owens vs. Woods later on in the show.

It’s now time for Becky Lynch vs. Bayley. This should be a doozy. Hey, surprisingly enough this match was really good. Becky got the win over Bayley after she maneuvered her way out of the Elbow Drop, and then put Bayley in the Dis-Arm-Her. Becky and Bayley then both got attacked by Charlotte Flair afterwards. All in all, terrific couple segments here between the match and the post-match beatdown. You have to set up the post-Becky Lynch life on SDL, and you get the sense that that’s exactly what’s going to be the case here.

Robert O’Neill: Yup. I’m sure plenty of people are mad about Bayley losing to Becky and Charlotte in back to back weeks, but in the big picture, they’re positioning her to be in a big program over the summer and that’s good news for us all.

Chris Novak: Another Aleister Black vignette aired. Not sure where all this is going but, we’ll see!

The Hardys are here, but not for good reason. Jeff is on crutches and they’re addressing their future as Tag Team Champions. It seems inevitable that they’re going to drop them, but we’ll see what happens.

Sure enough, that’s what happened. They’re blaming Jeff’s injury on Lars Sullivan. Which, like Lars or not, is a smart and savvy move for them to give him heat and gain sympathy for The Hardys. Lars then comes on out afterwards, and Matt’s ready to fight him. Lars throws Matt out of the ring, Lars goes after Jeff but Lars beats Matt up as he looked to save his brother. Jeff still wanted to fight, even as he hopped on crutches. R-Truth then came in with a chair to the back, but Lars was unaffected. Truth kept fighting on but he was planted down as well.

Robert O’Neill: Asuka and Kairi defeat a couple jobbers as Peyton Royce and Billie Kay are on commentary. That got the job done, because The IIconics are very entertaining.

Chris Novak: The IIconics are hilarious. End of story.

Mandy and Sonya banter backstage about who should be in MITB between the two of them. Eventually, Sonya tells Mandy that it should be her, so she’s going to be in the match. Hey, that’s fine with me.

Big Dog’s coming and he’s coming up next. But first, we learn that Finn Balor, Ali, Andrade and Randy Orton are going to be in the men’s MITB Ladder Match. Before the night’s over, we’re going to get Finn and Ali vs. Orton and Andrade in a tag match. Sounds very, VERY good to me to be honest.

Robert O’Neill: Roman is here to explain himself. Naturally, Shane McMahon comes out! And while Shane would love to fight Roman tonight, he’s not going to do that. Instead The B Team will both be taking on Roman and Elias will be the “special guest referee enforcer”. Alright then! Away we go.

Chris Novak: That match was super overbooked fun nonsense. Reigns won after hitting Curtis Axel with the Spear. Bit of a throwback type match, as I’d probably predict that type of thing to happen more in the year 2000 than now. Reigns looked REALLY sharp in this one, and I have to give it up to Axel and Dallas for playing their roles well here. Good stuff.

Robert O’Neill: Strong Bruce Prichard vibes on that one. All hail.

It’s time for the main event!

Chris Novak: Ali and Finn won after Ali got the pin. Match was really fun! Though that’s not surprising. A couple blows were traded after the matchup. Really looking forward to the SmackDown side of MITB, to be perfectly honest. Really digging this match on the whole, aside from the Baron and Braun factor. But that’s to be expected, really.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah, the MITB match should be a real hoot like usual. After the match, we see the final two Women’s MITB participants get revealed: Ember Moon and Carmella.

Chris Novak: The KO Show with Xavier Woods is next. Well it IS with Xavier Woods but… an ACTION FIGURE of Xavier Woods. An action figure of Big E also made an appearance. Eventually, Kofi came out and beat the holy hell out of Owens on the outside. But Owens eventually got the upper hand momentarily, before Kingston threw him over the announce table. Owens scurried away and Kingston, still in the ring, taunted him. A real good show of fire on his behalf here.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: Well, Smackdown was good again! It wasn’t great like it has been, but it was very good. Everything served a purpose and the road to MITB is looking good. Excited for next week. B

Chris Novak: Good show, not a great show. Going to give this a B as well. They did all they needed to do here to keep my attention. All I can ask for really.