Posts tagged Dolph Ziggler
Re-booking TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2018

Normally I wouldn’t do this for a B-show PPV in the middle of December, but the direction that things have been going in for the last couple of months has been pretty poor. In that case, I might as well have some fun with it. Here’s what this Sunday’s TLC PPV would look like if The Barber’s Chair booked it.

Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin - TLC Match

Source: WWE Network

Source: WWE Network

Assuming this match will still take place, the stipulation is as follows: If Strowman wins, he will receive a shot at Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship next month at the Royal Rumble, and Baron Corbin will be stripped of his GM-elect role. If Corbin wins, he will become Raw GM permanently.

What Should Happen: The Baron Corbin authority angle was fun to me in the beginning, even with Kurt Angle being placed on “vacation”. But it’s run its course (as with all authority angles), and this is where it ends. Braun Strowman wins.

What Will Likely Happen: Braun Strowman returns, makes quick work of GM-elect Baron Corbin, and a new GM will be announced on Monday. Hopefully we get a Brock Lesnar appearance as well.

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose - Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

Dean Ambrose hasn’t competed on TV since the emotional night when he turned on his Shield brothers and attacked Seth Rollins two months ago. The heat has kind of cooled off on Ambrose since then, but it’s still fresh enough to pick it back up again.

What Should Happen: If the TLC match from this past Monday is indicative of anything, Seth Rollins should lose here due to one final power play from Baron Corbin. It wouldn’t make sense to have Rollins win two ladder matches in six days, but then again what has made sense on this show since October?

What Will Likely Happen: Seth Rollins may likely be considered the unanimous MVP over the course of 2018, and he doesn’t necessarily need the Intercontinental belt at this point. It would be wise to let Dean Ambrose go over in this one as Rollins (hopefully) transitions into Universal title contention over the next few months.

Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Championship

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Environmentalist Daniel Bryan aka The NEW Daniel Bryan might be the favorite WWE version of the former American Dragon. He also helps solidify my theory that tree-hugging vegans aren’t as nice of people that they think.

Bryan’s heel turn has done wonders to rejuvenate his career, and his WWE title run has been fun sp far. AJ Styles has consistently been one of the best workers in the company, and I can’t really name a bad match that he’s put on since debuting in the Federation three years ago. We all know what these two can bring, and I’d love to see them top the match they had on Smackdown a few weeks ago.

What Should Happen: For someone who was as beloved as Daniel Bryan was for the last five years, if you’re going to make him a villain, you have to go all out with it. To keep AJ Styles strong, have him win by DQ as Daniel Bryan goes crazy with a brutal attack as he further cements himself as the top dog on Tuesday nights.

What Will Likely Happen: I don’t know what’s in store for Daniel Bryan as we merge onto the Road to WrestleMania, but he’ll be WWE Champion for the good portion of that ride.

Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

After legitimately breaking Becky Lynch’s face and taking her out of Survivor Series, WWE’s used the incident to propel Nia Jax towards another battle with Ronda Rousey six months later. This is one of three matches I don’t really care about, but it will have some long term ramifications to it.

What Should Happen: Make no secret that I am Ronda Rousey’s #1 hater, but the honeymoon phase with her has long passed, and I can see myself eventually having some competition if Ronda isn’t booked as someone we should care about. Jax has been positioned similarly to how she was in NXT, albeit this time she’s been given more mic time, which is another factor to me not giving a shit about what goes on in this feud. Six months after their initial battle, Rousey now has a little more experience and should be able to command the battle better this go around. She needs to look good in victory.

What Will Likely Happen: I can honestly see them formulating the matchup the same exact way that it was done at Money in the Bank, this time with Rousey actually getting a chance to close it out. Either way, she’ll be walking into 2019 still the Raw Women’s Champion.

Asuka vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair - Triple Threat TLC Match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

This absolutely NEEDS to main event the show on Sunday night. (The Man) Becky Lynch has been incredible since winning the belt at Hell In A Cell, and her 2019 is already shaping up to be a great one if they book her the right way. Unfortunately, I see her dropping her title this weekend in one of two ways...

What Should Happen: Asuka started off the year strong by winning the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble, but a loss to Charlotte at WrestleMania has derailed any momentum she had until just recently. Winning her first main roster championship would help her close out the year strong at a point when it seemed her WWE career was dead in the water.

As for Becky Lynch, this would give her the opportunity to jump ship to Monday nights, as we know that she has some business there waiting for her in the form of Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey. Perhaps a Royal Rumble win is in line?

What Will Likely Happen: Charlotte wins yet again *insert eye roll emoji*. Asuka has still yet to beat Charlotte one-on-one, and it’s likely that a Charlotte victory can build to a rematch in New Jersey this spring.

Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Bálor

This stat may be shocking if you haven’t paid attention, but Finn Bálor is undefeated in PPV singles matches since debuting on the main roster (6-0). Hopefully they play up this fact, as it’s something simple that can help the fans invest into this match even more.

What Should Happen: Can we get a Demon King appearance on this PPV? Drew Mac can surely afford a loss to THAT incarnation of Finn Balor.

What Will Likely Happen: WWE seems to have Bálor be the reliable stepping stone for others at this point in his career (not that that’s a bad thing), and I don’t expect anything different this go around as the Scottish Psychopath continues to run roughshod over the Raw roster. Drew McIntyre has asserted himself as a force on the red brand since his return in April, and now seems primed to reach the heights expected of him in 2009. A win here keeps him strong going into the Royal Rumble, as he can position himself as the favorite to win the annual classic.

The Usos vs. The New Day vs. The Bar for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

I just want to get one thing off of my chest before proceeding with this match preview: Why the FUCK is this not a TLC match or at least a ladder match?

With that being said, This is a sleeper for match of the night. We already know what The Usos and New Day can bring to the table, and The Bar has slowly crept up to legendary tag team status (I recently realized that they’re in their FIFTH title reign in only two years). Should be a great match that will possibly open the show.

What Should Happen: There hasn’t been a whole lot of heat with this feud, but it isn’t necessary when you have three great teams like this. The Bar have been on a good run here, but I can see WWE wanting The New Day to set a record of title reigns (plus I’m bias), and a win here would bring them that much closer.

What Will Likely Happen: Since The Bar stood tall on the go home show this past week, that usually spells doom come the PPV. The Smackdown Tag Team belts have been playing hot potato a bit this year, so it would be smart to stick with a team and build them into the new year.

Elias vs. Bobby Lashley - Guitar Ladder Match

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

Before the main event of every PPV, there’s a moment where I go “Weren’t so and so supposed to wrestle?”, only to find out that match already happened on the pre-show. This is that match and I’ll probably never watch it.

What Should Happen: Bobby Lashley has been EXTREMELY lackluster since coming back to WWE. And while the partnership with Lio Rush had some potential early on, it’s very meh at this point. Have Rush pull a James Ellsworth and help win the match for Lashley, but have him receive his comeuppance post-match.

What Will Likely Happen: A likely pre-show main event, Elias wins to hype the crowd up for the main course.

Cedric Alexander vs. Buddy Murphy for the Cruiserweight Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

Aside from their boss having an R. Kelly fetish all of a sudden, the 205 Live guys have been getting a lot of shine the past couple months. This past Tuesday, Mustafa Ali had a fantastic match with the WWE Champion Daniel Bryan, and while typically being relegated to the pre-show in the past, the Cruiserweight title has been defended on the main show in two of the last three Network exclusive events. Hopefully that trend continues this Sunday night, and I expect Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander to shut the place down.

What Should Happen: Continuing on with my “Let all the black wrestlers win tonight” narrative, I’m going to choose Cedric Alexander for no other reason.

What Will Likely Happen: It’s awfully soon for Buddy Murphy to drop the title, and I see him continuing his run of dominance over the Cruiserweight division. Time for some new blood to step up and present a new challenge.

Natalya vs. Ruby Riott - Tables Match

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

I don’t typically like when real life deaths are included in a storyline, but I can understand why it’s done, especially when all those involved agree with it. However, I really don’t care about this feud and can’t wait for it to end this weekend.

What Should Happen: I don’t believe crowds are invested enough in these two women enough to have Ruby Riott win. Riott has antagonized Natalya over Jim Neidhart’s death this entire feud, so there’s really only one way to end this and that’s with the Hart family name standing tall.

What Will Likely Happen: Sasha Banks, Bayley and Ember Moon aren’t doing anything noteworthy this evening. Let them help Natalya even the odds

Fabulous Truth (R-Truth and Carmella) vs. Mahalicia (Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox) - Mixed Match Challenge Finals

R-Truth and Carmella’s chemistry has been a factor in building momentum for their run through the tournament. And while Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox have slowly but surely gotten on the same page, there are some kinks that still need to be worked out if they want to close strong. It was harder to get invested in this season of the Mixed Match Challenge as injuries and kayfabe write-offs didn’t help at all. At the end of it all, the two healthiest teams from each brand persevered, and now have a shot at coveted #30 position in their respective Royal Rumble matches.

What Should Happen: I always look forward to a surprise #30 entrant each year, but Dolph Ziggler’s overall performance this past year made it a little lackluster. So I guess I can lower my expectations for 2019 since I know neither of the two on the men’s side have a chance of winning. Although, there’s a bit more credibility with Jinder Mahal being a former world champion which you can go off of, rather than R-Truth who has been an amazing comedic act for years.

What Will Happen: We get a Royal Dance Break at #30 as Fabulous Truth comes out of this one victorious. Should be a no-brainer, but I can’t wait to see if Truth tries to enter the Women’s Royal Rumble.

Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton - Chairs Match

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

Sidenote: I was in the 8th grade when these two first feuded on Smackdown in 2005-06. Glad to see they can both haven’t lost a step since.

Rey Mysterio has only been back in WWE for about two months, but it’s like he never left. The chemistry that he and Orton have when working together is amazing, and they won’t disappoint on Sunday.

What Should Happen: Randy Orton has been on a tear since his heel turn at Extreme Rules, and it wouldn’t make much sense to have that randomly stop here. The Viper’s run of dominance should continue on.

What Will Likely Happen: It’s a toss up as to who WILL win this match, as they can go either way with it. However, Rey Mysterio will always be in a great position to recover after a loss (see Jeff Hardy at Hell In A Cell) to where it wouldn’t be an issue.

Ruthless Aggression - Katie Vick & No Mercy

Sans Pierce this week, Rob and Chris relive another week of RAW and Smackdown from 2002, including the infamous and unobjectively terrible "Katie Vick" angle. Plus Brock and Taker end their feud inside Hell in a Cell at No Mercy, and Torrie Wilson's dad gets wet.

All that and some talk on Smackdown 1000, Evolution and Crown Jewel.

Follow Chris: @ChrisMNovak
Follow Rob: @RobertONeill31

WWE Hell in a Cell 2018: Recap, reactions and analysis

Hell in a Cell went down on Sunday night in San Antonio! Rob and Chris react to what was a great show… until a confounding ending turned up.

New Day vs. Rusev Day - SDL Tag Team Championships

Chris Novak: Okay, hot out of the gate, this PPV is. This match was on the Kickoff Show but they proved they could have easily main carded this. I really enjoyed the pace of this down the stretch. Aiden busted out some great offense that included his own version of The Accolade. It ALMOST looked like they were going to get it, when Rusev hit a Machka Kick on Big E, who was trying to break it up. BUT, nevertheless, New Day prevailed and New Day retained. Going to give this a hearty ***¾. Did the right team win? Who’s to say?

Robert O’Neill: I feel like the tag team match to open any WWE PPV never disappointed. It’s the perfect way to get things going and get the crowd into it, and there’s a reason they always make sure to have tag matches lead off.

Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton - Hell in a Cell

Chris Novak: Okay! So. That was nasty… violent… everything in between. Orton got real nasty when he used A DAMN SCREWDRIVER THROUGH HARDY’S EAR WHY DID THAT HAPPEN???? Both guys pulled off some ridiculous spots and Orton was left pretty cut up to say the least. I’m not even sure how to rate this match but it was easily the most violent HIAC match in years.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah we need to talk about that screwdriver spot. It was gross. But yeah Orton was cut up on his leg and back and then Jeff tried to do a crossbody thing from hanging on the top of the cell through a table and Orton rolled off the table. It was pretty brutal.

Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch - SmackDown Live Women’s Championship

Chris Novak: THEY DID THE DAMN THING! Becky became the new SmackDown Live Women’s Champion. She did so by countering a Spear and quickly slapped on the Dis-Arm-Her, and thus won clean as a sheet. This was a pretty terrific bout, if you’re really into limb work and psychology. And no surprise, I am just that kind of fan! I will give this **** and it’s both of these ladies’ best matches in quite a while.

Robert O’Neill: I’m kind of shocked they did this. I thought they would have Charlotte win by DQ and have Becky beat her down, but WWE deserves credit for knowing what they had (organically) and not screwing it up. It was pretty much Daniel Bryan in 2014 all over again.

Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre vs. Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins - Raw Tag Team Championships

Chris Novak: OKAY THIS MATCH WAS ALSO VERY GOOD!!! Not that it’s surprising when you consider who was in it, but wow. The finish was terrific. Seth did his Superplex off the top rope, and went to transition to a Falcon Arrow, but Drew snuck in and hit the Claymore on him. Dolph flopped down on Seth like a fish and got the 1-2-3. I’m going ****½ on here. Loved how they let this match build up and loved all of the fun tag-style psychology that they had in this match. They did some different things in this match and they all really worked.

Robert O’Neill: What a shock, Seth Rollins had another great match! Credit to all four of these guys, though. This was probably the best tag match on WWE television this year, as far as the main roster goes.

AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe - WWE Championship

Chris Novak: This match whipped ass pretty much. It was a little bit slow-paced but was incredibly hard-hitting. It appears they’re doing some kind of controversial finish, where Joe made Styles tap out, but had that happen AWAY from the camera angle. SO, Joe doesn’t have the belt. They’re gonna likely run this again at Super Show-Down. I will give this ****¼ as well. These two absolutely, ABSOLUTELY crushed it. I don’t know if I was expecting that tonight, honestly, but they showed OUT.

Robert O’Neill: I would like if these blood feuds would start with brawling for once instead of chain wrestling and headlocks, but beggars can’t be choosers. Aside from that, the match was good. Joe teasing the muscle buster was a nice touch and the finish leaves for intrigue for Smackdown this week.

The Miz & Maryse vs. Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella - Mixed Tag Match

Chris Novak: That match was… funbad! Some sloppiness involved, but that was probably more expected than anything. Still, the crowd was engaged and everyone played their part. Maryse won with a (sloppy) roll-up. Like I said, maybe some parts were sloppy but I had a ball watching that match. ***¼ for me.

Robert O’Neill: Maryse is the smartest worker in the company. Her only offense was the pinfall. The match was bad and their match at Evolution will be bad but whatever. It keeps the feud going.

Ronda Rousey vs. Alexa Bliss - Raw Women’s Championship

Chris Novak: Alright, that was pretty okay. Rousey’s selling was tremendous and Alexa worked well enough for this match to get the job done. They did go longer than anticipated but when you have such a small card, these matches have to go long to fill time. Maybe next time they can add some more matches. Nevertheless, I’m not going to hold that against the performers here. They did their jobs and did it well. I will go with ***¼ for that one.

Robert O’Neill: That was good! It went a bit too long, but the card is short, it happens. I think Alexa being out of the title picture now will be pretty good for her, and I’m interested to see where Ronda goes next. I think they should probably start having her matches be quicker, but that can be a slippery slope.

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman - Hell in a Cell for Universal Championship

Chris Novak: Alright, I don’t know if I have much positive to say about this. Brock Lesnar came back, wrecked shop, and the match ended in a no contest. A HIAC match… ended in a no contest. I’m guessing this is building toward the Saudi show, because both Braun and Roman are booked for Super Show-Down. Whatever. The match itself was fine but felt like it was lacking something. This really felt like it was planned in the last minute. I’ll give it a generous *** but to be honest with you I probably could’ve gone lower. An otherwise great show ends with a loud dud.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah, I mean, I’m one of the only Brock Lesnar fans left in 2018 and it was cool to see him show up and kick the door off the cell and then use the door as a ramp, but he really shouldn’t be the one we’re talking about after a Hell in a Cell match he wasn’t in. The Lesnar stuff and the Pack/Shield fighting and Rollins/Ziggler doing the same spot Rollins did with Ambrose a couple years ago where both went off the cell through a table seemed dangerous and unnecessary. Strictly speaking about Braun and Roman’s parts of the match, it was wholly unmemorable. Mick Foley being involved makes even less sense now, and he 100% accidentally did a three count early in the match when Braun was covering Roman. They have a lot of work to do tomorrow on Raw to fix this.

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: The majority of this show was good! The first four matches were excellent. Is that enough to make the entire show good? Sure. They could have made the Ronda/Alexa match shorter and done a lot different with the Braun/Roman match, but all in all this was a good way to spend four hours. B

Chris Novak: Let’s run through the star ratings again.

New Day/Rusev Day - ***3/4
Hardy/Orton - ****
Charlotte/Becky - ****
Ziggler & Mac/Ambrose & Rollins - ****1/2
AJ/Joe - ****1/4
Miz & Maryse/Brie & Bryan - ***1/4
Rousey/Bliss - ***1/4
Roman/Braun - ***

From the outside this looks like a marvelous show. And to be honest, it was! That is until the ending. I can’t really get over how mismanaged Braun-Roman was. But at the same time, it wasn’t an all-time bad ending or anything. Just a stupid one. So I’ll give HIAC a solid B+.

This Week in WWE (8/6, 8/7): Ronda's star shines in the main event of RAW

The road to SummerSlam is nearing its end! Rob and Chris are here to dish on the first episodes of Raw and SmackDown Live of August. 

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Christopher Novak: An “intriguing” show awaits us tonight. Ronda’s in singles action on Raw for the first time ever, as she’s facing Alicia Fox. Also, The Revival is facing the B-Team in a non-title match, Bobby Roode will take on Mojo Rawley and Boss ‘n Hug faces The Riott Squad once more.

Robert O’Neill: Will it keep me entertained to the point where I don’t go watch Better Call Saul after the first hour and catch up later on DVR? We’ll see!

Christopher Novak: Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon’s Personally Appointed Constable Corbin are starting off the show tonight after last week’s chaotic finish. Kurt talks about how Ronda's RAW in-ring debut is tonight, and takes a shot at Brock Lesnar in the process. He says Ronda and everyone except Brock is a champion in his book. Corbin tells Kurt to watch it, but Kurt says he's getting this off his chest. He says Brock has no class and that he's a man of his word. Since Heyman could get him to the ring, his job is still intact.

He mentions that Heyman will be interviewed by Renee Young later. He goes to add on to what he was going to say about Brock, but Roman Reigns' music hits and out comes the #1 contender. Roman says Kurt should've known better, and says he shouldn't have kicked him out, because "If the Big Dog is out, then who's gonna protect the yard?" Corbin makes a face, but Roman questions him about what he did last week. He says Corbin ran (which he did!) away. Kurt says he hopes that Roman kicks Brock's ass. Corbin says a GM shouldn't pick favorites, which begs the question: Do you WATCH the product, Baron? 

Baron says he didn't do anything because he was worn out from fighting Finn Balor. Corbin reminds Roman that Finn won the Universal Title and that Roman didn't. Kurt says he could've acted like a man last week. Baron questions whether Kurt is the "man" here and says he just makes matches. Kurt says Corbin's right, he just makes the matches, and says that we're going to get Corbin vs. Roman... right now! 

Robert O’Neill: It really is amazing how much this gimmick change has worked for Corbin. He’s so excellent now.

Christopher Novak: The match, so far, is going about as you'd expect it to. Which is to say that it's pretty solid enough to keep our attention here. Huge Deep Six towards the conclusion of the match leads to a near fall. Corbin then inadvertently nails a cameraman and walks into a Superman Punch. NEAR FALL, however. Corbin then decides to leave the ring and walk away… until FINN BALOR shows up! He, essentially, corners Corbin who walks into ANOTHER Superman Punch! Roman rolls him into the ring, Spear, you know the rest.

Robert O’Neill: I enjoyed it. Reigns’ TV matches are back to where they used to be a couple months ago after he was kinda meh for a few weeks.

Christopher Novak: Yeah, the match was perfectly fine. 

Kurt Angle is backstage with Seth Rollins, who wants to take care of both Drew Mac and Dolph Ziggler. Angle requests he find a partner… Gee, I wonder… who he… could pick… to help… him… out…

Mojo Rawley and Bobby Roode are here to fight now.

Robert O’NeIll: Bob got the win. It was an alright match I just… don’t care about him, ya know? It’s not his fault. They’ve just done nothing to make him interesting him his time in the main roster. It’s all just the music.

Hey, it’s Elias! Perhaps he’ll get to play his music uninterrupted for once.

He did for a little bit! But now Bob Lashley is here, of course. Elias has his own camera crew because he’s a star now, and he’s not happy that Bob is stealing his spotlight. Bob gets the upper hand though as he beats Elias down and makes the personal camera crew film it. 

Christopher Novak: I suspect we’ll get a SummerSlam match announced out of this at some point down the road.

Robert O’Neill: So Seth Rollins needs a tag team partner tonight against Drew and Dolph! Tyler Breeze offered (and pitched the name CROSSFIT BREEZUS) but Roman stepped in and said he’d be the partner instead!

Meanwhile Titus O’Neil is facing Rezar, and Rezar authored some pain. No surprise there.

Christopher Novak: None whatsoever. AOP gets their dose of “revenge” after what happened last week when Akam lost to Apollo Crews. Anyhow, The Kevin Owens Show is about to return. Jinder Mahal is the guest. Let’s see what happens!

So, what happened was Owens talking himself up, how he’s going to be “KO IN THE BANK” and then saying Jinder is facing Strowman. Mahal didn’t seem to like that… and Strowman didn’t show. At FIRST at least. Turns out that Strowman was creeping up from behind and tipped over the stage they were on.

Braun vs. Jinder will occur after the break. It was a short match, and Jinder won by DQ. Jinder didn't seem like he MEANT for that to happen and, naturally, Braun went after him. Sunil Singh then took the briefcase and... ummmmmmmmm he got BOOTED to Gainesville. 

Robert O’Neill: They did a pre-taped interview between Roman Reigns and Corey Graves. Later they have an interview between Renee Young and Paul Heyman. Neat.

Christopher Novak: The video package was REALLY good. But that’s par for the course.

Robert O’Neill: According to Stephanie McMahon via Baron Corbin, Roman can’t team with Seth, so the tag match is now a handicap match. Or is it…

Christopher Novak: Before we find out, let me just say: Roman punching Corbin in the ribs was absolutely hilarious.

Robert O’Neill: So it goes on as a handicap match and Dolph and Drew win and… no one saves Rollins. Thought it would be Ambrose, but no.

Christopher Novak: Well, Cole DID explicitly say that Ambrose wasn’t coming back. I guess they did mean that and they weren’t trying to pull a fast one on us.

Robert O’Neill: The B-Team has new music and it’s excellent. And they’re facing The Revival! Neat. After a few minutes, Deleters of Worlds beat down all four guys. The tag division is still kinda just there. 

Christopher Novak: No idea what they do with this situation except putting the belts on Revival and letting them cook after. Besides that? Don’t even have a clue.

Robert O’Neill: Renee interviews Paul Heyman, who brings some real good emotion as to why he doesn’t know what Brock Lesnar is thinking and how violent he’s been. Good stuff.

Chris Novak: Heyman has turned it up a notch recently and isn’t giving the same old promo every week. I’ll commend him for that.

Robert O’Neill: Bayley and Sasha are teaming up again against the Riott Squad. And as Bayley and Sasha get some momentum rolling, someone pulls Liv Morgan out of the ring to safety, and it’s Ruby Riott! And in the midst of this distraction, Sarah Logan rolls Sasha Banks up for the victory.

Christopher Novak: That is definitely one way of making things Even Steven between the two. Hoping this means a match at SummerSlam - whether it’s on the Kickoff Show or the main card.

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Robert O’Neill: Time for our main event! Alicia Fox vs. Ronda Rousey. This isn’t gonna go well for Alicia.

Christopher Novak: No they… are… definitely setting things up for Alicia to get massacred. Although so far… Alicia is holding her own. That is until Ronda gave her THAT GLARE. She threw Fox down a few times and eventually made her tap out. Ronda then was nearly attacked by Alexa, but she threw her out of the ring. She then said it didn’t matter what Alexa did, because at SummerSlam, the Women’s Championship belongs to her.

Robert O’Neill: That was a really good way to end the show. Ronda’s a star.

GRADES

Robert O’Neill: Ya know, that was a fine show. I was entertained for the entire three hours and didn’t really find much to complain about. I mean, Roode/Mojo wasn’t my cup of tea and I think the Elias/Lashley stuff was unnecessary but all in all it was a fine show. B-

Christopher Novak: Like most Raws lately, the good stuff was pretty good; the stuff in the middle lied in the middle; and the forgettable stuff was quite forgettable. This Raw was just... kind of there. I'll give it a C+/B-. Nothing inoffensive, but nothing out of this world, either.

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Christopher Novak: And we’re off! Fun show on the horizon here. New Day vs. The Bar will go down to see who faces The Bludgeon Bros. at SummerSlam. Also, Becky Lynch & Charlotte will try to coexist against the IIconics, AND we’re hearing from AJ Styles and Randy Orton. Speaking of Orton, he’s kicking off the show. He got a mega pop from the Orlando crowd which… sure, I suppose that makes sense, even if he IS playing as the villain.

Orton says he’s going to become so violent, you will want to change the channel. He, however, says they won’t change the channel because the people still believe in superheroes, like Jeff Hardy, to save the day. But according to Orton, he won’t. Orton says he will erase all the superstars that get more respect than him. I didn’t realize that Orton was starring in a remake of The Eraser. Eat your heart out, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He then starts to go and list all of his accomplishments, and says nobody respects him even with all that said.

He says everyone has made their choice and so has he.

Robert O’Neill: Randy Orton is bad. That’s my contribution. Meanwhile Becky and Charlotte are backstage having a discussion about their tag team match against the IIconics tonight and Becky isn’t thrilled with Charlotte, but Charlotte tells her it’s fine. But is it?

I guess it is! Because Becky and Charlotte got a win and looked cohesive.

Christopher Novak: That is not the result I expected but it’s the result we were given.

Kofi did a hilarious impersonation of an interviewer with Big E and Xavier. The New Day are still damn good. This is an evergreen statement.

AJ Styles is here now to respond to Samoa Joe’s comments last week, and Styles says Joe made it personal when talking about his family. Styles says he wants to be one of the best WWE superstars for his family, and while it doesn’t make him special because all parents make sacrifices, it’s what he’s supposed to do. He says he wants to be there for his kids when they’re in peril, but it’s what angers him the most.

He points out that Joe knows his kids and his parents, and calls back to a time before SmackDown Live, the two of them shared an apartment. But he threw it away because he mentioned the family name. He says he won’t let Joe get his hands on this title, and at SummerSlam, he’s not walking out as WWE Champion, and in fact, he’ll be lucky to walk out at all.

Robert O’Neill: That was some unsurprisingly excellent promo work. I’m really quite excited for this feud to continue.

Time for the Zelina/Lana rematch!

Zelina picks up yet another win after Aiden English tries to help Rusev with Almas on the outside, and inadvertently knocks Lana off the top rope. Seems like trouble in paradise for Rusev Day.

R-Truth wants a shot at Shinsuke Nakamura at Summerslam, and says he’s going to do it the same way everyone gets a shot -- by pinning Carmella! That was hilarious. Anyway, he’ll face Shinsuke later.

Miz is doing an interview “from the set of Miz and Mrs.” in which he runs down all the reasons why Daniel Bryan is awful, but Bryan attacks him from behind! I’m beginning to think he wasn’t on the set of Miz and Mrs. after all!

Christopher Novak: Bryan got the upper-hand for a moment, but after trying to fend off some security guards, Miz smashed a plant pot over his head and walked out on his own two feet. Bryan, meanwhile, was left reeling. Miz cut a pretty sensational promo and this match will more than likely rule at SummerSlam. I'm here for it.

Robert O’Neill: Shinsuke beat R-Truth, so no title shot for Truth, but he was entertaining as always!

Christopher Novak: R-Truth is, absolutely, sensational to be honest. To be moving like that at 46 years old is a credit to him.

Robert O'Neill: The Bludgeon Brothers beat THREE local talents in a tag team handicap match!

Christopher Novak: I enjoyed the ribs on commentary during this match. It was hilarious.

Robert O'Neill: New Day and The Bar closed out the show (and the Smackdown #1 contender tag tournament) and holy cow it did not disappoint. They went for about 30 minutes and the New Day picked up the victory after a hell of a match. They’ll face the Bludgeon Brothers at Summerslam!

Christopher Novak: An absurdly good tag team match. Easy MOTYC and among the best TV matches we’ll see this year. Good Lord, tag team wrestling is fun when it’s THAT good.

GRADES

Christopher Novak: Enjoyed the show as usual. The tag team match at the end of the night makes me want to give this an A-, so I will. A couple other things here and there were okay but this show was great yet again. SmackDown Live continues to hit the right notes.

Robert O’Neill: Smackdown was excellent as usual! I think A- is right where I was with it as well. Excited to continue to see the Summerslam build.

This Week in WWE: Bayley says Sasha ain't shit, Tell Hell No reunites
Raw.png

Robert O’Neill: Welp. It’s Monday, so that means it’s time for another exciting edition of Monday Night Raw!

Chris Novak: Last week’s show was quite good, so let’s see if they can make it two in a row. Optimism levels are… in the middle, somewhere. The show kicked off with them briefly touching on Vader’s passing.

Robert O’Neill: Kurt Angle is in the ring to lead off the show, along with Baron Corbin’s goofy looking ass, as a graphic announces a Dolph Ziggler/Seth Rollins Intercontinental Title match for later.

Chris Novak: I don’t know about you. But, I am enjoying this Constable Corbin deal. Thought it was funny that he demanded he be introduced as such.

Robert O’Neill: It’s fine! But he’s goofy looking.

Chris Novak: We start going on about contract disputes and Brock Lesnar, but Roman Reigns is here to interrupt things. The announce team went on about how he said Brock, the Universal Champ, isn’t “interested” in facing Reigns or the prospect of facing Reigns again. He tells Kurt he just wants to hear the explanation face-to-face.

Robert O’Neill: And now Bob Lashley is here. Yay. Anyways, there’s no longer gonna be a multi-man match at Extreme Rules because “plans changed” so both Bob and Roman want the title shot given to them OR they want to fight for it! Before that gets resolved, The Revival come out (TOP GUYS WATCH) and want a rematch against Bob and Roman from last week.

Well, holy crap. The Revival won. There was miscommunication between Lashley and Roman and that’s really the main point of this story/match but it’s still pretty neat to see them pick up a victory.

Chris Novak: This was some good stuff and some good layout to this match. Nicely done. Revival pick up a big win, Bob Lashley gets protected and Reigns loses nothing from eating that rollup (with a hook of the pants).

Robert O’Neill: And now we have The Deleter of Worlds heading to the ring as Matt Hardy will take on Curtis Axel.

Chris Novak: Hey, cool. Rey Mysterio is the pre-order bonus for 2K this year. That was a neat commercial.

Robert O’Neill: Really excited for WWE 2K this year. Anyways! Hardy vs. Axel was short, and Axel picked up a win which was a little surprising to me.

Chris Novak: It was very abrupt. After that… the AUTHORS OF PAIN finally showed up. Their Visa issues must’ve finally cleared up. They had an interaction backstage with Apollo Crews and Titus O’Neil, who said they ought to respect the backstage crew (they tossed someone into a wall). I can get behind this as a secondary feud, if you ask me. Now, anyways, they highlight the Bayley and Sasha feud and we learn that, again, they’ll be teaming up, with Ember Moon against The Riott Squad. I don’t know why we have to keep doing this kind of match, but the ends justify the means I guess. Oh, before I forget. CAPTAIN ALICIA FOX IS BACK!

AOP then squashed some jobbers. They beat them down, and then Titus and Apollo made the save.

Robert O’Neill: They still probably need a manager, but it’s fine for now!

Chris Novak: Corbin asks Angle if he enjoys putting combustible elements together for tag matches. What happens next? Well, Finn came in and the two exchanged some barbs. Then, Braun came in and said he wanted to team with… Kevin Owens… to face… Finn and Constable Corbin. It’s a tag team, strange bedfellows kind of night tonight.

Here comes Alexa and Mickie. Lex cuts a promo, running down both Nia AND Ronda. She actually got some pretty legitimate heat from the San Diego crowd here, which is a difference from what we’re used to. Here comes Natalya, who touts her friendship with Ronda before informing Bliss that they’re facing off. BUT… Nattie isn’t coming alone!

Robert O’Neill: I would like to give San Diego credit for actually booing Alexa, which is what you’re supposed to do with heels. It’s a shame that Natalya and Nia came out and ruined everything, but that’s just what they do.

Chris Novak: TO BE ENTIRELY FAIR… Nia’s hometown is San Diego.

Robert O’Neill: Natalya won because Nia tripped Alexa. Cool face move. Real nice.

Chris Novak: Match was fine. Ambivalent on the result, but champs always take losses so it’s nothing that’s unprecedented. Whatever.

Robert O’Neill: Riott Squad are getting into hijinks backstage, so it’s time for their match against Bayley/Sasha/Ember Moon.

Chris Novak: Strong start to this match. Really impressed with Liv in the early moments with Ember.

Robert O’Neill: That entire match was very solid. It ended with a roll-up which normally people would complain about in a women’s match, BUT…

Chris Novak: THINGS TURNED UP RIGHT AWAY!! Bayley jumped in the right and absolutely SNAPPED on Sasha Banks. Lit her up with furious punches. Sasha barely got any offense in. This was a full-throttled beatdown, MONTHS if not YEARS in the making. Bayley made it a point, after she’d sent Sasha into the steel steps more than once, to bring up everything she’s done to her the past two years, including last week. And also dropped a, “YOU THINK YOU’RE BETTER THAN ME, SASHA?” Popped SO hard for this. ALL of it. The crowd ate EVERYTHING up too. This was TREMENDOUS!

Robert O’Neill: No Way Jose was out for a match with Mojo Rawley, but Mojo spent his time bashing a guy dressed like a cheeseburger on the conga line instead. It was more entertaining than it sounds.

Chris Novak: That sentence is very 2018 pro wrestling.

Robert O’Neill: Meanwhile backstage, Kurt Angle is none too pleased with Bayley and tells her she’ll be attending therapy next week!

Chris Novak: Lord knows what Kurt thought he was getting himself into here. As good as Paige is at this GM thing is just as bad as Kurt is.

Robert O’Neill: Time for another tag match. We have Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens vs. Baron Corbin and Finn Balor! Can these teams get along and co-exist? Probably not. No, no, it’s not looking like they can. Well, Owens and Strowman can! Owens even did the thing Braun does where he runs into someone at full speed with his shoulder. But Corbin and Balor can’t get along and brawl up the ramp to get counted out for the finish.

Chris Novak: This was perfectly fine and ended just about as you’d expect it to. I can get behind the Owens-Strowman stuff, especially when Strowman TIPPED OWENS’ CAR OVER IN THE PARKING LOT. Braun’s hijinx always manage to sell pretty well.

Robert O’Neill: Time for the main event! As we have Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins getting… a really long time for their match. Say what you want about Ziggler’s character (which is bad), but I’m pretty excited to see him and Rollins have a 40 minute match right here.

Chris Novak: This was a legit great main event. It ended with a DQ finish, and a 2-on-1 brawl led to Roman making the save for his former Shield brethren. I have no idea what this means in the grand scheme of things as it pertains to Roman, since he’s obviously tied up with Lashley. But, we’ll see I guess.

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: When we look back on this Raw, it’ll be remembered as the one where Bayley and Sasha finally blew up, for that alone I think it deserves a high grade. Looking past that, some of the tag matches were weird and felt like Teddy Long era Smackdown, but they were all well worked and the main event was fun. It loses points for the Alexa/Natalya result and that’s about it. B+

Chris Novak: B+ show for me, too. The tags were a different way of doing things but I’m fine with it, honestly. Changes things up and doesn’t completely give matches away. As you said Rob, the Bayley/Sasha stuff really puts this over the top for me. Huge fan of it all, and hopefully next week doesn’t completely ruin everything.

Smackdown.png

Chris Novak: On to SmackDown Live. We’re kicking the show off in style with… The Miz!

Robert O’Neill: And he’s joined here on Miz TV by the Bludgeon Brothers, who helped him defeat Daniel Bryan last week in the gauntlet match.

Chris Novak: Miz is seeking answers as to why they attacked Bryan last week. As expected… they’re pretty mum about it.

Robert O’Neill: Miz is also being his general dickish self when talking to them which seems like a bit of a mistake! But before the Bludgeon Brothers can do anything, Daniel Bryan makes his way out. Anyways! We’re getting Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper tonight which is cool and good.

Chris Novak: Anything involving either of those two is considered good. So, with them together, that works for me, as well.

Robert O’Neill: And now we’re leading off the action with a Rusev/Xavier Woods match which is also perfectly fine with me! It took WWE a long time to realize that Xavier Woods should be in more singles matches, but I’m thrilled that they finally did.

Chris Novak: Rusev won what was a really fun opener here. He then cut a promo on the WWE Champion, AJ Styles, whom he’ll be facing next month at Extreme Rules. He says he’s going to take the title, and will be a great Rusev Day. Hey, that’s all hard to argue. 

Robert O’Neill: Since Shinsuke Nakamura got bit by a police dog at a live event on Monday, he’s not facing Jeff Hardy tonight. So there’s an open challenge for the United States Championship. I wonder who will answer it. HOLY CRAP IT’S ERIC YOUNG!

I like this a lot. It’s a fresh matchup for Hardy, PLUS, it’s with someone he has familiarity with.

Chris Novak: So this turned out to be a match that, as expected, ended with chaos. SaniTY and The Usos all converged to attack each other. Ultimately, this led to a six-man tag team match being made.

Robert O’Neill: Honestly, I’m here for a Hardy/Usos vs. SaniTY feud. Cause this match was a ton of fun, and I think it would do wonders for SaniTY to work with three established guys like that. We move on to Becky Lynch vs. Sonya Deville, which should be a lot of fun as well.

Chris Novak: Becky wins (again!). Removing MITB and WrestleMania from the equation, Becky has won 7 of her last 9 TV matches and her last four on SmackDown Live. She’s gaining a ton of momentum, so I can’t wait to see how they squander it. Too much? Too excessive?

Robert O’Neill: Becky’s problem remains that she’s stuck in Charlotte’s vortex. And I don’t know how she can get out.

Chris Novak: WELL, Rob. Charlotte’s out. Soooooooo… maybe she can now!

Robert O’Neill: Oh hey, it’s Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega! They’re warning the rest of the roster, again. Sure would be nice to see him in an actual match at some point.

Chris Novak: It would, but I’m not mad about it. At least I shouldn’t be. It’s not like he’s completely been forgotten about. Something had to have happened to Sin Cara for them not to be continuing that feud. So, I’m just gonna be realistic and wait on it.

Robert O’Neill: MY GOD. JAMES ELLSWORTH IS FACING ASUKA NEXT WEEK.

Chris Novak: Ellsworth issssss gonna die.

Robert O’Neill: We’ve reached the main event! Daniel Bryan is facing Harper, in what should be one of the best matches in recent memory.

After a really fun match, Bryan gets the win via DQ and the numbers game catches up to him after the match but MY GOD, KANE IS BACK! THAT’S KANE!

Chris Novak: TEAM HELL NO!!!

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: Smackdown was pretty good considering they didn’t have Shinsuke Nakamura and had to make a last minute switch to the US TItle match. Aside from that, it’s still refreshing to have Daniel Bryan back and seeing him in these fresh matchups, despite what Wrestling Twitter will tell you about how he’s being used. I’m also glad they finally realized they can use New Day members in singles matches. B+

Chris Novak: Once again, I’ll agree, Rob. B+ show here. Lot of fun stuff and Team Hell No reuniting was a legit fun moment for all involved. Popped me more than I thought it would, and popped the crowd more than I thought it would. Going forward, this should be intriguing to watch. SDLive continues to hit the right notes.

First Black Champ podcast - Drew McIntyre's sick of your shit

Money In The Bank happened and Braun didn't need to win. We tell you why and run the list of past MITB Winners.

We also talk Big Cass, his departure and if he really does have a future in the world of Pro Wrestling. Dolph winning the IC Title was Bullshit to Cam but Bang ties into one damn good GuaranDAMNTee on this week's #FirstBlackChamp podcast!

RIP Big Van Vader

Follow Cam: @ImCamQuotes
Follow JR Bang: @JRBang

Ranking the best Money in the Bank cash-ins
Courtesy: WWE.com

Courtesy: WWE.com

We are just days away from one of my personal favorite WWE events of the year, and it couldn't come at a better time. WWE has been dragging their feet through the mud creatively since WrestleMania, but things look to pick up at Money in the Bank this Sunday in Chicago.

Introduced back in 2005, winners of the Money in the Bank briefcase have experienced many ups (and a few downs) when it comes time to cashing in their title shot. Here's a ranking of all of the MITB cash-in's so far, from worst to best. I'll also be ranking the significance of each cash-in as well as the quality of the match.

19. Baron Corbin (Smackdown Live, 2017)

Courtesy: WWE Network

Courtesy: WWE Network

Significance of Moment: Meh.
Match Quality: Meh.

Not only was this the worst match, Baron Corbin just might be the worst Mr. Money in the Bank of all time. His one-month run with the briefcase was lackluster, and it's almost like there was no intention of having him win the belt to begin with.

Having interfered in a match John Cena and then-WWE Champion Jinder Mahal on the go-home episode of Smackdown before SummerSlam, Corbin felt that there was no better opportunity to cash in while the champ was still in a daze. However, Cena gained his revenge and interfered shortly after the match began, causing Mahal to roll Corbin up and retain his championship after only 5 seconds.

18. Damien Sandow (Monday Night Raw, 2013)

Significance of Moment: 1/10
Match Quality: 5/10

It never felt as if WWE had a plan with Damien Sandow from the get go, as was evident by his time spent holding the briefcase.

After attacking World Heavyweight Champion John Cena, Sandow announced that he would be cashing in his briefcase. While the match itself was pretty good, Sandow eventually was defeated by Cena and became the first superstar to lose his Money in the Bank cash in match.

17. Jack Swagger (Smackdown, 2010)

Significance of Moment: 3/10
Match Quality: 1/10

Jack Swagger never was able to catch on in WWE despite multiple attempts to get over, and this cash-in was perhaps the peak moment of his career.

After having defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Edge at WrestleMania with some illegal assistance, Chris Jericho came out to gloat on his victory. Having felt cheated, Edge would come out to attack his former partner once again. Out of nowhere, Jack Swagger laid Edge out and announced that he would be “cathing in my Money in the Bank contract”. One Gutwrench Powerbomb later, Swagger would then become the new World Heavyweight Champ.

16. Alberto Del Rio (SummerSlam 2011)

Significance of Moment: 0/10
Match Quality: 1/10

After not having the chance to cash in on CM Punk at Money in the Bank a month prior, WWE decided to permanently put an end to one of the best angles they’ve had in years by having Alberto Del Rio win the WWE title from Punk following an attack from Kevin Nash. The moment itself seemed flat, and the audience never really accepted him as champion in the months following.

15. Kane (Money in the Bank 2010)

Significance of Moment: 5/10
Match Quality: 1/10

Let's recap the beginning of Kane's summer 2010, shall we?: After defeating Rey Mysterio to qualify for a World title shot, The Undertaker was found in a vegetative state, with his brother Kane hell bent on finding out who was to blame. Two of the top suspects on his list just so happened to be Rey Mysterio and Jack Swagger. 

Fast forward a few weeks later at the inaugural Money in the Bank PPV, Mysterio retained his World Heavyweight Championship in a battle with Swagger. Swagger attacked Mysterio after the match in frustration only to be ran off by Kane, who was still on the lookout for who attacked his brother. Mysterio would continue his celebration for a few more seconds, only to be interrupted again by Kane, who pretty much went backstage for one final (and legitimate) deserved reign as world champion. Kane holds the distinction of being the first superstar to win the Money in the Bank ladder match at a non-WrestleMania event, and is also the first to cash in within an hour of winning the briefcase (and on the first Money in the Bank PPV no less).

14. CM Punk (Monday Night Raw, 2008)

Significance of Moment: 5/10
Match Quality: 0/10

Although Punk was merely a transitional champion called upon to bring the World Heavyweight title back to Raw, this was still a cool moment. Edge retained the World Heavyweight title against Batista the night before at Night of Champions (with some outside assistance), meaning the belt would remain Smackdown property. Edge showed up the next night on Raw to gloat about Raw not having a world champion to call their own, only to be attacked by a vengeful Batista. Having twice cashed in on fallen foes, Edge got a taste of his own medicine as CM Punk cashed in for his first world title in WWE. Punk’s underwhelming title reign would last about three months.

13. Sheamus (Survivor Series 2015)

Significance of Moment: 3/10
Match Quality: 0/10

After chasing the WWE Championship for the majority of a controversial year, Roman Reigns finally reached the top of the mountaintop after winning the vacant title at Survivor Series. Reigns’ celebration was short-lived however, as Sheamus would hit him with a Brogue Kick out of nowhere. He would then put Reigns away for good with another Brogue Kick, as the crowd erupted due to clear disdain for ‘The Big Dog’. The cash-in, and the timing, was perfect, even if Sheamus' reign as champion wasn't.

12. John Cena (Raw 1000, 2012)

Significance of Moment: 4/10
Match Quality: 6/10

After having won the briefcase at Money in the Bank a week prior, John Cena announced that he would be cashing in on CM Punk at the 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw. What was a decent back and forth battle was ended prematurely following interference from Big Show, who caused Cena to win by disqualification, and ultimately become the first superstar to unsuccessfully cash in their briefcase.

11. Carmella (Smackdown Live, 2018)

Courtesy: WWE.com

Courtesy: WWE.com

Significance of Moment: 6/10
Match Quality: 0/10

"Are you sure?!" - Mike Chioda.

Although Carmella's reign as Ms. Money in the Bank was considerably lackluster, you'd have to figure that they wouldn't have their first Women's Money in the Bank winner lose her cash-in match (especially after the first Women's Royal Rumble winner lost her mandated championship match).

After celebrating her win over the previously undefeated Asuka two nights earlier at WrestleMania, Charlotte Flair would be attacked by the debuting Iconic Duo. After multiple pumpfakes over the previous nine months, Carmella finally waited for the right time to cash in and become Smackdown Women's Champion.

10. Edge (Smackdown 2007)

Significance of Moment: 5/10
Match Quality: 1/10

In what is probably a testament to how great of a worker Adam Copeland was, he was called upon during one of the most injury-ridden weeks in WWE. Edge attacked Mr. Kennedy (...KENNEDY!) prior to their match on RAW for the briefcase and ended up becoming the first multi-time Mr. Money in the Bank.

Later that week, The Undertaker retained his World Heavyweight Championship after drawing Batista in a steel cage. Beaten, bloodied and battered, Undertaker would be laid out and attacked by a returning Mark Henry. Always one to live up to the Ultimate Opportunist label, Edge showed up on Smackdown, made his way down to the ring and successfully cashed in for a second time.

9. CM Punk (Extreme Rules 2009)

Significance of Moment: 6/10
Match Quality: 1/10

As mentioned earlier, Punk's first go with the World title a year prior is seemingly a footnote in history. This time around, he was more of a central figure in the title scene and less than a transitional champion.

Following a grueling ladder match with Edge to claim his second overall world championship in WWE, Jeff Hardy's celebration was cut short immediately as CM Punk would go to cash in again on another debilitated opponent, leading into a more well-deserved championship reign(s) for Punk.

8. The Miz (Monday Night Raw, 2010)

Significance of Moment: 7/10
Match Quality: 4/10

One of my favorite Money in the Bank moments saw The Miz cash in on Randy Orton.

This might be the best match quality wise to occur when blindsiding a fallen champion. Following a successful defense against Wade Barrett in the main event on Raw, Orton's moment was cut short as The Miz took the opportunity to take advantage of an exhausted RKO and won his first WWE Championship (shout out to #AngryMizGirl).

Courtesy: WWE Network

Courtesy: WWE Network

 

7. Daniel Bryan (TLC: Tables, Ladders, Chairs 2011)

Significance of Moment: 6/10
Match Quality: 0/10

After grinding around the industry for 12 long years, Daniel Bryan finally reached the mountain top in WWE.

At TLC in 2011, Big Show retained his World Heavyweight title against Mark Henry in a Chairs match that was by far one of the worst matches of that year. In typical sore loser Mark Henry fashion, he retaliated against Big Show and DDT'd him onto a pile of steel chairs. In what was a slight shocker, Bryan would simply pin his fallen "friend", and walk away with his championship. Daniel Bryan would be the first NXT star to win a World title in WWE.

6. Randy Orton (SummerSlam 2013)

Courtesy: WWE Network

Courtesy: WWE Network

Significance of Moment: 8/10
Match Quality: 0/10

If you're a Daniel Bryan fan like me, the following eight-month period may have been one of the most frustrating time periods. Making his WrestleMania main card debut the previous year, Bryan's first World title reign ended in 18 FUCKING SECONDS in the opening match. Fans clamored for him to receive another go with a top title for over a year, and seemed to finally get one when John Cena handpicked Bryan as his Summerslam opponent (much to the chagrin of Vince McMahon), with Triple H serving as the guest referee. 

Bryan would go on to defeat John Cena and win his first WWE Championship, making up for how the World Heavyweight title reign ended a year earlier...or so we thought. Following the victory, Mr. Money in the Bank, Randy Orton would tease a cash-in, only to turn around and start walking back to the locker room. However, Bryan was hit by a Pedigree from Triple H, who would count Randy Orton for the victory.

5. Dean Ambrose (Money in the Bank 2016)

Courtesy: WWE.com

Courtesy: WWE.com

Significance of Moment: 8/10
Match Quality: 0/10

This moment was special in its own right, as it saw all three members of The Shield hold the WWE Championship within 5 minutes of each other. Shortly after defeating former champion Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins was attacked from behind by Ambrose, who cashed in his briefcase and celebrated in front of the Sin City crowd. Another former Mr. Money in the Bank getting hit with some well deserved karma.

4. Dolph Ziggler (Monday Night Raw, 2013)

Significance of Moment: 8/10
Match Quality: 3/10

Shout out to Jersey for a moment, as this night was basically the OG "Night After WrestleMania" episode of Raw. After successfully defending the World Heavyweight Championship the night before at 'Mania, Alberto Del Rio faced off against Jack Swagger and his manager Zeb Colter. Swagger worked on Del Rio's injured knee throughout the match, but failed to achieve victory for the second night in a row. While having his knee tended to by officials and medical staff inside the ring, Dolph Ziggler made his way to the ring and successfully cashed with one of the loudest ovations in the last five years to follow.

3. Rob Van Dam (ECW One Night Stand 2006)

Significance of Moment: 10/10

Match Quality: 9/10

As of 2018, RVD is still the only Money in the Bank briefcase holder to challenge for a championship ahead of time AND walk out with the championship. With the impending ECW brand being launched after One Night Stand, Van Dam challenged John Cena for the WWE Championship and announced his intentions to rechristen the title as the ECW Championship. In what was easily the best cash-in match ever, the decidedly pro-ECW crowd at the Hammerstein Ballroom gave RVD the homefield advantage, as he would defeat Cena following some interference from Edge to win his first and only WWE Championship.

2. Edge (New Year’s Resolution 2006)

Significance of Moment: 10/10
Match Quality: 1/10

Edge still is the longest-running Mr. Money in the Bank (Carmella surpassed him overall by a whole week in 2018), and he waited until the best possible moment to make the first cash-in.

After defending the WWE Championship in a brutal war inside the Elimination Chamber, John Cena’s celebration was cut short by the boss man Vince McMahon, who came out to let everybody that Edge would be cashing in his briefcase. After losing an Intercontinental title match to Ric Flair earlier in the night, Edge made sure to live up to his Ultimate Opportunist moniker and head for greener pastures: the WWE Championship.

1. Seth Rollins (WrestleMania 31)

Courtesy: WWE.com

Courtesy: WWE.com

Significance of Moment: 10/10
Match Quality: 7/10*
*Factoring in the match that was already taking place at the time of the cash-in.

I struggled with the top two here, as you could make a case for both being #1. However, there were a few things considered that put this over the top.

First, it was the first (and so far only) cash-in to take place at WrestleMania. Having failed to defeat Randy Orton earlier in the night, Seth Rollins' music crashed Suplex City and became the first Mr. Money in the Bank to cash-in DURING a championship match. After Curb Stomps to first Brock Lesnar and then Roman Reigns, Rollins left Mania as the champion. There are only so many original moments you can create with the briefcase at this point, and this was the first one in nine years.

WWE Fastlane predictions

Becky Lynch & Naomi vs. Natalya & Carmella

Lincoln: I cannot wait for the dual brand PPVs so matches like this won’t happen. These women deserve better storylines, not just a throwaway match on a PPV. Enough criticism, I’m picking Becky Lynch & Naomi.

Rob: Ah, yes. The classic “this match is happening because… Twitter? I guess?” match. This will be perfectly fine because Becky and Naomi are good, Carmella is getting better, and Natalya isn’t always outwardly terrible in the ring. As far as picking a winner? I guess I’ll go with the faces. Sure.

Prediction: Becky Lynch/Naomi

Chris: SDL’s women’s division has been pretty dead in the water in the past few months. This tag team match is a decent way of getting them time, but it feels very thrown together after the last week or so. I’m not really sure who’s going to win this one because of that. So, I’ll play it safe and just say the faces win. Becky Lynch & Naomi will defeat Natalya & Carmella.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev

Lincoln: While I wish this match would happen in different circumstances, I think we all know who’s going to win. Nakamura needs a match on Fastlane to increase his momentum since he’s part of the WWE championship match at Wrestlemania 34. Nakamura wins

Rob: I can’t wait for this match. These two have all the skills to put on a great showing, plus Rusev has become the most entertaining person on all of Smackdown (thanks to Aiden English!). Shinsuke will (should, at least) win, but it’s a good win for him to get as a tune-up for his Wrestlemania match.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

Chris: I’m looking forward to this match as it’s probably going to be pretty good. Rusev and Nakamura are both extremely over with the crowd (although people thinking Nak is going to be booed in this match are hilarious). This is an easy call, as Shinsuke Nakamura will win to gain momentum towards WrestleMania. But I suspect Rusev will look good in doing so.

Charlotte vs. Ruby Riott, SDL Women’s Championship

Lincoln: Happy for Ruby Riot as she got promoted to the main roster and already has a singles match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Even with all that praise, Charlotte will retain and I feel that there will be a money in the bank fake cash-in after the match.

Rob: For as bad as the SDL women’s division is, they’ve done a fairly good job with this, having Charlotte beat Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan and having Ruby beat Becky Lynch and Naomi. I think Charlotte has to retain here, though.

Prediction: Charlotte

Chris: It’s pretty crazy that Ruby Riott is getting a Women’s Championship match on a PPV. It’s also pretty awesome. People may not realize how good she is yet, but if they give these two enough time to showcase their talents and keep all the frills and BS out of it, this will be an EXCELLENT match. SDL desperately needs a really, REALLY women’s match because… well… the well is really dry in that department. Especially compared to RAW. Charlotte will retain here, and I am honestly clueless as to what they do at Mania. Which is both good and bad.

The Usos vs. The New Day, SDL Tag Team Championships

Lincoln: We are getting another New Day / Usos feud but there is an interesting element in play, The Bludgeon Brothers. I have a feeling that this will be a DQwith The Bludgeon Brothers attacking both sides and this will set up a triple threat at Wrestlemania.

Rob: One of the best tag-team feuds of all-time gets another match added to its history. I’m here for it. These two teams work so well together that it’s almost certainly going to be the match of the night, and the mic work will also be fantastic. I’m going to take the New Day with a rematch coming at Wrestlemania.

Prediction: New Day

Chris: Normally, reigniting a rivalry only four months after this whole thing came to an end would draw heat. But The Usos and The New Day are SO GOOD that it’s easy to look past that. Maybe that’s hypocritical, maybe not. Anyways, this is going to be an absolute hoot. These two teams have never not created magic, and I doubt that stops anytime soon. I’m undecided on this… but if they want to keep things interesting… I’m going to predict that The New Day get the win. The Bludgeon Brothers are looming ahead, but I’m predicting we get one title change here.

Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton, United States Championship

Lincoln: I tried to care about this feud, but it’s not moving me at all. Bobby retains with some unwarranted help from Jinder Mahal, setting up a triple threat at Wrestlemania.

Rob: Oh, man. This match is gonna be… not for me. Both guys are fine, but their slow deliberate styles lead to matches that take forever to get going and I really can’t handle it. If you like it, good for you! But it’s not for me. I guess I’ll pick Roode to retain.

Prediction: BOB ROODE

Chris: I’m tentatively excited about this match. I say tentatively because it could also be slow and plodding like… well, most Randy Orton matches and most Bobby Roode matches, as well. They usually get an uptick late, so that’s why I still have my reservations about it. I don’t think this ends cleanly at ALL. Especially with Jinder Mahal calling himself the uncrowned United States Champ on Twitter and Insta. I think Mahal interferes and causes a no contest, setting up a Triple Threat at Mania.

WWE Championship Six-Pack Challenge

Lincoln: AJ Styles retains, WWE have done dumb things in the past but I have faith that they will keep the dream match alive for WM34.

Rob: Well, this is a mess. At least they went away from yet another match of just Styles/Owens/Zayn? That’s good, that’s been overdone. But the solution was… this. Which, there’s a lot going on. My biggest problem with PPVs between the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania is it’s hard to predict anything big happening, because it would mess with the Wrestlemania card.

Prediction: AJ Styles

Chris: Okay, I don’t need to do too much here. AJ Styles will retain the title. I think he pins John Cena. I don’t think Dolph Ziggler or Baron Corbin will factor too much into this, although Corbin is excellent in multi-man matches. And Sami Zayn will continue to bleed towards turning his back on Kevin Owens.