[SPOILER'S for last weekend's Money In The Bank pay-per-view, specifically the women's division matches]
So, to recap: the first ever women's Money In The Bank ladder match was last Sunday. It opened the show and is the latest in a line of gimmick matches being contested by WWE's female talent for the first time, or the first time after an absence of some years (I think there were Ironwomen matches before Sasha/Bailey but not for some time).
It ended, I kid you not, with Carmella's boyfriend / manager / hanger-on James Ellsworth climbing the ladder and throwing the case down to Carmella. Screwy finish, I probably wouldn't have minded. These things happen, it would hardly be the first time interference won a MITB match for a heel.
However... what we have here is a man winning the match for a woman.
I was livid. My best friend whose WWE Network subscription I was sponging off at the time, was livid. The cat next door was livid, though that might have been an unrelated issue.
Now, the best argument in favour that I've heard in favour of this decision is this: would I have been as mad about it if it were the first men's MITB and a manager had interfered on a male wrestler's behalf?
Well, the simple answer is “no”. The problem, though, is that I think this is one of those times where the argument is based on the idea of everything being equal when it isn't. Now, the WWE Women's Division is in a better state credibility-wise than it was two years ago. They've done a lot of gimmick matches and had them go well: Ironman, Hell In A Cell and Survivor Series Elimination off the top of my head. However, its still very fragile, especially for a first time match, which this was.
I'm not even saying I'm mad about Carmella winning. There's a long and honourable history of using the MITB case to elevate someone to a higher level. I'm not mad about Carmella getting a screwy win. She's a small woman in a division of much larger, more muscular women and she's a heel.
I just remember Santina.
This is Santina Marella. It is Santino Marella in a dress wearing a crown because he won a Women's Division (then the Divas Division) battle royal that was meant to celebrate the division's anniversary (I forget which one). The company brought in a whole bunch of well-respected and fondly remembered female talent for a massive match where hardly any of them got introductions and the match was won by... well, Santino Marella in a dress.
It was pretty much the worst thing ever. So, yes, there is a different tinge to a man getting involved in a women's match because it brings back memories of the bad old days, because in the past improvements in the division have been known to backslide when management decides not to take it seriously again, and because it is just plain damaging to Carmella as a performer to have her credibility overshadowed by James bloody Ellsworth (who I actually like, by the way, but who is hardly someone who lends credibility through his presence) when they clearly want her to be a top heel because SHE WON MONEY IN THE BANK!
Now, on this week's SmackDown, Daniel Bryan announced there would be another MITB match on next week's episode to decide a proper winner. Now, this smacks of course correction but, in my view, there can only be one winner:
I'm perfectly serious. The only sensible way I think this can work is if Ellsworth is banned from ringside (or placed in a shark cage above the ring because that never gets old) and she still wins. She should win dirty, by all means, but she should win on her own terms. Otherwise, if you give the case to someone else then the “first” Ms. Money In The Bank has to carry the stigma of being second choice to a bad choice but by keeping it with Carmella and having her win it under her own steam they can still run the same storylines they already had planned but build her up the way a main event heel should be built up.
I'm just tired of chickenshit heels who can't win on their own, frankly, I think they wasted months and months of Keven Owens' career on that and I don't want that thinking infecting the women's division.