Money in the Bank 2018 results, recap: Alexa Bliss, Braun Strowman and AJ Styles stand tall
Robert O’Neill: What a damn weekend of wrestling. Your boys Rob and Chris did the Takeover/MITB combo at the Rosemont Horizon, and whew buddy it was. We’re gonna keep it exclusively on Money in the Bank in this recap though, and there’s a lot to get to so let’s dive in.
Chris Novak: Gonna structure this about as well as we can here since we were with the live crowd. So, let’s see what we can do!
Robert O’Neill: I thought Bryan/Cass was pretty much a perfect opener for this show. Obviously Daniel Bryan was going to get a massive reaction no matter where he was on the card, so why not put him out first? I also really enjoyed this match, which I didn’t expect to do with a Big Cass match. Bryan winning was probably the right call, and I’m interested in seeing what happens next. Also Daniel Bryan is still more over than anyone on the WWE roster with live crowds.
Chris Novak: The sample size is small, but this was Big Cass’ best singles match ever. Point blank. He did a very good job in this match and having Bryan around him obviously didn’t help. Bryan, who by the way, still is fantastic at this pro wrestling thing. Bryan made Cass tap out eventually to pick up the W, and it was certainly the right call. I do wonder what this means going forward for both. Pulling a 3rd match out of these two with how decisive it’s been would probably be a mistake. So what’s next for these two? Time will tell, I suppose.
Robert O’Neill: So, Bobby Lashley and Sami Zayn had a match. It was early in the night and over quickly and Lashley won and now we can all move on, right?
Chris Novak: I hope so. The match accomplished what it sought out to accomplish. Let’s move on.
Robert O’Neill: I’ve been to two shows with Elias this year and I’ve seen a grand total of ZERO performances. It’s just not right, I gotta say. But the match between him and Seth Rollins was absolutely insane and it furthered the gap between Seth Rollins and every other pro wrestler not named Johnny Gargano for me. I think Elias has quickly become a top 10 guy, as well, and I think it’s just a matter of time before he gets the IC title and has an excellent reign with it.
Chris Novak: I’m intrigued at the fact that Rollins had to use a hook of the olive pants to beat Elias. But, “by any means necessary” is a fine way to do things and makes Elias look good himself. In that, Seth was pushed to the limit and had to go to those lengths to defeat him. It also extends this feud out longer, which is great, because I was really enjoying it.
Robert O’Neill: Right off the bat here, I want to say that the Women’s MITB was so much better than either of the two they did last year. They stopped being timid and did cool and unique spots we’ve never seen before, including a few insane things by (who else?) Sasha Banks.
Chris Novak: It was outstanding, and probably the best match on the card. Just about everyone took a bump in the match and everyone looked good and had their shine. Alexa Bliss won the match, which teed a few folks off. Listen, I will sit here and entertain your conversations about Bliss’ push and how it might be overdoing it. That’s fine, you’re allowed to think that. You’re allowed to think that there were some better options on the table. I said as much on the podcast this weekend that I think she was on the tier of people who shouldn’t be anywhere near it.
That being said, I’m gonna take a moment to look at things realistically. A great deal of the contenders here didn’t stand much a chance of winning. What it really boiled down to was that Natalya seemed like the favorite here. God bless her, Natalya isn’t the one who should’ve walked away with the briefcase. I know that, from a storyline perspective, it would’ve worked. But at this stage of her career, giving the briefcase (and eventually the championship) to someone of her age and skillset would be the wrong decision. Especially because she would turn up as the #1 heel on Raw.
And if you look at it from THAT way? There ain’t nobody on the roster right now who can play the #1 heel role as EFFECTIVELY as Alexa Bliss (Yes, I know, Sasha Banks is also a great heel. It’s also been three years now. We can keep waiting for that to happen or think the ship’s sailed). So when you take it from that perspective? I have ZERO issue with this decision. It’s far better than Charlotte adding the only freaking accolade left besides a Rumble win. Far better than someone like Lana winning, and far better than Natalya winning. Ember was never winning (it’s far too early for her). Measuring it up with Naomi, Becky or Sasha will probably only get you angry. But this wasn’t a bad move, or nearly as bad a move as some think.
Robert O’Neill: Also, if I may, Alexa Bliss is fantastic and I’ve been with her since day one, so it was a big night for me personally.
Chris Novak: We know, Rob. We know. Okay… Jinder-Roman happened next and the crowd trolled their asses off for almost the entire match. Don’t know what really happened here, but Roman won after a Spear. Let’s move forward again.
Robert O’Neill: The crowd was bad and that’s pretty inexcusable, but also I don’t know what WWE was thinking would happen putting Roman and Jinder in a match in Rosemont in 2018. For as much as Vince seems to think Roman is still THE GUY, he sure sets him up to fail as often as possible.
Carmella-Asuka time. Carmella played the perfect chickenshit heel in her match against Asuka, and that’s really what she was going to have to do the whole time. She went for the champions’ advantage countout before Asuka dragged her back in and kicked her for a while, and then when it looked like Asuka was going to win, another Asuka appeared at ringside, and the other Asuka removed their mask to show that it was JAMES ELLSWORTH! Asuka was stunned and Carmella picked up the victory. This was awesome.
Chris Novak: I’m here for The Big Hog being back, baby. The match itself was pretty good! Much better than the disaster that was Charlotte-Carmella at Backlash. Some very good stuff here.
Robert O’Neill: Alright. Let’s talk about Styles vs. Nakamura. I think it was the best match of the ones they’ve had in WWE and it was violent and action-packed like a Last Man Standing match should be, but the wrong guy won. The problem with Nakamura losing is he’s now lost to Styles three times and logically shouldn’t get another title match. PLUS he turned heel and named his own stipulation for this match and still lost. Combine this with Shinsuke’s losses to Jinder Mahal last year for the title and it becomes very murky to see what exactly WWE is doing with him
Chris Novak: At the same time, it’s not like he isn’t super over still. I think he’ll be fine. It’s weird, but I think he’ll be fine. The two had the best match of their entire series of matches this spring so that was a nice, positive takeaway here.
Robert O’Neill: Now that she’s had two matches and they’ve both been above average, are we ready to say Ronda Rousey actually does deserve to be here? I mean, credit to Nia Jax as well, she controlled the match and has shown a ton of improvement in what was likely her best main roster match to date, but Ronda was excellent. And of course the ending was absolutely perfect as Alexa Bliss got her revenge on Nia and won the title again and all is right in the world.
Chris Novak: I think we can be ready to say that about Ronda. She was very good last night in just about every aspect. A couple things she might need to improve on, but all in all, it was a fantastic performance. Credit to Nia as well who stepped her game up in a big, big way.
Alexa’s cash-in was done extraordinarily well, and the crowd was hot as ALL hell for it. I look forward to the eventual Alexa-Ronda program. Bliss is probably going to die.
Also, imagine that scenario happening, only with Natalya instead of Alexa. LOL.
Robert O’Neill: God, that would have been awful. Would have made me check out for the Men’s MITB match which was unsurprisingly very good. I think the thing I’ll remember most from a live perspective is how loud the crowd was for all eight entrances. I’m not sure it came across on TV because I haven’t rewatched the show yet, but all eight guys got a massive pop and people were scream-singing Bobby Roode’s theme song and the New Day intro. It was awesome. Also Aiden English’s “Go Cubs Go” riff in his Rusev rap was phenomenal.
(Editors note: MAJOR love to Columbia Chicago alum Aiden English for repping Englewood on the front of his jeans Sunday night.)
As for the match, it was what you think it would be with these eight dudes. Chaotic and excellent. I loved the fact that Kofi was the New Day’s pick, I loved Braun getting buried by all the ladders on the set early in the match, I loved Miz’s facial expressions whenever he was confronted by Braun, it goes on an on. They also didn’t do a bunch of insane spots like they did in last year’s match, which was nice to see.
Chris Novak: Braun winning legit shocked me, to be honest. I thought this was Miz’s briefcase to lose, but the right guy still won. Braun is obviously over like rover, and the eventual Braun-Brock confrontation should hopefully be great stuff this time unlike No Mercy last year. Owens bumped like a freaking madman (like always) and had a huge spot where he got thrown off a ladder through a table. Say what you want about the dude, but he ALWAYS goes hard in these matches. Everyone looked great in this match, to be honest. Really enjoyed it.
Robert O’Neill: What a show. What a weekend. Roman/Jinder aside, the crowd was amazing and engaged all weekend and we were rewarded with a pair of excellent shows. Money in the Bank was a blast and definitely didn’t feel like a four-hour show. I look forward to seeing what WWE has in store for us going forward. A
Chris Novak: I’m going to give Money in the Bank a solid A-. Probably the best main roster show this year other than the Royal Rumble, in my humble opinion. Only down parts were the Lashley-Zayn match and the Roman-Jinder one, and the latter is probably best viewed with the crowd muted, anyways. Other than that, a super fun show.