Whilst not up there with Summerslam, Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania, Money in the Bank is still a pretty important PPV in the WWE calendar. We’ve been told over and over again that if a Superstar grabs the MitB briefcase, containing an anytime cash-in contract for the World Heavyweight Championship, they’re “almost guaranteed” to be the next champ. Let’s not forget Seth Rollins’ late match cash-in at Wrestlemania. It’s normally a good indication of where storylines are going and which wrestlers are getting the push.
It’s fair to say this year’s MitB was rushed. Thanks to the revival of Elimination Chamber, we only had two weeks between that and this and it’s simply not enough time to build any kind of traction on the feuds and rivalries going in to the PPV. The final result was mixed. I enjoyed the hell out of some matches, but was left bored and confused by others.
The show opened with a tribute to “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, who passed away on the same day Christopher Lee did. It was a genuine, heartfelt show of love and respect and it choked me up a little. Dusty Rhodes was before my time, but he still managed to have an impact on me. He was such a colourful character and did great things for the industry and fans around the world. I loved seeing Vince McMahon grooving along the final play of Dusty’s entrance music.
7 Man Money in the Bank Ladder Match
In a surprising move, we opened with the titular match. Kane, Roman Reigns, Kofi Kingston, Randy Orton, Neville, Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler faced off for the suspended briefcase. I found the match to be underwhelming. I felt like I’d seen all the ladder spots before and I had no real preference as to who I wanted to win. The match was decent in places. I loved Neville leaping over Orton and scampering up the ladder, only for his leg to be swung off the ladder by Orton, who RKO’d him on his way down to the mat. At one point, only Roman Reigns remained in the ring and he was slowly inching towards the prize- a situation WWE had been threatening for weeks. Suddenly, the lights went out and Bray Wyatt interfered, tipping Reigns off the ladder and taking him out of the match. I was genuinely surprised. I look forward to seeing how they interact in the future. Could be good for both of them.
Anyway, after more agonised ladder climbs and a thumb in Neville’s eye, Sheamus grabbed the case and won the match. I’m sure I can’t be the only one thinking literally anyone else would have been a better choice. I know you’re not meant to like the fact a heel won, but I just can’t see any interesting possibilities from Sheamus. I’d be very surprised if he ended up champ. There’s going to be some skulduggery, I can feel it.
Nikki Bella vs. Paige for the Divas Championship
Nikki being Divas champ has kinda lost its shine for me. I liked Nikki when she had a purpose and wrestled like a brawler. All they keep going on about now is how Nikki’s held the belt for X amount of days. That’s all Paige seems to care about as well, promising to end Nikki’s reign. The match wasn’t particularly interesting. As soon as Nikki came out unaccompanied, it was obvious that her sister Brie would appear from under the ring, switch with Nikki and pin the tired Paige under the guise of being her sister. It’s called “Twin Magic” and it’s really stupid. Anyway, the Bellas did just that in the match. However, Paige reversed the pin and got the three count only to find it was the wrong Bella. Nikki used the distraction and laid out Paige for the win. Meh.
Big Show vs. Ryback for the Intercontinental Championship
Ugh, talking of “meh”, how about nobody’s favourite wrestlers feuding for no real reason? I was worried that this would happen when the belt was given to Ryback. There was a great time a few months ago when both the U.S. Title and the IC belt started gaining a bit of prestige back and had wrestlers actively gunning for them. Now it seems they’ve stopped Cena’s open challenge and they’ve put the IC belt on a gonk like Ryback. The match was a complete waste of time. I hate how commentary always hypes up Big Show being lifted off the ground. Half the damn roster has done it now, it’s not new any more. The match ended when the Miz interfered and Ryback retained. Angry yawns all round.
John Cena vs. Kevin Owens
Like many others, I’m seriously high on Kevin Owens right now. He’s had an amazing start to his WWE career and he’s going to be a huge deal soon. I’ve also made no secret about liking John Cena. I think he’s on the best run he’s been on in quite a while and he’s been putting on some awesome matches. Their rivalry has felt like a proper old-school feud and it’s working well. The match they had at Elimination Chamber was god-tier stuff so I was eagerly anticipating this one. Once again, the match was fantastic. It was exciting, had some incredible spots and the physical storytelling was on point. Cena had been rudely awoken by Owens’ victory last time and he gave it his all this go-around. Owens held on in there with an impressive array of moves and you could see Cena start to get frustrated when Owens refused to stay down. I was surprised at Cena arguing with the ref. You don’t often see that from SuperCena. Cena won, but hey, that makes it best out of five, rather than three. More matches can only be a good thing. There was a definite sign that this isn’t over as post match, Cena offered his hand in mutual respect and Owens kicked him in the gut and powerbombed him on the edge of the ring. It’s that sort of stuff that reminds me why I still watch wrestling.
Prime Time Players vs. The New Day for the Tag Team Championship
I’ve been digging heel New Day since their turn and I’m always up for seeing what they do next. I like the Prime Time Players. They’re funny, but they don’t really interest me. The match was decent. Lots of solid heel work by New Day, grounding Darren Young and preventing him from tagging in the gigantic Titus O’Neal. Surprisingly, the Prime Time Players won and became new champs. I like the team, but it feels too early to strip New Day of the titles. It was a “yay?” kind of finish.
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose in a Ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Apart from Cena/Owens, the Ambrose/Rollins feud is the only one I’m really enjoying. I’ve liked the road up to this point, especially when Ambrose got sick of being screwed over and stole the belt, so I was looking forward to this.
The match took a while to get going. It felt awkwardly slow at the start, with weak-looking moves abundant, especially Ambrose’s little run and hop into the corner rebound thing he does. Also that fucking clothesline. However, they soon found a rhythm and the moves got more impressive and impactful. By the end of the match, Ambrose was literally being flung into the outside walls. It was more of a storytelling opportunity rather than an all-out fight. Rollins injured Ambrose’s leg early on and worked it the entire match. Some of the ladder spots were impressive too. I was a big fan of Rollins’ back-first flip onto a propped ladder. That shit looked and sounded incredibly painful. In what was a theme of the night, we got a screwy finish. Both men climbed the ladder and had gripped the belt, both fell and Rollins happened to grip it tighter than Ambrose and won. Ambrose was so close, dammit!
Whilst I heard some negative reactions to the finish, I think it was smart of them to do. Rollins needed a legit win so he doesn’t look like a pushover champ. At the same time, the margin of his victories over Ambrose is getting smaller and smaller with each passing match. Ambrose is nipping at his heels and he knows it. Plus, Ambrose gets to be the underdog. Win-win. Anyway- decent match and a good way to round off things.
Money in the Bank gets added to the “average episode of Raw”quality pile. Whilst Owens and Cena stole the show again, there were too many boring or dumb decisions made to get me involved. Sheamus being Mr. Money in the Bank is really baffling and it played on my mind throughout the event. Very mixed. Money in the Bank gets a charitable 3 stars because of the Owens/Cena fight and the main event. The rest ranged from mediocre to rubbish.