WWE Money In The Bank PPV 2019 – XL Center Hartford, Connecticut
Rushonrock King of the Ring Andy Spoors looks back on the WWE’s latest PPV event…
A popular theory amongst cynics of WWE is that the company suffers a post-Wrestlemania funk that stretches through until August. The addition of Money In The Bank certainly adds some intrigue and unpredictability to proceedings.
But the WWE universe was handed a curveball by the time the cameras stopped rolling at this year’s event. Whether or not it was welcome is an entirely different question altogether.
2019’s Money In The Bank was, in all fairness, a highly enjoyable show helped by some fantastic matches. Sadly, it wasn’t the quality of the matches that fans were left talking about but some pretty bewildering booking decisions.
Chief in point, the newly crowned Smackdown Tag Team champs Daniel Bryan and Rowan taking a non-title loss to the already well-established Usos. Tag team wrestling is, quite simply put, an afterthought in WWE right now. Of the three sets of tag titles, not one was defended here and long gone are the days of The Hardy Boys, Edge and Christian, The Natural Disasters and The Road Warriors. Just a matter of months ago, the women’s division was awarded a set of tag belts and its absence – there wasn’t even a preshow match – is not only infuriating but baffling.
Back to the action and the first of two Money In The Bank matches saw the ladies kick off the main show. Some nasty looking bumps and scrapes made this year’s match feel like the most dangerous and unpredictable. The willingness to put their bodies on the line should never be forgotten or underestimated and no matter how much practice and planning goes into ladder matches, one slip or trip can result on serious injuries. Welts and bruises could be seen developing instantly – including a painful looking knock to the hip for Bayley. It was to be the hugger herself who grabbed the briefcase and become miss Bayley in the bank. At least for a little while…
Becky ‘2 Belts’ had the unenviable task of trying to defend both her titles. Squeaking through against the impressive Lacey Evans in the first defence, the Irish Lasskicker would relinquish her Smackdown Championship to Charlotte after interference from a bitter Evans. On a topsy-turvy night, Bayley cashed in her anytime and anywhere contract, somewhat uncharacteristically on a beaten down Charlotte.
It’s these kinds of twists and turns that fans can get behind. In an era dominated by the women’s revolution, Bayley has missed out on some of the biggest moments. To see her not only earn the opportunity but win the briefcase and the championship in one night feels well deserved.
For Becky it may be the end of a double championship run but the level of interest she has almost single-handedly raised in the division has changed the landscape forever.
Two fantastic matches saw Kevin Owens vs WWE Champion Kofi Kingston and AJ Styles vs Universal Champion Seth Rollins and gave hope that the PPV could be classed as one of the best in recent history. The second match, in particular, emerged as a potential Match of the Year candidate – the highlight an attempted stomp countered into a Styles Clash. Even after several views it’s difficult to work out just how it’s possible to move that quickly. Both champions ultimately retained their titles with neither of the challengers embarrassed.
On to the final match of the night in the shape of the men’s MITB match. An eclectic mix of high flyers and brawlers all had one goal. To steal the show. With the calibre of matches, it’s impressive they got anywhere near. With Sami Zayn seemingly taken out of the match by Braun Strowman earlier in the night, only seven Superstars took to the ring. A hellish night for Finn Balor, saw the Intercontinental Champ take several horrific bumps on to ladders and tables. One particularly wince-inducing sunset power bomb on to a ladder truly needs to be seen to sum up the brutality of the bout.
With Ali seemingly on course for a huge win, the wheels suddenly fell off. Having been rumoured to be through with sports entertainment in favour of another UFC run, Brock Lesnar returned to instantly claim the briefcase. The arena was stunned into silence and Twitter exploded with rage.
And here lies the issue. With fans already disillusioned with the weekly product, full time talent being misused and a new company just a week out from their first PPV, the decision to book Lesnar in this position borders on the criminal. Ultimately fans will vote with their feet but even those who have remained stoically behind WWE are having their faith tested. This was so close to rewarding them but like a front runner in a marathon tripping at the finish line, it will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Reese Burrows: 6
John Burrows: 5
Andy Spoors: 4