There was a moment during the peak of Sunday’s Money in the Bank main event, with Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles combining to produce gold inside the ring, where the prior sins of the previous two-plus hours were nearly forgiven.
That feeling was proven a bit premature in the end, but that doesn’t mean the main event didn’t deliver in a big way as Baron Corbin took a major step forward in his rise by securing the MITB briefcase. The match ended an already historic night during the SmackDown-exclusive pay-per-view in St. Louis, one that featured the first women’s Money in the Bank match.
Carmella, with the help of James Ellsworth, became the company’s first Mrs. Money in the Bank in the first questionable finish of the night. WWE champion Jinder Mahal, meanwhile, defended his title thanks to help from his own sidekicks, the Singh Brothers, in a match against Randy Orton.
In the end, there were plenty of highs and lows in this one, as SmackDown begins to set the stage toward the build to SummerSlam in August. CBS Sports was with you the entire way analysis, grades and highlights from Money in the Bank. Check out the full recap below.
Be sure to subscribe to my podcast In This Corner with Brian Campbell where we will break down Money in the Bank immediately after the show. Episode available early Monday morning.
WWE Money in the Bank live results
The Hype Bros def. The Colons via pinfall: “The Broski” is back. Zack Ryder’s in-ring return following a lengthy knee injury was a successful one as he reunited with Mojo Rawley. Ryder sold a reaggravated left knee injury throughout most of the match until the eventual hot tag to Rawley. Chaos eventually broke out late until The Hype Bros teamed up for a Hype Ryder on Primo to get the pin. Decent energy and basic storytelling in this one but nothing more. Grade: C+
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match — Carmella def. Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Natalya and Tamina Snuka: With more than a little help from her male valet, James Ellsworth, the first Mrs. Money in the Bank is Carmella after a match that came to an abrupt finish just as it was starting to heat up. The early high spots were well-executed as all five women took turns making a run for the top of the ladder only to be intercepted. Flair turned in the biggest moment with a corkscrew splash from the top rope onto Snuka and Natalya on the floor. But despite Ellsworth’s heavy involvement in the finish being a good idea on paper, the execution was incredibly poor.
Ellsworth made a late save by tipping the ladder and knocking off Lynch. However, after he was unable to revive Carmella, he climbed the ladder himself and dropped the briefcase down to her. After a brief discussion from the three referees at ringside, Ellsworth grabbed the microphone to announce Carmella as the winner — and the decision somehow stood. Ellsworth can be a heat-seeking missile at times, and the briefcase should only elevate Carmella. But the handling of the finish took the focus off where it should have been — the athleticism of five women who were in the midst of a historic match. Grade: C
Tag Team Championship — The New Day def. The Usos (c) via countout; The Usos retain the titles: With high energy and a series of wild false finishes on full display, this tag team match built to a fever pitch late. The ending, however, with The Usos choosing to walk away with their belts and willingly endure a countout loss, proved a sobering conclusion. Considering this was just the first chapter in what should be a strong feud, the psychology involved in the finish did make sense, as the frustrated heel champions decided to pick up their ball and go home rather than risk a loss against a dangerous challenge.
Credit all four participants for an incredibly high pace late in the match with Kofi Kingston turning in a big spot of the top rope with a trust fall onto both Usos (see below). Kingston and Big E then combined on a Midnight Hour and a pin attempt that was intercepted when Jimmy Uso rescued his brother by pulling him out of the ring form the outside, to set up the finish. Grade: B
Women’s Championship — Naomi (c) def. Lana via submission: In front of a justifiably dead crowd, Lana struggled to look believable in dishing out punishment against the champion in her singles debut. The only intrigue in this one was whether Carmella would cash in her Money in the Bank briefcase. She nearly did just that, approaching the timekeeper late in the match and motioning like she might. Moments later, Naomi rallied to apply her submission and force Lana to tap. Seeing Naomi forced to sell so often to such an unpolished and non-physically imposing wrestler as Lana felt like a downgrade to the title. Grade: D+
Fashion Files — Fashion Vice: In their office dressed in a “Miami Vice” style, Breezango received a fax that clearly read, “Answer the door,” though Fandango could not decipher it because he held it upside down and thought it was a foreign language. Tyler Breeze retrieved a VHS and played it to discover that the two men who wrecked their office a few weeks back had challenged them to a match at MITB.
The debut of Mike & Maria Kanellis: The couple made their WWE debut (technically for Maria, her return) with a new gimmick, complete with an addictive theme song and hearts a plenty on the TitanTrons around them. Maria, a former WWE superstar between 2004-10, and her real-life husband Mike Bennett, grew in popularity in Ring of Honor and TNA over the last few years. Bennett has apparently taken his wife’s name for the new gimmick, which Maria described by saying, “The first lady is back in WWE to educate everyone on SmackDown Live about the power of love.”
WWE Championship — Jinder Mahal (c) def. Randy Orton via pinfall: Mahal once again needed the help of the Singh Brothers to get one over on Orton. This time, it took putting hands on Orton’s Hall of Fame dad, “Cowboy” Bob Orton — on Father’s Day no less — to form the proper distraction to set up the finish.
The open to the match was red-hot thanks to an electric welcome from Orton’s home St. Louis crowd, which brought with it a big-fight feel. Orton’s father sat ringside along with a group of “St. Louis Legends” featuring the likes of Ric Flair and Sgt. Slaughter. The match was as physical as it was long and deliberate. But things heated up late when Orton hit an RKO on Mahal and the Singh Brothers put Mahal’s leg on the ropes to break the pin. Orton begged referee Mike Chioda not to disqualify Mahal, so he ejected the Singhs instead. However, instead of leaving, they put their hands on Orton’s father at ringside and the son responded with an extended beatdown, including suplexes and running RKOs onto both, one through the announce table.
Incredibly, Orton wasn’t counted out despite being outside the ring for a number of minutes. A predictable conclusion followed as Mahal instantly connected with his Khallas finisher as Orton entered the ring and picked up the win. Grade: C+
Breezango def. The Ascension via pinfall: In a popcorn match to bring the crowd down before the main event, Tyler Breeze and Fandango got to the bottom of an unsolved case and scored a victory in the process. The match that was never announced as being on the card, and Fandango brought it to an early close by rolling up Viktor for the 1-2-3. Grade: D
Money in the Bank Ladder Match — Baron Corbin def. AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler and Sami Zayn: Before the match could even start, Corbin interrupted Nakamura’s entrance to beat him down with a mini ladder and video camera. The setup would play an integral part in the finish of an incredibly entertaining match that teased at its peak as if it might become one of the best MITB matches in WWE history. It didn’t get there in the end, but that doesn’t mean the right guy didn’t win as WWE continued its major plans for Corbin.
This one featured all of the high spots one might expect considering the star power and talent involved, highlighted by Zayn’s sunset flip powerbomb on Ziggler from the top of a ladder and Styles taking a massive bump after hanging for his life on the briefcase. But the excitement escalated to an entirely new level when Nakamura made his late match return, complete with an insanely passionate crowd cheering his theme song in unison. Nakamura uncorked a vicious run of offense, including a Kinsasha off the top rope on Ziggler and a spinning wheel kick on Zayn.
The match reached its zenith when Styles entered the ring to face off with Nakamura, which set up an incredible exchange of stiff strikes. Both babyfaces, who have extensive history wrestling each other in Japan, made it to the top of the ladder before Corbin emerged to tip them off and climb up himself to secure the moniker of Mr. Money in the Bank. Grade: A-