WWE Money in the Bank 2021 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2021

WWE Money in the Bank 2021 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Championships, title opportunities and bragging rights were all up for grabs Sunday night as WWE presented Money in the Bank, a show headlined by the event's namesake matches and Roman Reigns defending his Universal Championship against Edge.

    Was The Head of the Table able to retain his title or did The Rated-R Superstar net title No. 12 in an epic return to pay-per-view? 

    Who emerged from the men's and women's MITB ladder matches with guaranteed title opportunities to use at any given point in the next year?

    Find out now with this recap of the extravaganza.

Match Card

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    • WWE Championship match: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
    • Universal Championship match: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Edge
    • Men's Money in the Bank ladder match: Kevin Owens vs. Big E vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Ricochet vs. Riddle vs. Seth Rollins vs. John Morrison
    • Women's Money in the Bank ladder match: Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki A.S.H. vs. Naomi vs. Asuka vs. Liv Morgan vs. Zelina Vega vs. Natalya vs. Tamina
    • Raw Women's Championship match: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
    • Raw Tag Team Championships match: AJ Styles and Omos (c) vs. The Viking Raiders
    • SmackDown Tag Team Championships match (Kickoff Show): Rey and Dominik Mysterio vs. The Usos

SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Mysterios vs. The Usos

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The SmackDown tag team titles were up for grabs on the Kickoff Show as Jimmy and Jey Uso challenged Rey and Dominik Mysterio in the first match of the evening.

    The champions controlled early, but "Main Event" Jey downed the veteran Rey to seize the upper hand. 

    A tag to Dominik allowed the champs to fight their way back into the match but the rookie's overzealousness allowed The Usos to catch him mid-flight and deposit him into the barricade to again seize control of the bout.

    A hot tag to Rey sparked the comeback. He attempted to deliver the 619 to Jey, but Jimmy sacrificed himself, eating the boots of his opponent. Jey delivered a superkick and the top-rope splash, but Rey kicked out at two.

    Moments later, Jey drove Rey into the top turnbuckle and Jimmy assisted him on a roll-up for the win and the titles.



    The Usos defeated The Mysterios to win the tag titles






    Jimmy and Jey picked up tag title No. 7 in a fun, energetic and dramatic match that reached its crescendo at the right time. The late-match near-fall where Jey nearly pinned Rey off the splash was great and gave the impression that the champions might find a way to win the match after all.

    Instead, The Usos carried over the momentum they have had of late as two-thirds of the hottest act in the company and captured gold.

    How will Roman Reigns react now that his cousins, whom he has ruled over, have titles to their names too? Will it draw resentment? Might he be threatened by their ability to succeed on their own? Or will it only serve to strengthen The Bloodline, creating a seemingly insurmountable faction for the rest of the SmackDown roster to overcome? 

    The booking creates intriguing questions rather than predictable answers and that is always welcome.

Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The women's Money in the Bank ladder match kicked off the main card, with Natalya, Tamina, Zelina Vega, Liv Morgan, Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Naomi and Nikki A.S.H. in contention.

    Bliss teased dark magic early by motioning toward the briefcase while Tamina dominated from there. Bliss mesmerized Vega, preventing her from earning the win before falling prey to a powerbomb from Natalya. Morgan brought Vega down on a ladder propped up on the bottom rope, only to be powerbombed by Naomi.

    Nikki flew through the air, only for Bliss to drop her with Sister Abigail. Fed up with the threat that was Little Miss Bliss, the other competitors buried her under ladders.

    Six of the competitors scaled the ladders and battled for the right to retrieve the briefcase, only for Nikki to come from out of nowhere and claim the win.



    Nikki A.S.H. defeated Bliss, Naomi, Vega, Morgan, Asuka, Natalya and Tamina






    There were some fun spots and the effort was off the charts, but this was one of the weaker women's ladder matches in Money in the Bank history.

    WWE completely underestimated the fan reaction to certain competitors, opting to highlight them at the expense of the wrestlers the fans were actually behind. Naomi's role was minimized, as was Asuka's, despite drawing two of the biggest pops.

    Bliss was adequately used but the company again relied on the hocus-pocus element and mind games, neither of which she needed to be effective here. Burying her under ladders like she was Braun Strowman or Big Show was a bit much, too.

    Nikki A.S.H. is a hell of a talent and has worked as hard as anyone since her debut in 2016. But she has always been the sidekick or an afterthought,so it is good to see WWE committing to her. With that said, she wasn't the right choice to win here.

    If the crowd reaction to her entrance was any indication, it is that the superhero gimmick is going to be a tougher sell to audiences than the canned heat inside ThunderDome would suggest. Is Nikki talented and invested enough to make it work? Absolutely, but the woman who should have held the case was Morgan.

    The former Riott Squad member entered to a fairly decent pop but as the match went on, the crowd got behind her. This was her opportunity to make a huge splash and set herself up for the success so many have predicted for her. Instead, she fell short.

    Will that benefit her in the long run? Possibly, but there are only so many times the commentators and performers can discuss potential before fans tune out and become bored by the concept.

Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Viking Raiders vs. AJ Styles and Omos

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Raw tag team champions AJ Styles and Omos entered the arena to a thunderous ovation, with chants of the former's name spilling from the stands.

    The Viking Raiders would strike early and often, though, cutting the ring off and isolating The Phenomenal One.

    A tag to Omos brought momentary relief for the champions but Styles re-entered the match and ate double knees to the face from Erik. The challengers used a combination clothesline/German suplex but still could not put the former WWE champion down for the count. 

    The Raiders nullified Omos, knocking him to the floor and delivered the Viking Experience. However, the big man popped up at the right time to shove Erik and break up the cover.

    Moments later, Omos grabbed hold of Erik and delivered a chokebomb for the hard-fought victory.



    Styles and Omos defeated The Viking Raiders to retain the titles






    This was so much more fun than it had any right to be, thanks in large part to Styles and the Raiders beating the hell out of each other with stiff strikes and perfectly timed spots.

    Anyone familiar with their work in Ring of Honor and internationally shouldn't be surprised that they were able to turn in the performances against each other that they did.

    This match thrived on the expert use of Omos, which has been one of the few bright spots on Raw. He has been put in a position to succeed and excel despite being woefully inexperienced given the role he finds himself in.

    He was great here, hitting everything he had to and already looking more confident than he did three months earlier at WrestleMania 37. Will he ever succeed as a singles star? Probably not, but if he can hang around Styles and learn from one of the best wrestlers to ever lace a pair of boots, he will be at a level no one could have predicted a year ago.

WWE Championship Match: Kofi Kingston vs. Bobby Lashley

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The fans in Fort Worth, Texas welcomed Kofi Kingston with a thunderous ovation as he entered the arena for his WWE Championship opportunity against Bobby Lashley.

    The All Mighty answered Kingston's early flurry with the sort of physical dominance that has defined his title reign to this point. He pummeled, punished and obliterated the challenger, using his Hurt Lock and a series of Dominators to overwhelm his opponent.

    One more Hurt Lock and Lashley took the one-sided victory.



    Lashley defeated Kingston to retain






    There was so much goodwill for Kingston as he entered the arena, but it was snuffed out in short and decisive fashion by Lashley.

    Remember the overwhelmingly negative feedback to Brock Lesnar decimating Kingston and winning the WWE title in 2019? This felt the same, just longer. It is no more excusable that one of the most popular acts in the company being sacrificed just because it was Lashley instead of The Beast Incarnate.

    Kingston deserves the right to better than he has received in these high-profile situations of late. 

    From a storyline perspective, Lashley needed to refocus ahead of SummerSlam. Couldn't that have been accomplished on the road to August 21 through squash matches on Raw, rather than at the expense of a perpetual fan favorite who has more than done his share of making others look good?

Raw Women's Championship Match: Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Raw women's champion Rhea Ripley put her title on the line against Charlotte Flair, the standard-bearer of women's wrestling in WWE.

    However, The Queen found herself flustered early and often by the negative crowd reaction for her. The champion benefited, cutting off any and all momentum and dominating the action.

    Ripley had an answer to everything Flair threw at her, until the challenger sent her crashing to the floor. She followed with a big boot to the face and added a top-rope moonsault to the floor. Back inside, The Queen countered the Riptide into a DDT for a solid near-fall.

    Ripley tried for a superplex but Flair fought out and delivered Natural Selection off the top rope. The champion narrowly kicked out, to the shock of the challenger and fans in attendance. She slammed the Australian's face into the ring post, then trapped her leg in the steel steps and stomped on it.

    The Figure Eight earned Flair title No. 14 after a grueling victory.



    Flair defeated Ripley to win the title






    This was the best match of the night, and it's not even particularly close.

    Flair and Ripley beat the life out of each other until The Queen seized an opportunity to exploit an injury that was set up this past Monday on Raw. It made sense within the storyline that had been presented to that point, even if the idea of The Nightmare losing to Flair again wasn't really appealing.

    From a booking perspective, it creates questions about where Flair can go from here. That isn't necessarily a good thing considering she has run through everyone on the roster, multiple times. The obvious answer is Becky Lynch, but even that is a match we have seen multiple times within the last two years.

    Why not let Ripley run with the title for a while and flesh out her character instead of giving up on it and going back to Flair? Creatively, the outcome was the far more uninteresting option. 

    When The Queen can be counted on to deliver this strong of a match regardless of the booking, though, she will always get the benefit of the doubt.

Men's Money in the Bank Match

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    Credit: WWE.com

    John Morrison, Riddle, Seth Rollins, Big E, Ricochet, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kevin Owens and Drew McIntyre battled in the men's Money in the Bank ladder match, with each looking to strengthen their championship aspirations by securing a guaranteed title opportunity.

    Owens took an ugly bump that hobbled him early, while Rollins and Morrison forged an unlikely alliance. Riddle delivered an RKO to Rollins, and McIntyre flattened the former world champ with a Claymore Kick.

    However, Jinder Mahal, Veer and Shanky hit the ring and attacked the former WWE champion, driving him to the back.

    Ricochet shined by flying through the air, Owens stunned everyone around him and delivered a breathtaking popup powerbomb to Ricochet. Rollins stopped KO's momentum, targeting his injured leg and powerbombing him through a ladder propped between the ring and announce table.

    Big E then popped up, stopped Rollins' ascent with a Big Ending, and retrieved the briefcase for the win.



    Big E defeated Rollins, Riddle, Morrison, Ricochet, Nakamura, Owens and McIntyre






    This was the right conclusion to a wild and action-packed match.

    McIntyre being taken out by Mahal and Co. was the right call. As much as he has earned the right to win big in front of a live audience, the fans in Forth Worth would have booed him furiously if he had. It is an unfortunate side-effect of being pushed prominently at the top of the card for any extended stretch.

    Ricochet wowed, and Owens showed incredible guts considering how ugly the bump that injured his knee was. The powerbomb through the ladder was equally as jaw-dropping, with his head smacking the weapon on the way down. Here's hoping he is OK.

    That brings us to Big E, who has been main event-ready for a year now. His energy, charisma and explosiveness won over audiences a long time ago, and his win Sunday was a confirmation of WWE's trust in him. He has thoroughly earned this opportunity.

    Hopefully, the company pays it off in grand fashion with a victory that solidifies him as one of its building blocks of the future.

Universal Championship Match: Edge vs. Roman Reigns

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    Credit: WWE

    Roman Reigns defended the Universal Championship against Edge in the night's marquee bout, with the crowd alive and energized from the opening bell.

    The Rated-R Superstar seemed hellbent on avenging his humiliating experience at WrestleMania 37, when Reigns definitively pinned him and Daniel Bryan.

    Edge countered a Superman Punch midway through with a backslide for two before a double-down spot left both down. The veteran capitalized on a prone champion, stomping away at him in the corner. From there, he applied the STF in a nice nod to rumors regarding John Cena's impending return.

    The challenger took off across the ring for a Spear, but The Tribal Chief grabbed hold of the guillotine choke. On the floor, Edge dodged a Spear from Reigns, who crashed through the timekeeper's position. Edge then hit him through another barricade.

    Back inside, a Superman Punch leveled Edge, who bumped the referee. The Rated-R Superstar used the piece of steel chair to apply the crossface and just when it appeared as though The Usos would get involved, the Mysterios cut them off.

    Seth Rollins then appeared from out of nowhere and rocked Edge with a superkick. 

    The Hall of Famer delivered the Spear but could not put the champ away. Rollins again interfered, this time drawing Edge's attention long enough for Reigns to deliver his own version of the move for the win.

    Edge and Rollins brawled out of the arena and John Cena returned to an earth-shaking pop. He stared Reigns down and stood tall to close out the show.



    Reigns defeated Edge to retain the title






    What started as a slow-paced encounter evolved into a hellish main event right out of the Attitude Era.

    There were big bumps through barricades, run-ins and a referee injury all to set up Rollins' interference and an inevitable showdown with Edge. If that wasn't enough, there was the not-so-shocking return of Cena to hype up his most-definitely-happening SummerSlam main event with Reigns.

    Everything hit, even if it took some time to get there.

    Reigns is such a superb heel at this point. When he found success as a villain in the ThunderDome, some questioned whether he could translate it to big arenas in front of a live audience. Not only has he succeeded, but he may also be better with an actual crowd to feed off of.

    The trash-talking was on point. The disdain for the WWE Universe painting his face as he entered the arena was indicative of a heel hitting the little things.

    This is peak Reigns and we should all be thankful we live in an era to see it because his name will be mentioned alongside the likes of Hogan, Austin, Rock, Flair and Cena as pillars of pro wrestling history one day. And that's not hyperbole.

    As for Edge, this was another strong outing for a guy who should not be having matches of this quality this late in his career. He thrives on the energy and takes a little while to heat up, but when he does, it's simply outstanding. His match with Rollins on August 21 could steal the show. 

    And given the other matches that could be on the card, that is a bold statement.