Last night’s highly anticipated “Money in the Bank” Pay-Per-View brought us a loaded card with numerous surprises, and the much-hyped return of Rob Van Dam. But did it deliver? Read on to find out.
If you were on the fence about buying the show beforehand, the amazing Kickoff Show match between The Usos and The Shield probably served as a great final sell. I got the sense that most people didn’t expect much between these two teams. Not only that, but getting bumped to pre-show duty is usually a bad sign. Instead, WWE gave both of these teams a solid amount of time to work, and free reign to hype up the crowd. And it worked. Much deserved credit to all four men involved here, and I hope we see this feud continue. Consider me the most surprised when I call this my second favorite match of the night.
Money in the Bank: The Rookies Edition kicked off the Pay Per View in a hot way. A number of people were concerned about the “all heel” lineup here. Fortunately, every man seemed to find his role early on, and carve out his own niche throughout the match. Most impressively, I was convinced at separate times that Ambrose, Cesaro, Rhodes, and Sandow were all going to walk away with the win. I really liked the story they told here (the teasing of a Rhodes Scholars demise has been around since early 2013, and a Cody Rhodes face turn since wrestlemania), but the fact that creative waited to pull the trigger until last night was a solid booking choice. It made for a great moment, and allowed both Sandow and Rhodes to stand out on an otherwise star-studded card. My pick for the match of the night.
The rest of the card played out as expected. A lame Vickie Guerrero “tribute” video gave the audience a much needed break (why must WWE waste the time of paying customers with this garbage?), AJ and Kaitlyn gave a solid, if not quite as good as Payback, performance, and The Miz vs. Curtis Axel was pretty much what you’d see any week on Raw. Most surprisingly, Jericho and Ryback never seemed to really get things in sync. While Jericho can deliver a good match with almost anybody else in the company, he seemed to be on autopilot last night. Unfortunately, while Ryback’s performance wasn’t bad, asking him to match the level of Jericho (even Jericho on autopilot) is still asking too much at this stage in his career.
The top of the card delivered on expectations. Ziggler versus Del Rio proved highly entertaining, and these guys deserve at least one more go around at SummerSlam. Having these guys flip positions (from good to bad) seems to have re-invigorated both of their careers, and it’s also doing wonders for the World Heavyweight Championship. The only downside was the finish. I know AJ’s interference was supposed to be “accidental,” and spark the breakup of the power-couple, but it just made her look foolish. Luckily, Ziggler’s emotion afterwards really sold the moment.
Cena vs. Henry for the WWE Championship went next. Quiz time: when’s the last time Cena did NOT headline a Pay-Per-View, and neither The Rock or Triple H weren’t involved (and he wasn’t injured)? These two put on a better-than-expected match, but I’m glad it didn’t go last – it wasn’t main event good. And while I understand Vince McMahon’s need to make John Cena the unstoppable Hulk Hogan persona of the PG era, he’s doing so to the detriment of almost everybody else on the roster. Mark Henry looked like a legitimate threat to Cena’s title reign. Why completely demolish that with a submission finish?
Money in the Bank: All Stars saved the best for last – or, at least, it saved the match that the crowd was most hyped about for last. RVD, Christian, and CM Punk all received fantastic ovations. While I don’t think anybody here stole the show (except for maybe Paul Heyman), this match served its purpose. People took to twitter immediately questioning a Randy Orton vs. Cena match at SummerSlam. Who says he’s going to cash-in that soon? Expect Orton to have a lengthy briefcase run, and possibly use the contract to cement his (ongoing? stalled?) heel-turn.
Overall Show was good, but I think people (including myself) expected something more. Exciting surprises, a possible cash-in, just anything different from the norm. Still, WWE does big events better than anybody else in the business, and Money in the Bank proved an entertaining 3 hours.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below! Or follow me on Twitter @therealwiseman, and tell me what you think.