Money in the Bank 2021 was an excellent end to the COVID-era of wrestling, and the perfect way to. The headline news is that John Cena is back to face Roman Reigns, probably at next month's SummerSlam. And, of course, that Big E is now Mr. Money in the Bank. The big downside of the night was Peacock, which had streaming issues at the beginning of the Men's Money in the Bank match. These were resolved after about 15 minutes.
Roman Reigns' Universal Championship match against Edge was fantastic, and will get all the spotlight thanks to the two angles that spilled from it: John Cena returned, and Seth Rollins costed Edge the title. But arguably the best championship bout of the night was Rhea Ripley versus Charlotte Flair. And while the Women's Money in the Bank opener was good, the Men's bout was unmissable.
Scroll below for full results and analysis from Money in the Bank 2021.
John Cena returns to confront Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns grabs the mic after the match and tells the crowd to acknowledge him. Before he can continue, John Cena returns! He got a haircut! I have goosebumps!
We didn't get any physicality, as Cena returned to do his full entrance, pose and give an incredulous Reigns the "You can't see me" taunt.
The show ends with Cena posing on the turnbuckle -- and the crowd going wild.
Roman Reigns retains the Universal Championship
Before the match we got a backstage segment in which Rollins blamed Edge for taking him out of the title picture, and declared he'd be next in line for whoever wins the main event. That played into the finish, as Reigns would retain his Universal Championship with the help of Seth Rollins.
The bout began with a staredown and dueling "Let's go Roman!/Let's go Edge!" chants. The match started out slow, light on big moves and heavy on holds. That's been Roman Reigns' modus operandi (long, well-paced main event matches), and is also probably to give the crowd a chance to gather energy after the explosive ladder match they just saw. Things turn around as Reigns cocks his fist for a Superman Punch but Edge counters into a rollup, then they level each other with simultaneous big boots.
Edge mounted a comeback, leading to him locking Reigns in an STF and then transitioning into a crossface. Reigns sold with characteristic excellence before catching the rope. Edge then went for a Spear but Reigns countered it into a Guillotine. Edge escapes the hold my tackling both men outside, where Reigns goes for a Spear of his own -- but Edge moved, causing Reigns to crash through the barricade. Edge then rolls into the ring to stop the ref's countout count, then rolls back out and immediately levels Reigns with a Spear. He rolls Reigns inside for a two count. Good stuff.
We get a ref bump as the match reaches a fourth gear. Reigns clocks Edge with a Superman Punch, causing Edge to knock into the ref. Reigns dismantles a chair on the outside, bringing in its steel leg after Edge used the same part of a chair to choke Reigns at WrestleMania and on SmackDown. Edge slips out and barrages Reigns with headbutts, then puts Reigns into the crossface with the chair leg.
The Usos come down to help Reigns, but they're blocked by the Mysterio before they can break Edge's crossface on Reigns. With the ref still out, Rollins hits the ring and breaks the hold by hitting Edge with a superkick. Reigns shoots for a Spear, but Edge counters with his own Spear. A new referee slides in for a two count. Great stuff.
Edge sets up for another Spear, but Rollins comes to the apron. Edge boots him off -- then turns around to eat a huge Spear from Reigns. Reigns retains. Rollins hits the ring to beat down Edge after the match, but Edge fights back and they brawl into the crowd.
Rating: 4.25 stars. Scientifically paced, intense action, explosive finish. What you expect from a Roman Reigns main event in 2021.
Big E wins Men's Money in the Bank
Big E won the Money in the Bank match, beating Kevin Owens, Matt Riddle, Drew McIntyre, Shinsuke Nakamura, Seth Rollins, John Morrison and Ricochet.
It started off explosively: Rollins and Morrison were arguing on the outside about who the real King of Drip is, but Riddle interrupted them by blitzing Rollins with a penalty kick from the apron. Ricochet then shot over the top rope to take out Morrison, and Riddle hit a corkscrew moonsault on Rollins.
Before long we saw Morrison hit a corkscrew of his own -- over the top of a ladder -- and Shinsuke Nakamura slapping on an armbar atop a ladder.
Midway through the carnage, Riddle and Nakamura got into a sick striking and grappling exchange. There's a nice metaphor somewhere in there about scientific wrestling being a highlight of a demolishion derby match. They got interrupted by McIntyre, who decked both with a double Claymore. McIntyre cleared house, hitting a moonsault on everyone outside and then a Claymore to Rollins.
With the field clear he rose up the ladder, only to be interrupted by Jinder Mahal's sidekicks. Mahal then comes out and smashes McIntyre with chair shots and the three drag him out. McIntyre broke the cardinal rule: Never Hinder the Jinder!
Ricochet, as you may expect, was a highlight reel here. As Riddle was perchped atop a ladder, Ricochet walked along the top ropes and jumped onto the other side. Riddle pushed him off -- only for Ricochet to bounce off the top rope and hit an amazing flip dive onto everyone outside. He came back into the ring to be greeted by an RKO from Riddle. After Riddle hit a few more RKOs, he was cut off by a Curbstomp from Rollins.
Next it was Owens' time to shine, hitting multiple people with Stunners. He scaled the ladder only to be obstructed by Rollins -- who powerbombed him through a ladder on the outside. Just as Rollins looked to win he was himself stopped -- by Big E, who planted him with a Big Ending off the top of the ladder. Big E climbed back up the ladder and won the match.
Rating: 4.5 stars. Awesome from start to finish.
Charlotte Flair wins Raw Women's Championship
Charlotte Flair is a 14-time champion after making Rhea Ripley tap out to the Figure Eight.
This was an outstanding match. These two women are fabulous together, everything they do works. There was little in the way of story here -- it was mostly the two exchanging moves for 20 minutes. That sounds like a putdown, but it was consistently entertaining and worked to an excellent finish.
Charlotte Flair gave the crowd the finger moments into the bout, leading to a "We want Becky!" chant. Can't get that in the ThunderDome...
Ripley hitting a thumping running senton off the ringside steps. That wasn't the last of the flippy stuff, as later Charlotte nailed a beautifuly moonsault from the top rope to the outside. Ripley used her power to counter Charlotte's grappling into an awesome standing suplex, and an excellent nearfall came when Charlotte got a Natural Selection from the top rope for a two-count. Great intensity throughout.
The match ended with Charlotte wedging Ripley's leg between the stairs and the turnbuckle and kicking the stairs three times. She then applied the Figure Eight on Ripley's injured leg.
Rating: 4.25 stars. These two are awesome, and the crowd was far more into this than anything else so far -- despite a few "We want Becky!" chants. You can question the wisdom of the result -- Ripley is still a star-in-progress, and at this rate Charlotte will be a 160-time champion by the time she retires -- but this was super.
Bobby Lashley dominates Kofi Kingston
Poor Kofi Kingston. Remember when he lost his WWE Championship to Brock Lesnar in seconds? This was pretty much that -- except it took about 10 minutes.
The match starts with Lashley coming in hot with a Spear attempt, but Kingston jumping over for a Sunset Flip for a two-count. It was all Lashley from there, as the big man beat Kingston down in and out of the ring. Particularly brutal was when Lashley got Kingston in a fireman's carry position and slammed Kingston into the turnbuckle on the outside.
Lashley got the Hurt Lock in, in the center of the ring, but let Kingston out before he could tap. The crowd starts cheering on Kingston, but Lashley hits him with three Dominators and then taps him out with a Hurt Lock. Brutal.
Rating: 3.5 stars. There wasn't any back-and-forth here, and Kingston fans will be crestfallen to see their man maimed so badly. But this served the purpose of making Lashley look strong. That's something Lashley needs: After so many years just being a guy on the midcard, he's now being portrayed as the unbeatable monster -- so it's good that they're making him look unbeatable.
AJ Styles and Omos retain Raw Tag Titles
After a backstage segment featuring Roman Reigns and The Usos, who were celebrating their new tag team titles, we got to the Raw Tag Team Championship match. It was a good'n, one that saw AJ Styles and Omos retain after Omos pinned Erik with a two-hand chokeslam.
Pour one out for The Viking Raiders, because this crowd was all about AJ Styles. A big chant for AJ broke out as Erik stomped him out in the corner, and their enthusiasm for The Phenomenal One was bolstered when AJ hit a sweet over-the-top-rope hurricanrana on Erik with the help of Omos. AJ got a huge applause as he posed with his title alongside Omos after the match.
This had plenty of fantastic action, particularly between Erik and AJ. Omos is green, but he was involved in the match just the right amount. He got to show off his huge strength and size, by among other things military press slamming Ivar, but he wasn't around long enough to really spoil the fun. There was a section where Erik and Ivar were using tandem offense to cut down Omos, during which Omos' selling was shown to be lacking. But that wasn't a huge deal.
We got a nice false finish when Erik and Ivar planted AJ Styles with a Viking Experience, but Omos was able to break it up by pushing Erik onto Ivar, who was pinning AJ. After AJ and Ivar were taken out of the equation, Omos planted Erik to win.
Rating: 3.5 stars. AJ Styles was in exceptional form tonight.
Nikki Cross wins Money in the Bank
Nikki "Almost a Superhero" Cross defeated Asuka, Natalya, Tamina, Alexa Bliss, Liv Morgan, Naomi and Zelina Vega to win the women's Money in the Bank match. It turns out intelligence is the greatest superpower of all: Nikki snagged the win as six other women, perched on either side of three ladders as you can see below, were brawling for the case. She snuck in unnoticed and unclipped the briefcase to win.
Alexa Bliss' presence was unsurprisingly a bummer. Moments into the match, Bliss tried to use magic to lower the briefcase but was interrupted by a German Suplex from Asuka. Later, Bliss and Vega climbed the ladder at the same time but Bliss stopped Vega from reaching for the case by hypnotizing her. Eventually, all of the women buried Bliss under a bunch of ladders. That managed to keep her down.
Nikki Cross got a cute superhero monent in, jumping off a ladder to flatten the rest of the women, who had conspicuously gathered in the middle of the ring.
Meanwhile, Natalya and Tamina most often played spoilers, stopping many of the participants' attempts at climbing to the case. The crowd was into it -- they hated Tamina and Natalya, as the tag champs got loud boos consistently.
Naomi also got plenty of shine in, doubleteaming the tag champs and hitting a wicked powerbomb when she slammed Liv Morgan into Vega, who was sprawled out on a ladder. Ouch.
Rating: 3.25 stars. All the women worked hard, and there were certainly some of the wild stunts you've come to expect with Money in the Bank matches. But that's the issue: It's what you've come to expect. Nothing above and beyond that. The match also lacked star power. There was a surprising amount of boos for Tamina and Natalya, but the crowd wasn't particularly rooting for anyone.
Kickoff Show results
Money in the Bank hasn't even properly started and we already have new champions. In the pay-per-view's preshow bout, The Usos defeated Rey and Dominik Mysterio to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
Jimmy Uso pinned Rey Mysterio after an 11-minute match. It's weird to see the tag team titles change hands in a Kickoff Show match, since this is meant to be the culmination of Jimmy and Jey's storyline, but the crowd was happy to see the change.