Carmella just defeated her title against Asuka at Money in the Bank 2018. It was a close match, with both wrestlers inching close to a victory at various points. But things came to a screeching halt when an unidentified person approached the ring, dressed in Asuka’s signature mask and garb. Asuka was visibly shaken by the person, and her moment of confusion allowed Carmella to gain the upper hand and pin her for the win.
Who was the person wearing the mask?
It was James Ellsworth. The former WWE Superstar made his return in controversial fashion, distracting Asuka at a point in the fight where it seemed she might have a chance at winning. This is not the first time that Ellsworth has drawn the ire of fans at Money in the Bank. In 2017, he infamously interfered in the first ever women’s ladder match to help Carmella win the Money in the Bank briefcase. Ellsworth’s involvement led to a rematch, in which he again helped Carmella walk away with the briefcase.
All things considered, Ellsworth distracting Asuka seems like a fitting way to bring him back. Since leaving the WWE in November, Ellsworth has competed on the independent circuit and made an appearance for Impact Wrestling in May. It’s still unclear whether his return to the WWE is a one-off or if we’ll see him more frequently.
Pro Wrestling Sheet was the first to report on Ellsworth’s possible return. They received a statement from Middle Wrestling Kingdom on June 14th that said he had cancelled his match in China and would be free the day that Money in the Bank was scheduled.
James Ellsworth was scheduled to appear this weekend (June 16/17, 2018) in Harbin, China, as part of
Middle Kingdom Wrestling presents EYES ON THE PRIZE and an MKW Meet ’n Greet party. This booking has been in place since February.
James Ellsworth informed us last night that he will not be traveling to China. This news came after repeated attempts by MKW management to contact Ellsworth over the last six days to conﬁrm travel arrangements
On behalf of MKW, I would like to apologize to the fans who bought tickets with the intention of seeing James Ellsworth wrestle and meeting him in person at the MKW Meet ’n Greet event. MKW is disappointed by the actions of James Ellsworth, especially at the late nature of the cancellation.
Reactions to his return has been mixed. Some fans were excited to see Ellsworth back in action and scheming with Carmella, while others felt that his appearance cheapened Asuka’s efforts to win the WWE title.
“I am thoroughly disappointed with what I just witnessed”, wrote one user, “I do not like at all the fact that, after who knows how long he wasn’t involved with the wwe, you decide to bring back James Ellsworth. On a night so important as well.”