This is the most hyped PPV PINFALL Magazine has covered. There was an aura around this thing like no wrestling show I’ve ever experienced live or at home. A lot like TNA’s Destination X last week, Money in the Bank lived up to the hype. Everything from the start to the finish was as good as you’ll find in the WWE today. This was the first time in a long time where I felt like I had no idea at all what was going to happen next. I just can’t wait to see where it all goes tomorrow night on Raw!
Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Sin Cara v Wade Barrett v Justin Gabriel v Heath Slater v Daniel Bryan v Sheamus v Cody Rhodes v Kane (****): American Dragon Daniel Bryan with the first highlight reel moment of the night, with his flying dropkick. Booker and Lawler putting him over was nice to hear. Bryan even took Sin Cara’s top rope finish (C4), which is silly, but this crowd was popping for everything this match. Sin Cara took a sick bump from Sheamus with a powerbomb through a ladder. This match had Sin Cara Lighting, but his tights were the color of regular lights, so it worked out well. It was cool they worked a Corre sub-plot into the match, though it was quite short-lived, like the actual Corre. Daniel Bryan took a Doomsday Device from Kane and Sheamus, and the crowd chanted “LOD”, which I dug. LOD’s kayfabe hometown was Chicago after all! The crowd also chanted “Daniel Bryan”, and he was the only guy in the bout to get a chant of his own. A nice tidbit. Sheamus was a destroyer in this one.
There was a strange spot where Wade and Sheamus impaled Slater on the ladder. It was something different, but a bit lame. Sheamus paid his own dues, as he took a Chokeslam off the top of one ladder onto another. I couldn’t have marked out more for a MITB winner than I did when I saw DB kick Barrett off the ladder. The American Dragon did it!
WWE Divas Title Match: Brie Bella w/Nikki v Kelly Kelly (C) (*): This match has the worst head scissors I’ve ever seen completed. It’s amazing how beautiful women can be so ugly, but their wrestling is just that.
Mark Henry v Big Show (***): World Strongest Man with some new blue tights, better than Kool-Aid Man red, that’s for sure. Seeing Henry dropkick steps into people is a change of pace. It was nice seeing something a little different from these two, as you never see Show get squashed. They seem to still be serious about Mark Henry’s push, and I say go for it. His Vaderbomb onto Show’s leg (and a chair) was a solid post-match spot. The idiots on commentary didn’t put over Show’s previous leg injury from last month, to add the devious flavor to Henry’s story.
Vince in a backstage segment at a PPV? Keeping the Punk story going, but not showing Punk or Cena yet. Smart build-up.
Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Alberto Del Rio v Kofi Kingston v Jack Swagger v Evan Bourne v R-Truth v Rey Mysterio Jr. (****): I like how Kofi grabbed a ladder like a sword, when he saw Del Rio had one in the ring already. R-Truth grabbing the smallest ladder due to his alleged fear of heights was genius. Pre-match was clever with everyone arming up in general. Fantastic ladder work open. This match felt like watching a comic book in action, all these giant personalities battling. That’s how wrestling should feel in general, but this is the first bout that brought that out for me in a while. Miz hurting his knee by falling off the ladder made the rest of the ladder spots harder to watch. The spot where everyone (besides Miz) was at the top of a ladder at once even looked like a comic book cover. Miz came back and took a Powerbomb, but I’m still not sure if his knee was legit hurt. The ending was botch city, as Rey caused a domino effect of ladders, which seemed unavoidable. Del Rio removing Rey’s mask was a genius heel tactic, but it sucks it played out in such a messy fashion.
World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton (C) v Christian (***): Christian sliding a chair to Orton to start the match was hilarious. They psychology of the match should be different for a DQ and you lose the title scenario, and Christian has fun with it right off the bat. The crowd being clearly behind Christian added a fun element to the proceedings, but as the match neared the climax, they were popping for both guys. Christian spitting in Orton’s face was another fun heel tactic to end a match with. The table no-selling the RKO was funny, but took the pleasant crash out of the spot. Orton returning and doing a second one, complete with crash and Popeye faces, was awesome. It felt like they were setting up a Money in the Bank cash-in, but it was just a tease.
WWE Championship Match: John Cena (C) v CM Punk (*****): Punk blew the roof off the joint before the match even started. Cena’s music started, and the crowd was on him like I’ve never heard. The man played it well, kept his head down, and marched to the ring. Atmosphere is everything in wrestling, and there’s nothing like what they had going in Chicago tonight. Cena’s first Snapmare drew a ton of boo’s and huge “you can’t wrestle” chants. They were so big, that Punk played the chant, which couldn’t have been cooler. You’ll never see more entertaining headlocks than the ones in this match. Cena’s faces are so corny, he does a silly “phew” act, bad actor. Lawler dropped an ice cream bars reference, which is a good sign (can’t hurt anyway). Colt Cabana had louder chants than Cena. Punk lined up a knee spot to land right next to Colt during one of the chants, classy move. The Apron Suplex to the floor was as rough as any other spot on this show, not sure I’ve ever seen one executed in such a way.
The Five Knuckle Shuffle fail was entertaining. The crowd made this match as fun as possible. Punk landed a knee on Cena that was so good they showed it three times. Possibly the most suspenseful submission exchanges I’ve ever seen in a wrestling match, with the crowd and everything added together, it was perfect. A lot of quality near-falls in this one as well. Punk kicked out of the Attitude Adjustment multiple times. Punk doing the crazy elbow strikes to the side of the head like Bryan was great. I got my hopes up though, as I thought it would lead to the Pepsi Plunge, and it didn’t. Cena fighting off the Chicago Screwjob was a nice swerve, especially since it led to Punk winning the WWE Championship! What an amazing bout, especially considering Cena was seemingly on one leg for a good portion of it.
Punk escaping in true Summer of Punk fashion was the perfect homage and cap for this PPV!