It’s time to head into the realm of the mighty WWE as we take a look at their latest pay-per-view offering, Money in the Bank, shown live in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Sports here in Britain.
The show began with the Smackdown Money in the Bank match, featuring Dolph Ziggler, Santino Marella, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Tyson Kidd, Sin Cara, Tensai and Christian.
As is my custom I’ll say that this was a good way to start the show. It was contested in the usual style with plenty of big bumps and a couple of standout performances.
Early on it looked as if Tensai was going to dominate, but it wasn’t long before he was being double teamed.
There were a couple of blown moves along the way, one of them, predictably, from Sin Cara who, in a repeat of last year’s show got powerbomb on a ladder, this time by Tensai. The big man then proceeded to throw Ziggler over the announcer’s table before he was taken out by Rhodes.
In the end it looked as if Christian was going to get the win until Ziggler managed to get back into the ring. It wasn’t long before the IC Champ went flying as he grabbed the case to claim the title shot.
Then it was on to the first title match of the evening as Alberto Del Rio challenged Sheamus for the World title.
I really enjoyed this one. It began quite slowly, but as it went along we saw a pretty good story as Del Rio dominated the majority of the match, working over the Irishman’s in preparation for his submission hold.
Sheamus made a few comebacks, but Del Rio kept taking him down time and time again, and it really looked like we could get a new champion.
But when Del Rio missed his head kick in the corner Sheamus took the Mexican down with his White Noise move before sealing the deal with the Brogue Kick.
After the match ended Del Rio’s henchman Ricardo Rodriguez jumped on Sheamus’ back, setting him up for another attack from his boss. It was then that Dolph Ziggler appeared, trying to cash in his briefcase. Del Rio was having none of it though until Ziggler clobbered him with the case.
Ziggler never got the chance to claim his shot. The bell never sounded, and Sheamus took him out with another Brogue Kick.
Tag team action followed as Darren Young and Titus O’Neil, the Prime Time Players, along with their manager A.W., faced Epico and Primo, accompanied by Rosa Mendes.
With champions Kofi Kingston and R-Truth watching from the commentary table these two teams put on a pretty entertaining encounter.
The crowd were kind of dead during this one, but that didn’t stop the teams putting on some good sequences, with Primo in particular looking quite impressive.
The only thing that annoyed me about this match was A.W. His ramblings on the microphone during the match were as annoying as hell, and they didn’t really add anything.
In the end Primo got the pin for his team, taking Young out with a roll-up for the pin. A.W. wasn’t too happy afterwards, but he was still happy that his men were still the number one contenders.
With that knowledge he went over to confront the champions, and after the usual spot of bad mouthing the champs threw a bottle of water over him.
The next title match saw Daniel Bryan challenging C.M. Punk for the WWE title in a no disqualification match, with A.J. as the special referee.
This was good and a little bit crazy in a weird sort of way.
Punk and Bryan put in their usual top notch performances, mixing their tremendous wrestling skills with a little weapons action, and when A.J. was accidentally knocked off the ring apron when Bryan pushed Punk into her it looked as if the special referee stipulation was going to be forgotten about.
This wasn’t the case. Having been taken backstage by the medics she returned a few minutes later, skipping around as if nothing had happened to her.
She then played the part of the crazy tease to perfection, taking it in turns to favour each man as they attempted to put each other away. Both men went for their signature moves but they still couldn’t get the job done.
It was then that Punk brought a table into the equation, and after a battle of counters on the top rope Punk put Bryan through the table with a back superplex. A three count from the lovely referee later and Punk had retained his title, leaving A.J. as confused as ever.
The monthly Ryback pay-per-view squash job saw the new monster actually on a couple of guys the fans knew in the form of Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks.
At least the opponents got in some meaningful offence this time around, and it truth be known Reks and Hawkins did a pretty good job in taking the big man down.
It wasn’t long before the inevitable happened and Ryback made his comeback, taking both men down numerous times before taking Reks out with his Shellshock finisher.
The Divas were involved in trios action this month as Champion Layla, Kaitlyn and Tamina Snuka faced Beth Phoenix, Natalya and Eve Torres.
The girls were back to being used as filler material this time around. It was a pretty short encounter and quite entertaining as it turns out. There were a few decent exchanges early on before the inevitable mass brawl as Layla took Beth down with her neck breaker for the winning pin.
The final match was the Raw Money in the Bank match featuring Kane, Chris Jericho, the Miz, the Big Show and John Cena.
This proved to be just as good as it’s Smackdown counterpart. After the initial exchanges four of the combatants teamed up to take the Big Show out of the picture, the sequence ending with Cena putting him through the Spanish announcer’s table with the Attitude Adjuster before they buried him under a pile of ladders.
With four men left in the match each man fought tooth and nail as they tried to get the case, but just when they thought he was down and out Show emerged from his captivity and began to clean house, looking like a world beater once again.
After he’d torn apart a couple of the somewhat flimsy looking ladders we saw the welcome return of the big man’s custom-made model.
It was then that the various men made their final push for the summit. Jericho looked like he was going to get the case when he’d taken Cena out with a sleeper hold before he duelled it out with the Miz.
In the end it went down to Cena and Show, and the only way Cena could stop his man from grabbing the belt was by clobbering him with the case, and as he was doing this the case came away from it’s hook. It took a couple more shots before Show fell off the ladder and Cena claimed the victory.
In conclusion - this year’s Money in the Bank proved to be a very entertaining show. The two marquee matches certainly delivered, although when you think about it it seemed kind of obvious that Cena was going to win the Raw version. Hopefully this means that whoever is WWE Champion by the time Summerslam rolls around he might actually be in the main event. Now that would be a turn up for the books.
As for the rest of the matches they delivered as well, and despite the excitement of the two ladder matches I’m going to give my match of the night to the stellar Punk/Bryan encounter, the second time this year they’ve won this no prize.
So with that out of the way it’s time to end this thing by giving Money in the Bank the thumbs up.