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    Tuesday, May 21, 2019

    The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Money in the Bank 2019

    Your product is the critical worst it's ever been in a few years. Your company is facing controversy left and right, inside and outside. Your competition is in prime position to come out of the gates swinging wildly and take you down. What do you do?

    The answer, according to one Vincent Kennedy McMahon, is apparently to bring back Brock Lesnar and invalidate an especially brutal Money in the Bank ladder match.

    I'll be honest: for the first three hours and thirty-five minutes, Money in the Bank was a solid pay-per-view. It lagged a bit in the middle, but as usual, the caliber of talent that's available in the WWE is enough to drive it back up. Same old story, because the company has done at least a good job of scouring the industry and pillaging their own stores down at NXT for the best of the best. It's a machine that just does not fail.

    At least, on the talent end. We clearly can't say the same for the creative side.

    I hope I don't have to explain why adding Brock Lesnar at the very last minute and having him win was such a horrible idea. However, even horrible ideas have interesting ripple effects, and the result is a postmodern dilemma no one's been able to solve yet: does the trolling truly work in establishing Brock Lesnar as a real, unimpeachable heel character, or does it really just end up hurting the bottom line?

    I feel like external factors will decide how much the bottom line takes now more than ever. People who would threaten to stop watching the WWE product before usually end up not following through, but with All Elite Wrestling waiting in the wings, ready to come at all of us with their own TV product, the stakes may finally be real this time.

    Of course, it's hard to say before it even begins, but the chances look more solid than ever. Pushing people away from the WWE product is not going to help, so trolling everyone with another Brock Lesnar comeback may very well be the last mistake the company's going to make. Life goes on after Money in the Bank, but for just how long?

    Money in the Bank 2019 Final Grade: B+ (A- if it weren't for the ending)

    Match of the Night

    Talk about a match that stuck out like a neon sign. AJ Styles versus Seth Rollins felt like an NJPW or AJPW match that somehow wandered onto a WWE pay-per-view, and I mean that as a compliment. The beauty of the WWE style is that the highly-trained professionals know it enough to make it look good, which is why when something deviates from the norm so beautifully like this, especially with the time they got, it ends up being truly magical. (Also why the WWE needs to let the cruiserweights truly rip on 205 Live.) I don't expect this to be the last match between the two.

    Other observations

    • Great decision to have the women's Money in the Bank start the show, although I felt it was a little too short.
    • I also wasn't sure how much of a work the Carmella injury was; she was pushing Mandy away as though it was real, but then she ended up coming back for the spot before the finish?
    • Good choice to have Bayley win the briefcase, though.
    • The Rey/Joe spot also felt incredibly strange to me. If the decision to end the match quickly was made because of Joe's injury, then why does it seem like Joe's shoulders weren't down because he wanted to keep going? If this was planned, why did the commentators keep burying the refs? It felt like a whole bunch of people were uncoordinated about how they were going to go about it, and whatever happened on RAW today is them booking along as it goes.
    • No complaints about Tony Nese versus Ariya Daivari, although it's a shame that nobody cared much. Nese did his best, but it just wasn't an ideal choice for a contender.
    • Just how long is this Miz/Shane feud going to continue? Haven't we suffered enough?
    • You know the women are now officially top draws when they're the first people to truly wake the crowd up after one and a half hours. Bayley garnering support from that crowd, even with Becky out there, is a testament to both her magnetism and Charlotte's work and booking as a heel.
    • I'm not sure Lars Sullivan destroying the Lucha House Party, a trio of Latinos, was a good look after his recent controversies.
    • WWE did Kofi and Owens dirty by having them go after AJ and Seth. They did their best, but it just wasn't popping after that stretch.
    • Michael Cole said it best: WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE GUYS? This match felt more brutal than in previous years, and it can't have been the only Money in the Bank with four out of seven high-flyers! Everyone was out there either killing or trying to die.
    Photo from WWE


    Romeo Moran (@roiswar) is 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. He likes taking your wrestling questions over on his CuriousCat account.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Money in the Bank 2019 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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