Before some of them settled in to watch UFC 276, wrestling fans got a chance to see the other big combat sports event (or combat sports-adjacent) taking place in Las Vegas: WWE Money in the Bank 2022.
WWE received plenty of ridicule this weekend for scheduling this show on the same day and in the same city that a UFC card took place, not to mention the company’s original attempt to book Money in the Bank for Allegiant Stadium with knowledge of the first two points.
Consequently, WWE significantly scaled back the hype for this show. For some fans, though, that didn’t detract from how much they enjoyed this show, and despite how underwhelming this show felt, WWE did give them plenty of things to cheer for on this pay-per-view.
These are three things that went right at Money in the Bank 2022
Liv Morgan wins Money in the Bank and cashes in to become SmackDown Women’s Champion
Boy, WWE really frontloaded this show with feel-good moments knowing what they planned to deliver in the main event. Two of those moments involved up-and-coming babyface, Liv Morgan.
The PPV opened with the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, comprised of possibly the thinnest women’s field to date in terms of star power. The match itself struggled to live up to the high standards set by previous ladder matches, but even if the workrate disappointed you, seeing Morgan retrieve the briefcase and the coveted women’s championship match contract inside surely brought a smile to your face.
Morgan wouldn’t hold the briefcase for long, as she would cash in her title shot to face Ronda Rousey for the SmackDown Women’s Championship mere seconds after Rousey retained her gold over Natalya. One roll-up later, and Morgan went from perennial contender to first-time world champion.
Now, there are plenty of issues to critique about this cash-in. Booking a babyface to win a title in a heel-ish way as a plot convenience rarely works out well for the babyface and the decision to have Rousey embrace Morgan after Morgan essentially stole the title from her undercuts the title’s importance. And going forward, there’s reason to worry about whether WWE will present Morgan as another fluke champion.
That said, a lot of fans like Liv, and for them, her finally winning the title outweighs any potential pitfalls that may come. Besides, it’s nice to see WWE moments that aren’t comprised of HEEEEAAAAAT.
Bobby Lashley becomes the new United States Champion
In the second match of the night, Theory defended his United States Championship against Bobby Lashley. Given how this feud played out on Raw and based on how most fans perceive these two, one would’ve expected Lashley to dominate this match before Theory squeaked out a cheap win.
However, we actually saw a more back-and-forth outing from these two, though it also meant we had to sit through an extended Theory rest hold portion. In the end, Lashley locked in the Hurt Lock and forced Theory to tap out, winning the US Title.
Yes, WWE probably booked a title change to take advantage of Lashley’s military service on July 4 weekend, but Lashley’s over, Theory isn’t, and because of that, watching Lashley beat him was very satisfying.
Bianca Belair retains the Raw Women’s Championship
Due to Rhea Ripley’s injury, WWE needed to go to Plan B for Bianca Belair’s Raw Women’s Championship defense at Money in the Bank. So, they turned to Carmella as a digestible replacement.
Belair and Carmella had a match that wouldn’t feel out of place in the middle of an episode of Raw, but it served its purpose and ended with the correct result: Belair pinning Carmella clean after delivering the K.O.D.
Carmella’s post-match attack was aggravating as the set-up for a potential cash-in tease (I cannot stress enough how much of a mistake it would’ve been to have Morgan cash in on Belair) and as the impetus for a rematch between her and Belair. We already saw Belair definitively beat her, so we don’t need to see them run it back for the sake of filling time on Raw.