Gettin’ Worked: Ellsworth Grabs Women’s MITB Briefcase

I’ve been searching for the perfect opportunity to start a column that covers specific encounters of internet freak outs within the pro wrestling community, and after last night’s finish to the Women’s Money In the Bank match, the search is finally over – this is ” Gettin’ Worked “, because that’s exactly what happened to the WWE Universe last night. In case you missed it, it was James Ellsworth, a man, who ended up climbing the ladder and pulling down the Women’s MITB briefcase, of which he then dropped to Carmella, a woman, who went on to claim victory as the first ever Miss Money In The Bank.

Internet outrage swiftly followed and in 2017, you would think that the WWE would have the foresight to predict the reaction this outcome would garner.  Like clockwork, the internet freaks out – the detractors start their own stage 5 tweet storm and those who find themselves on a self proclaimed moral high ground express their outrage in 140 characters or less.  The finish was shocking, and with the Women’s Revolution being pushed so hard heading into this historic match the WWE Universe couldn’t seem to wrap their heads around the fact that the WWE decided to go in this direction.

In my opinion, and while it wasn’t my first choice, I think the decision is perfectly fine.  It’s not the WWE’s job to ensure that all social justice boxes are checked off.  In fact, I’d argue that they knew exactly what they were doing.  They understand that heels no longer get booed for traditional reasons, so what better way to direct animosity towards their heel characters than to do something that exploits the easily triggered masses?  Sure, Ellsworth pushing the ladder over and allowing Carmella to climb to the top would have been fine and received its fair share of boos, but would that be memorable?   Would we be talking about it today as much as we are?  Certainly not.  On the flip side, are you now invested because of the outcome?  Yes, you certainly are.

I also find it ironic that the WWE was able to push two similar, yet polar opposite cultural trends in one PPV.  On one hand, the internet gets their outrage from a man stealing the spotlight in a historic women’s match and on the other hand, you have Mike Bennett making his debut alongside his wife, Maria Kanellis, only to also reveal that the man in the duo has taken his wife’s last name.  If anything, I think that screams female empowerment and the end of what some consider archaic traditions.  If you ask me, it was Maria that was thrust forward as the star, rather than her “trophy husband”, Mike.  Ya, see?  Everyone wins!  Let this also be another reminder that professional wrestling is entertainment first.  Everything doesn’t have to be so political all the time.  Stop over-complicating things.  It’s okay to do something shocking or outside the box that gets your engine going; whether it makes you happy, sad, scared, angry or even offended.

So if you want to get angry at the situation for whatever reason, at least point it in the right direction.  Personally, I have a bigger issue with how sloppy the logistics of the contest were.  Let’s break it down: So you’re trying to tell me that for all these years no one else thought to have a tag partner or valet grab the briefcase while the other opponents were incapacitated and hand it to them?  I mean, if this was the case all along, then why didn’t Chris Jericho employ his once trusted security guard, Ralpus to grab the briefcase in the inaugural MITB match?  Logistics – that’s what bothers me here, because logistically that chain of events insulted my intelligence as a viewer.  Was I offended by it … no chance, but it does piss me off.

Lastly, it’ll be interesting to see where they go with this on Smackdown Live.  The Carmella/Ellsworth relationship story line has now been furthered along and Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon have already planted the seeds on Twitter of their disapproval, so as of now the payoff for this social injustice still awaits us.  Either way, you’ll be watching with a purpose – it’s a guarantee.  Actually … it’s more than a guarantee, it’s money in the bank.