Sunday, July 17, 2011

7/17/11 Money in the Bank

Daniel Bryan vs. Kane vs. Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett vs. Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Heath Slater vs. Justin Gabriel (Smackdown MITB Ladder Match): Yup, figured this one would be first. Sin Cara should really be more in his element here, where spotfests are encouraged. Pre-match, I figured Cody Rhodes or Sheamus would be a contender here, with Sheamus also a threat. As a note, Sin Cara barely got over the top rope on his trampoline entrance. Not liking Gabriel's music right now, but maybe it will grow on me. Slater's rock band music is just generic as heck. Loved guys like Bryan, Gabriel, and Sin Cara flying like all heck. As expected, Cara really got his big-move moments in. And Cara is dead after getting the powerbomb through the ladder from Sheamus. Interesting moment with Barrett, Gabriel, and Slater working together. Doomsday Device on DB (from Kane and Sheamus) was pretty cool. Bryan was just amazing in this one. He so deserves this win. Didn't think WWE would pull the trigger on Daniel Bryan, but maybe this is foreshadowing that Christian will win the World Title later tonight? Anyway, crowd was extremely hot for this, great spots, great entertainment. Outstanding opener. ****1/4

Kelly Kelly vs. Brie Bella (Divas Title): Seems more like a filler match on paper because, while Kelly is OK in the ring, the Bellas still don't impress me. Crowd was still probably exhausted from the opener as well. Pretty basic match here. 3/4*

Mark Henry vs. Big Show: I have to say that this feud was built up pretty respectably, but usually, two big men in a match spells disaster as far as wrestling ratings are concerned. Hard-hitting, fairly slow-paced match. Big Show coming off the second rope with a shoulder tackle was something I didn't expect. World's Strongest Slam only got two...interesting. So basically, Henry gets a second slam in, then two splashes to win. Um, OK, that was a yawner. Nice Vader Bomb from Henry to "injure" Big Show after the match. Show looked more mad than in pain. Gotta have that tough guy image anyway. *1/2

Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio vs. R-Truth vs. The Miz vs. Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Alex Riley (RAW MITB Ladder Match): Even before this match started, I figured someone like R-Truth or Miz would be the favorite. The dueling stepladders between Miz, Truth, and Swagger was a unique spot. Expect Rey, Kofi, and Bourne to really be spot monkeys in this one. Didn't expect Riley to fly, but man, that Air Bourne from the ladder was great. Miz really landed badly and might have legit blown that knee out. Double hurricanrana spot from Bourne and Rey was cool. Big Boomdrop from Kofi. 619 from Rey using the ladder (instead of the ropes). I don't think Swagger ever scaled a ladder that fast in his life. Miz is back! Wow, Rey was booed when he stopped Miz! OH ALBERTO UNMASKED REY! Woohoo! Alberto wins! ****

Christian vs. Randy Orton (World Heavyweight Title): Christian's heel turn has been done marvelously, and Orton is as over as ever. So if Orton is DQ'd or if there is "bad officiating," Christian wins the title. It would be interesting to see how "bad officiating" is determined, if it comes to that. Orton and Christian just gel so well in the ring together. Hell, when was the last time Orton did a jackknife pin? Christian hit that diving headbutt again, and it sucks that WWE will never mention Chris Benoit's name on the air again (I get that Benoit is a murderer, but that shouldn't take away from Benoit's greatness in the ring). Christian Killswtich got 2 and 9/10. The match was really getting good, but then Christian spit in Orton's face, Orton gets DQ'd. Glad that the DQ stipulation came into play, but it just seemed a bit abrupt to just go to that. I enjoyed Orton's beatdown of Christian post-match. The crowd just ate it up big time. Orton has that Austin-like attitude that I've wanted to see from him so badly. Overall, another great match, just not as good as their previous encounters. ***1/2

CM Punk vs. John Cena (WWE Title): Speaking of Austin-like, CM Punk is perhaps the epitome of today's Stone Cold character at this point in time. Probably one of the most intriguing storylines I've seen in the last few years. Hey, Punk came out in a new shirt! Interesting....

It's basically a Hammerstein Ballroom feel right now. HUGE "CM Punk!" chants even before the match started. Guess we know who's the crowd favorite in this one huh?

Really liked the chain wrestling at the start of the match. Basically, they're setting up for a long, epic match (they started around the top of the third hour, meaning they could probably get about 30-35 minutes). Chicago crowd chanting "You can't wrestle!" to Cena. Cena using all the rest holds really was a big change of pace from a "normal" Cena match. Good mind games to start as well. The split chants echoed throughout the arena for the entire match. I think I saw Colt Cabana in the first row there! Yup, "Colt Cabana!" chants throughout the arena!

Ha, Lawler basically said WWE was a sport when commentating on this match. Just did it once, but still.

Punk came off the top with a crossbody, which looked real awkward. Cena favored that right knee for a bit there. Cena suplexed Punk to the outside, which was also a sight to see. Punk pulled out the leg sweeps as well, which I hadn't seen too much lately.

Holy crap. AA into a GTS into an STF into an Anaconda Vice. That was awesome. Then back to an AA! And that was just two! Unbelievable. Counter after counter after counter. Another AA, and ANOTHER false finish! Over 30 minutes in! Cena is actually a bit frustrated...quite rare to see. GTS to Cena's ribs, and Cena fell out of the ring in a dead heap.

Vince comes out with John Lauranaitis! Vince wants the bell rung! Cena decks Lauranaitis! WTF? Punk with the GTS! New champ! ****3/4

Vince gets on the headset and wants Alberto Del Rio to cash in his MITB title shot! Punk decks ADR before he could cash it in and leaves through the crowd! Perfect way to end the PPV!

Final Thoughts:
Six matches were advertised for the PPV, so I figured there might be one more "impromptu" match thrown in just in case. The Chicago crowd was pretty damn awesome, as usual.

I loved the MITB ladder matches. Two extremely entertaining matches with two very deserving winners. I'm especially ecstatic that WWE is pulling the trigger on Daniel Bryan. Alberto was already nearing that main event status anyway, but I had been concerned that Daniel Bryan would get lost in the shuffle like many others before him. Glad to see DB will get a title shot at some point.

Apparently, before the show began, the crowd was chanting "We want ice cream!" Awesome.

The main event and the post-match theatrics. Pure gold. Yes, we will be talking about this match for a very long time. The crowd was the loudest and most vocal I'd ever seen for a WWE match in years. It even topped the Taker/HBK encounters. My pretty crappy live analysis of this match was for a reason: I was too into the match to want to write up everything that happened. You just have to see the match to really appreciate it.

This PPV was just off-the-wall excellent. The divas match and the Henry/Show match were pretty pedestrian. But everything else was just MOTY quality or damn near close. Two big thumbs up for this one! ****1/4

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