Monday, July 18, 2011
WWE Money in the Bank Review
WOW. What an electric night. That was the best PPV the WWE has done in years. Everything about Money in the Bank was great. Top to bottom, this show was great. Even the stuff that you would normally consider bad was ok. Just an all around great show that words cannot do justice for. I recommend people go out of the way to watch this show. This will probably be the first PPV I buy on DVD that isn't Wrestlemania since One Night Stand 2006. I might as well get right into my review of the show. Top to bottom, solid all around.
Daniel Bryan Wins the Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match: ****
A big surprise right off the bat. Bryan had an argument to be called the #2 face on Smackdown, and winning here catapulted him into that position. The WWE needed to elevate someone into that position and they did that with Bryan winning here. It could have been Sin Cara, but they chose to go with Bryan instead. Obviously now, it is because Cara has been suspended for violating the WWE Wellness Policy. What a disappointing start for Sin Cara's career. Rey Mysterio rebounded from being suspended, hopefully Sin Cara can as well. He's just too talented to fail in my opinion.
Back to the actual match, this was the better of the two ladder matches. Not a lot of sloppy spots, but also a good amount of creative ones. Sheamus powerbomb of Sin Cara onto the ladder was a good spot. Justin Gabriel also stood out in the match. That 450 splash he did off of the ladder was much harder than it looked. The ladder was moving and as you could tell, Gabriel had to balance himself before doing the spin. Near the end I thought Barrett had the briefcase. Sheamus, even in losing, might have looked the best in the match. He cleaned house at one point. I still think there is potential in Sheamus as a main event draw. They are doing a good job on Smackdown building him back up as a huge force. They planted the seeds for a Barrett/Sheamus feud on Smackdown this past Friday. They could turn one of them face and make a program out of it. They would probably turn Sheamus, but I would rather turn Barrett. But this was just a fun match that got the crowd into it right off the bat. Great performances by all involved.
So where do they go from here with Daniel Bryan? Bryan is the Internet fans' darling. He's a great in ring worker. He busts his ass every week. I always hate bringing his name up, but he reminds me a lot of Chris Benoit the wrestler. Not the best on the mic, but a great in ring worker. As I said in my preview piece, Survivor Series is in NYC this year. Benoit won his first World Title there and the crowd popped huge, why not do it with Bryan too. I also think that Bryan may build towards a traditional program a la RVD than a normal MITB cash in. There's also the risk Bryan is the first to cash in and lose, I say there is a 30% chance of that happening.
They showed a clip earlier of Vince McMahon, Director of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis, and an "attorney" arriving backstage.
Kelly Kelly defeated Brie Bella to retain the Divas Championship: *
Basic Divas match. Nothing terrible, nothing outstanding. The best thing of everything was Nikki saying, "Look at her, she doesn't even eat. You can't beat that?" Kelly wins, probably moves on to someone else now with the Bellas out of sight.
Mark Henry defeated Big Show: **
The match was short. It wasn't a two star level match, but I bumped it up a 1/2 star for the whole post match beatdown and angle. Henry and Show did do a good job in the ring. They did their best. Henry worked over Show's still hurt knee during the match. He hit the World's Strongest Slam but Show kicked out. Henry hit a second one then two splashes for the win. Afterward, Henry put a chair on Show's ankle and jumped on it from the second rope. Show sold a broken ankle as Henry walked to the back.
Mark Henry's mega push continues. I think it says something that they gave Mark Henry a clean win over the Big Show when they didn't even do it for Alberto del Rio. Henry's monster push continues. Orton/Christian isn't done yet, so I'm not quite sure what happens with Henry. Maybe he goes back to Kane for a bit. Maybe a brief program with Ezekiel Jackson. I think Henry is next in line for Orton after the program with Christian. Fine for what it was, but made better by the entire build and post match angle.
Josh Matthews interviewed Vince McMahon backstage. He said he hasn't re-signed Punk. He told C.M. Punk fans that he did everything he could, but Punk refused to sign. Vince blamed John Cena for everything that happened, and said "May god have mercy on John Cena's soul," if Punk won the WWE title tonight.
Alberto del Rio won the RAW Money in the Bank Ladder Match: ***1/2
I don't have a problem with Del Rio winning. I just thought it was too obvious to happen. I didn't think Del Rio needed this to be elevated to the main event. But that is partially because I didn't have everything from tonight playing out as it did.
I thought this match was a bit underwhelming. The beginning with everyone bringing a ladder into the ring was a nice touch. There were a few more sloppy moments and dangerous spots in this one. Everyone attacked Del Rio with the ladder and threw them on him on the outside. Everyone then hit a bunch of flying spots onto the outside. R-Truth, then Kofi and Rey, then Bourne hit an amazing Shooting Star Press off the top of the ladder on the outside. Highlight spot of both ladder matches. I still would have rather had Ziggler in the match, but that was a cool spot.
In ring, Miz and Bourne battled on the ladder before Del Rio knocked both of them off. Miz fell from the ladder and sold a serious knee injury as he was helped to the back. Another decent spot where Rey Mysterio and Bourne hit double hurricaranas. All seven men remaining ended up on ladders in the ring before they all started falling one by one. Kofi Kingston was the last one left and tried to grab the briefcase, but Swagger pulled him off. Suddenly, Miz came limping back to the ring and appeared to be in line for getting the case again. Rey Mysterio stopped him and knocked him off. Rey was booed pretty heavily. Del Rio then got to the top of the ladder. Both men battled on the top of the ladder before Del Rio yanked Rey's mask off and shoved him to another ladder. Both men's ladders fell in a spot that didn't look planned. Del Rio grabbed the briefcase for the win.
As I said, still entertaining but a bit sloppy. The end was off, Truth missed a spot earlier with Swagger that had to be redone. It was curious to see what they did with Miz. He got a huge pop from the live crowd. Are they going to turn Miz face? It's been talked about for a while now. I was disappointed Alex Riley didn't standout more than he did. Unlike Smackdown where everyone had at least one standout moment, there were a few guys that didn't stand out here, notably Riley, Jack Swagger, and R-Truth. It will be interesting to see where they go with Del Rio here. I won't say anything more until I get to the end of the review.
Backstage, Del Rio told Josh Matthews he should have been in the WWE Championship match tonight, and he was going to prove to everyone how great he really is and fulfill his destiny of becoming WWE Champion.
Christian defeated Randy Orton via Disqualification to win the World Heavyweight Title: ***3/4
Another solid match between the two. This was a match again bumped up because of the whole angle and the post match as well. Christian threw a chair into the ring early to tease Orton with a DQ. Back and forth action throughout the entire match before Christian countered an RKO into an Unprettier. Orton kicked out at two and sold frustration. Orton recovered and hit a shoulder neckbreaker on Christian for only a two count. Orton thought about the punt but Christian moved. Orton hit a powerslam and elevated rope DDT. He went for an RKO but Christian bailed to the corner. Christian then spit in Orton's face with caused him to snap. Orton went nuts and eventually low blow kicked Christian causing a DQ, which meant Christian won the World Heavyweight Title. After the match, Orton snapped and threw Christian to the outside. He RKO'd Christian on the Spanish announce table, but it didn't break. He left but came back and did it again. Orton was really good here. His facial expressions were top notch. He really sold that he snapped and completely lost it. Orton can be good under the right circumstance and he was here.
I was surprised Daniel Bryan didn't come out and cash in. But they still need to build up Bryan a bit more in my opinion. Christian was carried to the back afterward. Like I said, another good match between these two and continues their program heading into SummerSlam. I'm assuming some type of gimmick is added to the match this time. Maybe, as some people have already suggested, Edge returns as special guest referee. He will already be in Los Angeles for SummerSlam. I was surprised as well to see how much the crowd was into Randy Orton. I thought for sure Chicago would be more into Christian than Orton. Hopefully Christian gets a proper one month reign with the Title, and not lose it again on Smackdown right away. Even though this program has been going now for 3 months, there is now a new wrinkle thrown into it with Christian now Champ, and Orton now in full blown psychotic snap mode. Solid "2nd main event" before the match everyone was waiting for.
C.M. Punk defeated John Cena to win the WWE Championship: *****
I'll try, but words cannot do this one justice. This match was just on another level. Punk came out to a huge reaction from his hometown Chicago. Cena came out and just walked to the ring, now salute or run to the ring.
Basic wrestling work in the first half of the match. Slow rest holds, but they all played into the build of the match later. Cena hit his traditional offense. About 12 minutes into the match Cena sold a knee injury and backed away into the corner. Punk went to suplex Cena back into the ring, but Cena suplexed him to the outside onto the mat in a rough looking spot. Back in the ring, Cena and Punk went at each other with a back and forth that got "BOOS" for Cena and "YAHS" for Punk. Cena eventually gained control and went for the five knuckle shuffle, but Punk kneed Cena in the head when he went for the "You Can't See Me." Punk kneed Cena to the floor and then hit a dive to the outside. Back in the ring, Punk went for a dive and missed. Cena connected on the Five Knuckle Shuffle this time. Cena then went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Punk countered. Punk went for the GTS, but Cena countered. Cena took a pretty stiff knee to the jaw.
After some Punk kicks, Cena countered and locked in the STF. Punk was able to crawl towards the ropes and grab it before tapping out. Punk went to the top and went for a splash, but Cena countered into an AA attempt. Punk countered into a GTS attempt. Cena countered that into another STF. Punk crawled towards the rope again but Cena dragged him back mid-ring. Out of nowhere, Punk was able to escape and lock in his signature submission, the Anaconda Vice. Cena countered out of that into an AA, but only got a two count out of it. Punk countered Cena's top rope leg drop into a sitdown powerbomb. Punk went for the GTS but Cena got out of it. This time he hit the leg drop. Cena hit another AA but Punk kicked out again. Cena sold disbelief to the ref.
Cena went for a top rope AA, but Punk elbowed out of it. He hit a top rope huracanrana. Punk then hit the GTS on Cena, but Cena fell to the outside. Punk rolled Cena back into the ring. Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis walked down the entrance. Punk caught them out of the corner of his eye. Punk entered the ring, but the distraction allowed Cena to lock in the STF. Vince told Laurinaitis to go ring the bell, but Cena unlocked the hold and decked him. Cena then went to Vince and told him "Not like this," implying he didn't want the match to end in the screwjob format. Cena went back into the ring, but Punk hit the GTS and scored the three count for the win.
Vince sold disbelief and shock. As Punk celebrated in the ring, Vince walked to the announce table and told them to cut Punk's music. He asked for Del Rio to come out and cash in his contract. Del Rio ran out but Punk kneed him in the head. Punk then left the ring, blew a kiss to McMahon, and escaped through the crowd. The show ended with Punk walking in the arena concourse and McMahon fuming on the ring apron.
As I said in the beginning, just WOW. That match was on a whole nother level. Punk was excellent there playing to the crowd and of course proving once again that he is the best wrestler in the WWE today. As much as I don't like the guy as a character, Cena brought his A game tonight as well. He showed that he is more than capable of carrying his end of a big time match. The crowd was great as well. Everything put together just gave this match a big time feel that might not be topped for years to come. Everybody played their parts perfectly. Punk and Cena were great in the ring, Vince was great as the owner who didn't want to see his prized possession leave, and even John Laurinaitis was good as the company stooge. It is what you ask for in a wrestling match. Good action in the ring, compelling drama, and an excellent story told from start to finish. You can't ask for anything else.
Just like before the PPV, I have no idea where this story is going. This is the one finish I didn't see happening. Does Punk really leave with the WWE Title? If so, do we go that long without the WWE Title? Does Vince introduce a new Title belt? Is Dolph Ziggler the new top dog on the show with the United States Championship? Does Punk actually stick around for a bit? Does he show up in the crowd with the title? Or go to Ring Of Honor? Is Cena actually fired? That's a lot of questions there. This ending was the best possible hook to gain viewers for RAW tonight. The one thing the WWE can't do is have Punk show up tonight, then just lose the title back to Cena. It kills any momentum from the PPV and will lose more people in the long haul rather than gain more. But from start to finish in this whole program, for now, the WWE has done everything right and not screwed anything up. Kudos to them so far.
Easily the best PPV of the year so far. Everything was good to great, not counting the Divas match. I just can't describe enough how much I enjoyed this show. I'm giving it a solid 9. I'm taking off one point for an underwhelming RAW MITB match. Had that match been slightly better, this show would have been a ten But there was enough mis-cues in that match to drop the show a point. It doesn't take away from anything on the show overall, but I felt it affected the match quality just a bit. So obviously, this show is now #1 on the WWE PPV list for 2011.
1. Money in the Bank
2. Elimination Chamber
3. Extreme Rules
4. Wrestlemania 27
5. Royal Rumble
6. Capitol Punishment
7. Over the Limit
3 Stars of the Night
1. C.M. Punk: No doubt in my mind.
2. John Cena: He brought his A game tonight and showed he can work a big time match
3. Randy Orton: He brought his A game as well and sold some great expressions post match
Where Do We Go From Here?
I honestly have no idea, at least on the RAW side. There are just so many answers left unquestioned. My guess is that Punk stays gone for at least a few months, leading to a tournament to declare a new WWE Champion. They hold a 16 man tournament headed into SummerSlam. On Smackdown, Orton and Christian will continue their program with either Edge as Special Referee, or some type of gimmick or both. So for now, lets say SummerSlam looks like this:
Tournament Final for the WWE Championship: John Cena vs Alberto del Rio
World Heavyweight Championship; Tables, Ladders, & Chairs: Christian vs Randy Orton
United States Championship: Dolph Ziggler vs Alex Riley
Intercontinental Championship: Ezekiel Jackson vs Cody Rhodes
Sheamus vs Wade Barrett
Rey Mysterio vs Miz
Daniel Bryan vs Mark Henry
John Morrison vs R-Truth
I will close this review by saying if you were on the edge of watching this and didn't, go out of your way to order the replay. It was just a great display of wrestling ability from everyone involved on the show. It can hook you back in as a wrestling fan. It was just a great atmosphere. It's shows like these why we stay wrestling fans. Here's a goodbye kiss from C.M. Punk.
Until next time,
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