The WWE Money in the Bank pay-per-view took place Sunday night as Smackdown brand superstars put in a great effort in the ring all night long. But from a creative standpoint, this show felt disappointing. The main event was outstanding, which was similar to Raw’s Extreme Rules two weeks ago, but the rest of the night felt very average to me.

There are many weeks where I review Smackdown Live and I praise their smart booking decisions. However, after Money in the Bank I’m confused about some decisions that were made and am more pessimistic than I might usually be.

Here’s a rundown of every match in the order they took place and I’ll look at what’s next for the performers as well.

Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley) defeated The Colons (Primo & Epico) on the Kickoff Show

This was Ryder’s first match in six months. He suffered a major knee injury last December, had surgery to repair it and returned on Smackdown last week. The match got about seven minutes with the heels working on Ryder’s knee for much of it, Rawley got the hot tag and the Hype Bros finished them off with Ryder doing the Hype Ryder to win.

What’s Next: There could be a mild push for the Hype Bros as they try to win the tag team titles. As I mentioned previously, I think a heel turn for Ryder would be interesting. His face act is getting stale. Let’s see what he can do in a different role. As for the Colons, they are there to lose matches. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Carmella won the first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match defeating Tamina, Natalya, Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch

I thought it was weird that the five women entered the ring and had to stand in there for three minutes while the video package aired featuring all of them talking about making history. Then WWE books the worst finish for a Money in the Bank match in the 12-year history of the match. It’s as if WWE wanted to troll the fans, rather than give them something they might remember in a good way.

The five women in this match deserve a lot of praise for how hard they worked and how they well they told a story in the first-ever ladder match. They didn’t do anything crazy with the ladder in terms of big spots. There were body slams on the ladder, slingshots into the ladder and things like that, but nothing too over-the-top. Good for them for not killing their bodies during this match, although I’m sure every bump hurt a little bit more since they were working with the same ladders the guys use.

There was a big spot on the floor with Charlotte Flair going to the top rope and hitting a great dive onto Natalya and Tamina to take them out. In the ring, Becky Lynch dropped Carmella with a Powerbomb. Lynch climbed the ladder and was shoved off by Carmella’s buddy James Ellsworth. Carmella was too hurt to climb, so Ellsworth climbed, grabbed the briefcase and dropped it to Carmella to give her the win. The crowd hated the finish and so did most people watching. The rules of the match are that the first person to get the briefcase wins, but (as JBL pointed out on commentary) there’s nothing in the rules to prevent somebody else in the match from getting the briefcase like Ellsworth.

If they went 13 minutes and one of them won, then people would be praising it today. Instead, most fans are mad about the finish. Is this how WWE wants fans to react? It was the kind of ending that will make fans want to turn the show off. Think about it this way: WWE spent weeks talking about these women “making history” and did that great video package only to come up with the worst match finish possible. This is why viewership is going down. It’s not the talent. It’s the poor booking.

You may be asking why would they allow that finish? Couldn’t they just re-start the match? In theory, yes, they should have. Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan weren’t even at the show, so neither one did anything about it except fire off tweets.

What’s Next: It’s hard to say for sure. Carmella has the briefcase and I don’t know if that’s going to change. I don’t expect WWE to have the five women do the match again just because of the controversial ending. I guess it’s a possibility, though. My feeling is that the feedback of this angle was so bad that WWE is going to want it to go away quickly. Maybe Carmella tries to cash in on Naomi on Tuesday, fails to do so and they all move on. It’s what I would do in order to make people forget about this bad booking.

The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston w/Xavier Woods) defeated The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) by countout (The Usos remain Smackdown Tag Team Champions)

This match was a lot of fun. Great spots by both teams. The timing was there on the near-falls. The only mistake spot was when Big E tried to catch Jey on his shoulders and it was tough, so it didn’t happen, but they went right to it just fine. People who complain about that would just be nitpicking.

There was a cool spot with Kingston jumping back-first (trust fall-style) onto The Usos on the floor. When they went back into the ring, New Day hit their Midnight Hour finisher for a two-count on Jey as Jimmy pulled his brother out of the ring.

The finish was the worst finish in WWE: heels walk out of the match to lose by countout. I realize it was done because WWE will want to do this match again at the next PPV called Battleground and maybe SummerSlam after that. Poor ending. Why not do a disqualification or something else? This was the kind of finish they might do once per month on WWE TV, but rarely do they do it on PPV.

I didn’t think they would do a title change. I thought a disqualification finish was possible, but a countout? That was weird to do. Here’s the perfect example of a really good match with a finish that left people angry and not in a “that was a smart finish” kind of way either.

What’s Next: The New Day and the Usos will have more matches together and I’m sure the rematches will be great like this match could have been. Next PPV is Battleground on July 23 in Philadelphia. They’ll probably have a match there and possibly at SummerSlam in August as well. This was done to build to rematches that will likely have stipulations.

Naomi defeated Lana to retain the Smackdown Women’s Title

There were questions about how Lana would do in this match. I thought she did fine and didn’t look that out of place, considering her lack of experience. If I were to give a letter grade for her performance, it was maybe a C. But should we be happy with C-level wrestlers getting title matches? No. Lana did some decent moves in the math, but some of the basic punches and kicks looked weak.

Carmella made her entrance during the match with the Money in the Bank briefcase to tease a possible cash-in. She didn’t do it, though. Naomi ended up making the comeback and forced Lana to tap out with a head/arm submission. I thought Naomi would win clean and she did.

What’s Next: Naomi could face off with any of the women in that ladder match from earlier in the show. Natalya or Carmella makes the most sense as the next rival since they are heels. However, I don’t see Charlotte Flair or Becky Lynch being pushed to the side. It could lead to some kind of multi-woman match at the next PPV, Battleground, as well.

There was a brief Fashion Files skit where Breezango received a tape featuring their mystery attackers, who spoke with distorted voices. It led to a match later in the evening.

Maria Kanellis and Mike Kanellis debuted

Maria Kanellis, a former WWE diva released seven years ago, said that she was the First Lady of Wrestling and was back in WWE. Her husband, who was known as Mike Bennett in other companies, said his name is Mike Kanellis, so the story is that he took her name in WWE. Maria spoke about how for the past seven years, she was searching for the perfect partner. Mike said she found him. She said they were there to educate everybody on Smackdown Live with the “Power of Love” and some cheesy music played.

They met in the indies several years ago and appeared in Ring Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling and Impact Wrestling in the last few years. Bennett came close to getting into WWE at various points in the last few years. They’ve decided to bring him in with his wife, probably because they see them as a good act together, but didn’t see as much value in him alone. He’s a pretty good wrestler and she’s great as a valet. Her in-ring work isn’t good, though. Just keep her as a valet similar to Maryse with The Miz on Raw. Maria and Mike were rumored to start in WWE for a few months now, so it’s good to see them finally there.

Jinder Mahal (w/Singh Brothers) defeated Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship

This felt like a carbon copy of their Backlash match in terms of the finish, but was a better match with a hotter crowd that loved Orton in his hometown of St. Louis. They got more time since it went about 21 minutes. There was also the story of the wrestling legends sitting at ringside such as Ric Flair, Bob Orton Jr. (Randy’s dad), Sgt. Slaughter and others. As soon as they were shown at ringside, it was obvious that they would be a part of an angle for the finish of the match.

The match began with Orton as the aggressor. As the match progressed, Mahal worked over the left knee of Orton for most of it and even applied a Figure Four Leglock on him. Give Mahal credit for that because sometimes people work on body parts while never doing a submission move on it. At least Mahal tried to make sense of it with the Figure Four Leglock attempt.

Orton made the big comeback hitting all of his big moves and a RKO. As soon as he hit it, I could tell that Mahal was near the ropes and sure enough, the Singh Brothers were there to put Mahal’s foot on the bottom rope. Referee Mike Chioda wanted to ring the bell for the disqualification, but Orton pleaded with him not to and Chioda ejected the Singh Brothers instead. Rather than leaving, the Singh Brothers got in the face of Bob Orton, so Randy made the save for his dad.

There was a great spot on the announce tables where Orton jumped off one of them and hit a RKO on one of the Singh Brothers through the table. Check it out below.

After Orton took care of the Singh Brothers for a few minutes (the ref never counted him out), he went back in the ring, Mahal kicked him in the knee and Mahal hit The Khallas (Cobra Clutch Slam) for the win. I thought Orton should have kicked out because he wasn’t beat up enough. Kick out, have Jinder hit it again and that should be the end. Doing it this way felt flat.

It was another cheap win for the heel champion in Mahal, which is fine because that’s how a heel should win. I didn’t expect Orton to win.

What’s Next: Mahal will likely move on to a new challenger for the WWE Title. I think guys like John Cena and AJ Styles are possible as his next opponents. I’m not sure what Orton might do next. They could have him feud with Baron Corbin since Corbin could use a big rivalry heading into SummerSlam as well. Orton vs. Kevin Owens would be a fresh feud too.

Breezango (Fandango & Tyler Breeze) defeated The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)

This is what they call “filler” or a “come down” match between two bigger matches. Breezango won in about three minutes with Fandango doing an inside cradle. It was forgettable and didn’t mean much at all.

What’s Next: More Fashion Files skits for Breezango, which is good for their character development. The problem is that Smackdown’s only heel teams are The Usos (busy with New Day), these Ascension guys that they just beat and the Colons who Breezango has beaten before. There’s nothing new or fresh for them. As for The Ascension, they’re there to lose matches like the Colons are.

Baron Corbin won the Money in the Bank Ladder Match also featuring AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Dolph Ziggler

It was the longest Money in the Bank match in WWE history with an official match time of 29:45 and the winner was the man most of expected to win, Baron Corbin. I thought it was an excellent match featuring six guys who put their bodies on the line for an entertaining match featuring a hot crowd, big moves and some scary bumps too.

Corbin attacked Nakamura before he could make his entrance. It was a cheap attack that took out Nakamura for the first 20 minutes of the match. I think the fans were mad that they didn’t get to see Nakamura’s cool entrance in person.

I thought Sami Zayn was spectacular in the match. He hit the most incredible-looking moves and made it all look easy. At first, he was doing his usual dives out of the ring, but then he raised his game to another level. Here’s a video of Sami Zayn doing a Sunset Flip Powerbomb on Dolph Ziggler off the top of a ladder. That’s a crazy bump, but they pulled it off well.

There were a bunch of other cool spots as well such as when Baron Corbin destroyed AJ Styles with a Chokeslam onto a ladder that was used as a bridge between the ring steps and the announce table.

That wasn’t Styles’ only big bump either. At one point, he held onto the briefcase above the ring, couldn’t unclip it and crashed to the mat below. Huge bump that Styles took right on his back. He was fine, but you don’t want to see guys falling from that high very often.

Kevin Owens took some nasty falls in the match, including a Dragon Suplex from Zayn on the ring apron, which is the hardest part of the ring. Styles got his turn to deliver some pain on the ladder bridge when he picked up Owens and slammed him onto the ladder similar to an Attitude Adjustment from John Cena. Owens apparently limped away after the match, so hopefully he’s not seriously hurt.

Nakamura returned about 20 minutes into the match and was on fire with his great strong style offense and Kinshasa knee strikes on everybody. The final five minutes were excellent, thanks in part to this showdown with AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. When they were on the opposite side of a ladder, fans were going crazy cheering them because they want to see this match in a WWE ring. I think we all do.

After Nakamura and Styles had their battle on top of the ladder, Corbin showed up, shoved the ladder over, both guys crashed into the top rope and Corbin climbed up to grab the briefcase.

In terms of match quality, it was similar to Extreme Rules’ main event two weeks ago as a five-way Extreme Rules match. That match was given a lot of time, just like this one. Good talent in a long match equals a classic match. It’s not that hard to figure out.

As for Corbin winning, he was the obvious winner. He’s the guy WWE sees as a big part of their future as a taller guy with untapped potential. They want him to be a main event talent in the near-future, so putting the MITB briefcase on him will do that.

What’s Next: Corbin will be lurking with the Money in the Bank briefcase. I think he’ll be WWE Champion before the end of the year, but he may not cash in on Mahal. It could be somebody else that beats Mahal. I can see Corbin wrestling Zayn again and getting the win on him since Corbin put him over a few times. The Nakamura/Styles tease could lead to a big SummerSlam match between them, although I would save their first WWE match until WrestleMania if possible. Owens vs. Nakamura is possible as a feud. There are a lot of ways things can go with these guys.

In Closing

The main event was outstanding and everything else felt average with some poor finishes. I’m not saying every match should have a clean finish, but the booking on this show could have been better. I expect bad booking decisions on Raw shows. Smackdown shows are usually better than this.

If you missed the show, I highly recommend the main event because it was one of the better MITB matches ever. The effort in the other matches was good, but some of the booking choices were a big turn off.

I’ll be back Tuesday with a review of Raw, which features some Roman Reigns announcement that could be interrupted.

About John Canton

John has been writing about WWE online since the late 1990s. He's written for WhatCulture, Bleacher Report, Layfield Report, Rajah.com and many other places. You can follow John Canton on Twitter @johnreport or email him at mrjohncanton@gmail.com with any comments or questions. For more of his wrestling opinions, visit his website at TJRWrestling.net.