Daniel Bryan wants you to know that he had nothing to do with the finish of Sunday’s first-ever women’s “Money in the Bank” Ladder Match — so the perturbed WWE Universe can stop tweeting him now.
After all, the father of an almost five-week-old daughter and husband of fellow pro-wrestler Brie Bella was still out on paternity leave last night. Plus, according to the former WWE Champion and current “SmackDown Live” general manager, Bryan has “no creative influence whatsoever within the show,” he told TheWrap on Monday. “I’m not a decision maker.”
Before we get back to Bryan, here’s what has so many WWE fans’ (wrestling) panties in a bunch, 20 hours after an unpopular ending to the pay-per-view’s opening match. After a hard-fought ladder match — the first ever for WWE’s Women’s Division — James Ellsworth was the one who scaled the set of steps to retrieve the dangling briefcase for Carmella, who now earns a guaranteed title shot. Problem is, Ellsworth is a dude — and a man taking care of business for his lady isn’t exactly the sort of progress people were expecting from the much-hyped fight.
“Brie and I were watching it from home, and I actually would have no problem with it — and I don’t think anyone else would have a problem with it — if it was the third Women’s ‘Money in the Bank’ [Ladder] Match of all-time,” Bryan told us.
“I only know what vaguely I saw on social media,” he continued of the backlash. “I saw a lot of women upset that it was like, ‘Hey, you made a big deal about this being like this big women’s-empowering thing, and then a man climbs the ladder to do it,’ right? And so, when I watched it, not knowing that that was going to be the thing, I watched it thinking, ‘Oh, I bet some people are gonna be upset by this.'”
Here’s a sampling of what Bryan saw on social, which includes some gripes from his fellow WWE-ers:
— maria (@mariatee28) June 19, 2017
Don't want to take anything away from Carmella but in the first ever #MITB Women's ladder match A MAN takes down the briefcase ????
— Nia Jax (@NiaJaxWWE) June 19, 2017
— Tights And Fights (@TightsFights) June 19, 2017
The first ever women's Money in the Bank ladder match was just won by a man. Awful. #MITB
— Adam Pacitti (@adampacitti) June 19, 2017
— Patrick (@Grundy191) June 19, 2017
Mansplaining in the Bank #MITB
— WWE Creative Humor (@WWECreative_ish) June 19, 2017
Vince McMahon is the only booker who'd book a man to win a woman's #MITB
— TableofJapan (@TableofJapan) June 19, 2017
So you're proud that man took away a first from the women? Try to say that with a straight face to your 3 daughters.. #MITB
— Ti Dunbar (@TheRealTivo) June 19, 2017
- Book first Women's MITB match
- Overhype it
- Make the finish a joke, make fans mad
- Wonder why ratings are down#MITB
— Robby The Brain™ (@RobbyTheBrain) June 19, 2017
It was supposed to be a huge moment for a WOMAN in the FIRST EVER women's mitb match. Won by a man. Devastated doesn't cover it #MITB
— kez (@ladykezxo) June 19, 2017
— The WOLF (@Skaldenwolf) June 19, 2017
— Tom (@TomNffc4) June 19, 2017
A woman needing a man to win the briefcase is the opposite of the image WWE should have been wanting haha. #MITB
— PWM – WWE COVERAGE (@ProWrestlingMag) June 19, 2017
That's disgusting WWE should be ashamed that they had the 1st women's money in the bank match end like that ????????????????????????#MITB
— Shannon McClean (@Shannon_McClean) June 19, 2017
— Bayley (@itsBayleyWWE) June 19, 2017
As for Bryan, here’s what he wrote on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the unpopular ending:
— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) June 19, 2017
Bryan echoed that sentiment in our day-later conversation, saying, “Hopefully, we’re gonna make the wrongs right tomorrow on ‘SmackDown Live.'”
Watch him try to sort out this mess Tuesday at 8/7c on USA Network.