WWE Money in the Bank 2019 Results: Star Ratings for Top Matches
On paper, WWE's Money in the Bank pay-per-view card was among in the best in the illustrious history of the fan-favorite event.
As we know, though, what looks extraordinary on paper does not always prove the case in execution. Poor booking or time management can drag a match down and ruin any chance of living up to expectations.
On the other hand, there are bouts that exceed even the loftiest hopes of the WWE Universe and become instant classics.
Sunday featured high-profile contests that fall in both of those categories.
Which were which and why?
Find out with these star ratings for the night's most prominent matches.
Universal Championship Match: Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles
AJ Styles and Seth Rollins wrestled a match almost completely different from the standard WWE affair Sunday night.
There was no clear-cut aggressor. No one gained a sustained upper hand throughout. Instead of working the WWE style that oftentimes bogs down matches or has them looking way too much like every other bout on the card, they provided a steadily intensifying contest that relied on big spots and dramatic near-falls to pop the crowd and tell the story.
The Phenomenal One pulling out the Styles Clash but failing to put Rollins away affected his psyche and forced him into an ill-fated Phenomenal Forearm attempt. It proved the downfall, as Rollins countered and finished him with the stomp.
The match was excellently executed, lived up to lofty expectations and was exactly the type of victory Rollins needed to help establish his title reign.
Star Rating: ****
WWE Championship Match: Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens
Kofi Kingston's entire WWE Championship run has been predicated on the idea that he is the consummate underdog, overcoming odds to make it to levels no one ever dreamed he would. Sunday night in his defense against Kevin Owens, he was once again thrust into that position.
After enduring a wicked bump to the outside that saw him accidentally collide with a cameraman, Kingston injured his back. Like a shark smelling blood in the water, Owens concentrated his attack on that area and forced the champion to fight from underneath.
He did, overcoming tremendous pain and punishment to mount a comeback. That comeback was halted, though, as Owens delivered a popup powerbomb and later, a stunner, that looked to be the end of Kingston's magical journey.
It was not, though, as the resilient Kingston kicked out of both and forced Owens to try a desperation senton bomb that ended with the challenger crashing across the knees of his opponent.
Kingston recovered, delivered Trouble in Paradise and defended his title.
There will be some who argue the match was a bit too basic or didn't feature the level of intensity you would expect from a match in which the hero was seeking revenge against the villain. They would not be wrong, at least in regards to the latter. The match failed to maintain the intensity it started with, and that proved problematic to its overall quality.
Still, the story was simple, the execution was solid and the outcome was the right one. At least for now.
Star Rating: ***
Men's Money in the Bank Ladder Match
The Men's Money in the Bank Ladder match was a modern classic and the front-runner for WWE's Match of the Year to this point in 2019.
From the incredible bumps taken by the likes of Finn Balor, Andrade and Ricochet, to the sheer dominance of Drew McIntyre, the match properly highlighted the participants while keeping fans on the edges of their seats.
Even the callback to Baron Corbin's betrayal of McIntyre a few weeks ago made sense, as did The Scottish Psychopath's revenge Claymore late in the bout.
The storytelling, the breathtaking high-risk spots and the shocking finale in which Brock Lesnar emerged from the locker room, retrieved the briefcase and transformed from the hunted to the hunter helped make this year's ladder bout a rousing success.
The finish will affect people's perception and opinion of the match.
The idea of Lesnar essentially stealing the briefcase from the seven Superstars who busted their asses for a shot at attaining it is unappealing to many, but it is also brilliant heel booking. We have established over the years that Lesnar is entitled. He is selfish and even a little lazy. He shows up when he wants and defends when he wants. To hell with everyone else.
Rather than working hard to earn a rematch for the Universal Championship, Lesnar took the easiest path he could find, and now, he has the element of surprise on his side. It fits from a storytelling perspective, even if it was not the most welcome of outcomes.
It should not, however, adversely affect the rating of what was an outstanding main event, or the work of the men who expertly crafted it.
Star Rating: ****1/2
Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match
The Women's Money in the Bank Ladder match felt rushed from the beginning, and what resulted was a contest that, while good, missed its opportunity to be great.
The efforts of the women involved were undeniable. Dana Brooke, in particular, was part of a few rough bumps and a high spot in which she dangled from the wire holding the briefcase, and she stood out as one of the MVPs of the match.
Mandy Rose and the interfering Sonya Deville were part of the most memorable, awe-inspiring moment of the match in which the latter fireman carried her friend to the top of the ladder in an attempt to help her to victory. As history now tells us, Bayley prevented that from happening and retrieved the Money in the Bank briefcase, which she later cashed in to become the SmackDown women's champion.
The frenetic pace and the desire by the women to get all of their stuff in hurt the execution of some of the spots. Still, their hard work and the stories told elevated it just beyond average and helped kick the show off on the right foot.
Star Rating: ***1/2