Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: August 6 2018
(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)
This year marked the ninth appearance of the Money In The Bank PPV. In that time, we’ve seen Kane and Dean Ambrose win championships mere minutes after capturing the MITB briefcase, we’ve seen some truly jaw-dropping stunts (such as the abuse that Seth Rollins took in the 2014 Ladder match), major storyline events (Paul Heyman backstabbing CM Punk in 2013) and some unforgettable matches (John Cena vs. Punk and AJ Styles from 2011 and 2016 respectively). What did the 2018 version of MITB have in store?
The show kicks off officially with what would be Big Cass’ final televised match for the company, and as is often paradoxically the case, it’s arguably his best singles effort to date. This is largely due to his opponent Daniel Bryan, who puts on quite a performance before defeating Cass (who would be fired two days later, allegedly due to a series of unpleasant backstage incidents). Next up is the merciful end to what will likely be voted the worst feud of 2018, Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn. Watching it back on DVD makes you feel like the heels are cursed here, as Zayn hasn’t been on TV since, and is apparently sidelined with a serious injury until 2019.
Seth Rollins vs. Elias is a strong Intercontinental Championship battle; it’s not quite as good as Rollins vs. Miz from Backlash, but it’s still well worth watching, and it’s Elias’ best singles effort to date (I’m noticing a theme here). We then have a very good all-women’s Money In The Bank match, which to me blows both of last year’s all-female MITB clashes away. Refreshingly, the result of this one was hard to call beforehand, which made it a surprise when Alexa Bliss came out on top in the end; more on her shortly.
Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal is the latest victim of the crowds-don’t-care trend which is beginning to engulf virtually every major WWE supershow in one form or another, and as Extreme Rules would prove a few weeks later, it isn’t limited to matches involving Roman. If you can ignore the fans, this is a decent battle, as Reigns decisively defeats The Modern-Day Maharaja. Conversely, while the Chicago audience pops big-time for James Ellsworth returning, the action in Carmella vs. Asuka is poor, and it sees the once-undefeated Empress Of Tomorrow lose far too easily to an opponent who she would have quickly dispatched during her NXT glory days.
Aside from the Ladder matches, the best bout is AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura under Last Man Standing rules. It’s not a classic, but it is still a top-drawer title match, and it allows the AJ vs. Shinsuke rivalry (which had underwhelmed from an in-ring standpoint) to end on a high note. Then, we see Ronda Rousey’s first televised singles match for WWE, and she and Nia Jax create magic via a simple yet believable structure to their match, which is interrupted by Alexa Bliss cashing in her newly-won MITB case on Jax to recapture the Raw Women’s Championship. (This strangely led to what felt like half of the population of the world’s wrestling fans genuinely turning on Bliss online, which baffled me since it wasn’t based on her genuinely effective work as a heel.)
The show closes with the men’s MITB Ladder match. The intrigue concerning which member of The New Day would participate ends up being a bit of a let-down, not because Kofi Kingston was the faction’s representative, but because WWE hasn’t done anything since with what could have been an interesting storyline for the summer season (e.g. Big E feeling annoyed about missing out, and slowly building up to a heel turn). Other than that, this is a good main event; there have been better MITB matches, but this still boasts some memorable moments, not least Braun Strowman tossing Kevin Owens off a huge ladder in the aisleway through several tables below.
WWE has finally realised that if their PPVs are all to exceed three hours or more, then their DVDs need to feature more bonus material, because MITB has a fair few extras. The Kick-Off Show bout between The Bludgeon Brothers and The Good Brothers (ending a very short and forgettable rivalry) is passable but nothing more. Also from the K-O Show is KO, Kevin Owens, who has some hilarious interactions with The New Day, and a quick promo from Seth Rollins. We also see AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura sign the contract for their WWE Title match, a Fatal Four Way involving Raw’s four participants in the main event, and Ronda Rousey exacting a measure of revenge on Alexa Bliss the night after MITB.
This was one of the better Money In The Bank supershows, serving the purpose of culminating some big post-WrestleMania storylines while setting the stage for plotlines that will take us into SummerSlam, while providing some great action along the way. Throw in some cool extras, and you have a rather enjoyable two-disc DVD. It’s not a must-see card, but Money In The Bank 2018 is much better than the previous Backlash show was, and it’s definitely worth checking out.
Overall Rating: 8/10 – Very Good