I want to thank the seven people who read my columns for remaining patient with me. I’ve been in the process of relocating to the DC area because of a new employment opportunity. And moving is kind of a pain in the ass. Also at the end of this month I’m going to Hawaii for 3 weeks so I’m not sure how much WWE programming I’ll be able to see (Editor’s note: Boo effing hoo). Try not to feel too sorry for me. Enough with the jibber-jabber. On with my in-person review of last Sunday’s Money in the Bank PPV.
I haven’t had the opportunity to watch back the broadcast of the event but in my opinion, Philly’s crowd was hot all night. I didn’t really write anything notes down at the time so this is all going to be based on memory.
WWE Tag Team Title Match: The Usos vs. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns
This Youtube pre-show match up got the crowd going early. Massive pop for The Shield members as they made their entrance. The surprising thing for me is how the crowd started to get behind the Usos the longer the match went on. What started as 100% support for the Shield turned into 50/50 with many of the fans counting along with some of the Usos’ false finishes. It was a good match and I know the crowd was eager for some wrestling, but to chant “this is awesome” about a tag team match on the pre-show was kinda silly. There was 6 man ladder matches to come, let’s not shoot our wad on the Youtube match, Philly.
There were some great top rope/dives to the outside going on and every one was 100% into this match. The Shield retains, as they should. But this match made the Usos look like legitimate contenders for the tag team titles (which is a good thing). Making the tag team division stronger is just that simple people.
World Heavyweight Title Money in the Bank match: Fandango vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Jack Swagger vs. Antonio Cesaro vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow vs. Wade Barrett
This might have been my favorite match of the night. With a match featuring six heels, the crowd had to turn some guys face by proxy. After Rollins and Reigns retained, Ambrose joined his fellow Shield members in the ring to celebrate. No idea where he came from. But then he stayed in the ring and was just hanging out there for a few minutes before the other opponents came down. I’m not sure at what point the cameras officially started rolling, but Ambrose was in the ring for a good minute or two before anyone else came to join him. HUGE “Let’s go Ambrose chants” before the match started. The crowd was way into him and after Cody Rhodes started with his offense, he had the crowd solidly behind him as well. Cody’s always had the talent and it looks like he is about to receive a proper push that he surely deserves.
It’s tough to remember all the spots two days later, but Ambrose’s “skin the cat” on top of the ladder was something I won’t forget. Yeah, he screwed up the first attempt and it made Cesaro and Swagger just stand there like idiots, but he recovered well the second time and that spot was worth it.
The finish was quite unexpected for me, on a couple levels. I figured Sandow and Rhodes would get into a minor scuffle at some point in the match but then they would both lose and reconcile afterwards. Then I foresaw Barrett leaving with the briefcase. The Sandow victory was a pleasant surprise because A.) he’s amazing and B.) his feud with Cody Rhodes now has an added significance because it’s over the opportunity to wrestle for the World title. The crowd was correct when they chanted “This is Awesome!” during this match.
Brad Maddox segment
Waste of time. Other people have been saying it and I kind of agree; Maddox is a younger version of Eric Bischoff. He’s got the sleazy, smarmy attitude down. He just needs to improve on the mic a little. Sadly I was one of the few people who stood up and chanted “Thank you Vickie!”
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: The Miz vs. Curtis Axel
I don’t know whether it’s sad or amazing that during a match over what should be the second most important title in the company, the crowd cared more about Paul Heyman than either of these two guys. And Curtis Axel is not ready to be on his own. After Paul E. was ejected, (to much disappointment from the crowd) Axel got little to no reaction. People were waiting to pop for the Perfectplex and that was it. It probably wasn’t the smartest idea to get rid of the guy more synonymous with Philadelphia than Benjamin Franklin (Editor’s note: He can’t help it, kids. ECW, born and raised). The “We want Heyman” chants probably took away from the match.
After Curtis Axel got to the ropes during the figure-four he got up and dumped Miz rather quickly. I’m not a Miz guy (I’m a Paul Heyman guy) so I didn’t care, but it seemed like an abrupt way to end the match.
WWE Divas Title Match: Kaitlyn vs. AJ Lee
Not sure how it sounded on television, but the crowd was pretty apathetic during this one. It’s a shame too because Kaitlyn and AJ are probably the only two females on the roster that can carry a decent match. I was in the second row and I still cringed at AJ Lee’s selling of that spear. It looked like she got cut right in half. Clean finish with AJ retaining her title by making Kaitlyn submit to the Black Widow. Pretty cool spot that excited the crowd. They also could have been excited to get the match over with to get closer to the other ladder match.
Ryback vs. Chris Jericho
The crowd was very solidly behind Jericho in this one, though it ended in an odd fashion. Ryback got the roll up victory after Y2J didn’t connect with the Lionsault. Maybe the announcers explained it a little better. Was it because Ryback is so powerful that a simple roll up is a devastating maneuver? Nothing really stood out about this match and it appeared more like filler than anything. This was Ryback’s first PPV victory this year if I’m not mistaken. And that’s not good.
World Heavyweight Title Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio
Dolph Ziggler is way, way over. Non-stop “Let’s go Ziggler” chants. The crowd responded to everything he did in the ring, which helps his average offense seem like it has more of an impact. I thought for sure Ziggler was going to recapture the belt until AJ Lee’s music hit. Once she
came skipped out to the ring, the unofficial countdown was on until first “South Philly Screwjob” of the night. Everyone was displeased with the DQ finish and AJ Lee in general. “You screwed Ziggler” chants were rampant throughout the arena and helped soft blow of the lack of title switch.
It hurts to say it, but Ziggler’s reign as heavyweight champion was a total failure. He was never allowed to pin anyone clean, he got hurt, he lost his title. I was all right with the title switch as long as he remained in the main event picture, but now it looks like he will be entering into a feud with Big E and will be out of the title hunt for a while. This is upsetting to me as a big Ziggler fan and as an observer of how over the man is with the live crowds Sunday night in Philly and last night in Brooklyn.
WWE Title Match: Mark Henry vs. John Cena
Philadelphia HATES John Cena. You always hear Michael Cole trying to save face by saying how “John Cena elicits a reaction where ever he goes” or how the crowds are always 50/50. No. This crowd was 99/1 in Mark Henry’s favor. And the one percent were 7 year old children who were too scared to make any noise after seeing the vitriol being levied at their “hero.” Of course this was all for naught as John Cena once again “Rose above the odds” and made Mark Henry tap out. What a terrible ending.
But somehow, things were about to get so much worse….
Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a Shot at the WWE Title: Rob Van Dam vs. Christian vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Sheamus vs. CM Punk
I’m gonna borrow from Brandon Stroud’s gimmick here and give a Best and Worst about this match.
Best: Rob Van Dam being welcomed back with open arms to his true home, Philadelphia.
Worst: Randy Orton ruining what had been a very good night.
Randy Orton? Randall “Dishonorable Discharge” Orton? Randy “Two Strikes with the Wellness Policy” Orton? Randy “I take dumps in divas bags and face no repercussions” Orton? I would have been fine with literally ANYONE else in this match winning. And I just have to ask why. Why give the briefcase to Orton? If he wants a title match, it’s been established that all he has to do is hear some voices in his head, get his spray tan on, take a bath in cocoa butter and walk down to the ring and demand a match. AND HE’LL GET ONE. I get that there is a plan in place to turn him heel down the road but come on. Give me the McMahon Power struggle, Vickie Guerrero’s job evaluation, fake Donald Trump vs Rosie O’Donnell, the Kennel from Hell match before making me watch John Cena vs Randy Orton. I would rather watch a Great Khali/Ashley Massaro Iron Man match than see Randy Orton as my next champion (Editor’s note: Whoa dude. Whoa).
Alright, I got that out. Now let’s focus on some positives. RVD’s re-debut went perfectly. He got in his spots, he soaked up his cheers, he didn’t have any major botches, and he generally seemed like he gave a crap in the ring.
Behind Van Dam, Daniel Bryan was the most over person of the night. Massive “Daniel Bryan” and “Yes” chants were going on all night. It is a travesty he did not win the ladder match and use the contract to challenge Cena at Summerslam. If you watched RAW, you know that we got there eventually, but with the most ass backwards booking possible. The only thing that worries me is HHH and Stephanie saying Vince isn’t happy about that match happening. It’s storyline obviously, but when Mr. McMahon comes out next Monday Night and starts saying that Daniel Bryan is too short and can’t draw money, it’s going to hurt Daniel Bryan’s credibility. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The Paul Heyman turn on CM Punk was executed beautifully. The crowd wanted Brock Lesnar but instead we got a second helping of Curtis Axel. The 7 year old kid a few seats down from me couldn’t tell who came down to the ring to interfere and he asked his dad who it was. The father replied “Curtis Axel.” And then the kid proceeded to ask why. Well he didn’t have an answer and neither do I.
Regardless we got our second “South Philly Screwjob” of the night and the second of Heyman’s career. The first time was after he cost RVD the ECW title against the Big Show, when in real life he was being suspended for getting pulled over high. Heyman, the consummate professional, NAILED CM Punk with a ladder three times, with the third busting Punk wide open, making him need stitches backstage.
One more thing about this match. Orton’s briefcase grab was met with pure nonchalance. People began bolting for the exit after they saw him win the case.
1. Rob Van Dam
2. Daniel Bryan/CM Punk
3. Dolph Ziggler
4. Mark Henry
5. Paul Heyman
6. All members of The Shield
7. Cody Rhodes
FINAL THOUGHTS: All in all, I thought it was a very good show. Obviously I’m a little biased because I was there in person and I had a great time. This was my first PPV and honestly, that’s the way to do it. The tickets are more expensive but the product is SO much better. I don’t think I can wrap up Monday morning any better than my buddy who I went to the show with.
At the end of this month I’m going on vacation to Hawaii (real original) so you might not hear from me for a little bit. I’ll still be checking in on the product trying to offer my two cents. Summerslam is shaping up to be can’t miss, so I’m going to do my best to at least catch a crappy stream viewing of it if possible. Until next time, feel free to hit me up on Twitter with any questions, comments or concerns.