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Just 24 hours before WWE invades Las Vegas for its annual Money in the Bank premium live event, the combatants in Saturday’s namesake men’s and women’s ladder matches came together with eyes on establishing momentum before their potential career-altering night.
Headlined by a Battle of the Brands pitting SmackDown’s Shotzi, Raquel Rodriguez and Lacey Evans against Raw’s Alexa Bliss, Liv Morgan and Becky Lynch, the show promised last-minute chaos ahead of one of the most popular extravaganzas of the year.
Find out who emerged victoriously, setting themselves up for a potentially momentous weekend with this recap of Friday’s Fox broadcast.
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The customary promo featuring the men who will compete Saturday night in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match kicked off Friday’s show. Riddle, Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn stood atop ladders while the imposing Omos stood, arms crossed, on the mat below.
There was the typical back and forth, followed by appearances from The Miz, Happy Corbin, Madcap Moss and Ezekiel, which led to a Battle Royal to kick off the night’s in-ring action.
A week after they coexisted long enough to defeat The Usos and preserve their spots in Saturday’s match, Sheamus and McIntyre found themselves battling late in the contest. The Scottish Warrior dumped Zayn over the top rope and turned his attention back to his foe, only for Corbin to slide in from out of nowhere to eliminate them both and earn the win.
An overly happy Corbin taunted color commentator, and newfound rival, Pat McAfee following the win.
Happy Corbin has won the Good Old-Fashioned Battle Royal!<a href=”https://twitter.com/BaronCorbinWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@BaronCorbinWWE</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#SmackDown</a> <a href=”https://t.co/JG7VwoGp7x”>pic.twitter.com/JG7VwoGp7x</a>
This was a lot of fun to kick off what easily could have been a lame-duck, go-home show. Unlike some battle royals, dominated by meaningless punching and kicking ahead of rapid eliminations, there were stories sprinkled throughout this one, the most obvious being the rivalry between McIntyre and Sheamus.
Throw in Riddle getting a bit of revenge against Rollins, Omos dominating the action, and Zayn’s general chicanery and you have the ingredients for a hellishly fun opener.
Even if the promo nonsense that led to it was wholly unnecessary and added nothing to the show.
Corbin defeated Rollins, Zayn, Sheamus, McIntyre, Ezekiel, Miz, Riddle, Moss and Omos
- Zayn referring to himself as the “Honorary Uce” is such delightful stuff. He is both oblivious and the most interesting character on Friday nights.
- McIntyre recalling his five-minute win over Brock Lesnar from WrestleMania 36 was a nice touch that proves his absence of fear for The Beast Incarnation.
- Miz recalling his successful cash-in on McIntyre was equally as great and led to him recalling his status as a two-time Money in the Bank winner.
- Zayn used The Miz as a shield, sacrificing him to Omos rather than enduring the beating himself.
- Riddle slid under the bottom rope, staving off elimination and dropping Rollins with an RKO.
- Sheamus rocked Riddle with a jumping knee, eliminating him to the dismay of the WWE Universe.
- “I’m so happy, I’m farting rainbows!” Corbin exclaimed after his victory during a promo with Kayla Braxton.
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A week ago, the new, vicious Viking Raiders assaulted New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, leaving them lying in a heap. Friday night, Erik and Ivar looked to add an exclamation point to their return by defeating the future Hall of Famers in tag team action.
The match never got started, though, as the heels brutalized Kingston and Woods. They beat the former tag champions down as Pat McAfee rightly pointed out that no, Virginia, there would not be a match on this here show.
The attempt to get the Viking Raiders over with this new edge and attitude is admirable, but we have seen Erik and Ivar pushed so many times, only to see their momentum halted, that it is nearly impossible to imagine a scenario where this pays off like those involved would hope.
These aren’t The <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/VikingRaiders?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#VikingRaiders</a> you used to know. <a href=”https://twitter.com/Ivar_WWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Ivar_WWE</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/Erik_WWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Erik_WWE</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#SmackDown</a> <a href=”https://t.co/tyNoU3j8kk”>pic.twitter.com/tyNoU3j8kk</a>
But, hey…they are new and vicious, so there’s that.
- Backstage, Natalya cut a promo on Ronda Rousey ahead of their SmackDown Women’s Championship Match at Money in the Bank, vowing to become the first woman to tap The Baddest Woman on the Planet out.
Can <a href=”https://twitter.com/NatbyNature?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NatbyNature</a> be the first person to make <a href=”https://twitter.com/RondaRousey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@RondaRousey</a> tap out? <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#SmackDown</a> <a href=”https://t.co/FWfsNXP6IH”>pic.twitter.com/FWfsNXP6IH</a>
- Michael Cole appeared to be on a mission to create a new drinking game early on, repeatedly reciting the phrase “new, vicious Viking Raiders.”
- Kingston added to it while simultaneously mocking the idea that these Raiders are somehow more dangerous than before.
- Did you know they are new and vicious?
- Backstage, Adam Pearce announced a Fatal 4-Way Match between Madcap Moss, Ezekiel, The Miz and Happy Corbin, with the winner earning a spot in Money in the Bank.
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In a preview of the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match, SmackDown hosted the Battle of the Brands, pitting Raw’s Asuka, Alexa Bliss and Liv Morgan against the blue brand’s Raquel Rodriguez, Lacey Evans and Shotzi.
Becky Lynch joined Michael Cole and Pat McAfee on commentary.
The Raw competitors dominated early, leaving their opponents reeling entering the commercial break. Working over Bliss and isolating her from her partners, the SmackDown team turned the tide back in their favor.
A hot tag to Asuka sparked a comeback for the flagship squad, though, as Asuka tossed Shotzi around like a rag doll. The action broke down and Morgan built momentum for herself, delivering ObLIVion for the pinfall victory.
Lynch, seeking to remind everyone who the top women’s wrestler in the world has been and still is, left Asuka lying with a Manhandle Slam to close the segment.
The match featured some solid energy and action throughout, even if some of it probably could have been shored up a bit.
The commentary team really put Morgan over strong, and her win sets her up as a dark-horse candidate to emerge from Saturday’s match with a guaranteed title opportunity. Speaking of dark horses, do not count out Shotzi, who has benefited not only from increased television time of late but, also, from being the woman pinned in the go-home show.
WWE has consistently followed 50-50 booking over the years, and if that pattern continues, Shotzi has a realistic chance to emerge from Money in the Bank as the biggest surprise winner of the entire show. Long overlooked, it would be a massive boost for someone with incredible potential to be a star for WWE for the foreseeable future.
Shoutout to Bliss, who was great here and is finally getting back to her old self as an in-ring performer.
Morgan, Bliss and Asuka defeated Rodriguez, Shotzi and Evans
- “You know nothing important happens until Big Time comes around!” Lynch said, her comment a little bit more on-the-nose than it was probably intended to be.
- Bliss mocked the bigger, stronger Rodriguez, showing no fear despite the obvious size differential.
- Morgan just barely landed a tope suicida that came within inches of being really ugly.
.<a href=”https://twitter.com/BeckyLynchWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@BeckyLynchWWE</a> gets a front row seat for a CHAOTIC Six-Woman Tag Team Match between <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWERaw?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#WWERaw</a> and <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#SmackDown</a> on <a href=”https://twitter.com/FOXTV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@FOXTV</a>! <a href=”https://t.co/lLQJp58tOA”>pic.twitter.com/lLQJp58tOA</a>
- The segue from Shotzi standing tall, right into Morgan obliterating her for the win, made for a fun finish.
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In a special Ask Them Anything in-ring promo segment, Unified WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos and The Street Profits issued their final thoughts ahead of Saturday’s title bout.
The Usos denounced the idea of being worried about Roman Reigns’ reaction should they lose the gold in Las Vegas, if only because they will not lose. The Street Profits answered a question about their WrestleMania loss and reports that they are not getting along.
Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins denied them, chalking them up to musings of the “dirt sheets” before the segment descended into typical pre-match promo work and concluded with the No. 1 contenders stealing Jimmy and Jey’s trademark “we the ones” catchphrase.
The <a href=”https://twitter.com/WWEUsos?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@WWEUsos</a> want the smoke and the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/StreetProfits?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#StreetProfits</a> look to become the ☝️s TOMORROW NIGHT at WWE <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MITB?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MITB</a>! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#SmackDown</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/MontezFordWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@MontezFordWWE</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/AngeloDawkins?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@AngeloDawkins</a> <a href=”https://t.co/zEhMRlLcMd”>pic.twitter.com/zEhMRlLcMd</a>
The promo work was great. The Usos and the Profits come across as so incredibly natural that it is a wonder WWE officials have not recognized how much more appealing their mic work is to the audience than the overproduced, overscripted nonsense we see elsewhere.,
The match Saturday night is going to be extraordinary and may well challenge the namesake ladder matches for the best of the show. The Usos will likely win, but it is only a matter of time before the Profits become the centerpiece of the division—or go their separate ways and enjoy singles success.
- Braxton asking about reports that Ford and Dawkins are not getting along, followed by a quick rebuttal, feels like the first hint of a potential split and singles run. It bears watching in the coming weeks as to whether that is what goes down or if it was a one-off.
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After weeks of teases, Max Dupri finally revealed his Maximum Male Models: Mace and Mansoor. Sure, there were French accents to spice up the names and WWE dusted off the photographers that were previously key to MNM’s entrance, but who’s counting.
This felt much like the start of a gimmick that is going nowhere fast, and that is massively disappointing for all involved. Dupri is almost too good for this, while the four-star match against Cesaro in his Crown Jewel debut feels like a lifetime ago for Mansoor.
For Mace, this is yet another massive creative disappointment.
With that said, it is funny, and Pat McAfee talked his ass off trying to get it over, so the company and performers certainly deserve props for trying.
Any success the act enjoys lies solely at their feet at this point. If it works, it will be because of their efforts to get it over more than the creative that accompanies it.
Earlier in the night, Happy Corbin won a battle royal for little more than bragging rights. In the main event, he battled The Miz, Ezekiel and former tag team partner Madcap Moss in a Fatal 4-Way match for a spot in Money in the Bank.
Despite rolling late, and downing Ezekiel with End of Days, Corbin suffered further torment at the hands of Moss, who sent him crashing shoulder-first into the ring post, then covered Elias’ fallen twin brother to cash his ticket to Vegas.
.<a href=”https://twitter.com/MadcapMoss?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@MadcapMoss</a> IS GOING TO <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MITB?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MITB</a>!! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#SmackDown</a> <a href=”https://t.co/kTMDOn7CO8″>pic.twitter.com/kTMDOn7CO8</a>
The match was nonstop action, thanks to rapidly decreasing television time, and the right guy probably went over. Miz and Corbin have been in the match before and are essentially bulletproof at this point in their careers.
Ezekiel, while over, does not feel like a good fit for that particular spot. Moss, on the other hand, has seen his momentum rocket since a babyface turn post-WrestleMania and will now have the opportunity to compete in his biggest match to date. It is refreshing to see WWE get behind a guy like Moss, who got a silly gimmick over and is now reaping the rewards on his own.
Moss defeated Corbin, Miz and Ezekiel
C- for the Maximum Male Models’ debut; B for the main event
- Samantha Irvin earned massive props for hitting the high note of Dupri’s name perfectly.
- Backstage, Ronda Rousey cut a promo on Natalya, during which she used the word “irregardless” and annoyed the hell out of writers and editors around the globe, all of whom now hope The Queen of Harts does, in fact, tap her out with the Sharpshooter.
.<a href=”https://twitter.com/RondaRousey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@RondaRousey</a> is ready to tap <a href=”https://twitter.com/NatbyNature?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NatbyNature</a> out tomorrow night at WWE <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MITB?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MITB</a>!<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#SmackDown</a> <a href=”https://t.co/3LnVTsN0G1″>pic.twitter.com/3LnVTsN0G1</a>
- In a bit of poetic justice, Pat McAfee taunted a defeated Corbin to close the show, proving just how quickly the tides can turn in WWE.