John Cena returned to WWE last night, and Big E and Nikki A.S.H. won their briefcases on Raw.

John Cena returns, Big E and Nikki A.S.H. win briefcases

Edge and Roman Reigns accomplished all of this and more for nearly 30 minutes on a Money in the Bank pay-per-view that exceeded expectations. The audience was pumped, and both men might have easily walked out of Fort Worth, Texas with the Universal title in their hands.

Edge’s destiny was sealed by Seth Rollins’ intervention on two occasions. Reigns retained his title after the main event of Money in the Bank, as Edge and Rollins brawled in the back of Dickies Arena, each believing the other had lost them the championship. Reigns took the stage and said unequivocally that the whole world now recognizes him.

Then, over the arena’s PA system, a familiar sequence of trumpet notes blared. John Cena came out to the biggest and most enthusiastic applause of his career, jumped back and forth between the ropes, and then looked down Reigns. A SummerSlam main event was apparently set with a single “You can’t see me” hand gesture before the Money in the Bank broadcast had even faded to black.

#MITB pic.twitter.com/QsXF8OxDr2 @JohnCena is BACK!!!

July 19, 2021 — WWE (@WWE)

On many fronts, it was a landscape-shifting night. Big E won the men’s Money in the Bank briefcase, while Nikki A.S.H won the women’s Money in the Bank bag. Charlotte Flair reclaimed her Raw women’s title, and new SmackDown tag team champions were also crowned.

But, as fast as Cena’s comeback will overshadow the remainder of the night, and especially the main event, the bout between Reigns and Edge is deserving of praise.

They just looked one other down as the bell sounded, slowly circling. Dueling shouts of “Let’s go Roman” and “Let’s go Edge” echoed throughout the building. Early on, when they pushed each other in the face, each guy tried to win the mental edge over the physical advantage.

It was on after Edge sent Reigns shoulder-first into the post. They threw fists at each other. Reigns was thrown out of the ring by Edge. As Edge tried to re-enter the ring, Reigns performed a Samoan drop on the outside and then seized complete control. He wore Edge down and then, with a sleeper locked in, Edge buckled down and broke the grip in the center of the ring. Reigns slammed the door shut again. With Edge hardly moving and draped over the bottom rope, Edge battled his way back up with body punches and rebounded off the ropes before Reigns landed with an uppercut to the jaw. With a Drive-By kick, Reigns connected.

They both had the audience in their grasp. Edge battled back with a two-count after evading a Superman punch and landing with an Edge-O-Matic smash. Edge received a two-count from an Edgecution DDT.

Referee Charles Robinson had to pull Edge off when he locked a Crossface on Reigns and Reigns eventually got to the bottom rope — and it wasn’t the last time Robinson would loom big.

Reigns locked in a standing guillotine as Edge rushed forward for a spear. Edge backed Reigns into a corner, but Reigns regained control. Edge began to fade, but as he knelt, he frantically sent Reigns and himself crashing over the middle ring.

Reigns tried to spear his way through the barrier, but he missed and had to crash through on his own. Edge then speared Reigns through a separate wall, threw him over his shoulders, and hurled him back into the ring, where he was covered. Count two more times.

With an uppercut and a Superman punch, Reigns squirmed his way out of a tie-up, but Edge fell into the referee, knocking Robinson out.

Reigns stomped a brace out of a folding chair in retaliation for what Edge had done to him at WrestleMania, then repeated the crossface with the brace across the lips to his cousins, the Usos.

Edge, on the other hand, deflected it, repeatedly headbutted Reigns, and finally got Reigns with the crossface and the brace in his mouth again. The Usos stalked their way to the ring, but their earlier-in-the-night opponents, the Mysterios, were close after them. They battled and chased the Usos to the rear, leaving Edge and Reigns to fend for themselves.

But, enraged at Edge for “stealing” his chance, Rollins kicked Edge in the neck, breaking the hold. With a successful spear attempt of his own, Edge chopped off Reigns’ spear. When a new referee entered the ring, Reigns kicked out at the last possible minute.

Rollins returned, and despite Edge’s best efforts to knock him off the apron, Reigns speared and pinned him to retain his championship.

After the bout, Rollins assaulted Edge and got in Reigns’ face, shouting that he would be next.

Edge rose to his feet, brawled Rollins to the back, and then it was Reigns’ turn to gloat. Cena’s song began playing as soon as he removed the microphone off his lips.

SummerSlam will feature Reigns vs. Cena and Edge vs. Rollins. Cena hasn’t competed in a bout since January 2019, with the exception of a non-match versus “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 36 last year. Cena has already featured in a Fast & Furious franchise film this year, and he’ll have a key role in the forthcoming DC comic book film The Suicide Squad, which will be released only a few weeks before SummerSlam. It would be an understatement to suggest that this match has off-the-charts mass appeal.

Edge vs. Rollins has the potential to steal the event, and the build-up to these two SmackDown bouts in the coming weeks could be fantastic.


 

Big E defeats Drew McIntyre, John Morrison, Kevin Owens, Matt Riddle, Ricochet, Seth Rollins, and Shinsuke Nakamura in a Money in the Bank ladder match.

Big E has earned a championship chance at his leisure after capturing the Money in the Bank briefcase. WWE

Big E’s WWE career has had its share of highs and lows. He has won the NXT Championship, the United States Championship, and the Intercontinental Championship. He had a key role in helping The New Day become the most popular act in professional wrestling.

But, at least while he’s been on the Raw or SmackDown rosters, one thing has been missing: that last push to the top tier. And by snatching the briefcase that secured him a future world championship chance at his leisure at Money in the Bank, Big E has finally put that moment within his grasp.

The contest was amazing in and of itself. It began with Matt Riddle and Ricochet doing acrobatics, putting Seth Rollins and John Morrison out with flips to the outside of the ring, respectively, and it never slowed down.

Morrison leapfrogged a ladder for leverage and spun himself into Shinsuke Nakamura after jumping from the top turnbuckle. For a long time, Morrison and Rollins teamed up, smashing Nakamura and then Riddle with a ladder. Morrison performed a backflip and slammed Riddle into a ground-level ladder.

When Owens backflipped off the second rope onto a ladder held by both Rollins and Morrison, the team-up seemed to be finished, but they immediately regrouped and hit a double team Falcon Arrow to Owens, sending him spine-first into the blunt side of a ladder.

Rollins was the first to reach the briefcase, but Ricochet and Big E stopped him.

Nakamura and Riddle each kicked each other in the head at the same time, setting up a double Claymore from Drew McIntyre for both of them. Then Big E got a Future Shock DDT and Ricochet got a reverse Alabama slam, landing face-first on a bridging ladder. McIntyre flipped over the top rope to the outside, landing on all of his opponents.

When McIntyre returned to the ring, he smacked Rollins with another Claymore. McIntyre ascended the ladder as the only person remaining in the ring until Jinder Mahal’s lackeys injected themselves into the contest to assault McIntyre in retaliation for damage done in previous weeks. Once outside the ring, Mahal had a chair waiting for McIntyre, and McIntyre was neutralized. Once again, it was anyone’s game.

Ricochet came off the top of a collapsing ladder, landed nimbly on the top rope, bounced to an almost unimaginable height, and flipped into everyone on the outside in a moment that will be replayed on WWE highlight reels for the rest of time.

THE HEIGHT IS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR TO CONSIDER. @KingRicochet, #MITB pic.twitter.com/sKosol0nUN, #MITB, #MITB, #MITB, #MITB, #MITB, #MITB, #MITB, #MIT

July 19, 2021 — WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse)

In the closing minutes, the speed seemed to go up even more. In honor of his missing tag team teammate Randy Orton, Riddle connected with several RKOs, only to be caught by a Rollins stomp. Rollins was dealt a GTS by Nakamura. Morrison sprayed Nakamura in the face with his drip stick water cannon.

Owens nailed Morrison and then Nakamura with back-to-back stunners. Ricochet managed to dodge a stunning of his own, only to be caught in a pop-up powerbomb. Rollins caught Owens climbing the ladder, assaulted his leg, and then collected him into a powerbomb position. Rollins then threw Owens over the top rope and backwards onto a ladder spanning the ring apron and commentary table.

Rollins started climbing, but Big E stopped him in the middle. Big E collected Rollins for the Big Ending, his finishing move, and connected on an elevated version of the technique to tremendous effect. Big E seized the briefcase and won the match with no one to stop him.

What’s next: Big E could easily go after Roman Reigns or Bobby Lashley, or he could just keep the briefcase. Since his main roster debut in April 2013, he has had precisely zero world championship opportunities. He’ll make the most of this opportunity.


Nikki A.S.H. defeated Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Liv Morgan, Naomi, Natalya, Zelina Vega, and Tamina in a Money in the Bank ladder match.

The women’s Money in the Bank ladder match was won by Nikki A.S.H. WWE

Despite consistently excellent in-ring performances since her WWE debut five years ago, Nikki Cross has been ignored.

In recent weeks, she was relegated to a comedic relief superhero role as “Nikki A.S.H.” (Almost a Superhero), but she welcomed the absurdity. She’s now known as Ms. Money in the Bank.

Cross took advantage of the commotion created by six other contestants battling atop three ladders, leaped over them, and grabbed the briefcase before anyone else noticed.

The highlight reel presentations for Bliss and Asuka’s Money in the Bank and championship victories, as well as Naomi’s SmackDown women’s title win, were a fantastic approach to raise the stakes and identify the obvious favorites in the contest. It also drew the focus away from the other five contestants, heightening the impact of the unexpected conclusion.

From the outset, the contest seemed to be centered around Bliss. As everyone else joined the ring, she remained still — and emotionless — on top of the second rope. Bliss danced around the ring, stopped exactly under it, and waved her hand aloft, as if to call it to herself, while the rest of the competitors rushed outside to grab ladders. But as soon as Asuka assaulted her, all of it was forgotten.

Liv Morgan took the initial step towards the ladder, which Tamina and Zelina Vega held for a short while, unfurled and aloft, before realizing what had occurred and allowing the ladder (and Morgan) to fall.

As Vega ascended a ladder and grabbed for the briefcase, Bliss appeared to use her eerie abilities. Bliss ascended the opposite side of the ladder, mimicking Vega’s hand motions and leading her down the ladder without touching her. When Natalya powerbombed Bliss into the edge of the ladder and subsequently to the ground, the enchantment was broken.

Naomi followed the motif by powerbombing Morgan onto Vega, who was lying flat on a flat ladder with the center rope dangling from it.

Vega locked in a sleeper hold at the top of the ladder and then reached up, but could only get her fingers on the briefcase as Natalya went to the top of a ladder in the center of the ring. The ladder gradually leaned towards the ground as Morgan broke up the attempt.

In the center of the ring, pandemonium ensued. Cross soared over the top rope and onto the other seven competitors after climbing a ladder on the outside.

UP, UP, AND AWAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY @NikkiCrossWWE @MITB #NikkiASH pic.twitter.com/FNhtOqh796

July 19, 2021 — WWE (@WWE)

Bliss engaged in a Sister Abigail set-up for her DDT on Cross, but the women’s tag team champions Natalya and Tamina worked together to halt Bliss and then put her out of commission with ladder shots. They then buried Bliss under a mound of ladders, and the rest of the participants piled on top of her.

Morgan attempted to profit from the turmoil. Tamina intervened, and Morgan gave Tamina a spinning head scissors. Morgan hit a suspended Flatliner on Asuka to throw her back in the ring, but she and Naomi had already climbed the middle ladder by the time she noticed it.

Tamina and Asuka went over to the side and ascended a second ladder. On the opposite side, Natalya and Vega climbed a ladder. In the midst of it all, Cross joined the middle ladder, climbed over Morgan to the top, and then unlatched the suitcase, transforming herself into Ms. Money in the Bank.

What’s next: The women’s Money in the Bank bag has been cashed in swiftly on many occasions, and a surprise victory like this would seem to have greater value if Cross maintained tension for a longer period of time. She may get more serious. She has the potential to become much sillier. It will, however, certainly be a more interesting tale than if any of the favorites had won the match.


Charlotte Flair defeats Rhea Ripley in the Raw women’s title match (c)

At Money in the Bank, Charlotte Flair beat Rhea Ripley to win the Raw women’s title.

Wrestlers often have to work hard to get a crowd’s support, and the hill Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley faced at the start of their Raw women’s title bout couldn’t have been much higher.

The audience erupted in shouts of “We want Becky!” as Flair and Ripley circled each other, trying to create tension. Whether it was reports of Lynch being a late substitute for the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match or pictures she posted on social media outside the stadium a few hours before the event, the audience in Fort Worth showed little interest in what was going on in the ring.

Flair responded by doing a few of laps around the ring while raising her middle finger towards the crowd. Then she and Ripley went out and put up one of 2021’s greatest women’s matches to date.

Flair’s refusal seemed to shock the audience, but there were a few more instances of brief cheers for Lynch. The huge chip on their shoulders, on the other hand, seems to have propelled Ripley and Flair to the type of performance they should’ve been having for the duration of what has been, at best, an uneven feud.

The first serious danger came when Flair imprisoned Ripley in a Boston crab. A scuffle followed as Ripley rolled through a Figure Four attempt, but Flair feed Ripley straight into a huge boot.

Ripley tried some gymnastics to get Flair into a spectacular deadlift vertical suplex, but she couldn’t keep it for long.

Flair landed flush with her trademark moonsault from the top to the outside as the audience completed a 180-degree turn on the contest, chanting, “Let’s go Rhea, Let’s go Charlotte.” Then, just as Ripley seemed to be setting herself up for the Riptide and a victory, Flair flipped it into a DDT. Flair attempted to pin Ripley using her feet on the ropes, but the ref caught her off guard.

Ripley kicked out right before the three-count after Flair hit on a Natural Selection coming out of the corner. For the second time, Flair locked in a Figure Four, but Ripley battled her way out.

Flair was undeterred, and he moved the action to the outside in order to finish the contest. She slammed Ripley’s head against the ringpost first, then pinned Ripley’s leg between the stairwell and the post with three kicks.

In the center of the ring, this created a Figure Eight. Flair became a 12-time world champion when Ripley tapped.

What’s next: This was an opportunity for WWE to “make” Rhea Ripley, but for some reason, they chose to put the championship back on Flair. Ripley may launch another challenge, but it seems doubtful that she will reclaim the championship very soon. And, as amazing as this bout was, the anti-Flair attitude that pervades most of the WWE world isn’t going away anytime soon, regardless of how good the matches are. Maybe the restless people will get what they want, and Lynch will return to reignite the tensions for SummerSlam, the big showcase.


Bobby Lashley (c) defeats Kofi Kingston in the WWE title match.

With a dominant victory over Kofi Kingston, Bobby Lashley made a statement. WWE

In his WWE title defense against Kofi Kingston, Bobby Lashley spent precisely zero time in danger.

Lashley smashed Kingston from bell to bell in a bout hauntingly reminiscent of the one-sided encounter in which Kingston lost the WWE title to Brock Lesnar, indicating that any distractions were in the rear-view mirror.

Any traces of the guy who had just lost clean to Xavier Woods on Monday Night Raw were vanished. Even though the bout seemed to be heading for chaos when the MVP attempted to seize Kingston’s feet at the outset, it was all Lashley, all the time.

Kingston’s only genuine attack came when he barely got out of the way as Lashley rushed in with a half-hearted double stomp. Lashley flung Kingston around the ring and ringside, becoming especially nasty when he slammed Kingston into the outer ringpost at full speed.

Elevated Flatliners, Dominators, and numerous tries at The Hurt Lock were all made. Kingston, despite his best efforts, was unable to provide enough defense. Lashley even went so far as to free Kingston from The Hurt Lock, just to inflict even more pain.

A DOMINATOR once, twice, three times. @fightbobby pic.twitter.com/WPANVz2pAB #MITB #WWEChampionship

July 19, 2021 — WWE (@WWE)

Lashley slapped the Hurt Lock on once again after an uncomfortably lengthy period during which he placed his finger to his lips to silence the fans as well as a portion of the audience who were screaming for more. Kingston was on his knees and unable to rise, but tapped out to put a stop to his pain.

What’s next: Lashley has been re-established as an unstoppable champion. As we move forward to SummerSlam, there are two options: he could face the Money in the Bank winner, particularly if someone like Drew McIntyre or Big E has a built-in narrative, or he may attempt to dethrone a returning veteran in a showcase match. The latter seems to be the more likely choice.


The Usos defeated Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio in the SmackDown tag team titles (c)

With their win against Rey and Dominick Mysterio at Money in the Bank, the Usos became seven-time tag team champions. WWE

Name a better couple than the Usos, who were demoted to the kickoff show despite being more than deserving of a premium pay-per-view slot, and then rose to the occasion and exceeded expectations. I’ll be patient.

With a little bit of ingenuity and a lot of rule breaking, the now seven-time tag team champions beat Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio to capture the SmackDown tag team championships.

The audience took a long to warm up, and they struggled at times to get behind the Mysterios, who had spent much of their time in the Thunderdome without any live supporters. However, the combined efforts of all four players gradually increased the crowd’s enthusiasm throughout the contest.

In the last minutes, they came alive and erupted in “this is great” shouts. Jimmy Uso rescued the match for his side by absorbing a 619 for his brother Jey. Then Jey superkicked and top-rope splashed Rey, giving the crowd the impression that the match was over. When Rey left, the energy level soared once again.

Jimmy finally dumped Rey face-first into the top turnbuckle, rolled him up for a pinfall, and Jey applied illegal pressure on Jimmy’s back by putting his knees under the bottom rope to earn the three-count.

What’s next: Given the cheating ending, a rematch is probable in the near future. But, for the time being, Reigns and his family have strengthened their authority and influence over the rest of the SmackDown roster, awaiting Roman Reigns’ Universal title defense against Edge later that night.


AJ Styles and Omos (c) defeated The Viking Raiders to win the Raw tag team titles.

Following the most comprehensive bout of Omos’ career so far, AJ Styles and Omos successfully retained the Raw tag team titles.

Omos won via pinfall after executing a standing choke-bomb to Erik and then putting all of his weight on Erik instead of his usual one-foot cover to earn the victory.

Even to an experienced tag team like The Viking Raiders, it doesn’t feel fair for Styles to play the fool. He’s a two-time WWE champion who remains one of the greatest wrestlers in the world, complete with attitude and charm. That was evident throughout the tag championship fight, as the now-returning WWE fanbase overwhelmingly supported Styles.

In this bout, Styles took the brunt of the punishment, bouncing around like a lunatic as Erik and Ivar put on a show of their own. But there was one time in particular when Omos tossed Styles feet first over the ring and into a hurricanrana on the outside to Erik.

Omos’ move repertoire is growing, and his presence is obvious, yet he’s still raw and inexperienced. Over the course of the match, he struck a scoop slam and a military press, and then finished strong. After the Viking Raiders hit a Viking Experience on Styles after a Styles Clash was thwarted, Omos broke it up by grabbing Erik by the neck and throwing him backwards into Ivar to halt the count.

@TheGiantOmos pic.twitter.com/ef2DZUq8Vy #MITB @TheGiantOmos pic.twitter.com/ef2DZUq8Vy

July 19, 2021 — WWE (@WWE)

The contest was then swiftly and efficiently finished by Omos.

What comes next: If Styles and Omos are the long-term plan, start putting together some of the other teams so that both the champions and their rivals benefit.

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