WWE Money In The Bank 2020
WWE Money In The Bank 2020 promised to deliver the most unique MITB match(es) in history, and that’s exactly what we got with a two-in-one match presentation that was low on major bumps but high on entertainment and delivered something truly memorable. The show also featured several traditional bouts, the majority of which were purposeful.
Jeff Hardy vs. Cesaro
This marked Jeff’s first match since a one-off bout on SmackDown in March against King Corbin, but with his comeback having been hyped over the past few weeks, you could argue that this marked this true return to action. The time and effort that has gone into promoting Jeff, and his feud with Sheamus, also meant that the outcome of this contest was a no-brainer. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t enjoyable, as Cesaro can have an exciting match with just about anybody, and given Jeff’s propensity for taking chances, the two meshed well together as you had Cesaro’s more methodical and hard-hitting offence mixing with Jeff finding unorthodox ways to fire shots back in return. At one point, Jeff used the very end of the aisleway to leap onto the crowd barrier before clotheslining Cesaro. In the end, a Swanton Bomb sealed the victory for Hardy, who will likely battle Sheamus at the next PPV event, Backlash. The question is, will Jeff be able to ascend to a top headline position again on the blue brand in what could be his final chance to do so?
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Fatal Four Way Match
The New Day (C) vs. The Miz & John Morrison vs. The Forgotten Sons vs. Lucha House Party
Opening the main show, we had a four-way tag for the SD Tag Titles. With The Usos currently out of the picture again, New Day’s challengers here were Miz and “Johnny Drip Drip”, along with the recently-promoted-from-NXT trio of The Forgotten Sons, and the somewhat random inclusion of LHP sans Kalisto. This followed the usual formula for bouts like this, with each team building some sort of momentum before all hell breaks loose and the action degenerates into a pier-six (or, in this case, a pier-eight) brawl. At one point, Forgotten Sons member Jaxson Ryker, who was meant to be solely stationed at ringside, was ejected by the referee, and I mention that because almost immediately afterwards, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado hit impressive simultaneous dives onto everybody at ringside, which Michael Cole and Corey Graves completely ignored because they were focusing on Ryker being gone. That aside, it was a fun, if at times slightly sloppy, opener, and it ended with Metalik taking the Midnight Hour. New Day retained, then, but I expect them to face Miz and Morrison again at Backlash, where the “Hollywood A-listers” will likely regain their belts.
R-Truth vs. MVP
This seemed like a random thing to throw onto a PPV, but while MVP was trying to have Truth back off early on, which led Truth to try and show MVP how to truly be able to go “ballin'”, the ruse was revealed, as Bobby Lashley marched out to replace Montel Vontavious Porter, thus giving us …
R-Truth vs. Bobby Lashley
Truth didn’t help himself by accidentally slapping Bobby in the face as he was twirling his arms to make a point on why he should avoid this match at Money In The Bank 2020. Another failed attempt to dodge this bout led to Lashley quickly pummelling him and securing a near-squash win with a Spear. Obviously, Bobby is being rebuilt for a future run as a headline heel, though I don’t envision it happening until around July or August. As for Truth, later on he lamented his “win” by discussing that he was missing his “baby”, that being the 24/7 Title still held by Rob Gronkowski. Truth: “I’m coming for you, Tom Brady!”
WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Bayley (C) vs. Tamina
Amidst the continuing slow-burn push of cracks in the Bayley-Sasha Banks alliance, we had the former Hugger’s latest defence of her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Tamina at Money In The Bank 2020. The challenger has now been on the WWE roster for ten years, believe it or not, and though she has had very occasional championship opportunities in the past, this felt like her biggest to date, since her push had begun shortly before WrestleMania 36, and she had been portrayed as a real threat to Bayley. That being said, at the end of the day, she’s still Tamina, and that meant Bayley was always likely to retain. Tamina did start strong before a distraction by Sasha at ringside allowed Bayley to take control. She also tested the challenger’s nerve too much by tossing water in her face, which only angered Tamina to the point that she hurled Bayley across ringside, which included knocking over one of the ladders set up near the stage. Bayley did neatly counter an attempted superkick into a leglock, but she later tasted a hard superkick to the jaw, only for Banks to again distract Tamina to the floor. This gave the champion long enough to recover that she was able to roll up Tamina for the pin. Afterwards, Tamina tried to Samoan Drop Bayley, only to be attacked by Sasha, and the devious heels left together, having overcome their latest obstacle. Bayley’s reign goes on, and since Bayley has faced and defeated every other babyface on SmackDown, I would expect Dana Brooke to be her next opponent. As for Bayley and Sasha, it’s not a case of “if” they will split up, but “when”.
WWE Universal Championship Match
Braun Strowman (C) vs. Bray Wyatt
The story for this Money In The Bank 2020 bout was that Wyatt not only wanted his Universal Championship back (which he had lost to Goldberg back at Super ShowDown), but he also wanted Braun to return to his “Family” (a Family whose two other former members, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, no longer work for WWE, but that’s beside the point). Strowman was adamant that he wouldn’t be drawn into Wyatt’s mind games. Note that on this night, Strowman was facing the host of the Firefly Fun House, and not the wicked Fiend alter ego. Strowman bounced Bray around early on, but lost momentum after Bray side-stepped him as he charged towards him, leading to Braun flying across the announcer’s table. A Sister Abigail in the ring was only enough for a two-count, but Braun moved out of a second Sister Abigail by also hitting a Chokeslam for two. Strowman then fell to the floor, and when he returned, he was wearing the black sheep mask from his 2015-2016 days, much to Bray’s delight. Strowman even presented himself to Wyatt as if he was returning “home”, which pleased the other Firefly characters stationed at ringside. But it was a trap, as Braun suckered Bray in and then caught him with the match-winning Running Powerslam; Strowman had outsmarted Wyatt, thus overcoming his mental arithmetic and retaining his belt in the process. Wyatt looked despondent afterwards, but inset clips of The Fiend meant that we know who (or what) will be in Braun’s immediate future at Backlash.
WWE Championship Match
Drew McIntyre (C) vs. Seth Rollins
Drew McIntyre has had the misfortune of his long-awaited WWE Title reign coming at a time when no fans are allowed to attend live shows (though that might be about to change, on a small scale at least), but that hasn’t stopped him embracing his role as Raw’s new top dog, and it also hasn’t stopped WWE positioning him as such. Indeed, ignoring the external factors, Drew has comfortably slid into the role of Raw’s #1 babyface, and hopefully his WWE Title reign will continue long enough so that he can start hearing the cheers of the fans again. This would of course necessitate him retaining the WWE Title here against arguably the biggest threat to his prize on the red brand, that being Seth Rollins (who debuted new “holy” entrance music here as per his Messiah moniker). As expected, these two worked very well together at Money In The Bank 2020, and while there were plenty of big moves, there weren’t so many that it felt like overkill. Both men had their moments to almost take the win, with Drew hitting his Future Shock DDT, and Rollins later hitting his top rope suplex/Falcon Arrow combo. Seth also hit the Curb Stomp for a close two. Rollins attempted it again, but was met with a Glasgow Kiss headbutt; this bounced Rollins into the ropes to hit a superkick, but that caused Drew to rebound with a Claymore Kick for the pinfall win (Samoa Joe on commentary said “less talk, Clay More”, which was cute). McIntyre retained, and afterwards, he wanted Rollins to “be a leader, be a man” and shake his hand, which Seth surprisingly did. Rollins is clearly still a heel, but this was unexpected sportsmanship from him, and given that he has now lost to Kevin Owens at Mania and McIntyre here, could a face turn be on the cards for Seth? As for Drew, with Brock Lesnar still off TV and Rollins now on his list of victims, I’m thinking that AJ Styles could be next in line for a title shot (especially since an ad during this show implied that Edge and Randy Orton will continue their rivalry when both return to Raw for the post-MITB episode).
Money In The Bank Corporate Ladder Matches
Men’s: Daniel Bryan vs. Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles vs. King Corbin vs. Aleister Black vs. Otis
Women’s: Nia Jax vs. Asuka vs. Dana Brooke vs. Lacey Evans vs. Carmella vs. Shayna Baszler
And so we come to our double main event for Money In The Bank 2020. It’s worth noting that both the men’s and women’s MITB Ladder matches could have been held in the Performance Center as normal, but WWE presumably felt that without a live audience, it made more sense to be creative and go for something completely different in order for these matches to stand out. They certainly achieved that, with something that resembled an extended fight scene from a movie more than anything. Crucially, the focus here was on pure entertainment, and with both MITB bouts happening at the same time, this only added to the intentional chaos. The story was that all 12 competitors had to start on the ground floor of WWE HQ in Stamford, Connecticut (the women were in the main foyer, while the men were in the gym). They had to work their way to the very top of the building, and on the roof, we had a ring set up, and that is where the ladders and the briefcases hanging above the squared circle were present.
Asuka had the most logical approach by leaping off a ledge onto her five opponents and immediately walking (well, dancing) towards the elevator, though I’m not sure why she didn’t just press the button to take her straight to the top (lifts should have been dismissed as a form of climbing up the building). In the gym, the males were battling it out, and Otis trapped AJ under a barbell, to the disgust of Styles. The chases through the rooms and hallways and up the stairs began, and Rey Mysterio ran past the gent’s room, which led to him seeing Brother Love complete with his theme music, and with Love still having not pulled up his flies in a humorous moment. The combatants brawled through various meeting rooms, though AJ at one point stumbled upon a room with a blue light containing a casket, bringing back bad memories for him of his Boneyard match with The Undertaker at Mania. They soon ended up being met by Paul Heyman, who was enjoying quite the banquet, and that’s where both the men and women came face-to-face. Otis: “Food Fight!” You know what came next, though the visual of Shayna trapping Rey in the Kirifuda Clutch was darkly comical.
The climbs up the building continued, and we had more random appearances. Dana thought she had snatched her MITB case in another meeting room, only for Stephanie McMahon to inform her that it wasn’t the real prize. Otis bumped into John Laurinaitis, who took a pie to the face for his attempt to revive “People Power!” One of the highlights saw Bryan and Styles scrap their way into Vince McMahon’s office, who barked at them to “get out!” The two men carefully put the chairs back like naughty schoolkids, and Vince responded to the interruption by washing his hands, which made me laugh. Eventually, the two sets of combatants made their way to the top of the building, and at one point, both Asuka and Corbin were climbing; Asuka knocked the King to the canvas, and took the women’s MITB prize. This led to the men alone battling it out, and at one point, it appeared that Corbin had thrown Rey and Black off the roof! But when he climbed back up a ladder, AJ was there too, and the two men both brought down the men’s case. As they tussled for control, Elias returned and smashed a guitar over Corbin’s back; however, the case still slipped out of AJ’s hands, and straight into the hands of Otis, who was standing on the canvas, thus giving him the unexpected MITB victory!
This two-in-one match presentation was bags of fun to watch, giving us plenty of moments while not lasting too long (it actually could have benefitted from another five or ten minutes). Even after fans return to arenas, I hope that WWE does this sort of thing as an annual tradition, perhaps on a lesser PPV such as Clash Of Champions, whereby some sort of #1 contender’s object is hidden anywhere in WWE HQ and it’s up to the combatants (if not the entire WWE roster) to retrieve it. The concept was very enjoyable, but it didn’t necessarily have to be MITB, so in 2021, you could have the traditional MITB Ladder matches at that PPV, and then have this wild goose chase on another night; either way, I hope this happens again, because in terms of pure entertainment, I actually enjoyed this more than the two other cinematic matches at WrestleMania (the Boneyard and Firefly Fun House matches). As for the MITB winners, I could see Asuka jumping to SmackDown to use her privilege, unless WWE decides to terminate Becky Lynch’s long Raw Women’s Championship reign to someone she has already beaten back at Royal Rumble, and with Otis, as much as I like the guy, I can’t imagine he will win the Universal Title. Perhaps Tucker picks that moment to deliver the cruellest tag team break-up since The Rockers by costing Otis the top prize on SmackDown due to his disgust at being abandoned while Otis chased Mandy Rose’s affections?
On the whole, then, WWE Money In The Bank 2020 was well worth watching (it was also surprisingly short, as the main card didn’t even last 2 ½ hours, a stark contrast to PPVs that have gone four or even five hours in recent years). The WWE Title match was a very good athletic contest, while the Universal Title bout told a decent story. The opener had its moments, while Jeff vs. Cesaro was acceptable pre-show filler. But the simultaneous MITB Ladder matches were the true focus of Money In The Bank 2020. And not unlike the out-of-the-box presentations that we saw at Mania 36, those bouts stood out the most in my memory when all was said and done. Definitely check out the MITB spectacle if you can, as well as McIntyre vs. Rollins at the very least.