In a Money in the Bank pay-per-view that was handed down, Edge and Roman Reigns did this and more for over 30 minutes. The energy was high, the crowd was thrilled and both men could have left Fort Worth, Texas convincingly with the Universal Championship in hand.
But with Seth Rollins’ interference on two occasions, Edge’s fate was determined. Reigns emerged from the Money in the Bank Main Event with the title intact, and Edge and Rollins fought in the back of the Dickies Arena as they both felt the other had cost them the title. Reigns picked up the microphone and said definitely that the whole world could now recognize him.
Then a very familiar series of horn tones boomed through the arena PA. John Cena showed up with perhaps his loudest and most positive reaction, hopped back and forth between the ropes, then stared at Reigns. With a single “you can’t see me” hand gesture, a main SummerSlam event was seemingly cemented before the Money in the Bank broadcast even faded black.
– WWE (@WWE) July 19, 2021
It was a landscaped night on several fronts. Nikki A.S.H took a shocking women’s money-in-the-bank win and Big E took the men’s money-in-the-bank briefcase. Charlotte Flair returned to her seat as the Women’s Raw Champion, and new SmackDown Tag Team Champions were crowned as well.
But as soon as Cena’s return overshadowed the rest of the night and the main event in particular, the match between Reigns and Edge deserves high praise.
When the bell rang, they just stared at each other and slowly circled. “Let’s go Roman” and “Let’s go Edge” duel chants rang out throughout the building. Every man tried early on for the mental advantage rather than the physical advantage while pushing each other in the face.
But when Edge sent Reigns shoulder first into the post, it was on. They exchanged blows. Edge kicked Reigns out of the ring. Reigns hit a Samoan drop on the outside and then, as Edge tried to get back into the ring, Reigns took total control. He carried Edge down and then, in the middle of the ring, with a sleeper locked in, Edge buckled up and broke the handle. Reigns locked it up again. Edge fought his way up with body shots and bounced off the ropes before Reigns hit the jaw with an uppercut, with Edge barely moving and draping over the lower rope. Reigns combined with a drive-by kick.
Both had the crowd in hand. Edge fought back, dodging a Superman punch, and scoring with an Edge-O-Matic slam, both getting two counts. An Edgecution DDT also gave Edge a two count.
When Edge blocked a crossface on Reigns and Reigns finally reached the bottom rope, referee Charles Robinson had to pry off Edge – and that wasn’t the last time Robinson made a big appearance.
When Edge charged forward for a spear, Reigns locked a standing guillotine. Edge cornered Reigns, but Reigns locked it up again. Edge was starting to fade, but when he fell to his knees he desperately sent himself and Reigns down the middle rope.
Reigns brought the spear through the barricade, but missed and fell through alone. Edge then successfully speared Reigns through another wall, slung Reigns over his shoulders, tossed him back into the ring, and covered him. Another double counter.
Reigns scrambled out of a tie-up with an uppercut and a Superman punch, but on the blow, Edge stumbled into the referee and knocked out Robinson.
Reigns stomped braces from a folding chair in return for what Edge had done to him at WrestleMania and repeated a cross with braces over their mouth to his cousins, the Usos.
But Edge blocked it, repeatedly headbutted Reigns, and then got Reigns back with the crossface and the clamp in his mouth. The Usos trudged toward the ring, but their opponents from earlier that night, the Mysterios, were right behind them. They fought, chasing the Usos in the back, and Edge and Reigns seemed to be left alone.
But then Rollins, upset with Edge for “stealing” his opportunity, kicked Edge in the neck and eventually broke the grip. Edge cut off Reign’s spear with a successful spear attempt of his own. A new referee stormed into the ring, but Reigns resigned at the very last minute.
Rollins came back one more time and although Edge was able to throw him off the apron, Reigns impaled Edge and then pinned him to keep his title.
Rollins attacked Edge after the match and kicked Reigns in the face yelling that he would be next.
Edge got up again, beat Rollins backwards, and then Reigns had time to boast. But as soon as he dropped the microphone from his lips, Cena’s music struck.
What’s next: Reigns vs. Cena and Edge vs. Rollins at SummerSlam. Aside from one non-match against “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 36 last year, Cena has not been involved in a real match since January 2019. This year alone, Cena has starred in a Fast and Furious franchise film, and he will star in the upcoming DC comic book The Suicide Squad, which will be released on August 6, just weeks before SummerSlam . To say this game is an attraction that appeals to the mainstream off the charts would be an understatement.
Edge vs. Rollins has a chance to be a show stealer, and the mixed build up of these two matches on SmackDown over the coming weeks should be spectacular.
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Big E def. Drew McIntyre, John Morrison, Kevin Owens, Matt Riddle, Ricochet, Seth Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura
Big E’s career at WWE certainly had its high points. He was an NXT Champion, US Champion, and Intercontinental Champion. He was an integral part of The New Day, the most popular act in professional wrestling.
But the only thing he’s been missing, at least since joining the Raw or SmackDown roster, was getting into the top tier. And at Money in the Bank, Big E finally has that moment within reach by grabbing the briefcase that earned him a future world title at the moment of his election.
The match itself was absolutely amazing. It started with Matt Riddle and Ricochet doing all kinds of acrobatics, flipping Seth Rollins and John Morrison out to the outside of the ring, and it rarely slowed down.
Morrison jumped off the top turnbuckle, jumped a ladder for leverage, and spun in Shinsuke Nakamura. Morrison and Rollins teamed up for a considerable distance, crushing Nakamura and then Riddle with a ladder. Morrison backfliped Riddle upside down into a ladder on the floor.
The team-up was apparently over when Owens flipped back from the second rope into a ladder held by Rollins and Morrison, but they quickly recovered and met a double team of Falcon Arrow on Owens, who sent him backbone first into the blunt side of a ladder .
Rollins made the first climb for the briefcase but was stopped by Ricochet and Big E.
Nakamura and Riddle kicked each other in the head at the same time, preparing them for a double claymore from Drew McIntyre. Then it was a Future Shock DDT for Big E and a Reverse Alabama Slam for Ricochet, face first on a bridged ladder. McIntyre made a running flip over the top rope outward on all of his competitors.
And then, back in the ring, McIntyre hit another claymore against Rollins. The only one left in the ring, McIntyre climbed the ladder until Jinder Mahal’s pair of lackeys joined the match to attack McIntyre in retaliation for the damage they had done in recent weeks. Mahal had a chair waiting for McIntyre when he was outside the ring, and McIntyre was neutralized. Once again it was everyone’s business.
In a moment that will be played on the WWE highlight reels from now on to eternity, Ricochet came down from a falling ladder, landed nimbly on the top rope, hopped to a seemingly impossible height, and turned to face everyone outside .
– WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) July 19, 2021
Somehow the pace accelerated even more in the last few moments. Riddle bonded with multiple RKOs in tribute to his absent tag team mate Randy Orton, only to be caught by a Rollins stomp. Nakamura encountered a GTS on Rollins. Morrison brought his dripstick water pistol and splashed Nakamura in the face.
Owens met Morrison first and then Nakamura. Ricochet avoided having his own stunner, only to land right in a pop-up power bomb. Owens climbed the ladder, but Rollins caught him, grabbed his leg, and then put him in a power bomb position. Rollins then dropped Owens over the top rope and back first onto a ladder that was bridged between the ring apron and the commentary table.
Rollins climbed up, but Big E stopped him halfway. Big E collected Rollins for his finishing move, the Big Ending, and combined it with a heightened version of the move with great impact. Since no one could stop him, Big E grabbed the briefcase and won the match.
What’s next: Big E could easily aim at Roman Reigns or Bobby Lashley, or hold the briefcase for as long as he likes. Since his debut in the main squad in April 2013, he has shot exactly zero world titles. He will make sure that this counts.
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Nikki A.S.H. def Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Liv Morgan, Naomi, Natalya, Zelina Vega and Tamina
Since joining WWE five years ago, Nikki Cross has often been overlooked despite consistently impressive performances in the ring.
She was apparently known as “Nikki A.S.H.” arranged in a comic book superhero superhero character. (Almost a superhero) in the past few weeks, but embraced stupidity. Now she is Ms. Money in the Bank.
Taking advantage of the chaos of six other competitors fighting on three ladders, Cross climbed over her and grabbed the briefcase before anyone else noticed what had happened.
The highlight roll packages for the Money in the Bank and title wins for Bliss and Asuka, as well as the SmackDown title win for the women of Naomi were a great way to set the stake and name the clear favorites in the game. It also took the limelight away from the other five competitors, making the surprising ending all the more impressive.
The match was apparently framed by Bliss from the start. She was standing motionless – and emotionless – on top of the second rope when everyone else came into play. As the other participants in the match climbed outside to grab ladders, Bliss hopped around the ring, stopped directly below it, and pointed her hand up as if to call him over. But that was quickly forgotten when Asuka attacked her.
Liv Morgan took the first step towards the ladder while Tamina and Zelina Vega held it briefly, unfolded, and up until they realized what had happened and dropped the ladder (and Morgan).
Bliss apparently used her creepy powers when Vega climbed a ladder and grabbed the briefcase. Bliss climbed to the other side, made mirrored hand movements, and led Vega down the ladder without touching it. That spell was broken when Natalya Bliss fired a power bomb into the side of the ladder and then to the ground.
Naomi continued on the subject as she hurled Morgan at Vega with a power bomb that was placed over a flat ladder that sat on the middle rope.
As Natalya climbed a ladder in the middle of the ring, Vega locked a sleeper’s grip on the top of the ladder and then reached up, but could only put her fingertips on the briefcase. Morgan stopped the effort and the ladder slowly sloped to the floor.
Chaos broke out in the middle of the ring. And Cross, climbing a ladder outside, flew over the top rope and onto the other seven competitors.
– WWE (@WWE) July 19, 2021
Bliss set up a Sister Abigail setup for her DDT on Cross, but Natalya and Tamina, collectively the women’s tag team champions, worked together to stop Bliss and then incapacitated her with ladder shots. Then they buried Bliss under a pile of ladders, and the rest of the participants joined in and built the pile higher.
Morgan tried to take advantage of the chaos. Tamina interrupted her, then Morgan made Tamina spinning-head scissors. Morgan hit Asuka with a hanging flatliner to get her back into the ring alone, but when she realized it, she and Naomi climbed the middle ladder.
Tamina and Asuka climbed a second ladder to one side. Natalya and Vega climb a ladder on the other side. Cross climbed the middle ladder, climbed up over Morgan, then unlocked the briefcase and became Ms. Money in the Bank.
What’s next: The women’s money-in-the-bank briefcase was cashed in quickly several times, and a surprise win like this would appear to be of more benefit if Cross continued to build tension over a long period of time. It could get more serious. She could get even sillier. But it will undoubtedly be a more compelling story than if one of the favorites had won the game.
Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair def. Rhea Ripley (c)
Sometimes wrestlers have to work to get a lot behind them and there couldn’t have been a much steeper hill to climb than the one Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley faced at the start of their Raw Women’s Championship match.
As Flair and Ripley circled each other trying to build tension, the crowd broke into “We Want Becky!” Chants related to Becky Lynch. Whether it was rumors of Lynch being a belated replacement for the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match or photos she posted on social media outside the arena a few hours before the show, the Fort Worth crowd made it clear they had little interest in it little what was going on in the ring.
In response, Flair made a couple of loops around the ring, holding her middle finger up towards the audience. And then she and Ripley went out and played one of the best women’s games of 2021 yet.
Flair’s defiant demonstration seemed to baffle the crowd, though there were a few other instances of short chants of Lynch breaking out. But the massive chip on their shoulders apparently drove Ripley and Flair to the kind of performance they should have had for the entirety of a, at best, inconsistent rivalry.
The first moment of real danger was Flair locking Ripley in a Boston crab. A scramble ensued when Ripley rolled through a Figure Four attempt but fed Ripley straight into a Big Boot of Flair.
Ripley used some acrobatics to maneuver Flair into a mind-boggling vertical suplex on the deadlift, but she didn’t hold on to that advantage for long.
When the crowd finished their 180 flip in that match and immersed themselves in the duel, “Let’s go Rhea, Let’s go Charlotte”, Flair chanted, Flair ended flush with their characteristic moonsault from the top to the outside. Then, as Ripley was apparently preparing for the riptide and a win, Flair turned it into a DDT. Flair tried to keep Ripley on the ropes with his feet but was caught by the referee.
Flair combined with a Natural Selection that came out of the corner, but Ripley resigned just before the threesome. Flair drew a figure four for the second time, but Ripley fought his way out again.
Undeterred, Flair brought the action outside, determined to end the game. She sent Ripley’s skull into the ring post first, then wedged Ripley’s knee between the stairs and the post and smashed the stairs with three kicks.
That put an eight in the center of the ring. Ripley guessed and Flair was 12 times world champion.
What’s next: This was a chance to “make” Rhea Ripley, and for whatever reason, WWE went in a different direction, putting the title back in flair. Ripley could take on another challenge, but it seems unlikely that she will regain the title anytime soon. And as good as this match was, the kind of anti-flair vibe carried by much of the WWE Universe is not going to go away anytime soon, no matter how good the matches are. Perhaps the troubled crowds will get what they want and Lynch will be back to renew their tension for the massive SummerSlam showcase.
WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) def. Kofi Kingston
Bobby Lashley spent exactly zero time in danger on his WWE Championship defense against Kofi Kingston.
In a match eerily reminiscent of the one-sided match in which Kingston lost the WWE Championship to Brock Lesnar, Lashley Kingston pounded bell to bell to make it clear that all distractions were in the rearview mirror.
The man who lost mistake to Xavier Woods on Monday Night Raw a few days ago was gone. While the match was seemingly prepared for folly when the MVP tried to grab Kingston’s feet early in the match, it was just Lashley the whole time.
Kingston got his only real insult when he barely got out of the way when Lashley stormed in with a double stomp that wasn’t fully connected. Lashley threw Kingston all over the ring and the side of the ring and became particularly brutal when he swung Kingston at full speed into the ring post outside.
There were elevated flatliners, dominators, and multiple attempts at The Hurt Lock. As hard as he tried, Kingston could not offer adequate defense. Lashley went so far as to let Kingston up and let him out of The Hurt Lock, only to do more damage.
– WWE (@WWE) July 19, 2021
After an uncomfortably long stretch, during which Lashley put his finger to his mouth to calm the crowd and part of the audience who were cheering for more, he clapped the hurt lock again. Kingston was on his knees and could not even stand but patted to end his suffering.
What’s next: Lashley has once again built himself up as an unbeatable champion. When we look forward to SummerSlam there are two ways: he could face the money-in-the-bank winner, especially if there is a built-in story for someone like Drew McIntyre or Big E, or he could try a returning one Legend to overthrow showcase match. The latter option seems more likely.
SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Usos def. Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio (c)
Name a better couple than the Usos who are tossed overboard for the kickoff show despite being more than worthy of a top-notch pay-per-view slot and then move up and deliver. I’ll wait.
The now seven-time tag team champions defeated Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio and won the SmackDown tag team title with a little creativity and a lot of rule bending.
It took the crowd a while to get going and they sometimes struggled to get behind the Mysterios who had this run at the Thunderdome for the most part with no live fans. But the joint appearances of all four participants slowly got the audience going throughout the game.
They came to life and exploded in “That’s Awesome” singing in the last few minutes. Jimmy Uso absorbed a 619 for his brother Jey and saved the game for his team. Then Jey did a super kick and sprayed Rey off the top rope, which the audience thought was the end. When Rey left, the energy rose again.
Finally, in a messy ending, Jimmy dropped Rey face down on the top turnbuckle, rolled Rey up for a pinfall, and Jey added illegal leverage to Jimmy’s back by tucking his legs under the bottom rope to achieve the threesome .
What’s next: With the cheating finish, there will likely be a rematch in the short term. But for now, Reigns and his family have increased their power and influence over the rest of the SmackDown roster until Roman Reigns’ universal championship defense against Edge is pending later that night.
Raw Tag Team Championships: AJ Styles & Omos (c) def. The Viking Raiders
AJ Styles and Omos successfully retained the Raw Tag Team Championships after the most complete match in Omos’ career to date.
Omos took the pinfall win after delivering a standing choke bomb to Erik, then instead of the usual, put all his weight on Erik to secure the win.
In general, it doesn’t seem right for Styles to play the fool, even for an established tag team like The Viking Raiders. He’s a two-time WWE Champion and still one of the best wrestlers in the world, with all the boast and charisma to go with it. That was clear when the now returned WWE fandom Styles largely cheered in the course of this tag title match.
Styles took the majority of the damage in this match and stumbled around like crazy as Erik and Ivar put in a strong performance of their own. But there was one particularly impressive moment when Omo’s styles tossed feet first across the ring and into one Hurricanrana on the outside to Erik.
Omos is still clearly raw and inexperienced, but his set of movements is expanding and his presence is undeniable. He effectively hit a scoop slam and military press throughout the course of the game, then finished strong. After a Styles clash was smothered and the Viking Raiders encountered Styles on a Viking Experience, Omos broke it off by grabbing Erik by the throat and throwing him backwards into Ivar to stop the count.
– WWE (@WWE) July 19, 2021
Then Omos ended the match, quickly and effectively.
What’s next: If Styles and Omos are indeed the long-term plan, start by building some of the other teams to help both the champions and their challengers.