The booking decisions of any pay-per-view event can generate excitement, interest and anticipation.
Or it can spark controversy and outrage.
In either case, it is raw emotion that fuels WWE spectaculars such as the one SmackDown Live presented Sunday night with Money in the Bank. Emanating from the wrestling-rich city of St. Louis, the event had fans buzzing on Twitter from the get-go with a highly controversial finish to the first-ever women's ladder match.
The main event, the men's ladder match, was a fantastic bout with a winner that inspired two different schools of thought.
After a red-hot, often controversial pay-per-view, Twitter sounded off on WWE and its booking decisions Sunday night.
Carmella Wins Amid Controversy
WWE wasted little time creating controversy, as Carmella captured the women's Money in the Bank after James Ellsworth retrieved the briefcase and dropped it to her on the mat below, beating Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Natalya and Tamina Snuka despite the fact that she did not retrieve the briefcase herself.
The finish of the match drew a sarcastic, angry reaction on Twitter.
Others, including analysts Justin Henry, Justin LaBar and David Herro, rationalized the outcome.
Those on the losing end of the match made their feelings felt, furthering the storyline and suggesting the outcome will figure heavily into the women's division going forward.
Supporting that idea was a tweet from general manager Daniel Bryan, who promised the controversy would be the first subject broached when he returns to SmackDown Live Tuesday night.
Later in the night, winner Carmella finally chimed in with her thoughts, defending the actions of her manager and herself.
Raw's Bayley showed great concern about what the outcome could mean for the women's division as a whole, a broader storyline that could make for interesting television if the company opts to head in that direction.
Would it have been good to see one of the female competitors scale the ladder and retrieve the briefcase? Yes, especially since it was the first-ever women's MITB and carried added significance. But the finish that was presented to the audience did exactly what it was meant to do: It created buzz across social media and legitimate heat for the heels.
Fans have watched managers such as Mr. Fuji, Jim Cornette, Maryse and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley cheat on behalf of their male charges. Sunday night, the shoe was on the other foot, with the male manager interfering and cheating on behalf of his female charge.
It is Pro Wrestling 101, the sort of storytelling that has worked for decades and, if the reaction to Sunday's events is any indication, still does.
AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura Captivate
Baron Corbin's victory in the men's Money in the Bank was overshadowed by a showdown that occurred late in the match as AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura came face-to-face for the first time since The King of Strong Style's debut.
Setting aside a ladder, they opted to give fans a taste of the wars they engaged in during their time in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
And Twitter erupted.
It was a moment in time that, if WWE management is smart, will lead to a high-profile match between the two at some point in the future.
At, say, WrestleMania.
A Stellar Main Event
If the Styles-Nakamura tease was not enough, the main event certainly delivered at least one other spot, moment or inspired performance that satisfied an audience thirsty for a Match of the Year candidate.
Writers Cassidy Ostergren and Scott Fishman were in awe of the nasty bumps taken by United States champion Kevin Owens.
Las Vegas Fight Shop and Bleacher Report's own Ryan Dilbert and Steven Rondina all noted the tremendous effort from Sami Zayn.
WWE's Cathy Kelly summed it up best with one of the better GIFs of the night.
On a show that featured so many polarizing, potentially disappointing finishes and booking choices, the main event single-handedly saved the brand from further backlash and frustration-laced tweets.
Love or hate SmackDown Live, what it accomplished Sunday night was a pay-per-view event that had fans roaring from the early onset right through the main event. Considering the recent stagnancy and lackadaisical nature of booking, that is no small feat whatsoever.
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