Last year, Money in the Bank changed the landscape of WWE - Not as a buzzword, but legitimate change. Let's see how we did this year.
Youtube Preshow: Hunico and Camacho vs Kofi Kingston and R-Truth (Tag Team Champions), non-title
Winners: Kingston/Truth via pinfall
TV match with the tag champs both landing their finishers. This didn't accomplish anything as far as the tag division and could have been better left to Justin Gabriel getting some TV time or something.
Luckily, a strong presence from Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan in separate promos made the Youtube show slightly better.
Match 1: Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
|Worth it for...|
Match 2: Alberto del Rio vs Sheamus (c), World Heavyweight Championship
Winner: Sheamus via pinfall
Pretty straight forward match. Ricardo ran a bit of distraction, but other than that, a clean match. Sheamus finishes with White Noise and a Brough Kick; I would get used to that because I expect we'll be seeing it for a long time to come. Del Rio and Ricardo stomp away at Sheamus after the match, prompting Ziggler to immediately run out with his MITB briefcase. Sheamus blasts him with a Brogue Kick before a bell rings, so Ziggler is still Mr. Money in the Bank. Maybe that can be the running gag; Ziggler never actually gets the match started, so he never loses the briefcase.
Not exactly a game changer. Strong face champion beats heel champion by kicking him in the mush. Sheamus matches are starting to be an example of the bad side of predictability.
Match 3: Epico and Primo vs Prime Time Players
Winners: Epico and Primo
AW is miked up once again for the live crowd to hear him jaw at Epico/Primo. This is a great idea executed poorly; if AW was interesting to listen to, it would be worth it. Plus, we can hear Rosa without a mic, so AW just looks like a goof. Primo springboarded into a modified version of Darren Young's finisher, but Young took his time capitalizing and Primo was able to roll him up for the win. Kofi and Truth were at ringside on commentary and added nothing to the announce team. Kofi is too straight laced and doesn't trash talk while he does these spots and Truth just quotes Little Jimmy.
So the number one contenders lost on PPV and the tag champs wrestled a non-title match for free on a Youtube preshow. One step forward, two steps back for the tag division. With Kidd not picking up the MITB victory, the Gabriel/Kidd team from NXT and Superstars should begin to appear on TV; both guys definitely deserve some shine.
Match 4: Daniel Bryan vs CM Punk (c), WWE Championship - No DQ, AJ is special guest referee
Winner: CM Punk via pinfall
A WWE Title match that didn't end in a finisher or a roll up...can't remember the last time that happened. After a great no DQ match with minimal shenanigans from AJ (she interfered once on each man's behalf, so that doesn't count, right?) and a ref bump that took her out of the action for half the match anyway, CM Punk hits an avalanche belly to back suplex through a table and makes the pin.
|Courtesy of http://ilovewrestlinggifs.tumblr.com/|
Match 5: Ryback vs Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks
Winner: Ryback via pinfall
Ryback beat them both, but didn't lift both for his finisher, which would have been the pay off for this. Ryback took 4 minutes to beat the pair, actually being knocked around the ring a bit, which he'll need to have done to him moving forward. Crowd still seems to half care about him, happy to chant "Goldberg" at him. Still a ton of work to be done on Ryback as a gimmick.
Match 6: Layla (Divas Champion), Kaitlyn and Tamina vs Natalya, Beth Phoenix and Eve
Winners: Layla, Kaitlyn and Tamina via pinfall
Decent divas match but coming two matches after the WWE Championship is a bit silly. If they wanted to close the show with Raw MITB, they should have swapped the Ryback match and Punk/Bryan so there was only one buffer between the two main events. After a breakdown with all 6 women in the ring, Tamina delivers a super kick to Beth who stumbles into the Layout for the win. Layla still stands strong after returning and winning the Diva's Championship. If Kharma is really ready to come back, now would have been a good time to at least make her presence felt - Play her laughter from the beginning of her music, show a vignette. SOMETHING.
Match 7: Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Winner: John Cena
To be fair, I don't think anyone wasn't expecting that. Earlier in the night, The Miz reappeared, saying he would take part in this match, which he did. Miz's look is a bit better - More mature hair and some scruff makes him look more like a man and less like a pretty boy. The crowd seemed quite happy to see him back. That's the thing with wrestling fans; we like to see anyone come back after hiatus. Two months off may have done a world of good for Miz as far as looks and being missed. John Cena, take note. Maybe we'd miss you if you gave us the chance...
That said, this was quite a bit more entertaining than anyone expected a ladder match involving Kane and Big Show to be. At one point, Big Show pulled out an enormous ladder so that he could play along with the rest of the cast. As far as being reinforced? Show could barely pick this thing up to put it in the ring. That is a LOT of ladder.
This, of course, was after being pummeled by all four of his opponents - A Codebreaker from Chris Jericho, a snap DDT from The Miz, a boot to the outside from Kane and then an Attitude Adjustment from Cena through the Spanish announce table; then to be thorough, they buried Big Show underneath ladders. Say what you will about Cena (I know I do), but every time he gets Show up for the AA, I'm impressed and just feel like Cena's repertoire is sorely lacking with the strength the man has.
The finish would have Big Show clearing the giant ladder with KO punches leaving just himself and Cena at the top. Cena used the briefcase to block a KO punch attempt and then whacked Show in the face with the briefcase. In this, the handle broke, leaving the briefcase in Cena's hands, which he then popped Show in the head with, followed by celebrating. All in all, it's a good thing the handle didn't break when Chris Jericho was literally hanging from it, suspended in midair. Let's see them call that audible.
|Yeah, you didn't expect to win. Sure. (Courtesy of http://ilovewrestlinggifs.tumblr.com/)|
Cena/Punk is the tentative plan for Summerslam - An early cash in is always possible, but The Rock is the endgame here. He said months ago (you know, when he was "never leaving again") that he wanted to hold the WWE Championship. Cena will obviously want to avenge his Wrestlemania loss. Why not combine the two? The real shame is that a strong title reign by Punk is going to come to an end to justify another Cena/Rock match. Do they really need to have the WWE Title at stake when Rock isn't a regular wrestler? In the modern WWE, yes they do. Meanwhile, over in TNA, Austin Aries wins the World Heavyweight Title by being better than Bobby Roode...ok, he cashed in his X Division title, but still.
I'll admit the show ended up better than I expected - Punk/Bryan was of course a top notch match and they smartly kept the referee nonsense to a minimum. There's no payoff as far as AJ goes, which means the storyline continues, but also has to somehow integrate Cena's title chase and potentially The Rock. Good luck with that. The Smackdown ladder match was sloppier than expected given the entrants, but got the job done. As far as shaking up the landscape like last year? Not even close. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Congrats to Dolph Ziggler - Here's hoping for Tyson Kidd, MITB 2013 winner.
Enjoy the show? Disappointed in something? Happy as hell that Ziggler gets to shine? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @thegeekasylum or @sbfantom.
In the coming weeks, be sure to check out Inside Pulse Wrestling for my weekly rant on Ring of Honor TV!
In fact, the first one is live now! #shamelesspandering