Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman reflect on their Money in the Bank victories
ROSEMONT, Ill. - Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman each won their respective Money in the Bank ladder matches Sunday night, but just as in almost every other aspect of their lives, their circumstances could not be more different.
Bliss won the women's Money in the Bank ladder match early in the night, short-circuiting Becky Lynch's third straight close call in as many Money in the Bank matches. After becoming the first woman to become both Raw and SmackDown women's champion, and the first to hold those titles multiple times, Bliss becomes the first to add winning the Money in the Bank briefcase to that list of accomplishments.
"It was amazing. Our women have come so far, and to become the second Ms. Money in the Bank was amazing," Bliss said in an interview with ESPN shortly after the end of the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. "Being able to climb up the ladder, after the match that these women [and I] had just put on, and be the one to grab the briefcase was amazing."
But Bliss wasn't done. To the delight of the crowd at the Allstate Arena, Bliss waited just a couple of hours before she put her guaranteed title shot into play. As Ronda Rousey appeared poised to put Nia Jax away to become Raw women's champion, Bliss slid into the ring, nailed Rousey in the back with the briefcase to trigger a DQ, and then went to work on long-time rival Jax. Within minutes, she became a three-time Raw women's champion.
"Honestly, I kind of drowned out the crowd in that moment because it was a two-hour later cash-in," said Bliss. "To be able to have that moment, and to pin Nia Jax to become a three-time Raw women's champion was just amazing -- it's been a great night."
Strowman, on the other hand, closed out the show with the briefcase held over his head after a grueling main event. He spent several portions of the men's Money in the Bank ladder match facing an all-out attack from the other seven competitors. Strowman even found himself buried under a pile of ladders at one point.
With the adrenaline pumping, Strowman was still wrapped up in the moment a few minutes later when he sat down with ESPN, briefcase in hand.
"It sucked. How do you think it felt? I got buried under hundreds of pounds of steel ladders," Strowman said. "It took me a minute to pile and climb my way out of that. It didn't stop me from climbing to the top of that ladder and taking what's mine."
He's the first true giant to win Money in the Bank since Kane did it in 2010. Unlike Kane, who was able to cash in the very same night to win the World Heavyweight Championship from Rey Mysterio, Strowman has to wait until reigning Universal champion Brock Lesnar is in the building for Raw or a pay-per-view before he can cash in his opportunity.
Funny enough, as the men and women representing Raw in the Money in the Bank ladder matches sat atop ladders in the ring last Monday, Strowman and Bliss all but dictated how these matches would play out. Even though their processes differed, the paths of the former Mixed Match Challenge teammates crossed over once more on Sunday night.
After SmackDown had Money in the Bank all to itself as an event last year, both briefcases were won by Raw superstars this time around. When Bliss cashed in spontaneously during Sunday's pay-per-view she became just the third person to take advantage of her title shot on the same night she won the briefcase. She joined Kane (2010) and Dean Ambrose (2016) in doing so, with all three successfully walking out of the Money in the Bank pay-per-view as champion.
What's more, Bliss was able to celebrate one of the biggest nights of her WWE career on Father's Day -- sharing in the moment with her dad, who's been one of her biggest supporters throughout her life.
"My dad is the biggest Lexie fan -- ever since I was in gymnastics, he went to ever gymnastics meet, every cheer competition, every bodybuilding show," said Bliss. "He's been to everything, and this is no different. He is so supportive with what I do, he's always reading the updates on Twitter, and I talked to him this morning to tell him Happy Father's Day, and he was texting me motivational stuff."
True to character, Strowman was slightly less sentimental about the occasion.
Though we don't yet know the means by which Strowman will cash in his opportunity, he may well be the first Money in the Bank winner since John Cena in 2012 to announce his intention to cash in ahead of time. With Strowman's second challenge of Lesnar looming as a significant possibility for a big show like SummerSlam, he could well be poised to step up and end Lesnar's lengthy spell as an absentee Universal champion.
Then again, it could be one heck of a moment on any Monday Night Raw when Lesnar happens to be in the building.
"The timeline is when I want it to be. See this right here?" Strowman asked, holding up his briefcase. "This give me the power to cash in for a Universal championship. The ball is in my court."