WWE: Carmella Was Right Choice, Wrong Finish at Money in the Bank


Carmella may have been the best choice for the title of Ms. Money in the Bank, but this was the wrong finish.

On Sunday, Carmella reached up and grabbed the briefcase and became the first Ms. Money in the Bank. Except, she didn’t reach up and grab the briefcase. James Ellsworth did. Carmella lay helpless on the ground and literally looked surprised as it fell into her lap. The polarizing moment split the fans in two: those who think it was great heat and those who think it was unequivocally terrible. I’ll offer you a middle ground. It was the right choice, but it was the wrong finish.

Before Tuesday night’s events, Carmella made a good Ms. Money in the Bank. She has the most to gain and may be the most exciting choice. The issue isn’t her holding the briefcase, it’s the fact that Ellsworth effectively won the match on her behalf. WWE decided that by “women making history,” what it really meant was, “men making history for women who can’t do it for themselves.” It didn’t just give Carmella heat, it stole the moment from her.

Since Charlotte Flair’s face turn a couple months back, there’s been a void in the SmackDown Women’s division. It lacked a true top heel to challenge the three strong faces of Flair, Becky Lynch, and Naomi. Tamina always seems to stay out of the sun and truth is, Natalya just doesn’t have that special something to hold the spot. Carmella, though green in the ring, showed enormous potential since her call up last year. Her work with Nikki Bella may have been shallow but her promos were some of the best in the division. The addition of Ellsworth, her heater/not-boyfriend, gave her the missing piece to the puzzle.

Out of all the women in the division, including fan-favorite Becky Lynch, Carmella had the most potential with it. Money in the Bank is traditionally held by a heel who seizes a less-than-fair opportunity to cash in. After months of Ellsworth carrying the (undoubtedly bedazzled) briefcase around for her and the two gloating at every turn, her cash in could have been a huge moment. It would have propelled her into a run as a legitimate champion. With Daniel Bryan stripping her of the briefcase anyway, we may not even get that much. Regardless, Carmella was a good choice.

Let’s walk through those last moments. Ellsworth pushes Lynch off the ladder, he goes over to Carmella, and when she is unable to stand or climb the ladder he gets an idea. He starts up it himself, and with no one in sight to stop him, he unhooks the briefcase and drops it nonchalantly down to his unsuspecting friend-girl. She hugs it, looking ridiculous, and the segment ends with Ellsworth arguing with the referees.

Carmella essentially had nothing to do with the decision. She didn’t so much as clutch at an injured ankle and order him up the ladder. Even that would’ve given her a sense of ownership to the victory that right now she completely lacks. Carmella didn’t win that briefcase, Ellsworth did. She didn’t even know it was happening. That’s not the heat that Seth Rollins received when Kane essentially handed him his win a few years ago. It’s far more akin to Santino Marella dressing up as a woman and winning Miss WrestleMania battle royal.

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At least that incident, insulting as it was, wasn’t billed as a historic match. WWE has spent the last two years patting itself on the back for giving Divas a chance.  Yet time and time again, they seem to pump the breaks as they hit these milestones. Less we forget how oddly the first women’s pay-per-view main event ended. That’s exactly how this ending felt too, like WWE was unwilling to commit, to buy into their own hype. They had a historic game-changing moment in their sights and in the last moment they pulled back, they didn’t go all in, and they let us down.

As for the heat argument, it’s absurd to think that this was the only or the best way to get heat on Carmella. She is, for one, plenty hot already, and has been since she came up to the main roster. Tons of heels have cheated to win the briefcase, including Baron Corbin later the exact same night. Simply using uncouth methods or having a heater involved is enough to give them heat. Using those tactics to take it from someone as beloved as Lynch surely would’ve given Carmella a boost.

They could’ve had Ellsworth knock off Lynch, he could’ve held the ladder as she climbed it and fought off anyone who threatened that win. He even could’ve put Carmella on his shoulders and pushed her up the ladder. Now that would’ve been a visual fitting for the end of a match that was billed like this. There is no problem with toeing that line in the name of heat. This finish crossed that line. It gave the historic win of the first women’s Money in the Bank to a man. The nail in the coffin is the fact that looking at the response, we’re not mad at Carmella or even Ellsworth, we’re mad at WWE. We only suspend our disbelief as much as we want.

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It’s bittersweet. Carmella is a promising young competitor and she will make a convincing champion. Her time as Ms. Money in the Bank was sure to be entertaining if nothing else. We wanted this for her. We just didn’t want it like this. Even with this redo, Ellsworth unhooking the briefcase and dropping it down to his helpless partner will define this match. This division as well as all the women who came before them, worked so hard to get to this point. Didn’t they deserve better than this?