Tag Archives: money in the bank

Let’s Give Maria and Mike Kanellis a Chance

Tonight at Money in the Bank, the WWE Universe saw the debut of a new superstar and the return of a familiar face.

“The First Lady of Professional Wrestling” Maria Kanellis made her WWE return – now as a member of the Smackdown brand – and she brought with her, her real-life husband Mike Bennett – or as he is now known, Mike Kanellis. I think JBL said what many of us were thinking “he took her name.”

There were reports that Mike and Maria were in St. Louis and would possibly make their Smackdown debut at the event. After they made their debut, some fans didn’t know what to make of the segment. From their promo, it looks like the couple are going to teach the WWE Universe about love – and by the tone of Maria’s voice, they’re going to be heels.

Although the segment left me with some questions, I liked the confidence in Maria’s voice. She’s no longer the bubbly backstage announcer or Santino’s girlfriend who later shared a kiss with Snoop Dogg. She’s now all business.

After Maria left the WWE in 2010, she appeared in different wrestling companies – big and small – over the years, most notably in Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling and TNA. She held the TNA Knockouts championship and was a part of a match in NJPW pitting her, Mike and Matt Taven against the Bullet Club.

As for Mike, he’s put together a good body of work during the last 15 years, holding both the ROH and NJPW tag team titles and the TNA X Division belt. The two left TNA back in March.

Some folks who didn’t enjoy the Kanellis’ segment at Money in the Bank may have already made up their minds that the duo will suck, but I think we need to give them a chance. They know how to work as heels and they’ll generate quite a bit of heat by rubbing their love in fans’ faces. I think the Smackdown writers and the couple will come up with some entertaining stuff. I mean the writers – along with Tyler Breeze and Fandango – have turned the Fashion Police into a hit.

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Money In The Bank Win Raises Carmella’s Stock

Note: This is a column I wrote for Creators.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Carmella and James Ellsworth being paired together on “Smackdown Live,” when it first happened in January.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a fan Carmella’s ever since I saw her in NXT. When she was drafted to Smackdown Live, I thought it was a bit too soon but she’s grown as a performer in the last year. Putting her with Ellsworth didn’t make sense to me for awhile. I thought she had a good run with Nikki Bella and was coming along on her own that she didn’t really need a heater. But since they’ve been together, she’s had some big moments on the blue brand, including mixing it up with John Cena and Bella and pinning women’s champion Naomi twice.

Then I watched tonight’s Money in the Bank pay per view where Carmella won the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match – a first in WWE history – after Ellsworth climbed the ladder, grabbed the briefcase and unceremoniously dropped it in her hands.

Folks were upset at the finish. Obviously Carmella didn’t win the briefcase in the most honorable way – but it’s wrestling and heels cheat to win whether it’s by using an illegal object, distracting the referee or in this case, outside interference.

Storyline wise, the wrestlers from the match, as well as officials seemed just as angry at Ellsworth actions. In fact, Smackdown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan said he would address the situation on Tuesday so Carmella’s status as Ms. Money in the Bank may be up in the air.

Beyond the ring, fans are peeved because they felt this historical moment was tainted because Ellsworth, who is not a woman, retrieved the briefcase, seemingly robbing Carmella of her moment.

I would have loved to see Carmella climb up the ladder, unlock the briefcase and hoist that baby in the air, but this finish worked for me for a few different reasons.

Again, we’ve established Carmella is a heel and Ellsworth is her heater. Unlike the typical male-female wrestler pairing Ellsworth is not this imposing figure that will use brute force to win matches for his lady. He’s a manservant who will do Carmella’s bidding. We’ve seen heels get help from their valets or managers to win big matches – look at The Miz and Maryse.

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