WWE was clearly motivated to deliver a knockout pay-per-view with Money in the Bank on Sunday, and there is no doubt they delivered. With top-tier matches, quality booking, surprise victories and an astounding swerve or two, Money in the Bank received a tremendous fan response in Hartford, Connecticut, and had the internet talking about its results -- even in the face of the "Game of Thrones" series finale.
With multiple title changes on the show, a return many expected (just not in the way it was handled) and matches given time to deliver the way these performers can when provided the opportunity, WWE hit a home run with this one. Not a grand slam, perhaps. After all, there is plenty to discuss with regards to the referees on this show and whether their incompetency is actually an angle. But enough talking about it. Let's check out what went down -- match by match -- at Money in the Bank with our complete results, grades and highlights from the show.
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2019 WWE Money in the Bank recap, grades
Daniel Bryan & Rowan vs. The Usos (Kickoff Show): Bryan caught a splashing Jey Uso in the Labell Lock, but Jimmy was able to break up the submission attempt. A trio of superkicks and a double dive knocked Rowan down outside the ring, and a double superkick on a diving Bryan laid him flat on the mat. The Usos then hit the Double Uce splash to earn a clean victory over the SmackDown tag team champions. The match was fantastic, particularly for a kickoff show bout, but you must question why The Usos went over the champions here when they just lost the vacant titles to them two weeks ago and were suddenly given this non-title match. The crowd was hot for the finish, however. Grade: B-
Bayley wins Women's Money in the Bank contract def. Nikki Cross, Natalya, Naomi, Carmella, Dana Brooke, Mandy Rose and Ember Moon (Ladder Match): Cross got an early showcase by helicoptering the ladder. Next up was Naomi, who ran atop two elevated ladders, slid under a charging ladder and then avoided being sandwiched between two ladders with a split. Carmella was taken out of the match with a leg injury as she was shown being tended to by multiple trainers before gingerly walking to the back. Bayley was later caught standing under a ladder and was sandwiched twice between it before Naomi placed her atop a ladder and hit her split-legged moonsault. Cross ran under a ladder to spear Natalya, and Moon hit a Codebreaker on Naomi to take her out. Cross hit her elevated spring neckbreaker to lay out Naomi, and Brooke toppled a ladder on Cross to stand alone in the ring. As Brooke was about to grab the briefcase, Rose interrupted and Brooke wound up dangling from the chain. Four women climbed the ladder, but Natalya tilted all of them off before Moon hit the Eclipse from atop a ladder outside the ring into the ring to eliminate Natalya. Moon never got a chance to climb the ladder, however, as Rose hit her with the Fairytale Ending onto a ladder.
Rose similarly could not climb as she noticed Carmella -- with a wrapped up right knee -- limping to the ring. Carmella took Rose down but could not climb fast enough; Sonya Deville pulled Carmella off the ladder and speared her before centering the ladder, placing Rose on her shoulders and helping her climb to the top so Rose could pull down the briefcase. However, just as Rose was about to grab it, Bayley ran up the ladder, pushed both women down and won the match to a massive ovation. Combining creative uses of the ladder with some tremendous moves and a thoughtful, complete in-match story, this blew the original women's Money in the Bank match out of the water. Kudos! Grade: A
United States Championship -- Rey Mysterio def. Samoa Joe (c) via pinfall to win the title: In a repeat of their WrestleMania 35 match, the bout ended in just minutes. Mysterio countered a powerbomb into a huricanrana pinning combination for the 1-2-3. However, the storyline is that Joe's left shoulder was clearly up for the entire three count with the referee making the call completely out of position. Joe was legitimately busted open with blood pouring out of his nose, and he stood in the ring shocked after the decision. As Mysterio celebrated with his son Dominic, who made his way down the ramp from the backstage area, a furious Joe ran back out and flattened Mysterio, throwing him back in the ring and hitting him with a Uranage. With Dominic watching Joe and pleading for him to relent, Joe lifted Mysterio for a single-arm slam and followed with a senton. While Joe losing the title is bothersome, it is good booking if the goal is to continue the storyline. It will be interesting to see how Dominic factors into it going forward. Still, it wasn't much of a match, so it's tough to judge. Grade: B-
Shane McMahon def. The Miz via over-the-top escape (Steel Cage Match): McMahon immediately tried to escape the cage upon the bell ringing, and Miz was able to pour on the offense throughout. When he later tried to escape via the door, McMahon was dragged back inside the ring along with a steel chair. Miz hit his Skull-Crushing Finale finisher onto the chair, but McMahon put his foot on the bottom rope, leading to the referee breaking up the count. The problem? There's no rope breaks in a steel cage match, something Michael Cole pointed out immediately on commentary; the fans booed in kind. Tossing McMahon down from atop the cage, Miz hit a frog splash but got a two count. Then, in a repeat of their WrestleMania match, Miz attempted to superplex McMahon from atop the cage, but McMahon once again lucked into a victory, this time by slipping through his shirt to the floor. Once again, these guys overachieved. It's as simple as that. Grade: B
Cruiserweight Championship -- Tony Nese (c) def. Ariya Daivari via pinfall to retain the title: With no offense meant to the competitors, this was a kickoff show match -- or it should have aired between 9-10:30 p.m. during the "Game of Thrones" finale. This was the wrong spot on the card, and it's strange WWE chose to promote this cruiserweight title match when so many other, better ones got second-rate billing. Still, Nese and Daivari gave a strong effort in front of a largely uninterested crowd. Nese hit an insane corkscrew over the top rope followed by a 450 splash but was unable to get the fall. Nese similarly kicked out of a frog splash and hammerlock lariat from Daivari, soon winning after a running knee into the corner. Grade: B
Sami Zayn hides from Braun Strowman, gets attacked: While on the phone backstage, Triple H was being pestered by Zayn, who asked where he could find Shane McMahon. Triple H tried to ignore him, but Zayn persisted and said they need to have a plan to contain Strowman tonight as he is likely on the warpath to ruin his Money in the Bank opportunity. Triple H reassured Zayn that Strowman was not in the arena as he was barred from the building; Zayn shook that off saying that's always the case but somehow people still get in. Strowman was later shown tearing apart the backstage area looking for Zayn, then even later, Zayn was shown hanging upside down unresponsive. Triple H later caught up with Strowman and blamed him for Zayn's attack, but Strowman insisted he did not do it. Nevertheless, Triple H did not kick Strowman out or arrest him, but he asked him to leave as a professional. Strowman appeared to comply.
Raw Women's Championship -- Becky Lynch (c) def. Lacey Evans via submission to retain the title: The crowd was on fire for Lynch, who got a significant amount of offense and saw Evans quickly escape a Dis-Arm-Her by grabbing the bottom rope. With Lynch distracted, Evans took out Lynch's oft-injured leg and attempted to roll up the champion, but the referee refused to count as Lynch's shoulders were not down. Lynch countered with a Dis-Arm-Her in the center of the ring, and Evans quickly tapped out. That was a confusing pinning situation considering the Joe-Mysterio count earlier, and the match wasn't very good in the first place. Grade: C-
SmackDown Women's Championship -- Charlotte Flair def. Becky Lynch (c) via pinfall to win the title: As soon as Lynch stepped out of the ring, Flair's music hit and she dared the double champion to defend her other title immediately. Lynch took the bait. This was a far better match, which comes as no surprise considering their familiarity and skill. Flair attempted to hit Natural Selection on the ring apron, but Lynch held onto the ropes; Flair immediately grabbed her back outside the ring. With the referee distracted, Evans ran down and hit Lynch with the Woman's Right. Flair attempted to take advantage, but Lynch rolled her up for a 2.9 count. Flair bounced out of the pinning combination with a big boot to Lynch's face to end the match with a 1-2-3. The interference and title change both made sense, as did Flair finally getting a win over Lynch no matter the circumstance. Grade: B
SmackDown Women's Championship -- Bayley def. Charlotte Flair via pinfall to win the title: A furious Lynch attacked Evans afterward, but Flair had Evans' back, and the two pounded Lynch into the corner inside the ring. That's when Bayley's music hit and she ran down -- with her briefcase -- seemingly to save Lynch. Bayley took out Evans, but Flair threw her Bayley and continued to attack Lynch. When Bayley regained herself, she threw Flair through the turnbuckles and into the ring post. With Flair laying lifeless, Bayley grabbed her briefcase and cashed it in. Bayley dragged Flair out of the corner and hit a flying elbowdrop for the 1-2-3 to become the new champion. She immediately celebrated around the ringside area and then made her way into the crowd as the fans showered her with cheers. She received a tremendous ovation and was completely over in an exceptionally booked moment that makes her the first ever to win the women's grand slam. Grade: A
Roman Reigns def. Elias via pinfall: With "Game of Thrones" about to start, WWE teased chaos with Elias attacking Reigns backstage with a guitar. Elias then made his way out to the ringside area despite their match apparently not being scheduled to start at that time. He insulted the crowd and played a song on an electric guitar, since his acoustic broke. Elias finished his song and exited, but Reigns caught him with a Superman punch atop the stage. He then brought him into the ring, the bell rang and Reigns hit a spear for a quick victory in seconds. Considering a Reigns-Elias match would not have been any good, this was a fine, interesting booking that kept the audience engaged in a clear attempt to have them remain watching the PPV and not switch the channel on one of the biggest nights in television history. Grade: B-
Universal Championship -- Seth Rollins (c) vs. AJ Styles: These two opened by fighting a largely technical match with back-and-forth offense and neither getting an extended upper hand. Styles reversed a revolution knee into a neckbreaker, but Rollins countered with a buckle bomb and impressive frog splash for a 2.8 count. They exchanged closes pinning combinations again with Rollins nearly executing a rollup and Styles almost finishing off a spinning powerbomb. The moment of the match came as Rollins hit a reverse superplex into a reverse falcon's arrow but still only got a 2.9. Styles avoided a Stomp and locked Rollins in a Calf Crusher, but the champion rolled out of it. Rollins avoided a Pele kick, and Styles caught Rollins' Stomp attempt, reversing it into a Styles Clash, though the champion somehow kicked out at 2.9. Rollins was next to catch a Phenomenal Forearm and reverse it into a revolution knee. He followed with a superkick and Stomp, and though he was slow to cover, he beat Styles clean in a match that had the crowd going wild for the finish.
Styles rolled out of the ring after the match, but as Rollins celebrated, he reentered to stare down the champion. Rollins held the title above his head and spoke some words to Styles off mic. Styles put out his hand for an extended period of time; Rollins hesitated for a while but eventually shook it as the crowd cheered the match and the competitors. It was candidly tough to gauge how truly great this match was with GoT going on simultaneously, but I will rewatch it immediately after the show. Despite that ... Grade: A+
Lars Sullivan destroys Lucha House Party: The trio came out for an unannounced segment and cut a short promo, leading Sullivan out to the ring. He quickly dismantled all three of them and wiped some blood from his head on his chest. Sullivan continues to fail in getting over, even though they are booking him properly by having him destroy jobbers and smaller wrestlers. The finish of the segment was expected as soon as LHP's music initially hit. It was unoriginal and boring. Grade: F
WWE Championship -- Kofi Kingston (c) def. Kevin Owens via pinfall to retain the title: Kingston was aggressive from the start, both with powerful and high-flying maneuvers. Owens took advantage with a senton in the ring and capitalized on a prone Kingston with a frog splash from the ring apron to the ringside area. Kingston later planted Owens with a double stomp on the ring apron, but Owens countered an ensuing high-flying maneuver to the outside with a superkick. An S.O.S. from Kingston resulted in a 2.5 count, and Owens nearly made Kingston tap after converting a Trouble in Paradise attempt into a Boston Crab. Owens caught Kingston in a Pop-Up Powerbomb for a 2.8 count, but Kingston countered Owens' stunner attempt with Trouble in Paradise that knocked the challenger out of the ring. Back inside, Owens connected on the stunner, but Kingston grabbed the bottom rope to break the count.
A frustrated Owens ripped off Kingston's shoes and attempted a somersault senton, but Kingston got his knees up and nailed a dazed Owens with Trouble in Paradise for the 1-2-3 to remain champion. There was exceptional action throughout this match, and the crowd was once again hot for the finish. Though Owens winning would have been a fine outcome, Kingston retaining without the help of his New Day brethren made him look even more legitimate than his win over Bryan at WrestleMania 35, which was expected considering the storyline. Grade: A
Brock Lesnar wins the Men's Money in the Bank contract def. Finn Balor,
Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, Ricochet, Randy Orton, Andrade and Ali: The action began quickly with a Ricochet springboard to the outside taking out a number of men. Orton did not waste time throwing both Ricochet and Balor onto the table with his signature slam. The heels took the upper hand back in the ring, throwing Ricochet and Ali to and fro between propped-up ladders. Balor was the first to nearly grab the briefcase, but Andrade used another ladder to poke him from the top before situating that ladder between the ropes and one of the main ladder's middle rungs. Both men made their way back to the top, however, and Andrade hit an insane sunset flip powerbomb over the ladder with Balor bouncing off the steel. With ladders set up next to one another, Ali hit Andrade with a Spanish Fly off the middle rungs. The fast-paced action continued with Corbin having McIntyre's back, as he did most of the match, and lifting Ali for a thunderous chokeslam through a table. That's when Corbin turned on McIntyre, throwing him over the barricade; McIntyre repaid that with a Claymore minutes later outside the ring. In between, Corbin slammed Balor on a tented ladder and caught a flying Ricochet for a Deep Six at the ringside area.
Now with the upperhand, McIntyre suplexed Balor on a ladder and threw Andrade on top of him via slingshot. Ricochet attempted to interfere, but McIntyre simply threw him out of the ring, crashing through a ladder propped between the ring apron and announce table. Orton entered the ring to pull McIntyre off the top of the ladder for an impressive RKO, but Corbin quickly took out Orton. Ali jumped on Cobin's back as he was climbing the ladder and eventually dumped him of the top rope. With Ali climbing to the top of the ladder, suddenly Brock Lesnar's music hit and he appeared to take the spot opened by Zayn's absence in the match. He tipped the ladder over to dispose of Ali outside of the ring and climbed to the top of the ladder as the winner.
Simply put, I'm in shock. I had pegged Lesnar to interfere in Rollins-Styles, not the main event MITB match. On one hand, this is a good piece of booking from the standpoint of being a legitimate swerve that caught everyone off guard. On the other, one most believe Lesnar will cash this in Monday night for a chance at Rollins at the Super ShowDown event in Saudi Arabia, which means we will not have the surprise threat of the MITB cash in for the year, which is the entire fun of this event taking place at all. The match was incredible. The swerve was fine. Grade: A
2019 WWE Money in the Bank highlights
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