John Cena is back in WWE after returning to an incredible crowd reaction at the Money in the Bank pay per view.
Cena hasn’t been a regular performer in Vince McMahon’s company for several years owing to his ever-expanding commitments in Hollywood. He’s long since confirmed his days as a full-time wrestler are over, but it appears he’s at least set to spend the rest of the summer back in the ring.
The 44-year-old made his comeback in the closing moments of Sunday’s show, confronting Roman Reigns who had just retained his Universal Championship against Edge.
The sell-out crowd in Texas, who’d been in fine voice throughout the night, erupted at the sound of Cena’s iconic music as he stepped into the ring to all but confirm he’ll challenge Reigns at August’s Summerslam.
For their part, Reigns and Edge had torn the house down in the main event – taking half an hour to destroy one another as the Canadian’s thirsty quest for the gold was taken to another level.
After Spears had flown left, right and centre, it had looked as though Edge might have the champ where he wanted him, but interference from Seth Rollins served many a purpose in not only giving Reigns a route to victory – via another Spear – but also set up a likely clash between Rollins and Edge next month too.
Money in the Bank was, Wrestlemania aside, WWE’s first pay per view in front of live fans for some 17 months. The electric atmosphere did its bit in treating viewers to a show that rarely dipped under the sensational.
The case in point would be the Kick-Off Show match. Typically in the warm-up bout, it would play out to an arena of fans filing into their seats and only half interested – a trend well and truly bucked here as The Usos defeated Rey and Dominik Mysterio for the Smackdown tag team titles. The brothers of course resorted to underhand tactics for the crucial pinfall, but it was typical pantomime chicanery that the boisterous crowd ate up.
The two Money in the Bank ladder matches that give the show it’s name did more than their share to make this a fantastic show – both for their content and their endings. The great thing about both is that the matches gave the sense of jeopardy and uncertainty that fans thrive on – the outcomes were far from predictable and so neither disappointed.
On the women’s side, Nicky ASH snared the briefcase in a splendid finish that saw her hands rise slightly higher than the grasping, grabbing paws of all her competitors who were straining beneath her. While Liv Morgan had emerged as the sweetheart favourite of many going into the match, Nikki’s relentless positivity in establishing her new gimmick meant that nobody could begrudge the fact that it’s now she who has a future world championship match waiting in the wings.
The men’s ladder match boasted a ridiculously strong line-up, and in featuring the likes of Ricochet and John Morrison, there were hopes we’d finally get to see the two popular but arguably underused stars get a chance to put on a show. That they did, and then some.
There is a certain level of car-crash mayhem that comes along with these matches that makes them the enemy of the wrestling purist to a degree, but both of Sunday’s matches were so well thought out that it was impossible to not love them. Ricochet, Morrison, Riddle, Big E, Shinsuke Nakamura, Rollins, Kevin Owens and Drew McIntyre all had moments to shine, but it was Ricochet who stole the headlines with ridiculous feats of his trademark athleticism.
The star amazed with a tightrope walk along the top rope at one point and took out all the other combatants in one go with an incredible summersault – all seemingly in a day’s work.
In the end, the fact that Big E secured the win could’ve seemed like a footnote, but again the sound structure of the match ensured the much-loved and respected E got to bask in a marvellous moment after dispatching Rollins with a Big Ending from atop of the ladder.
Two singles titles were on the line at Money in the Bank, too. Big E’s New Day brethren Kofi Kingston arguably deserved better than to have his momentum in charging toward the WWE title halted so spectacularly by Bobby Lashley – their match was over in just a few minutes and was decidedly one-sided. That said, it’s fair to acknowledge that WWE made clear they’d be getting the champ back to business after a few weeks of relative silliness, and this at least achieved that aim. Lashley had Kingston submit to a punishing Hurt Lock.
Elsewhere, Charlotte Flair dethroned Rhea Ripley and became Raw Women’s Champion once again. It seemed a shame to end Ripley’s solid if not spectacular title reign before it had hit the heights, but it was nonetheless hard to not enjoy the two immensely talented athletes put on a great match that eventually turned the interest of a crowd that had seemed more focused on a Becky Lynch return that never materialised. After more than matching Flair and kicking out of Natural Selection, Ripley would succumb to the Figure Eight to once again leave Flair holding title gold in the air.
In the night’s other match, the Raw tag team title reign of AJ Styles and Omos never really looked threatened by the Viking Raiders. It was refraining and enjoyable to see the two teams at least given a respectable amount of match time to get their work done, but the incumbent never really seemed in danger as Omos got the business done with another punishing choke bomb.
WWE MONEY IN THE BANK QUICK RESULTS
Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Nikki ASH defeated Zelina Vega, Asuka, Naomi, Alexa Bliss, Liv Morgan, Natalya and Tamina
Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Big E defeated Kevin Owens, Drew McIntyre, Riddle, Ricochet, John Morrison, King Nakamura and Seth Rollins
Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) defeated Edge
WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) defeated Kofi Kingston via the Hurt Lock
WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair defeated Rhea Ripley (c) via Figure Eight
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship: AJ Styles & Omos (c) defeated The Viking Raiders
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship: The Usos defeated Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio (c)