While the easy headlines coming into the WWE Money in the Bank pay-per-view were focused on the annual ladder matches for the guaranteed championship contract, the highlights of the show turned out to instead be a pair of exceptionally good championship bouts. Braun Strowman had his finest moment as universal champion, outlasting the challenge of Bray Wyatt and disposing of the sins of his past in the process, while Drew McIntyre held off the fierce efforts of Seth Rollins to hold on to his WWE championship in the match of the night.
2020 WWE Money in the Bank results, grades
Jeff Hardy vs. Cesaro (Kickoff Show): Hardy’s issues with Sheamus led to a match with Cesaro, Sheamus’ former tag partner in the now-defunct team of The Bar. The match told a similar — though shorter — story of what should be expected out of Hardy vs. Sheamus with Hardy’s daredevil style having to overcome a pure power game. Cesaro dominated much of the match, forcing Hardy into the underdog role where he does his best work. After managing to kick out of a Twist of Fate and Whisper in the Wind, Cesaro eventually fell to a Swanton Bomb in a very solid kickoff match that showed off the best qualities of both men while continuing the Hardy redemption story. Hardy def. Cesaro via pinfall — Grade: B
SmackDown Tag Team Championship — New Day (c) vs. The Miz & John Morrison vs. The Forgotten Sons vs. Lucha House Party: Gran Metalik was sporting some “long hair” with his mask tonight. There was a big early spot with Metalik hitting a top rope Spanish Fly on Morrison onto the other competitors at ringside. Lucha House Party was a standout team in the match with their big spots being flashy enough to stand out in the chaos, like they were during the eight-man tag on SmackDown. A Miz blind tag led to a believable near fall with Morrison hitting Starship Pain on Big E for a two count. After Jaxson Ryker was ejected from ringside and LHP took out the two heel teams, Big E hit the Big Ending on Metalik for the pinfall in the second very solid — but short of very good — match of the night. New Day def. Lucha House Party (via pinfall), Miz & Morrison and The Forgotten Sons to retain the titles — Grade: B
R-Truth vs. Bobby Lashley: MVP was set for the match with Truth, but Lashley interrupted a verbal back-and-forth between the two, telling MVP to take the night off. After Truth protested the idea of not getting a night off like MVP, the match was made official. Not long after, Lashley turned Truth inside out with a spear for the victory. There were better ways to get to this squash match, but Lashley’s anger has been a growing story on SmackDown. Lashley def. R-Truth via pinfall — Grade: C+
SmackDown Women’s Championship — Bayley (c) vs. Tamina: Before the match, Bayley said she didn’t blame Sasha Banks for Tamina pinning her on SmackDown. Bayley attempted to taunt Tamina early, telling her, “You ain’t gonna win the title being nice.” After Bayley tried to cut down the power game of Tamina by working over the knee, she caught a superkick and turned it into a leg lock. Bayley dominated the offense for a long stretch of the match, working over Tamina before sparking a comeback by throwing water in Tamina’s face. After a Bayley attempt to counter Tamina’s splash backfired into a superkick and Samoan drop, Banks feigned interference, causing a distraction and allowing Bayley to hit an awkward crucifix pin for the victory. Bayley def. Tamina via pinfall to retain the title — Grade: C
Universal Championship — Braun Strowman (c) vs. Bray Wyatt: Wrestling as Wyatt, not The Fiend, Strowman brutalized his challenger early, leading Wyatt to laugh and comment on Strowman’s strength. After Strowman was thrown into the ringside table, Huskus the Pig Boy appeared at ringside to cheer Wyatt on. Strowman kicked out of a Sister Abigail from Wyatt, leaving the challenger baffled before Strowman countered a second attempt at the move with a chokeslam. Strowman pulled the black sheep mask out from under the ring, causing Wyatt to go into a state of elation, saying “Do you understand what this means? I promise you. I promise, this time everything will be perfect.” The two then hugged in the center of the ring while the Firefly Fun House puppets celebrated on the outside. It was all a ploy, however, as Strowman then shoved Wyatt and pulled off the mask, threw it to the floor and stomped on it before hitting a running power slam for the three counts in a match that told a much better story than the weeks of TV leading to the event. Strowman def. Wyatt via pinfall to retain the title — Grade: B
WWE Championship — Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Seth Rollins: McIntyre quickly got the advantage on Rollins, knocking him from the ring and telling him, “I’m going to let you have a breather.” Rollins, playing the crafty former champion to McIntyre’s over-enthusiastic new champion, took over the match and began wearing McIntyre down with a series of leg submissions before several jumping knee strikes to the head. After a McIntyre comeback, Rollins was prepared for the champ’s signature moves, ducking out of the ring to avoid a Claymore Kick and also countering a Future Shock DDT before hitting a superkick and a frog splash, both of which only resulted in one count. An irate Rollins attempted to bring a steel chair into the ring but thought better of it after the referee told him he would lose the match. The thriller continued after Rollins was able to kick out of a successful Future Shock DDT. Rollins eventually countered a Claymore Kick with a superkick and a Stomp, but McIntyre kicked out at one. The finishing run came when McIntyre hit a Glasgow Kiss headbutt, followed by a Rollins superkick which was immediately followed by a Claymore Kick for the pin after an outstanding championship match. Once again, McIntyre’s in-ring work has been far and away the best of his career since winning the title. McIntyre def. Rollins via pinfall to retain the title — Grade: A-
Money in the Bank ladder match: This was an ambitious attempt to once again capture the magic of the two cinematic matches from WrestleMania 36. While those matches were home runs for their unique efforts to push against the expected nature of professional wrestling matches, Money in the Bank provided an uneven ride that was often too heavy on the comedy while also delivering anti-climatic, though unexpected, finishes. The matches featured cameos from Brother Love, Paul Heyman, Stephanie, and Vince McMahon, John Laurinaitis and Doink, some which worked better than others, as the competitors hit room after room throughout the headquarters before making their way to the roof.
Major moments from the match included Asuka diving from a banister onto the rest of the women in the lobby, King Corbin breaking a mirror in the WWE gym, Otis trapping AJ Styles under a bench press bar, Dana Brooke pulling down a cash-filled briefcase in the conference room and later slipping on a wet floor and hitting her head, Carmella being power bombed through a table by Nia Jax, a food fight in a random room, Styles and Daniel Bryan barreling into Vince McMahon’s office to a displeased chairman and an Undertaker poster and casket distracting Styles.
With the match in its final stretch, only Asuka, Lacey Evans and Jax made it to the final stage of the match from the women’s side (Carmella, Brooke, and Shayna Baszler were taken out at different points in the building). Asuka managed to fairly quickly scale the ladder to secure the briefcase, knocking Corbin from the ladder along the way. The men’s side of things finished up with Corbin throwing Rey Mysterio and Aleister Black over the roof before he climbed up the ladder alongside Styles attempting to retrieve the briefcase simultaneously. Elias appeared to hit Corbin with his guitar, knocking Corbin from the ladder and causing Styles to fumble the briefcase into the waiting arms of Otis, who may be the most unlikely Money in the Bank winner of all-time. Bryan was also in the match but did not factor into the finish though he was ringside. While there’s something to be said for ambition, the match would have been better served to play into more drama and less comedy as it frequently halted any building momentum. Asuka & Otis win the briefcases — Grade: C-