Earlier today, the news broke that WWE would be bringing their Money In The Bank Premium Live Event to London.
The decision to host Money In The Bank 2023 at the O2 Arena on 1st July marks the first time in over 20 years that a WWE PLE has happened on our shores.
And now we’re getting one of their biggest shows of the year brought to us.
The overwhelming success of last September’s Clash At The Castle in Cardiff has undoubtedly led to Triple H and co. deciding to head over the Atlantic once again for a major show.
WrestleMania soon come?
The First UK Premium Live Event In Over 20 Years
Well, it is still probably too early to be having that discussion. But Money In The Bank does represent WWE’s biggest event outside their ‘Top Four’. And, arguably, it has perhaps surpassed Survivor Series in terms of overall importance to regular storylines.
We did, of course, see SummerSlam held at the old Wembley stadium back in 1992. A historic event that has lived long in the memory. But also one that has left British fans clamouring desperately for something similar in the intervening 31 years since it happened.
The late ’90s and early ’00s saw UK exclusive PPV’s held across England such as Rebellion, Insurrextion, Capital Carnage and No Mercy. But often, storyline wise, these shows meant little Stateside.
Over the past decade or so, more television tapings have occurred in the UK. Twice a year, Raw and SmackDown would be taped for the US audiences, having taken place in Manchester or London or Sheffield or another major UK city.
Now, it appears we are beyond mere television tapings.
First Money In The Bank UK, Then…?
First came the return to stadium shows last year. Now we’re getting one of the biggies. Who knows, maybe the very biggest isn’t too far away.
Anyway, before we start planning our dream WrestleMania 41 Wembley main event, let’s remember some of the greatest WWE moments to ever happen in the UK.
Because there’s plenty of them.
Title changes. Classic matches. Rabid crowds. Wayne Rooney. This list has the lot…
William Regal Rapidly Defeats Santino To Become Intercontinental Champion
There is little better than William Regal battering somebody. Now add into that equation an ecstatic Northern home crowd. And the Intercontinental Title on the line. And the fact the current champion at the time is Santino Marella. What you get is absolute magic.
‘The Milan Miracle’ is attempting a history making reign with the IC strap in late 2008. But our Northern lad has other ideas. Promptly finishing the future master of the Cobra off in mere moments, Regal secures the 1,2,3 and the Manchester crowd goes wild.
Wayne Rooney Slaps Wade Barrett
The WrestleMania main event we never got, quite frankly. And it’s a crying shame. Another Manchester moment and, honestly, this may be the best on the list. Just read that sub-heading. WAYNE ROONEY SLAPS WADE BARRETT.
Wade Barrett. Sorry, KING BARRETT after his King Of The Ring victory in 2015, gets into it with a ringside Wayne Rooney. The Manchester Arena crowd can sense something special is about to happen.
The Manchester United and England captain is being provoked by a gobby bloke from Preston. An eager Darren Fletcher watches on. Then comes the Austin/Tyson moment of our generation. United’s all time leading goalscorer slaps the taste clean out of the former IC Champion’s mouth.
Seriously, run this back in current day WWE and it could headline night one of WrestleMania this year. With a rematch at Money In The Bank. Obviously.
Legion of Doom Make Their Entrance At SummerSlam ’92
‘The Road Warrior pop’ is the stuff of legend in professional wrestling/sports entertainment. And while Animal and Hawk may have gone by a different name when they signed for WWE in the early ’90s, the reactions they generated didn’t alter.
Tearing down the Wembley aisle at SummerSlam ’92, the crowd collectively lost their minds at the sight of LOD. The roar of their motorcycles only adding to the chaos. 80,000 fans dying to see Paul Ellering’s men destroy Money Inc. And over the course of 15 opening minutes, that’s exactly what they were treated to.
AJ Styles Becomes WWE Champion
Title changes are pretty rare occurrences on UK shows. World title changes are like hen’s teeth, in fact. But in November of 2017, that white whale was finally delivered.
Approaching Survivor Series, we were led to believe the ‘Brand Supremacy’ Champion vs Champion bout would see Universal Champion Brock Lesnar taking on WWE Champ Jinder Mahal.
Only plans changed. And ‘The Phenomenal One’ scored a last minute victory en route to the Thanksgiving week showcase. The first WWE Title change ever in the UK was in the books. And AJ Styles was heading for an instant classic with ‘The Beast’ at Survivor Series. Sorry Jinder.
John Cena and HBK Put on an Hour Long Classic
Because putting on a banger in the WrestleMania main event only a few weeks before this wasn’t enough. While Cena was successful in retaining his WWE Title at ‘Mania 23, with no belts on the line, HBK prevailed in London.
However, when the bell rang at the beginning of the pair’s ‘Mania rematch, no one expected them to go 57 minutes. But the entire second half of Raw was dedicated to one of the greatest matches in the show’s history. An exhausted Michaels Sweet Chin Musiced his way to victory to a tremendous ovation from the London crowd. In an era where clean wins over John Cena were nigh on impossible to come by, this felt like a huge deal. Go out of your way to watch this one back.
NXT TakeOver: London
The original black and gold brand really came into its own in 2015. The Brooklyn TakeOver had been an incredible success in August of that year. Then a few months later, the Full Sail based brand went international.
The first TakeOver to leave the United States saw a card headlined by Finn Balor retaining his NXT Title over Samoa Joe in an enthralling, breathless main event. Asuka also began to assert her undefeated dominance over the women’s division with a hard hitting victory over Emma.
Bayley retained her Women’s Title in a pulsating bout with Mia Jax and a pre-FTR Revival also successfully held onto their belts after overcoming Enzo and Big Cass.
From top to bottom the show was a resounding success and another feather in the cap of Triple H’s developmental brand.
Tyler Bate Becomes The Inaugural United Kingdom Champion
While NXT UK may be no more, the pre-cursor to WWE’s British based brand still provided plenty of memories. Most notably, the UK Title tournament in Blackpool in 2017.
The main event of the two night affair saw a then 19 year-old Tyler Bate take on a pre-BUTCH Pete Dunne.
The pair would go onto receive Match of The Year plaudits for their return effort at NXT TakeOver: Chicago a few months later, but on a freezing cold night in the North West, they made history.
This entire weekend in January 2017 felt pretty seismic at the time and is well worth revisiting. On multiple occasions.
Sheamus and Gunther Beat The Hell Out of Each Other in Cardiff
We’ll be honest, four months on and we’re still sore just from watching this match. And it was one that will go down as one of the greatest in WWE history.
At Clash of The Castle, all eyes may have been on the main event between Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre. But it was hard to look past the Intercontinental Title bout for Match of The Night (and year) honours.
Sheamus was attempting to lift the only title he’s never captured during his WWE career. Gunther was attempting to further his relentless winning streak since joining the SmackDown roster.
Ultimately, the man formerly known as Gunther outlasted his Irish foe, but not without taking a historic beating along the way. The crowd in the Welsh capital were absolutely white hot from bell-to-bell. You’d be hard pressed to find many better matches in WWE history than this one. Five stars and then some.
Roman Reigns Somehow Overcomes Drew McIntyre
OK, so most fans in the UK were ready for a different outcome. But as far as unpalatable losses go, Drew McIntyre’s unsuccessful attempt to dethrone the Tribal Chief was worthy of about 100 standing ovations.
The Scotsman was expected by many to end the night as Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, ending Reigns’ two-year reign on top. Instead, a main roster debuting Solo Sikoa had other ideas.
Clash At The Castle will go down as an all timer of an event, choc full of memorable bouts, and this main event was an instant classic. Over half an hour of relentless action and drama. McIntyre looked phenomenal in defeat and, even better, got a consolation sing-song with Tyson Fury to take the show off the air.
The Bulldog Takes Down The Hitman
I mean, what else could finish things off? This had to be the main event, didn’t it? 37 minutes of pure pro wrestling perfection.
In his autobiography, Bret Hart details the excruciating effort he had to go to in order to execute this match to perfection. He would recite everything move-for-move to the Bulldog on the eve of the event at Wembley Stadium.
Needless to say, the match was excellently executed and the home crowd went home deliriously happy, having witnessed one of the most memorable main events of all time.
This would undoubtedly be Davey Boy Smith’s finest moment. It wasn’t far off being Bret Hart’s, truth be told, such was the quality of the match. Even over three decades later, this clash hasn’t lost a shred of lustre or magic. It’s genius from start to finish. If we are treated to anything even half as good as this at Money In The Bank in July, we are in for a treat.
Roll on 1st July…
Additional information on Money In The Bank will be announced in the coming weeks. To learn more about registering for general ticket presale opportunities please visit: https://www.wwe.com/mitb2023-presale-registration.
Featured Image Credit: WWE