Otis, my man!
Who has it better than him right now? He’s Mandy Rose’s love interest in WWE and now Mr. Money in the Bank. The lovable underdog’s surprise and refreshing ladder match win highlighted two first-time Money in the Bank winners during an overall entertaining pay-per-view on Sunday. And it was also all done in less time than a “Monday Night Raw” (2:23.28)!
Otis really could be comedy gold working alongside Braun Strowman or Bray Wyatt on “SmackDown.” There are so many possibilities. Otis would innocently mess up his world championship cash in, maybe lose the briefcase as part of a match stipulation or get his character over enough to become Universal champion. If anything, you want to watch it unfold. Seeing him have his Rocky, “Yo Mandy, I did it!” moment was pretty fun.
Unlike Otis, who is new to the world championship picture, women’s Money in the Bank winner Asuka earned a deserved but complicated match contract. While everything about the lovable babyface Otis feels fresh, WWE will need to find a way to pump new life into an Asuka-Becky Lynch scenario on “Raw” after the two recently clashed at the Royal Rumble. Their wins also place the short-term future of Heavy Machinery and the Kabuki Warriors in limbo.
King Corbin had both of his briefcase grabs denied in the match that had a unique, cinematic “Amazing Race” feel which saw the wrestlers work their way to the roof of WWE Headquarters. Asuka knocked Corbin off the ladder before grabbing her briefcase. AJ Styles and Corbin fumbled later the men’s contract away, letting it fall into Otis’ hands – adding to the happy-accident feel.
Oh, and Corbin appeared to the throw both Aleister Black and Rey Mysterio off the roof very quickly and the announcers completely undersold it. Has anyone checked on them?
The fact that Black and Shayna Baszler played such small roles in the match’s finish is a discouraging sign for them – especially with all the TV time both have received.
At the start, it was weird seeing the 12 competitors in their wrestling gear at a corporate office, but it did quickly establish you were going to see something unique. The men began in the gym and the women in the lobby – where Asuka delivered a wild leap off a balcony onto the rest of the field before taking the elevator. What followed was pretty frantic fun, but not knowing how close the wrestlers actually were to reaching the roof kept it from being any more compelling than that.
There were some cool moments, such as Doink the Clown popping up behind a chair, Stephanie McMahon telling Dana Brooke she grabbed the wrong briefcase in the conference room, Vince McMahon kicking Styles and Daniel Bryan out of his office and then using hand sanitizer, and “SmackDown” boss Bruce Prichard appearing in a bathroom as Brother Love.
Otis did a “Yes!” chant as Bryan kicked Corbin and Styles got spooked by a photo of The Undertaker and a casket. Otis even started an “Animal House”-type food fight in catering between the men and women that included Paul Heyman.
This wasn’t the Boneyard match or even the Firefly Fun House match as far as drama, but WWE delivered something entertaining along with unexpected winners despite some of the storyline holes. How did Styles get out from underneath the weights Otis put on him in the gym?
The man Otis will be trying to unseat, Universal champion Strowman, retained his title by beating the Mr. Rogers-like Wyatt in a strange, but compelling match. While Strowman having his black-sheep mask from the Wyatt Family seemingly under the ring didn’t make sense, it made for great story in the end. With the mask on, Strowman appeared to be giving himself back to Wyatt, who kept saying that he told “him” — meaning The Fiend — that he could get Strowman back
Instead the Monster Among Men — after the Firefly Fun House puppets celebrated around ring — stepped on the mask and hit Wyatt with the running powerslam to claim the 1-2-3. Give credit to WWE for not doing another quick title switch and giving The Fiend a reason to come out and continue the feud. Wyatt and Strowman have some chemistry and we get to see more.
On the other side, the foundation under Drew McIntyre’s character continues to be built. The construction and deliberate pace of the WWE champion’s match against Seth Rollins felt like something that would have played even better in front of a live audience. After a lot of twists and turns, the finish continued to establish McIntyre as a different type of champion.
He won by hitting the Claymore Kick out of nowhere and not after the countdown. It makes the finisher — which Rollins did a good job countering — feel more dangerous. He asked Rollins to shake his hand when it was over in a show of respect, which he did. It was a gesture of true leadership the “Monday Night Messiah” isn’t capable of. Hopefully it’s one McIntyre continues to use throughout his reign. Sportsmanship is great for a babyface.
On the women’s side, Bayley turned in one of the better character performances of her heel run. The former hugger asked for a timeout before hitting Tamina in the face. She even took a bottle of water from Corey Graves, faked sipped and splashed Tamina in with it. Bayley thanked him for the water after she was able to slide Tamina into a crucifix to retain the SmackDown women’s championship. The lack of a true personal issue between the two left this feeling a little flat.
The Bayley-Sasha Banks dynamic still remains one of the strangest in WWE. Maybe it’s because they aren’t rushing a breakup or we have been faked out before. Banks’ distraction helped Bayley win and the two seemed closer than ever. Still the announcers noted Bayley not letting Banks talk during a pre-match interview and The Boss being the reason her friend still has gold. Hopefully this morphs into a huge long-term payoff.
Bobby Lashley over R-Truth
Lashley, after being accidentally slapped by Truth, subbing in for MVP feels like the beginning of a possible alliance. The squash match – in which Lashley looked impressive – did continue this new aggressiveness. When it was over, Truth called out Tom Brady, instead of his Buccaneers teammate and 24/7 champions Rob Gronkowski.
New Day over Lucha House Party, Forgotten Sons and Miz and Morrison to retain the SmackDown tag team championships
Giving Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado some pay-per-view minutes in this format is never a bad thing and Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler had a solid showing. These three teams really kept up a pace and frenzy that is sometime missing from WWE multi-man matches. New Day remains one of the few tag teams that gets extended championship runs. Big E hit the Big Ending on Metalik to get the win.
Biggest Winner: Otis
Biggest Loser: Shayna Baszler
Best match: Money in the Bank ladder match
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