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The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Money in the Bank 2017



For this Money in the Bank review, there's only one thing to talk about, so let's start talking about it.

So how about that women's Money in the Bank match, huh? Polarizing might be the understatement of the Money in the Bank ladder match's entire history, after James Ellsworth won the briefcase for Carmella. The contention of many people is that it's the first ever women's MITB match, therefore it had to be a woman to win it in order for it to mean as much as it was hyped. The other opinion is that it's just what heels do, and for people to be upset at what heels do should be, you know, normal.

After sleeping on my thoughts about that finish, I'm glad to say that I've finally come to a consensus: both camps are right.



First things first—they didn't have to go with Carmella winning, and certainly not with Carmella winning the way she did. Since there was a lot of hype going into the first ever women's Money in the Bank match, it should've been a babyface winning the whole thing near the end. To say that it was tone deaf is not wrong, especially in an era of our history where Wonder Woman has just come out and empowered women of all ages and backgrounds. WWE needed to follow that step and establish themselves as the ones to watch in this particular niche. It should really have been either Becky Lynch or Charlotte.

At the same time however, they've made their bed, and as the old saying goes, it's time for them to lay in it. But it's also time for everyone else to lay in it as well. Since there's no undoing the decision of Carmella winning the way she did, fans should take a moment to realize that that was the best way to establish a new heel.

Fellow wrestling writer Sean Ross Sapp tweeted in the middle of yesterday's show that troll culture creates troll booking, and he couldn't be any more correct with that take. Fans haven't realized that this isn't a bed only the WWE has made; everyone had a hand in constructing the whole bedframe with the way they reject traditional notions of who's the good guy and who's the bad guy. Granted, it's also the company's fault for not catering to what people have wanted (which is a quality product they can get behind, by the way).

There is no greater heel act at this point than doing something that would get real hatred from the fans. Had Carmella won it straight, she'd inevitably be presented as a babyface because she would react like a babyface, because any woman who wins the first ever Money in the Bank would feel all that emotion from such a historic achievement. If she's going to be a villain, better for her to go all in on the villainy.

And that man who won the briefcase for her? Not her superior; in fact, he did it all because he feels she's the superior one in the relationship. James Ellsworth is subservient to Carmella. The thing to do here now is for Carmella to capitalize on this whole thing and say on SmackDown that James grabbing the briefcase for her was her Plan B this entire time.

But if you're angry about the whole thing, stay angry. You're supposed to be angry. Too many people keep cheering things, even things they're not supposed to like, because they enjoy the work that's been put into it. You'll be raging at the machine instead of the gears, but they'll have to learn to work around that, like they do down in NXT. 

Nowadays, fans believe they're too cool for kayfabe, and most of the things that happen seem to be nothing else than the WWE simply firing back. All of that said, however, this interplay between the fans and main show writing will head to critical mass sooner or later, and when it does, it will not be good for the WWE at all. No matter how much I could justify the way Carmella won, at the end of the day, they needed their Wonder Woman moment. They missed that boat to the real world.

Something has to change, and no matter how much blame the fans should get, it's still on the company to do better work and earn good will. Money in the Bank was one of SmackDown's worst PPVs in a long time—not because things were shoddy, but because it was not up to par with the Blue Brand's potential. SmackDown's known to commit to what it believes fans will love, even when the fans themselves aren't sure of what they'll like just yet. Money in the Bank had some of it (like Baron Corbin and Jinder Mahal winning) but lacked it where it counts. It's time to do away with the half-measures. WWE has to go all in, all across the board. B-

Match of the Night

For a top-to-bottom great affair, look no further than the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match. My biggest worry was that the New Day would automatically win the titles on their first try from the Usos just because they're the New Day, so the Usos voluntarily taking the countout was one of the smartest things they could've done. It's a genius move for them, because they keep the titles without needing to beat a team they knew they couldn't handle that night. And if you're mad about it, remember—these are things heels do.




*****

  • Baron Corbin is a great pick to win (men's) Money in the Bank this year. Actually, they were all great picks, but since the WWE's supposed to be in the business of making stars, this was the second-best choice they could make, after Sami Zayn. I don't understand people hating on Corbin; he might be a tad robotic on the microphone, but his upside remains huge and he does good work with the right opponents. That said, since Jinder Mahal is still the champion, don't expect Corbin to cash in anytime soon.
  • Did you really think they'd take out Nakamura for the whole match? Like really, did you?
  • Speaking of, Jinder wrestled a respectable match, but he needs an opponent who'll do more for him. Randy Orton is fine, but they're too similar. Jinder did some good work against guys like AJ Styles and Sami Zayn.
  • Naomi is a star now after managing to wrestle a match that hid Lana's flaws. She's been a star for a while, but even more so now.
  • I still don't like impromptu matches, even if it involves the Fashion Police. How hard could it have been to make this match on last week's SmackDown, especially after advancing the story? Not being able to set up and announce a match ahead of time screams lazy booking to me.


    Photo from WWE
    *****

    Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul.

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