It’s safe to say that when the idea of a Women’s division Money In The Bank Ladder match became a reality, a lot of us were excited. It seemed that WWE were finally ready to acknowledge the women competitors as equals, and after Hell In A Cell matches and Iron Man matches in the past, this was another stepping stone to achieving that equality. Simply put, the women deserved the same opportunity as the male competitors, and a Money In The Bank briefcase would ensure that they were given it.
However, when the match itself took place at the Money In The Bank PPV, it ended up being quite controversial, and the closing moments had a lot of people complaining. With that in mind, let’s take a look back at how WWE got it very wrong with the inaugural Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match.
One Ellsworth Of A Problem
Undoubtedly the biggest problem that the vast majority of the WWE Universe had with this match was the ending — which saw James Ellsworth retrieve the Money In The Bank briefcase for Carmella. Never in WWE had this happened before.
Granted, Kane cleared the competition for Seth Rollins back in 2014, but he held the ladder steady for Rollins, allowing the active competitor to retrieve the briefcase and resulting in The Architect winning the match. That was not the case in the inaugural women’s match.
The Ellsworth ending would have been unusual in any Money In The Bank Ladder Match — it doesn’t matter who he represents, he’s not in the match and thus, when he grabbed the briefcase, the match should have been instantly stopped and restarted. However, it received extra criticism because Ellsworth was a man, and some believed that he had tainted the revolutionary female match.
While it’s understandable to see where those fans are coming from — we didn’t eagerly anticipate a Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder match only for it to be won by a man — the result definitely won’t hinder the progress of the women’s division. However, it certainly didn’t do it any favors, suggesting that Carmella needed a man to do what should have been a woman’s job.
It Accomplished Nothing
Not only was Carmella’s win tainted by Ellsworth’s interference, her subsequent relinquishing of the contract and eventual regaining of it in the rematch on SmackDown LIVE accomplished nothing. Yes, it highlighted her strong-will and determination to succeed by any means necessary, but couldn’t they have just as easily done that the first time around at Money In The Bank?
Furthermore, the decisive rematch completely undermines the PPV altogether. The whole idea of the rematch is admitting that the first match was flawed. But it’s the initial match that will be immortalised forever — due to its PPV status. Unfortunately, the rematch may not receive the same prestige, despite righting the wrong of Ellsworth. After all, in the long run, it’s the special events that tend to live on forever. Thus, while the SmackDown episode will undoubtedly be added to the WWE Network in a matter of weeks, it doesn’t change the fact that the first ever Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder match — on PPV and in general — ended with a tainted finish. And no amount of follow-up SmackDown episodes will ever change that.
Do you think WWE made a mistake by letting Ellsworth retrieve the briefcase? Let us know in the comments below!