June 10, 2023


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2021 WWE Money in the Bank results, recap, grades: John Cena returns to WWE after epic main event

After a somewhat slow start to the Money in the Bank pay-per-view from Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, a trio of fantastic matches and the return of the biggest superstar of his era provided a strong close to the show. After a grueling war between universal champion Roman Reigns and Edge, John Cena returned to WWE, seemingly making it known that he was ready for a SummerSlam title shot.

That show closing segment, along with a stellar Raw women’s title match and a thriller in the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match will be the lasting memories coming out of WWE’s first big show as the promotion returns to full-capacity events after more than a year in the ThunderDome. Now, the march to SummerSlam begins, with John Cena leading the parade.

CBS Sports was with you the whole way through the event, providing updates and highlights as the action went down. Read on for results, grades and highlights of all the night’s action.

2021 Money in the Bank results, grades

SmackDown Tag Team Championship — The Mysterios (c) vs. The Usos: The Usos dominated the early part of the match, alternating taking the fight to both Rey and Dominik Mysterio. Dominik received a hot tag to take over on Jimmy Uso, hitting a springboard moonsault for a two count. The momentum was short-lived, with The Usos catching Dominik coming off the top rope with a crossbody before swinging him into the ringside barricade. Rey received the next hot tag and went on a brief run with Dominik out of the action. The Usos eventually fought back only to have Dominik get back in the action to break up a double superkick from the Usos. Rey survived a top rope splash from Rey before Jey scored the pin with a roll-up as Jimmy put his feet Jey’s back to help secure the pin. This was solid enough tag action and WWE has gotten much better at putting together good kickoff matches. The match still could have used another five minutes to really deliver what it was capable of. The Usos def. The Mysterios (c) to win the titles. Grade: B

Women’s Money in the Bank — Asuka vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Cross vs. Liv Morgan vs. Zelina Vega vs. Natalya vs. Tamina: There was a standard fast start for a Money in the Bank match, with everyone getting in a flurry of moves and also included Bliss trying to use her “powers” to summon the briefcase to fall to her.. Tamina was the first woman to take control of the match before slingshotting Alexa Bliss into a ladder that had been suspended in the corner. Morgan tried to run up a ladder to grab the briefcase as Tamina was carrying it. Asuka finally ended Tamina’s early dominance with some heavy strikes before things broke into more of a wide open period.

Bliss’ magic finally came into play when she climbed the ladder at the same time as Vega before forcing Vega to climb back down. A flurry of bumps on the ladders and some finish teases followed, with every woman having a moment where they nearly won the match. Tamina and Natalya turned their attention toward Bliss before the rest of the participants joined in, burying Bliss under ladders at ringside.

A trio of ladders was set up in the center of the ring, resulting in Asuka, Tamina, Morgan, Naomi, Vega and Natalya to battle over the briefcase only to see Cross — who is now being billed as Nikki A.S.H. in her new “almost a superhero” gimmick — climb over everyone to grab the briefcase and the victory. An unexpected winner here, but there could be some fun to be had with Nikki A.S.H. as Ms. Money in the Bank and it’s hard to argue that she doesn’t deserve the opportunity. The match wasn’t on the high end of Money in the Bank matches, but it delivered enough fun to be watchable, even if disappointing. Nikki A.S.H. won Money in the Bank. Grade: C+

Raw Tag Team Championship — AJ Styles & Omos (c) vs. The Viking Raiders: Omos was in the ring briefly in the early going before the expected tag out to Styles to carry the team’s work. Styles bounced around the ring for the power offense of the Raiders before clearing the ring and tagging in Omos, who threw Styles from the ring into a huricanrana on Erik on the outside of the ring. The Raiders would eventually take over on Styles once again before another tag to Omos to regain control of the action. The match feel right back to the same pattern, with Omos dominating only to tag Styles in to again get dominated by the challengers before Omos would get tagged back in yet again. Omos tossed Ivar with a massive press slam in one of the bigger feats of strength in the match but was eventually knocked out of the ring after Styles tagged back in. Styles took the Viking Experience, but Omos broke the pin by shoving Erik onto Ivar as he was pinning Styles. Omos tagged back in and hit the chokebomb for the victory. Styles continues to be the workhorse for the team, as expected with someone as limited as Omos, but it’s a formula that continues to work for the team. Not quite on the level of the SmackDown tag title match earlier in the night but still good tag wrestling. AJ Styles & Omos (c) def. The Viking Raiders to retain the titles. Grade: B-

WWE Championship — Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Kofi Kingston: Kingston charged hard from the opening bell but a fired up Lashley quickly overpowered him before dropping Kingston with a huge lariat. Lashley continued to dominate the early period of the match, tossing Kingston around the ring before throwing him over the top rope and to ringside with a press slam. Kingston struggled to get anything going as Lashley continued to dominate before locking Kingston in the Hurt Lock. Rather than finish the match, Lashley whipped Kingston around to hit a fallaway slam. Lashley followed up with a flatliner and a trio of dominators as the referee tried to urge him to end things. Lashley locked Kingston in the Hurt Lock again, putting Kingston to sleep and ending the match. Complete dominance, which makes sense given the booking from the end of Raw, though it feels unfortunate Kingston had to be on the end of an extended squash in a title match, calling back memories of his squash loss to Brock Lesnar to end his reign as WWE champion. Still, the booking made sense and reestablished Lashley as a true force. Bobby Lashley (c) def. Kofi Kingston to retain the title. Grade: B

Raw Women’s Championship — Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair: Flair gave the fans a middle finger at the start of the match, establishing herself as the heel in this somewhat confusing rivalry. Flair then started hot, knocking Ripley from the ring apron before hitting a t-bone suplex into the turnbuckle when the action returned to the ring. Ripley came back by going after Flair’s injured knee and dumping her over the top rope. Ripley tried to follow up a big German suplex with a dropkick but instead found herself in a Boston crab as he action continued to swing back and forth with huge moves, including Flair’s top-rope moonsault to the outside and Ripley locking in her modified Texas cloverleaf. Flair reversed Riptide into a DDT for a near fall as the crowd began buying into the match in a big way. Flair hit Natural Selection from the top rope for a very convincing near fall, drawing a huge reaction from the crowd. Ripley missed a charge into the corner and Flair took her to the outside, sandwiching Ripley’s leg between the post and the ring steps before kicking repeatedly kicking the steps. With Ripley’s leg softened up, Flair locked in the Figure-Eight to force the tap and regain the championship. This was an outstanding match that overcame early chants of “We want Becky” to draw “This is awesome” chants as the crowd fully bought in. Charlotte Flair def. Rhea Ripley (c) to win the title. Grade: A-

Men’s Money in the Bank — Ricochet vs. John Morrison vs. Riddle vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Big E vs. Kevin Owens vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins: An all-out brawl got things going at the jump before Rollins and Morrison argued over who truly had “drip.” Ricochet and Riddle both came flying in on Rollins and Morrison, eventually thinning things to Big E and McIntyre in the ring. Morrison had a big highlight early moment, coming off the ladder with a twisting body block. Morrison and Rollins eventually began working together to take out other competitors, also setting up a ladder suspended between the ring apron and the commentary table. Morrison also helped Rollins hit a falcon arrow onto a ladder on Owens after Owens hit a springboard moonsault on both men. Eventually, Rollins turned on Morrison, as expected, striking him with a ladder.

It was then McIntyre’s turn to take over, slamming Ricochet into a ladder with a reverse spinebuster and hitting a slipping dive over the top rope onto the rest of the field. McIntyre was taken out of the match when Jinder Mahal, Veer and Shanky ran in and attacked before dragging McIntyre to the back. Ricochet had one of the most iconic moments of the match when he leaped from a ladder as Riddle was tipping it over, hitting the top rope and flipping onto a group on the outside. Shortly after was another big bump as Rollins powerbombed Owens from the ring and through the ladder that was suspended on the commentary table earlier in the match.

As Rollins seemed ready to grab the briefcase, Big E caught him and hit the Big Ending off the ladder. Big E then climbed the ladder and grabbed the briefcase to win the match. The absolute right call for a winner and a great moment in a very entertaining Money in the Bank match. Big E won Money in the Bank. Grade: A-

Universal Championship — Roman Reigns (c) vs. Edge: The match started with a pair of collar and elbow ties, first with Roman shoving Edge to the corner and shoving his face and then with Edge returning the favor. After more gamesmanship, Reigns drove Edge from the ring with a big shoulder block. Reigns tried to follow up with strikes, but Edge countered and started working on the arm, driving Reigns into the ring post twice, softening him up for the crossface. Edge’s attack was finally cut off when Reigns hit a Samoan drop outside the ring. Reigns tossed Edge around ringside, smashing him into the ring steps multiple times with a methodical pace.

Reigns locked Edge in an extended chinlock, screaming that he could hold Edge in that position all night if he chose to. Edge countered a Superman punch into a backslide for a near fall, giving his first glimpse of hope since the opening of the match. After an Edgecution, Edge again nearly scored the win, finally building momentum against the champ. Edge locked in the crossface but Reigns was able to escape by grabbing the bottom rope. Reigns then countered a spear attempt by locking in a guillotine choke.

After the action spilled back outside the ring, Reigns missed a spear, driving himself through the barricade. Edge stopped the referee’s 10 count and left the ring to spear Reigns through a second barricade. Reigns hit a superman punch that also took out the referee when Edge crashed into his knee. With the ref down, Reigns rolled out of the ring and broke the bottom off a steel chair, saying he’d teach Edge a lesson, trying to lock in the assisted crossface. Edge reversed with a series of headbutts before locking in the crossface with the metal pole. The Usos tried to make the save but they were taken out by The Mysterios. Still with no referee in the match, Seth Rollins ran in and superkicked Edge before walking off. Reigns went for a spear, but Edge hit one of his own. A new referee had to run to the ring, giving Reigns enough time to kick out. Rollins then returned to the ring, drawing Edge to kick him from the ring apron and allowing Reigns to hit a spear to retain his title. After the match, Rollins jumped in the ring to continue attacking Edge before the two brawled to the back. A slow build led to a very hot finish, overbooked but in the best way, with interference, ref bumps and the “I’d have won if the ref were still here” nonsense that makes wrestling work. Roman Reigns (c) def. Edge to retain the title. Grade: A

John Cena made his return to WWE, showing up after Reigns took the microphone and said, “Now the whole world can acknowledge me.” Cena’s music hit and he made the sprint to the ring and running the ropes. Cena never said a word, instead moving toward Reigns before delivering the “You can’t see me” hand gesture as the show went off the air.